Packed Lunch Ideas for Kids & Adults
Packing a lunch for school or work is a great way to save money and ensure you get a nutritionally balanced meal. However, it does require some planning ahead so you don’t run out of ideas and resort to a PB&J everyday — not that there’s anything wrong with that!
Coming up with new ideas for easy healthy packed lunches just takes a little effort and some help from the internet. We’re getting you started with this guide that’s great for both school lunch ideas, and packed lunch ideas for adults.
Foods that are easy to pack for a healthy lunch:
- Fruits – apples, bananas, grapes, sliced melon, and berries all make nutritious additions to a packed lunch
- Vegetables – sliced carrots, cucumbers, peppers, cherry tomatoes, or cauliflower and broccoli florets will still be fresh by lunch time
- Grains – carbs like rice, quinoa, pasta, and couscous can be stored in a small storage container and can be eaten either hot or cold
- Protein – lean meats, hard boiled eggs, sliced tofu, and beans make you feel full longer and can be a satisfying complement to your meal
- Nuts – walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and almonds are good for giving you a burst of energy at lunch or between meals
- Snacks & Dessert – while nuts make an excellent snack, sometimes you want something that is healthy but feels a bit more like a “treat”. Try small portions of popcorn, pudding cups, chips with guacamole and salsa, or pretzels.
Need some help coming up with actual meal plans? Here are packed lunch ideas to get you through two weeks of school or work:
- Turkey or Tofurky wrap using a tortilla or pita full of fresh greens, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Include a portion of berries, and sliced carrots with hummus for sides.
- Taco salad bowl – throw some chopped romaine lettuce in a container and top with meat or black beans for protein, diced tomatoes and peppers for veggies, and a small amount of shredded cheese. Add sliced avocado and use salsa as a dressing.
- Classic PB&J with a side salad and either a banana or sliced melon
- Cheese and veggie sandwich served with raw almonds, broccoli and dip, and grapes
- Quinoa with black beans mixed with any roasted veggies of your choice, drizzled with your favorite savory dressing. Follow it up with a chocolate pudding cup.
- Cheese tray day! Pack an assortment of your favorite traditional or non-dairy cheeses and serve with sliced tomatoes, crackers, jam, and sliced meat. If you don’t eat meat, try a vegan salami. Serve with a side of grapes or berries, and a piece of dark chocolate.
- Tacos from leftovers – anything is delicious if you put it in a corn tortilla! If you have left over rice, quinoa, vegetables, meat, or beans from the previous night’s dinner, throw them in some tortillas with sliced avocado and hot sauce to repurpose your leftovers as tasty tacos.
- Almond butter and banana sandwich paired with sliced strawberries, sliced carrots and hummus, and a pudding cup for dessert
- Pasta with tomato sauce and veggies with a side salad. Pack some berries to finish your meal on a sweet note
- Sliced chicken breast with rice and steamed vegetables followed by apple slices dipped in almond butter
For tips on how to efficiently meal plan, check out this article for advice!