Quick Lunch Ideas for Runners

turkey and cheese wrap
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Whether you run in the morning or afternoon, lunch is an important meal because it's either helping you with your recovery or fueling your upcoming run. Yet some runners either skip lunch because they're busy at work or they eat some fast (often unhealthy) food on the go.

It's possible to have a lunch that's both quick AND nutritious. The key to a healthy lunch is balance. Try to incorporate at least three different food groups into your meal.

Make sure your lunch includes protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber to provide energy and help you stave off hunger.

If you're bored with your current lunch routine, here are some suggestions for quick and nutritious lunches that don't require a lot of prep time. Most of them are easy to pack if you're brown-bagging it to work or school.

1. Black Bean Burrito: For a tasty black-bean burrito, put one cup black beans, two tablespoons salsa, one ounce soy cheese, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro on a whole-wheat tortilla.

2. Veggie Burger: Put one garden burger on a whole-grain bun, with sliced tomato and onion.

3. Broccoli Slaw Wraps: Use packaged broccoli slaw, cooked chicken, a tortilla wrap, mayo, and mustard for an easy, delicious wrap sandwich.

4. Turkey and Cheese Wrap: Put three ounces of turkey, shredded cheddar cheese, low-fat mayo, shredded lettuce, tomato in a whole-wheat wrap.

5. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich: To make this classic runner's sandwich, spread some peanut butter on whole-wheat bread and then place banana slices on top.

6. Chicken Caesar Pita Sandwich: Stuff grilled chicken and lettuce into a whole-wheat pita and top with light Caesar dressing. 

7. Avocado Veggie Pita Sandwich: Spread a mashed avocado inside a whole-wheat pita and then layer on marinated artichoke hearts, sliced red peppers, marinated sundried tomatoes, and sliced baby portabella mushrooms.

8. Roasted Turkey Sandwich: Put three ounces roasted turkey meat, 1/6 of an avocado sliced, two teaspoons reduced-fat mayo, four tomato slices, two teaspoons mustard, and one ounce provolone cheese on two hearty slices of whole-grain bread. 

9. Mexican Pita Sandwich: Stuff a whole-wheat pita with vegetarian refried beans, salsa, lettuce, and shredded cheddar cheese.

10. Mozzarella and Tomato Salad: Combine two medium-sized tomatoes with a couple slices of fresh mozzarella and 1/2 cup basil leaves. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top.

11. HLT (Hummus Lettuce and Tomato) Looking for a healthy alternative to a BLT sandwich? Put hummus, lettuce, and tomato on a whole-wheat sandwich bun for a healthy and quick lunch. You can also add some feta cheese and/or black olives for a little extra flavor.

Suggested Sides

  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup pasta and bean salad
  • Baby carrots dipped in yogurt salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup vegetable soup
  • 1 cup red grapes
  • Tortilla chips with salsa
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
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