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Employee Wellness: 5 Lunch Ideas From Around the World


Taco party green table with hands reaching out.

It’s easy to get caught up at work. A busy schedule may be the reason you order out or even skip lunch. Although controversial, studies show skipping lunch may cause your metabolism to slow down, leading to weight gain. Skipping meals can also cause low blood sugar, resulting in fatigue and irritability. To keep lunch interesting, and change up the sandwich routine, you could add some recipes inspired from around the world. The following recipes are both quick and easy, so you won’t want to skip lunch!


1.   Vietnam: Bahn Mi Wrap

The Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich was influenced by the French during the 1860s, when the French first colonized Vietnam. In the 1950s, the modern banh mi became popular. Traditionally served on a baguette, the sandwich usually consists of meat, vegetables, herbs, and mayonnaise. This easy recipe from Fuss Free Cooking highlights the flavors from the popular Vietnamese bahn mi, but wrapped in a tortilla for a quick lunch.


2.   Japan: Donburi

A Japanese donburi, or “rice bowl dish”, is a common convenience meal among Japanese cuisine. The dish is very filling, simple to make, and usually consists of rice, meat, vegetables, sauce, and scallion or egg toppings. Just One Cookbook has put together 15 different donburi recipes you may want to try. These quick recipes could be prepared in advance and reheated at work for lunch the next day.


3.   India: Chana Masala

Chana masala is a popular on-the-go Indian dish with tons of flavor. The dish usually consists of garlic, ginger, garam masala, chickpeas, and other spices. Here is a recipe from Minimalist Baker for easy chana masala. A bonus for this recipe would be to meal prep the night before and store in the fridge for easy lunches. Another great thing about this recipe is the ability to store leftovers in the freezer for a couple months. The chana masala could be eaten plain, served with rice, or naan.


4.   Italy: Pasta

We all know pasta is a staple of an Italian diet. In Italy though, pasta is served in smaller portions as part of a larger meal. While westerners may eat pasta as a main meal, there are many ways to enjoy a lighter dish for lunch. Veggies could be added to a cold pasta dish for extra nutrients, or a side salad could be packed as well. If an easy quick lunch is needed, this simple pasta salad from Spend with Pennies could be prepped for lunch.


5.   Mexico: Tacos

During the 18th century, the taco was a popular food among the Mexican silver miners. The word “taco” originates from the small rolled up piece of gunpowder used to detonate rock. The miners needed a quick food for lunch, so it’s no surprise that the first kind of taco noted in history was called the miner’s taco. If you need a great quick lunch idea, these easy tacos from Mind Body Green can be prepped the night before and put together during lunch the next day.


In conclusion, bringing different cuisines to work may encourage you to eat lunch, experience different flavors, and save money. Start with the cuisine that interest you most and prep that for the week. The possibilities are endless for different cuisine ideas. Check out Insanely Good Recipes for more lunch ideas from around the world.


Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.  


Written by: Skye Pietrzykowski, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern



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