Asian-Inspired Healthy Lunch Ideas
The end of summer is a bittersweet time of the year as summer break comes to an end and we prepare to go back to school or work. Here’s something to look forward to though, Asian-inspired healthy lunch ideas!
Japan is famous for its bento lunch boxes but did you know other Asian cultures have their own versions?
Take a look at what lunch looks like in Asia! Maybe you can even add these to your list of healthy lunch ideas.
Lunches in Asia
If you’re ever in China, the most common lunch you’ll see people pack to work are leftovers! Families will make larger meals that can act as leftovers for the weekdays ahead. This usually includes rice with one or two different side dishes, most commonly one meat and one vegetable dish.
Other popular healthy lunch ideas in China include fried rice, noodles, steamed bao and buns, dumplings and soups.
Unsurprisingly, kimchi is one of the number one foods eaten for lunch as a side dish in South Korea! Incorporating kimchi can turn any lunch into a healthy lunch idea since there are many benefits associated with eating kimchi! Other side dishes are usually included, especially if you buy lunch from a cafeteria.
The main part of many school lunches is soup along with rice and mini pajeon, which are little pancakes made with batter and vegetables. The most common soup served for lunch is kimchi jjigae which is a spicy kimchi soup.
Of course, you can’t forget about gimbap, a Korean-style sushi roll full of cooked and pickled ingredients. There are many different kinds of gimbap and they are extremely easy to pack for lunch or for a picnic!
Read more about the different lunches in South Korea here.
Like China and South Korea, rice and noodles are a staple during lunchtime. Various rice bowls and noodle dishes are popular for lunch. The most notable characteristic of Japanese lunches is how healthy they are, which makes them great healthy lunch ideas!
Many people take bento lunch boxes to school or work. Learn how to make your own with our Chicken Patty Bento Box recipe. So what are in these bento boxes? Anything and everything! Leftovers from dinner or freshly made dishes such as grilled mackerel all served with rice.
Miso soup is also a must as well as it’s very healthy, very nourishing and very digestible. In western culture, it’s customary to drink your soup before the main part of the meal but in Japan, they drink the soup last! You can read more about the differences in Japanese versus westernized lunches here.
The iconic food in Vietnam is definitely pho. You might be thinking “how do they pack this for lunch though?”. In most cases, they don’t! Pho is usually enjoyed during dinner or at a restaurant since it’s best to eat it fresh and piping hot.
So what do they eat for lunch in Vietnam? It’s routine for Vietnamese people to have rice together with side dishes for lunch. These side dishes include stir-fry, stews and vegetables.
Com Ga Xoi Mo is a very popular dish during lunchtime. It’s a chicken and rice dish served with a salad usually made of cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce. The chicken is marinated in garlic before being showered with hot water to mimic conventional deep-frying methods.
Something you’ve probably seen in Vietnamese restaurants is fresh spring rolls. These are also popular as a healthy lunch idea. Try making it yourself with our recipe.
In Thailand, keeping lunch light is normal. One surprising thing about the eating habits there is that many of the foods eaten during breakfast can be eaten for lunch or dinner as well.
A typical Thai lunch consists of curried chicken or stir-fried vegetables and soup. Having fruit at lunch is also extremely common since it’s warm tropical climate means locals can enjoy these fruits all year long.
Like the majority of Southeast Asian countries, rice and noodles are the dietary bases. Asians really do love their rice! A healthy lunch idea to try is our Thai Basil Chicken recipe with rice.
Hopefully, these lunches from around the world inspire you to try them out yourself! Check out our Recipes page for more healthy lunch ideas!