When deciding on lunch, it’s easy to buy pricey sandwiches and snacks from the local bakery down the road, or perhaps from Uber Eats. Other than the convenience factor, this also comes down to not setting aside enough time in the evenings or mornings to make our own lunches, especially as adults. It’s common to make sure that the kids’ lunchboxes are ready for school, but what about yours?
Making your own lunch will save you some a lot of money, and you will be able to eat more healthily too by packing foods rich in protein, fibre, and the other nutrients needed to get you through the day. You’ll feel better and have more energy to handle your tasks for the rest of the day at work. To help you out, we’ve put together some healthy lunch box ideas for adults that are easy to make. With a little bit of planning, these simple and quick lunch box meals will make you want to start packing your own lunch every day.
If you also want to start packing lunch boxes for your kids, check out these 8 school lunch box ideas that your kids will love.
1. Vegan Lunchbox
This should only take you 20 minutes to prepare. If you feel like a fresh and healthy vegan meal that’s rich in protein and fibre with vegetables and whole grain rice, this one is perfect as a well-balanced lunch.
All you need for this lunchbox is the following:
- A vegan salad with the following ingredients: cucumber, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, brown rice, parsley, green and black olives, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
- An avocado.
- A lemon wedge to squeeze over.
- Celery and carrot sticks.
- Hummus for dipping the celery and carrot.
2. Protein Lunchbox
If you don’t have much time to put together something for lunch, this should only take 10 minutes. All you have to do is make a pot of hard-boiled eggs and then place them in the fridge for the morning. If you’re doing this in the morning, make sure they’re made with enough time to cool. The following day before heading to work, slice half a ripe avocado and put it in your lunchbox with a couple of slices of whole wheat bread. You’ll now be able to make a tasty lunch of avocado toast with an egg on top. You could also replace the avocado with hummus if you prefer. And if you’re a fan of salads, chop your eggs into a green salad for more protein. Another great protein option to add is chicken breast.
Instead of leaving leftovers to be forgotten in the fridge or throwing them away, have them for lunch the next day. You can get creative with leftovers and enjoy last night’s dinner from a different perspective during lunch.
Any protein that has been cooked for dinner can be repurposed for your lunch the next day. For instance, if you had chicken for dinner last night, you can prepare your lunch by pulling the chicken off the bone and then placing the pulled meat onto bread or pita for a pulled chicken sandwich. You could also add it to a wrap or salad instead. You can make it a bit more interesting by mixing the pieces of chicken with mozzarella cheese, pesto, and a couple of veggies, for the best pesto chicken sandwich filling.
Leftover fish can be made into a lovely fish salad or pasta, and leftover steak can be stir-fried with some vegetables for a tasty Asian-inspired stir fry that even the kids will love.
Quinoa is the perfect base for most lunches, especially for lunches that have to be made in a hurry. Try to make some on a Sunday for the entire week, then you can add some chicken, feta, and cooked vegetables to it on a daily basis. If you would like to add some spice for lunchtime, combine quinoa with any protein or vegetable and your favourite chillies. You can get quite creative with quinoa as your base.
If you’re pressed for time, making a dip-based lunch is a great option. Simply choose a dip you and the family love and then pack in lots of foods you can dip with. Tzatziki, hummus, or guacamole with mini pita bread and freshly cut vegetables make lovely finger foods. If you want a sweeter choice, try peanut butter with a selection of fruits or vegetables for dipping. If you want to make your own dip, be sure to do so at the beginning of the week, and then you can add it to your lunch in different ways throughout the week. While dips are used for dipping, they can also be used as a spread on sandwiches and wraps, or as a sauce base for cold pasta.
6. Chicken Wraps
All you need for this lunch idea are wraps, chicken or chicken breast, and something to give it a crunch. Add your pieces of chicken to your wraps with some vegetables or lettuce for the extra crunch, and pack them into a sealed container with a side of fresh vegetables for a complete lunch.
7. Mediterranean Salad
If you’re looking to pack your body with tons of nutrients, try a Mediterranean salad with leafy greens, feta, chickpeas, olives, fresh veggies, and some shredded chicken. Then finish it off with a tangy dressing or vinaigrette.
Prepare this for a healthy lunch within about 15 minutes the night before, or in the morning if you have the time.
Other Ideas For Your Lunchbox
Food packed into your lunch box shouldn’t take you all night to prepare. You will also want to be sure that you choose foods that are easily stored, and not something that could end up soggy, like sandwiches. If you have the time on a Sunday, prepare your lunch for the whole week, that way you won’t have to worry about making anything the rest of the week.
Here are some extra tips to help you create a tasty lunchbox in no time:
1. Make It Simple
To make a delicious, healthy lunch, keeping things simple is key. Prepare as much ahead of time as possible, and go for foods that don’t need much cooking or effort, and can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
2. Keep It Healthy
Pack fruits and vegetables into your lunchbox to help keep the calories down and avoid the craving for foods with high amounts of saturated fat. Stick to a balanced diet when deciding on meals to cover your bases, as this will also help keep cravings at bay.
3. Double Portion Dinners
If you don’t want to spend much time preparing your lunch, one of the best ways to save time is by making a second portion of your dinner the night before and preparing it for your lunchbox.
4. Be Sure To Make Enough
If you don’t want to have to prepare different foods for each day, simply make enough of one food for a couple of days. This will help you save time on a daily basis.
5. Make Food On Sundays Or The Night Before
Try making a bunch of food on Sunday night that’s ready for your lunchboxes for the rest of the week. It will be easier to prepare all of your lunches for the week and then refrigerate or freeze them so that you can simply take your lunchbox out of the fridge in the morning before heading to work. Alternatively, you can prepare your lunch box the night before while cooking dinner. You will already have all of the essentials out, and you’ll save time on washing up the following day.
6. A Suitable Lunch Box
You may choose to use a plastic food container or a glass one, but glass ones are usually preferable as they are safe to put in the microwave and they won’t change the taste of the food. If a glass container is placed in the microwave, it won’t release any chemicals like plastic containers do.
If you are going to use plastic containers, make sure that they are BPA-free. Metal lunch boxes are also an efficient alternative to glass containers, especially if you prefer a simplistic design.
7. Keep Some Essentials Close By
When you’re at work, you will want to be able to be comfortable while eating your lunch. Keep some silverware, and spices or seasoning in your desk drawer, as well as a small bottle of olive oil, salt and pepper, to make your lunch even tastier.
We hope that these ideas inspire you to start packing lunch for work or for your kids to take to school. All of these ideas will take you less than an hour to prepare, so you may want to buy some of the ingredients the next time you go shopping. And if you’re looking into what to pack for your kids’ lunch boxes, get some inspiration from the best school lunch box ideas for your kids.
If you don’t get much time between work, kids, and responsibilities at home, book a home clean with SweepSouth for results you won’t believe from the most trusted name in home cleaning.