With classes starting in only a few weeks, we are all gearing up to go back to school and getting back to our weekly schedules. While we are anxious about our classes, excited to see our friends, and setting goals for the school year, food is always on the top of our list, especially what we are going to have for lunch. Students are always busy running in between classes to grab lunch at the hall, or to sit in the cafeteria to have their home-made lunch. 

Since the majority of the students at FIU are commuter students, it's not hard to see many students around campus holding their lunch boxes and containers. But why settle for your typical PB&J for lunch everyday, when with a little prep, you can have something different and delicious every single day! Variety is key to making sure you're enjoying your lunch on the daily. Hence, here are some lunch ideas to help fill up your lunch box with color, nutrition, and fun!

1. Seasoned Salmon 

Cooking, Healthy, homemade, Cucumber Avocado Salad, salad, Side Salad, avocado, pan-seared salmon, college life, dorm life
Amy Dong

My favorite healthy lunch box meal has always been grilled or baked salmon with either a side of rice, quinoa, or green beans. For some reason, flavor-wise and prep-wise, it just makes total sense. It is easy to prepare the night before with a little bit of your favorite seasoning, plus it is very nutritious! Salmon is rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and it is a great source of protein. One can even make quick salmon sandwiches for another healthy lunch option. 

2. Tuna Sandwich 

spread, tuna, bread, pate
Diana Ghidanac

If you forget to pack your lunch for the next day, just grab two slices of bread and a tuna can in the morning, and voilà! You got yourself a delicious sandwich. You can add mayonnaise, ketchup, or mustard to add more flavor to the tuna. PS: I have heard that tuna sandwiches are best when they are made with pumpernickel bread. Although I have never tried it, maybe this semester I will give it a try! 

3. Mac and Cheese

macaroni, pasta, spaghetti, cheese, cheddar, sauce, vegetable
Jocelyn Hsu

Who doesn't love mac and cheese for lunch? From kindergarden students all the way to college students, mac and cheese always leaves one feeling happy and energetic. If you want to have the mac and cheese with something a little bit more nutritious, bring a healthy home-made salad as a side dish, or have fish with a side of mac and cheese for some extra protein. Make it from scratch or use an instant box - either way, you'll have yourself a delicious, cheesy lunch!

4. Chicken Salad

chicken, salad, meat, lettuce, vegetable
Michelle Miller

This is definitely the lunch I see the most among students who bring their own lunch. Mainly because it's so easy! So I definitely recommend you give it a try. Grab lettuce (or your favorite greens) and a few chicken slices, and maybe pour in some olive oil, hard-boiled egg, celery, onion, pepper, pickles, and anything else you would like in your salad, and you got yourself a healthy, satisfying meal that tackles all the food groups! Win-win situation right here.

5. Grilled Cheese

toast, sweet, bread, butter, grilled cheese sandwich, cake, honey, pastry, cheese
Christin Urso

Yes we're college students, and we're not afraid to admit we still go crazy over grilled cheese sandwiches. They are the perfect combo for busy college students because they are easy to make and even more satisfying to eat! Choose your favorite bread, then add your favorite cheese, and warm them up the night or morning before. I make my grilled cheese with mozzarella cheese in a panini maker, and they are always out of this world! This is great lunch meal for picky eaters. 

6. Stuffed Bagels 

sandwich, bread, bagel, cheese, tomato, lox, salmon, bun
Sam Hecht

Sure, you can buy yourself a bagel pretty much anywhere, but why buy when you can bring one from home stuffed with all of your favorite things? Bagels aren't just for breakfast anymore, friends. Pick your favorite type of bagel (but obviously I HIGHLY recommend an Everything Bagel because YUM), add some cream cheese and smoked salmon, or you can also go for egg salad with avocado. You can even make yourself a delicious pizza bagel! The possibilities are endless with this fantastic, brunch-like option.

7. Quinoa Salad

wheat, cereal, porridge, buckwheat, corn, millet, groats, quinoa, couscous
Christin Urso

If you like to lean to the side of healthy, nutritious foods, quinoa is the perfect option. It's an incredible source of protein, making it perfect for my vegetarian and vegan people who are trying to find something else to eat besides beans and rice. I love quinoa in all my meals because I love its smooth, crunchy texture, and its flavor always works with everything, even when cooked without any oils or seasonings. Although quinoa can be eaten alone, let's not be boring, right? Add chickpeas, beans, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and onion to make a quinoa salad, and dress it up with some olive oil and lemon or balsamic. 

8. Chicken Fingers

chicken, meat, chicken wings, fish fingers
Rachel Williamson

Chicken fingers are the ultimate throwback to all of our childhoods, but hey, no one is ever too old for chicken fingers, right? The frozen packs are lifesavers for busy mornings and nights, but if you want to make your own, buy yourself some chicken cutlets, roll them in egg wash and bread crumbs, bake or fry, and you have the crunchiest finger-food in all of the land. Or should I say, all of the university. Don't forget the ketchup!

9. Rice and Beans

rice, beans, pork, sauce
Megan Jones

Rice and beans is one of the most recommended lunch ideas for college students because beans are an excellent sources of dietary fiber and protein. Fiber keeps us "regular", if you know what I mean, and we definitely need that during our busy schedules. Plus, this combo tastes great and literally takes two minutes! The only steps are opening a can of beans, cooking some rice (instant or not), and throwing it all in a tupperware. I'm in!

I hope these meals inspire you to have some fun with your lunch this semester. Whether or not you bring your lunch from home, these are great options to have, and will not take a long time to prepare the night before or the morning of. Have a wonderful semester!