Healthy Eating

Grown-Up “Lunchables” Made Healthy: 10 Nutritious and Delicious Recipe Ideas For Adults & Kids

Embrace your inner child with these nutritious and delicious easy-prep meals.

By: Lexy Parsons

Lunchables… the nostalgic childhood meal that took over lunch boxes and filled the fridge of every household in the 90s. Fun for kids and convenient for adults, Lunchables were one of the first pre-packaged compartmentalized snacks to hit the market. Designed to look like a TV dinner and made to be perfectly portioned, Lunchables truly elevated the lunch game. If you take a trip down memory lane, you’ll likely remember the joy of assembling your bite-sized sandwiches and mini pizzas, or creating various flavor combinations with your ingredients.

But, who says adults can’t join in on the fun? That’s right, we adults can still indulge in the delight of assembling our own perfectly portioned and creative lunch combinations. But rather than snack on processed meat and refined crackers, we can enjoy a much healthier homemade version — grown-up Lunchables, if you will! Made with whole foods and packed with nutrients, these grown-up Lunchable ideas will have you (and your kiddos!) feeling satisfied, satiated, and ultra nostalgic.

RELATED: 12 Healthy Packable Lunch Ideas You’ll Actually Love

How to Make Healthy Adult Lunchables in 2 Simple Steps

Step #1: Gather Your Ingredients 

If you break down the formula, Lunchables are really just a combo of protein and carbs with a side of fruit and veggies — maybe an added treat, if you desire! Based on this, here’s what you’ll need:

You’ll need:

  • 1-2 lean protein sources: such as shredded turkey or chicken breast, lean deli meats, hard-boiled eggs, canned tuna or salmon, edamame, Greek yogurt, or cheese.
  • 1 complex carb source rich in fiber: such as whole grain crackers, granola, or snacks made from quinoa, brown rice, or oats.
  • 1 serving of fruit: such as apple slices, orange wedges, berries, and grapes.
  • 1 serving of veggies: such as cucumber, celery, carrots, cherry tomatoes, or roasted sweet potato.

However, most store-bought Lunchables are missing one key ingredient: healthy fats. Healthy fats help to balance blood sugar, support heart health, reduce inflammation, and improve satiety. Plus, they’re a key macronutrient! So, we’re adding them to our healthy adult Lunchables. That said, you can also opt for carb and protein sources rich in healthy fats, such as full-fat Greek yogurt or cheese and whole eggs — it’s all about mindfulness.

If you’re looking to add healthy fats to the mix, some examples include: 

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut or seed butter
  • Avocado 
  • Olives
  • 70% or darker unsweetened dark chocolate 
  • Dips or spreads made with healthy fats, such as hummus or guac

Step #2: Portion & Pack Your Lunchables

Based on the above formula, you’ll want to portion out your adult Lunchables box to include a balanced blend of macronutrients and proportionate serving sizes. We recommend using a bento box or container with compartments to help divide the ingredients and keep things mess-free! You can also use silicone bags or small containers/Tupperware to portion each individual ingredient. Find what works best for you.

Now for the recipes!

10 Delicious & Nutritious Grown-Up Lunchable Ideas

Following the above steps, here are some healthy Lunchable ideas to try! Customize as needed or desired, and use a bento box or segmented container to portion and pack your meal.

Turkey & Cheese Lunchable

  • Rolled deli turkey (sodium and nitrate free, if possible)
  • Sliced cheese, such as cheddar or Swiss
  • Fresh berries, such as strawberries and blueberries
  • Almond flour or multi-seed crackers
  • Fresh veggies, such as carrot and celery sticks

Classic Tuna Salad Lunchable

  • Homemade tuna salad (mix of canned tuna with mashed avocado or avocado oil mayo)
  • Rice cakes (or Almond flour or multi-seed crackers)
  • Fresh fruit, such as grapes, kiwi, or berries
  • Fresh veggies, such as carrot and celery sticks

Protein-Packed Lunchable

  • Raw mixed nuts or nut butter
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Edamame
  • Hard cheese slices, such as cheddar (or dairy-free alternative)
  • Fresh sliced fruit, such as tangerine slices or berries

Fruit & Greek Yogurt Lunchable

  • Greek or coconut yogurt
  • Low-sugar granola (such as Purely Elizabeth)
  • Fresh mixed berries
  • Nut and seed blend (such as slivered almonds and hemp, chia, and pumpkin seeds)

Charcuterie-Style Lunchable

  • Assorted deli meats (such as prosciutto, sliced ham, and salami)
  • Assorted cheese, such as mozzarella and sliced cheddar
  • Fresh sliced veggies, such as cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and celery sticks
  • Chopped nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, and cashews
  • Fresh fruit, such as grapes and apple slices
  • Canned olives or artichoke hearts 

Mediterranean-Inspired Lunchable

Greek-Inspired Lunchable

  • Mini pita bread (or folded grain-free tortilla)
  • Homemade Greek salad (made with tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, red onion, and feta)
  • Shredded chicken breast or turkey roll-ups
  • Olives
  • Greek yogurt, hummus, or tzatziki 

Sweet & Savory Cottage Cheese Lunchable

  • Cottage cheese
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Mixed fresh fruit salad
  • Mixed sliced veggies, such as cherry tomatoes and cucumber 
  • Rice cakes (or Almond flour or multi-seed crackers)
  • Raw nuts, such as almonds and walnuts

DIY Pizza Lunchable

  • Mini pita bread, rice cakes, naan, or folded tortillas
  • No-added sugar tomato sauce (or hummus)
  • Shredded mozzarella (or dairy-free alternative)
  • Sliced veggies such as cherry tomatoes and green bell pepper
  • Kalamata olives
  • Turkey pepperoni or shredded chicken breast, optional

Unstuffed Pepper Nachos Lunchable

  • Mini bell peppers, halved
  • Pre-prepared taco meat (made with lean ground beef or turkey)
  • Shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese (dairy or dairy-free)
  • Homemade guacamole or mashed avocado 
  • Salsa

Reinventing Childhood Classics into Healthy Adult Meals

With a little know-how, you can easily transform your favorite childhood Lunchables into a healthy adult meal. Plus, they’re perfect for kids and adults alike! Prep them in advance and pack them in lunchboxes or keep them on hand for nutritious and delicious snacks or meals. Easy to modify or customize, grown-up Lunchables will be your new favorite mid-day deal. So go ahead, embrace your inner child!