5 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas for Adults (Perfect for Work!)

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Are you looking for something quick to prep for lunch? These 5 easy and healthy lunch box ideas will be ready in less than 30 minutes. They can be prepped well in advance and are the perfect work lunch recipes to help you start your week with wholesome, nutritious food!

I know, I know!

You all love those very expensive sandwiches from the deli next door!

I do too! Guilty!

But guess what? Making a fantastic packed lunch box is a great way to save money! And before you object, I know that packing lunch every day can be challenging. But a bit of planning goes a long way.

And remember!

It’s not just about saving money. It’s also about eating healthy, wholesome food rich in protein, fiber, and no processed fats! By eating a healthy lunch, you’ll feel fuller and more energized throughout the day. 

And once you try these quick and easy lunch idea box ideas, I am sure you’ll be more motivated to stick to this new habit. 

Side angle view of Italian Lunch box idea

These adult lunch box ideas for adults not only look delicious, but they are super easy to make ahead! They all take 10 to 30 minutes and are cheap and easy to prepare, even if cooking isn’t your thing.

And if you are a great cook, even better! You’ll pack these lunch boxes so quickly that you’ll have plenty of time to relax and count the money you saved from buying a ready-made lunch!

Plus, kids will love them too!

5 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas!

Here are my favorite quick and healthy lunch boxes, perfect on the go and ready in less than 30 minutes!

And don’t forget to check out this incredible Beginner’s Meal Prep Guide: to Stress-Free Cooking!

1. Italian Lunch Box

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

Top view of Italian Lunch box in a glass container

With my Italian roots, I had to have an Italian Lunch Box! I love all Mediterranean food, and this easy lunch idea reminds me of the sunny Italian summers, with the smell of fresh basil and pesto!

Ingredients:

  • A fresh mozzarella
  • A couple of fresh tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Pesto (better if homemade!)
  • Pinenuts
  • Green and black olives
  • Dressing: extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper
  • A toasted slice of whole grain bread (or whole grain crackers)
  • Red and green grapes

2. Vegan Lunch Box

PREP TIME: 20 minutes

Top view of vegan lunch box

This delicious make-ahead vegan lunch box is perfect if you are looking for a healthy plant-based lunch. It’s rich in protein from the hummus and chickpeas and fiber from all the fresh veggies and whole grain rice. Perfect for a balanced lunch!

Ingredients:

  • Vegan salad: cucumber, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, brown rice, fresh parsley, green and black olives, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • An avocado
  • A lemon wedge
  • Celery and carrot sticks
  • Hummus

3. Energy Boost Lunch Box

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

Top view of Energy Boost Lunch box idea

If you have a sweet tooth or prefer to snack instead of having a proper lunch, try this energy-boost lunch box! You can prep this box in record time, either in the evening before you go to bed or in the morning before you leave the house.

Ingredients:

  • Greek yogurt or Coconut yogurt (for a vegan alternative)
  • Maple syrup
  • Mixed nuts: almonds, walnuts, and cashew nuts (you can also use homemade trail mix)
  • Fresh berries
  • Apple slices (or check out these apple nachos)
  • A tablespoon of peanut or almond butter

4. Protein Lunch Box

PREP TIME: 25 minutes

Top view of Protein Packed Lunch box idea in a glass container

With roasted chicken breast, boiled eggs, and peanut butter, this lunch box is rich in protein! You can also add a green salad or some cucumber slices for extra greens.

Ingredients:

  • Roasted chicken breast
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 boiled eggs (or 2 egg muffins)
  • A sliced red apple
  • A tablespoon of peanut or almond butter

5. Greek Lunch Box

PREP TIME: 15 minutes

Top view of Greek Lunch box idea

Another Mediterranean-inspired lunch box filled with a delicious Greek salad, brown rice, and grapes!

Ingredients:

  • Greek salad: cucumber, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, fresh parsley, green and black olives, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • Brown rice
  • A lemon wedge
  • Red and green grapes

And if you love Mediterranean flavors, check out these other fun lunch ideas:

Other ideas for your lunch box

Food in your lunch box should be easy to prepare. You also need to make sure you pick food that will store well. No one wants a soggy salad or a sad-looking sandwich!

What do you pack in a lunch box?

In my experience, these are the best types of food that are the perfect foods to use:

  • Fruit: Always go for fresh fruit! Pick fruit that can last a few days stored in the fridge, and go for seasonal as much as possible (to help you save money). Apples are a great choice. I also love fresh grapes and berries!
  • Vegetables: Opt for vegetables that are quick and easy to prepare, such as cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, bell peppers, celery, and cucumber.
  • Rice, noodles, couscous, quinoa, and pasta: I prefer to go for brown rice and whole grains to add more fiber to my diet!
  • Legumes: A great source of fiber and great to fill you up. Legumes are perfect for your lunch box – chickpeas, lentils, and beans are all great!
  • Cheese and yogurt: Cheese like fresh mozzarella or a chunk of parmesan is great for energy and easy to prepare. Yogurt is excellent if you love a sweet alternative for your lunch!
  • Dips and nut butter: Dips like hummus are a great addition to a healthy lunch. Rich in protein, they are perfect eaten with carrot and celery sticks and take no time to prepare. Peanut butter and almond butter are also great with sliced apples!
  • Chicken And boiled eggs: Easy to prepare and a great source of protein.
  • Bread and crackers: I know many people these days prefer a low-carb diet, but I love to include a fresh slice of bread or focaccia in my lunch box. Crackers, pita bread, and rice cakes are great too!
  • Dry nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, etc., are a great source of healthy fats and protein and are perfect for grazing when you start to feel hungry. You can also opt for homemade trail mix!
  • Dark chocolate: I know I am talking about healthy lunch ideas! But who doesn’t need a boost of energy in the afternoon? You can add a couple of pieces of dark chocolate to your lunch box for that much-needed sweet treat!
Close up of Italian lunch box ideas

Tips For The Perfect Healthy Lunch

Lunch boxes are perfect for meal planning. You can prep everything at the beginning of the week and not worry about lunchtime for the rest of the days.

If you want to become a packed lunch expert, check out these clever tips & tricks! They’ll help you create delicious lunch box ideas for work in no time.

1. Keep it simple!

The key to great a healthy lunch is to keep it simple! Use real food, and prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Pick food that doesn’t need to be cooked or requires little effort and is easily stored in the fridge for a few days.

2. Keep it healthy!

Pack more fruit and veggies in your lunch box. This will help you lower your calories, eat less saturated fat, and have a much more balanced diet!

3. Use leftovers

If you don’t want to set time aside to prepare your homemade lunches, one of the best tricks that will save you time and money is making a double portion of your dinner and using it as lunch!

4. Make enough for a couple of meals

If you don’t want to cook too many different recipes, make enough food for a couple of lunch boxes. This will help you save time!

5. Cook in a batch on Sunday

If you don’t like the idea of leftovers, try to make ahead a big batch of lunch boxes on Sunday. You can meal prep all your lunches for the week and refrigerate or freeze them. Then, grab your lunch box in the morning, and go to work!

6. Or make it the night before

If cooking in a batch isn’t for you, but you want to optimize time in the kitchen, prepare your lunch box the evening before while cooking dinner. You already have all your essentials out (like a chopping board and knife), and you can save on washing up time!

7. Get the right lunch box!

My favorite containers for healthy lunch boxes are made of glass. I prefer them to plastic containers for several reasons:

  • You can see what’s in them easily.
  • You can use them in microwaves.
  • They won’t alter the food taste, even if it’s left there for a few days.
  • When warming up your food, glass containers won’t release any chemicals at the hot temperature as plastic containers can.

If you do pick plastic containers, make sure they are BPA-free.

These metal bento boxes are a great alternative to glass containers if you like minimalistic design. I love their simple design! Perfect for adult lunchables.

8. Keep some essentials at your desk

You want to make sure that eating lunch at work is as comfortable as possible. Keep some silverware and seasoning in your desk drawer: a small bottle of olive oil, salt, and pepper will make your lunch more attractive!

Why I love these healthy lunch box ideas

  • Quick and easy to make
  • Perfect to prep in advance
  • Delicious at room temperature: no need to reheat in the microwave
  • Make with wholesome, nourishing ingredients
  • Options for everyone: gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free
  • So good!

More delicious lunch ideas

And if you want something quick, check out these delicious sandwiches.

If you make any of these easy lunch box ideas, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!

Top view of lunch box ideas in glass containers
5 from 2 votes
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5 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas!

Who says bringing lunch from home needs to be boring? These 5 healthy lunch box ideas are perfect for work and are ready in less than 30 minutes!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 person
Author: Sara Trezzi

Ingredients

Italian Lunch Box

  • 1 fresh mozzarella
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons pesto
  • 1 teaspoon pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup green and black olives
  • a handful of basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1 slice of bread
  • red and green grapes

Vegan Lunch Box

  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • a handful of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup green and black olives
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • carrots and celery sticks
  • 3 tablespoons hummus

Energy Boost Lunch Box

  • 5.3 oz Greek yogurt - (or coconut yogurt for vegan alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup mixed nuts – almonds, walnuts, and cashew nuts
  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter

Protein Lunch Box

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1 apple
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter

Greek Lunch Box

  • 1 cup small cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • a handful of fresh parsley
  • green and black olives
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • red and green grapes

Instructions

Italian Lunch Box

  • Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and place them in the lunch box container.
  • Add pesto on top and a handful of pine nuts. Finish with fresh basil leaves.
  • In a small separate container prepare the dressing: mix olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. 
  • Toast a slice of bread and add to the container. Wash your grapes and add them too. And you are ready to go!

Vegan Lunch Box

  • Prep the salad: chop the cucumber, cut in half the cherry tomatoes, add the cooked brown rice, chickpeas, chopped fresh parsley, green and black olives, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, and mix.
  • Slice the avocado in half and remove the skin. Add the lemon wedge next to it.
  • Place the carrot and celery sticks in the container with a few tablespoons of hummus.

Energy Boost Lunch Box

  • This lunch box is super easy. You don't actually have to cook anything. Just place the greek yogurt or coconut yogurt (for a vegan alternative) in the lunch box, add the maple syrup, and top with the mixed nuts.
  • Slice the apple and add the peanut or almond butter.
  • Add the mixed berries to the box and you are ready to go!

Protein Lunch Box

  • Roast the chicken breast: preheat the oven to 220°C/425F and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. 
    Season the chicken with olive oil, the juice of one lemon, salt, pepper, and oregano. Place on the baking tray and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • Slice the chicken and add the cherry tomatoes, previously seasoned with olive oil, salt, and a bit of oregano.
  • Slice the boiled eggs.
  • Slice the apple and add the peanut or almond butter.

Greek Lunch Box

  • Prep the Greek salad: chop the cucumber, cut in half the cherry tomatoes, add the chickpeas, chopped fresh parsley, green and black olives, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, and mix.        
  • Add the cooked brown rice and lemon wedge in the lunch box.
  • Add the fresh grapes.

Notes

Nutritional information estimate:
  • Italian Lunch Box: 670 kcal
  • Vegan Lunch Box: 653 kcal
  • Energy Boost Lunch Box: 504kcal
  • Protein Lunch Box: 576 kcal
  • Greek Lunch Box: 655 kcal
Please remember that nutritional information for each box is just an estimate and can vary depending on the type of ingredients you use and quantity.

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26 Comments

  1. Do you happen to have approximate calorie amounts for these? Love the recipes.

    1. Hey Lydia, I added the info in the notes of the recipe. But it’s here too:
      Nutritional information estimate:

      Italian Lunch Box: 670 kcal
      Vegan Lunch Box: 653 kcal
      Energy Boost Lunch Box: 504kcal
      Protein Lunch Box: 576 kcal
      Greek Lunch Box: 655 kcal

  2. Any recommendations on replacements for the olives in the Italian box? Everything else sounds wonderful but my husband and I are not fond of olives.

  3. Lynette Ohse says:

    How many calories are each box recipe?
    They all look great!

    1. Thank you, Lynette! I added the info in the notes of the recipe. But it’s here too:
      Nutritional information estimate:

      Italian Lunch Box: 670 kcal
      Vegan Lunch Box: 653 kcal
      Energy Boost Lunch Box: 504kcal
      Protein Lunch Box: 576 kcal
      Greek Lunch Box: 655 kcal

  4. 5 stars
    Wow! These look amazing and so healthy! I can’t wait to pack my lunch for next week! Thank you for these great ideas!

  5. I agree, leftovers are my key to successful lunches. I love your baby mason jar for dressing. I am moving more and more away from plastic and I never considered this. I love jars and at this point most of our drink ware is mix matched jars.

    1. Thanks, Sara! I love jars too, especially because I am trying to use less plastic. And I love your idea of using jars instead of glasses!
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  6. Mary-Anne Amey-Holst says:

    Hi
    Is this for one serve or two serves? Let me know asap please. As Ian making prep lunch. 🤗

  7. I love all of these ideas, Sara! But I think my favorite is the Italian lunch box 😛 I am going to try all of these!! ♥

  8. I like that you said that making enough food for a couple of lunch boxes can help you save time and money. My friend and I struggle when making food for lunch because we like eating fresh. We are going to look online for lunch warmers to avoid using the microwave.

    1. I am with you! I do love fresh cooked food. But with these lunch boxes, you won’t feel like you are eating re-heated meals 😉

  9. Hey Sara,
    Thanks for sharing lovely vegetarian recipe. Love your article.

    Thank you,
    John Arrnol

  10. These are the sorts of recipes I’ve been looking for! As a new vegetarian I’ve really struggled with what to eat at lunchtime and these suggestions are perfect! Thank you for the inspiration xoxo

    1. Thank you, Sam!
      I eat a mostly vegan/vegetarian diet myself so I know exactly what you mean 🙂
      I am glad these lunch box ideas inspired you!

      1. Dear Sara,

        What an awesome recipe!
        May I know how many hours does roast/ grilled chicken breast last and safe to eat in the lunch box? ( I mean, I need minimum 5hrs )
        What about apple slices? How to keep cut apples without getting yellow? ( thinking of packing for my 4 yrs old lunch box )

        Pls help
        Many Thanks
        Sincerely
        May

        1. Hey May:

          1. If you want to be safe, you shouldn’t keep chicken outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. If you can’t put it in the fridge at school you need to get an insulated lunch box. According to FoodSafety.gov, using an insulated lunch box and frozen gel packs can be one of the most effective ways to keep food cold – and safe – till lunchtime. Anything that should be refrigerated, such as a sandwich made with lunch meats, yogurt, and milk, should be kept cold in your child’s lunch box.

          2. To keep apples from going brown, just add some lemon juice on the slices as soon as you cut them.

          I hope this helps!
          Sara 🙂

        2. Victoria Vasileff says:

          May, try tossing sliced apples in a little orange juice. Sweeter than lemon and it works. However, I take apple slices to work often. They don’t brown or yellow much. Ms. V.

  11. Veronica @ PASSION BY GIRL says:

    5 stars
    Awesome article!! These are great ideas for meal prepping. I want to try out all these recipes now 😀