Here are 50 packable lunch ideas that are quick, easy and healthy! Perfect for kids and adults if you’re tired of packing the same thing every day!
*Originally published Sept 2012*
Let’s chat about packable lunch ideas. Whether you’re looking for packed lunch ideas for adults or kids, lunch ideas for work, cold lunch ideas or healthy lunch sides, this post has you covered! I don’t follow strict lunch packing rules, but I do always try to include:
-A whole grain
-A protein source
-At least some vegetables
I think a lot of people feel like they have to make their packed lunch with one big dish and some sides. I rarely do this. I generally pack 3-4 healthy lunch sides so I can enjoy a little bit of a lot of things. More fun to eat that way!
If you need more packable lunch ideas for kids, I have a whole guide! Find it here: A Month of Packed Lunch Ideas for Kids.
Packable Lunch Ideas
Another benefit to packing my lunch for me personally is eating more vegetables. When I have the whole fridge and pantry to choose from, I typically avoided veggies and chose other things. Now that I have to eat whatever I bring with me, I just make sure to include veggies in my packable lunch ideas for the week and then I eat them! Simple as that!
Here are 50 packable lunch ideas to inspire you to pack some fun new lunches! Within the list, ‘ve included links to recipes from the blog if I have them but those are by no means the only recipes you should try! Check out the general ideas and then do your own searches for those types of recipes that fit your taste preferences!
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work
Strawberry Chicken Spinach Power Salad
Steak Cobb Salad
Crunchy Kale Salad with Couscous
Hummus with Dippers
Greek Hummus Topping
Tuna/Chicken/Chickpea Salad and Crackers
Curried Tuna Salad with Apples
Thai Chicken Meatballs
Apple Cheddar Turkey Meatballs
Paleo Turkey Sweet Potato Meatballs
Carrot Pineapple Turkey Meatballs
Avocado Chicken Burgers
Thai Peanut Salmon Burgers
Muffins or Bars
Lentil Banana Muffins
Carrot Applesauce Muffins
Banana Carrot Muffins
Sweet Potato White Bean Bars
White Chicken Chili
Instant Pot Sweet Potato Chicken Soup
Sweet Potato Chicken Chili
How To Roast Chickpeas
Roasted Chickpea Snack Mix
Maple Mustard Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad
Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad
Frozen Smoothie (freeze in mason jar to thaw in lunchbox)
Silken Tofu Berry Smoothie
Kid-Friendly Smoothie Recipes
Pancakes/Waffles with Nut Butter or Yogurt
Green Smoothie Pancakes
Banana Flax Waffles
Sweet Potato Waffles
Wraps or Sandwiches
5 Ways To Make Sandwiches More Fun
Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas
Loaded Sweet Potato
Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potatoes
Top a baked sweet potato with leftover taco filling or chili
Protein or Granola Bars
No Bake Protein Bars
Healthy Store-Bought Granola Bars for Kids
Mac & Cheese
Stovetop Mac & Cheese w/ Sausage & Peas
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Yogurt Bars
Sweet Potato Protein Cookies
Sweet & Spicy Popcorn Snack Mix
Healthy Microwave Popcorn
Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Peanut Butter Banana Chia Pudding
Easy Spinach Balls
Maple Bacon Roasted Carrots
Turkey Walnut Taco Meat
Ultimate Hot Taco Layer Dip
Curried Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos
Noodles (Good Warm or Cold)
Instant Pot Asian Peanut Noodles
Chicken Pad Thai
Sweet & Spicy Shrimp With Soba Noodles
Tuna Quinoa Cakes
Asian Lettuce Wraps
Egg Cups/Baked Eggs
Paleo Breakfast Casserole
Lemon Energy Balls
Mint Chocolate Energy Balls
12 Kid-Friendly Energy Balls
Baked Ranch Chicken Taquitos
More Simple Ideas
Fruit + Greek yogurt
Hard-boiled or deviled eggs
Raw veggie sticks
Homemade trail mix
Apples or celery + peanut butter
Peanut butter + crackers
Spiced roasted nuts
Cottage cheese + Tomatoes
Chips + Guac or Salsa
Homemade ramen noodles
Fruit or Veggie chips
Sweet potato + Almond butter
Do you pack your lunch?
I’d love to hear your favorite packable lunch ideas!
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This is awesome. Are you reading my mind? I was literally just thinking when I start working again what a task it will be to come up with lunches!
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More says
I always pack my lunch! Part because my body requires “real” foods or I feel sick almost immediately; part because it’s healthier overall; and part because it’s a lot nicer on my wallet. 🙂
Christine @ Love, Life, Surf says
Totally pinning this too! I love seeing your pictures of your lunch. They are always so varied and interesting. And love the idea behind the Saucony app. The rising rates of childhood obesity are scary. I think that the stat that got to me the most was hearing that this generation may be the first with a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale says
Your lunch pictures are all so colourful!! Love it!
I always pack my lunch — I enjoy the food much better and I’m way too frugal to use the cafeteria ($1 to make my lunch vs. $6 minimum for lunch there — I’ll choose homemade every time!!).
My favourite lunch to pack is either tuna or tillapia with a mix of steamed red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and a bit of sweet potato. With a tonne of snacks, of course — homemade trail mix is my current favourite.
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Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale says
Your lunch pictures are all so colourful! Love them and the ideas to boot (going to have to try apple rings ASAP!). I always bring my lunch — I enjoy the food so much more and I’m frugal (so $1 for home lunch vs. $6+ in the cafeteria … no contest there!)
My current favourite lunch is tuna/tillapia with a mix of steamed red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potato. And obviously tonnes of snacks — homemade trail mix is my current favourite! 🙂
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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table says
Childhood obesity is something I’ve become more and more aware of. I love this app – such an easy way to help the cause to fight the epidemic!
These are some awesome ideas. I do a lot of these already, and prepping balanced meals in advance has become a must on my 7 meal a day plan! The Salmon Cakes I posted today have become a lunch staple for me (in addition to many of the ideas you listed!)
I only ever bring lunch! Right now I make an egg white or tuna wrap on Flatout with veggies. Or I use nori wrappers to make “sushi” without the rice or with quinoa instead.
These are such great ideas, thank you! I wish I could say I pack my lunch. I do, actually, but I almost ALWAYS decide that I don’t want what I packed and end up buying something. How do you avoid that?
Fancy Nancy says
Great ideas!! Pinned away!!
oh GIRL I NEEEEEED this right now.
Angela @ Happy Fit Mama says
Pinning away! Always looking for packable lunch ideas.
What a list! That is awesome! Protein and Peppers are my must-haves 🙂
Gina (The Candid RD) says
I pack two lunches each day, mine and Nick’s. These are some WONDERFUL ideas! Nick always gets a PB&J and some type of granola bar, a fruit, and a vegetable. My lunch contains yogurt, my homemade granola, and a few other random things like lentil chips. I’ve also been enjoying your Greek yogurt bars for lunches on my days off. SO DELICIOUS!
Linz @ Itz Linz says
YES! Packing your lunch doesn’t have to be boring!! My go-to lately has been a HUGE rainbow salad (tons of veggies!) with some type of protein source (this week itz tuna and pinto beans). Today I’m also packing cucumber slices with a laughing cow wedge. I’m the same way as you – I eat way more veggies when I bring my lunch!
Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness says
Love this list! Such a great resource! Pinning now!
Umm Saucony this is awesome!
Just got new Saucony running shoes as well – never had them for running before and I love them!
Katie @wishandwhimsy says
I always pack my lunch, saves on money, saves on calories and helps me control what I eat. There’s no better way to know what your eating than to prep it yourself!
Lisa @ RunWiki says
I love this post… seriously I was just wondering wat to pack in my kids lunches and poof! there you were. 🙂
Tosha @ Twenty-Five Plus says
I love these ideas – thanks for posting them!! Packing my lunch always makes me feel 10X better than when I end up eating out, and having a variety of ideas to go to helps break up the monotony.
Ooo, love this! Friend and I were JUST discussing coming up with lunch ideas, going to go share this 🙂
Lora @ Crazy Running Girl says
Cool app! I pack my lunch most days, mostly because it’s healthier and I hate spending money on lunch when I know I have ingredients at home. I’ve learned that in NYC, this is definitely against the grain and not normal (many people think I’m crazy for bringing my own). Most times, my lunch is just leftovers from the night before.
Amanda @ Run Principessa says
You always have a knack with knowing EXACTLY what I need all the time. Definitely pinning this one.
kids are snackers, so even a lunch of just fresh snacks is better than the “packaged” food. I love the apple rings and pb idea. and the salad in a jar is fun! easy clean up too.
Amanda @ Romancing the Unusual says
Love these ideas for lunch! I always struggle with packed lunch so I end up eating the same thing almost everyday! I need to spice things up a bit!
Parita @ myinnershakti says
Love this list! Vishnu and I bring lunches from home during the week and sometimes it’s easy to get in to a rut. This list definitely sparked some new ideas! Thanks!
Bethany @ Accidental Intentions says
Oh my gosh, this is FANTASTIC. I pack my lunch every day, and lately I’ve found myself in a bit of a rut. I think I’m going to try to work my way through this list to keep things interesting over the next 10 weeks. Thank you!!
Andrea @ Vegvacious says
Eating out Monday to Friday can definitely be expensive and hard on the waistline. I aim to bring a lunch 4 days a week and leave one day for lunching with friends or grabbing a slice of pizza/a bowl of froyo.
I definitely love it when I have extra leftovers so I can pack something easy for lunch. My other go-to items are salads, homemade veggie burgers that I make in bulk and freeze or chickpea salad sandwiches.
Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings says
Love that Saucony is doing this! Definitely going to download the app and see how I can get involved 🙂 Thanks for sharing your on the go recipes! I usually pack a healthy lunch and snack for work so that I can save money and not be tempted to eat unhealthy foods 🙂
Brittany @ Delights and Delectables says
I usually come home for lunch, but I am about to have to start packing it! Thanks for making it easy on me! 😉
Liz @ IHeartVegetables says
Lindsay these are fantastic ideas!!!! Oh my gosh. So many things I could take with me to work! I love it!
Katie Cummings says
Is this an iphone only app?
i’m not sure!
Love this!! I swear I am the only one who packs my lunch at the entire hospital! I don’t think I could handle multiple days in a row of eating out! Packed lunches all the way!
Thank you thank you thank you! I just started a new semester of college, so I am out and about most of the day! I am so thrilled to have ideas for my packed lunches!
Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef says
lots of great ideas here! i tend to pack snacky lunches (cheese & crackers, tuna & crackers etc.) or big grain-based salads….always a veggie, fruit, & yogurt for sides too!
Avery @ Texas Teen Keeps Lean says
What great ideas! I’ll definitely be putting these to use, thanks!
Allison @ Ultima Replenisher says
Great post, Lindsay! The statistics for childhood obesity are truly frightening. I’ll definitely be downloading the Saucony app. Love these healthy, packable lunches. Ever notice that healthy food tends to be so photogenic with all its natural color?!
Ashley @ Freckles & Spice says
love the salads in a jar! I was definitely living on those when I was working like 7 days a week back in june/july. My hospital friends asked me to do a post like this for some healthy/ unrefrigerated lunch ideas.
Great post! I typically pack like that although I eat all my snacks abut 2 hours a part. I like to have my bigger lunch at home when I can enjoy it.
GiGi Eats Celebrities says
I am loving the salad in a jar idea! 🙂 So easy to store… I am not sure why people buy those “lunch boxes”… They always leak – JARS were MADE TO NOT LEAK! Perfection! LOL
exactly!!!! plus they’re fun to look at 🙂
[email protected] ideas for kids says
It’s really an adorable article. I am loving all of your above ideas and I truly like above most of the foods as my lunch item.It’s really more healthy then other foods. I will try to having all the above food as my daily lunch item.
Julieane Hernandez says
Awesome tips! I’ll always try to remember that FAAL acronym for fresh foods, a whole grain, a protein source and lots of vegetables.
Lovely ideas and I have to agree that I also eat more veggies when I have a packed lunch than I do when I’m at home. I think at home I go to the fridge when I’m hungry and don’t feel like just eating veggies but if I’ve packed them up earlier in the day I happily eat them and they do fill me up.
dixya @food, pleasure, and health says
definitely pinning this 🙂
Tara | Treble in the Kitchen says
Such a great resource!! I don’t mind the whole lunch packing thing, but sometimes I find myself making the same things over and over and over so this is a great reference for some inspiration!
Great ideas, and a great round up!
These look delicious and lovely! I’m about to start my first year of teaching, and I’ve been fretting over preparing healthy lunches and thinking about food prep for each week. This will definitely make that task much easier for me. Thank you for sharing!
These lunch ideas are amazing. We all need some inspiration for packing meals for work.