On The Table

A collection of knowledge-based articles to inspire overall wellness.

5 Healthy Packed Lunch Ideas for Adults

Tired of opening your lunch box to a store bought sandwich with potato chips? Fuel that lunchtime hour with these healthy packed lunches for lasting energy!

5 Healthy Packed Lunch Ideas for Adults

Does the idea of a packed lunch seem unappealing? Eating an easy healthy lunch on the go does not have to be boring or take a lot of time in the morning. You can have a healthy packed lunch you look forward to eating.

Meal plan and prep for success with these healthy 5-minute pack lunch ideas for adults. Learn how to make easy snacks in 5 minutes as an added bonus!

5 Packed Lunch Ideas for Adults

These 5 packed lunch ideas for adults will have you looking forward to lunchtime and have you feeling full hours after eating.

1. Bento Box Lunch

Bento boxes are a traditional Japanese meal that has been around for centuries. They are simply a "box" with divided compartments for various foods like rice, vegetables and fish.

Bento boxes are a popular choice for adults and kids, as there are many bento box-inspired lunch pails available. Even if you do not have one though, you can still benefit from putting together a bento box-inspired lunch.

Follow the MyPlate method and make half your box (or lunch) a combination of cut-up fruits and vegetables. They can even be leftover roasted or sauteed vegetables from a previous meal. Add in a grain and protein source and you have a balanced adult-packed lunch.

Bento boxes can be themed like Mediterranean or Asian or you can simply throw whatever foods you have in each compartment. Bento box individual compartments example:

• Hard-boiled egg
• Cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers with cheese cubes
• Grapes
Cooked quinoa

2. Vibrant Salads

Packable lunch salads do not have to be boring or soggy. Salads can be made with any leafy greens, cooked grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, and protein sources you have on hand. If you have a good salad base, changing up your salad dressing can also be a way to add flavor and variety to any salad.

Make salads an easily packed lunch by making a batch on the weekend and pre-packing salads into individual serving containers to grab throughout the week. These salads will not be boring and soggy come lunchtime! Add protein sources to a salad like cooked chicken breast, tofu, or nuts for a more filling packed lunch.

Vibrant salad packed lunch examples:

Vietnamese quinoa salad
Quick and easy white bean salad with spinach, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes
Tabbouleh salad with quinoa
Mason jar salads

3. Lunch Bowl

Any cooked leftover brown rice or other grain can be transformed into a base for a healthy and easy lunch bowl. For example, an Asian-style chicken bowl can be made by layering rice in a packable container, grilled or roasted chicken, coleslaw, shredded carrots, and drizzle a little soy sauce on top with green onions.

An Italian twist on a lunch grain bowl could be cooked couscous, farrow or other grain on the bottom, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, chopped basil, and drizzled balsamic vinaigrette.

Really, options are endless!

4. Avocado Chicken Salad

Make this avocado chicken salad ahead of time to make a 5 minute or less sandwich, wrap, or as part of a salad. This salad base is high in protein from chicken and Greek yogurt and a good source of heart-healthy fats from the avocado.

Pair with a piece of fruit for a well-balanced, filling lunch as desired.

5. Tuna Deviled Eggs

Tired of egg salad or tuna salad sandwiches? Combine the two for an elevated, protein-packed lunch option: tuna deviled eggs.

Make these ahead of time and pair them with some whole-grain crackers, fruit, and cheese or nuts for a healthy, filling lunch in under 5 minutes.

Easy Snacks to Make in 5 Minutes

If you want a quick snack in under 5 minutes, you do not have to reach for processed, high sugar/fat snacks. These satisfying, nutritious and delicious snack options can be made in just a few minutes.

1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Yogurt

This indulgent, high-protein snack can feel like a delicious treat. Simply add a tablespoon of nut butter swirled in plain Greek yogurt (or non-dairy option) and sprinkle some chocolate chips in.

Option to add in a handful of fresh berries or a few tablespoons of dried fruit as desired.

2. Energy Bites

Energy bites can be a healthier alternative to packaged granola or snack bars. They are a good source of protein and fiber which will help you feel satisfied.

Store these in the refrigerator or freezer for a quick snack you can grab on-the-go.

3. Veggies & Hummus

This homemade hummus can be made in just a few minutes in a food processor or blender. Pair this hummus with any vegetables you have on hand: carrots, celery, cucumber slices, broccoli, etc.

Meal prep tip: Plan on getting different veggies at the grocery store. Wash and cut them up before storing in the refrigerator. This will make it easy to grab these veggies and pair with hummus for a quick snack option.

Apple Nachos

This single serving of apple nachos will be your new favorite way to eat an apple and can be made in 5 minutes. This still gives you the health benefit of eating an apple, but it can be a more fun, flavorful way to eat your fruit.

(Kids especially will love this creative take!)

Final Thought

Quick, healthy, appetizing packable lunches and snacks can be possible with a little bit of planning! Some of these healthy lunch ideas may need to be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.

Take a minute to plan ahead your healthy meals for the week, and you will be able to put together these packed lunches in under 5 minutes.