Healthy Eating

12 Healthy Packable Lunch Ideas You’ll Actually Love

Meal prep perfection packed with nutrition.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

After a carefree summer, jumping back into the busy fall season can be tough. Everyone is back from vacation, and there’s an unspoken shift in energy — students are back to school, companies start to prepare for the holiday season, and activities and sports events ramp back up. Plus, days become shorter and cooler, meaning energy starts to take a dip. However, with a little prep work and planning ahead, the summer-to-fall transition can be seamless! While there are many ways to support your mind and your body, prepping your meals (especially your lunch) is one of the easiest and healthiest things you can do. 

It requires some planning, but the payoff is worth it! You’ll save money (no need to splurge on expensive takeout), you’ll support your physical health (with good-for-you nutrients), and you’ll benefit your mind (hello, brain food). And even if you’re working or studying from home, having ready-to-go options will only help support you and your goals. You’ll be less likely to snack on comfort foods and more likely to reach for nutritious options. Plus, these packable lunches are family-friendly and perfect for kids and adults alike! 

Ahead, 12 delicious packable lunches that will keep you energized, focused, and full — even if you aren’t going back to school.

The Key Components of a Healthy Packable Lunch 

First, let’s discuss two key components to building a healthy packable lunch: ingredients and portion size.

Step One: Focus on Eating for Nutrient Density 

You want your lunch to be filling, nourishing, and full of nutrient-dense foods. This includes foods in their least processed form, such as fruits, veggies, lean proteins, legumes and whole grains, and healthy fats.

By adopting this eating style, you’ll avoid sneaky sugars, artificial ingredients, and processed foods! Plus, you’ll boost your intake of vitamins and minerals, keep your blood sugar stable and your energy levels high. Goodbye, brain fog and mid-day fatigue!

RELATED: Eating For Longevity: Top Tips For Eating Your Way to a Healthier Life

Step Two: Build a Balanced Plate (or Box)

Ingredients are key, but it’s a little more nuanced than that! Mindfully building a plate with proper portion sizes and a balanced ratio of macronutrients is of equal importance. Your packable lunch should include the following:

Lean Proteins: Such as turkey, chicken, wild-caught salmon, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, legumes, and tofu

Omega-Rich Fats: Such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil

Healthy Carbs: Such as fruits, veggies, quinoa, and oats 

Filling Fiber: From whole food sources such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies

Let’s take a closer look at what this looks like with 12 healthy packable lunches you’ll actually look forward to eating each day. 

12 Healthy & Delicious Packable Lunches 

These can all be adjusted based on taste or food preference. Don’t like turkey? Try chicken instead. Want to make it dairy-free? Skip the cheese or swap it out for a plant-based alternative!

#1 Healthy Turkey Club Sandwich 

Serves: 1


  • 1 gluten-free sandwich bun or sliced bread
  • 1 tbsp avocado-based mayonnaise (or mashed avocado)
  • 2 slices of low-sodium turkey breast (nitrate and antibiotic-free, like Applegate brand)
  • 1 slice of cooked bacon
  • ¼ avocado, sliced 
  • Lettuce and tomato 


Step #1: Spread the mayo on the sandwich bun. Then, add the turkey and bacon and top with avocado, lettuce, and tomato.

Step #2: Add to your packable lunch container along with any other optional add-ins. 

Pack With:

  • Nuts or seeds of choice (such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, or pumpkin seeds) 
  • Fresh fruit of choice (berries, grapes, or sliced apple) 
  • Sliced veggies (carrots, cucumber, or celery)

#2 Turkey Burger & Greens Bento Box

Serves: 1


  • 1 cooked turkey burger or sliced roasted turkey breast 
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, steamed 
  • 4 small cheddar cheese cubes (optional) 
  • Dressing of choice, for drizzling


Step #1: Add all ingredients minus the dressing to a bento-style lunch box. 

Step #2: Next, add the dressing to a small sealable sauce container. Pack in the lunch box with turkey and greens. 

Step #3: When ready to enjoy, drizzle with dressing of choice. Enjoy as a simple and filling on-the-go lunch.

Pack With: 

  • Fresh fruit of choice, such as blueberries, strawberries, or sliced oranges
  • Almond flour crackers (like Simple Mills brand)

#3 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pasta Salad

Serves: 1


  • 1 cup cooked gluten-free pasta (use chickpea or lentil pasta for added protein!) 
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar or Italian dressing (like Primal Kitchen brand
  • ½ cup cannellini beans (optional for added protein
  • ½ tomato, cubed 
  • ½ cucumber, chopped 
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion 
  • Freshly chopped herbs of choice 
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste 


Step #1: Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. 

Step #2: Transfer to an on-the-go lunch container and enjoy! 

Pack With:

  • Side of fresh fruit of choice 
  • Piece of 70% or darker dark chocolate 

RELATED: The 5 Best Low Carb Pasta Dishes to Enjoy Any Night of the Week

#4 Healthy Chicken Salad 

Serves: 1


  • 1 cup cooked shredded chicken (rotisserie works well) 
  • ¼ cup chopped celery 
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion 
  • 2 tbsp avocado-based mayo 
  • Freshly chopped herbs of choice (such as dill or oregano)
  • Drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Pinch of sea salt and pepper 


Step #1: Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix well. 

Step #2: Transfer to a container that’s easy to take on the go and serve on its own or with lettuce leaves. 

Pack With: 

  • Almond flour crackers with nut butter  (like Simple Mills brand)
  • Banana, or fruit of choice

#5 Avocado Turkey Roll-Ups

Serves: 1


  • 3 slices roasted turkey breast (like Applegate brand)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • ½ avocado, sliced 


Step #1: Add the mustard and sliced avocado to the center of each slice of turkey. Then, roll up and add to your packable lunch container (such as a bento-style box). 

Pack With:

  • Sliced bell pepper and cucumber served with hummus
  • Fruit of choice

#6 Breakfast For Lunch Bento Box

Serves: 1


  • ½ cup cooked rolled oats 
  • 1 hard-boiled egg 
  • ½ sliced banana 
  • Sprinkle of hemp seeds 
  • Drizzle of pure maple syrup 


Step #1: Add the rolled oats to a bento-style box and serve alongside a sliced hard-boiled egg and sliced banana. 

Step #2: Sprinkle with hemp seeds and enjoy with a drizzle of pure maple syrup 

Pack With:

  • ½ sliced avocado
  • Fresh mixed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries

#7 Mediterranean Style Bento Box


  • 1 cup sliced vegetables of choice (such as carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers)
  • ¼ cup pitted olives
  • Sliced cheese 

Pack With:

  • Single-serve hummus packs
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Grain-free crackers or pita bread


Step #1:Add all ingredients to a bento-style lunch box, customizing as needed. Swap out the mozzarella for hummus, or add in some hard-boiled eggs or nut butter packs for added protein!

RELATED: 15 Mediterranean Diet-Inspired Snack Ideas

#8 The Ultimate Energizing Snack Pack


  • 1 cup oats, rolled
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs


Step #1: To prep the energy balls, add all ingredients minus the cacao nibs to a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until the mixture comes together. Add the cacao nibs and pulse again until combined.

Step #2: Add the mixture to a bowl and set in the fridge for 15 minutes. Once chilled, roll into bite-sized rounds.

Step #3: Add to your packable lunch container along with any other optional add-ins, such as mixed berries, nut or seed butter, and hard-boiled eggs.

Pack With:

  • Sliced banana or mixed berries 
  • Single-serve nut or seed butter
  • Hard-boiled eggs

#9 Mason Jar Salad


  • 2-3 tbsp salad dressing of choice
  • ½ cup protein of choice (such as pre-cooked chicken breast, tofu, beans, or lentils)
  • ½ cup chopped veggies of choice (such as cucumbers or tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup nuts or seeds of choice (such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or hemp seeds)
  • 1-2 cups chopped salad greens (such as arugula, romaine, spinach, or baby kale)


Step #1: In a wide-mouth mason jar, add the salad dressing of choice to the bottom layer.

Step #2: Layer the salad ingredients on top, adding any veggies of choice. 

Step #3: Top with additional add-ins, such as pumpkin seeds, walnuts, or sliced fruit.

Step #4: Pack in a lunch box with any additional ingredients such as mixed berries, cucumber, avocado, hummus, or sliced cheese. 

Step #5: When ready to serve, shake the jar to mix everything together. 

Pack With:

  • Mixed berries 
  • ¼ avocado 
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Sliced cucumber

RELATED: Delicious Protein-Packed Salads That Will Actually Fill You Up

#10 Sunflower Butter and Banana Pinwheels 


  • 2 tbsp sunflower seed butter (or nut butter of choice) 
  • 1 Banana, sliced
  • 2 tortillas of choice 


Step #1: Before starting, you may want to soften the tortilla by microwaving for 10-15 seconds. This will prevent tearing.

Step #2: Next, spread the sunflower seed butter on a whole wheat tortilla or tortilla of choice. 

Step #3: Add sliced banana and any additional add-ins (such as granola, honey, or berries). 

Step #4: Start at the edge of the tortilla and roll up tightly. 

Step #5: Slice into pinwheels and add to a bento-style lunch box with any additional lunch ingredients. 

Pack With:

  • Fresh fruit of choice, such as mixed berries
  • Sliced raw veggies of choice
  • A handful of nuts or seeds, such as almonds or walnuts 

#11 Pesto & Parmesan Breakfast Egg Muffins


  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt & black pepper, to taste


Step #1: Start by preheating the oven to 350°F and grease a muffin tin with oil.

Step #2: Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl and whisk well. Season with salt and pepper and add the chopped spinach, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.

Step #3: Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tins, filling halfway.

Step #4: Add 1 teaspoon of pesto to each egg muffin.

Step #5: Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the muffins are set and cooked through.

Step #6: Pack in your lunch box! 

Pack With:

  • ¼ avocado 
  • Nuts or seeds of choice 
  • Sliced raw veggies of choice
  • Grain-free crackers or pita bread

#12 Herby Egg Salad


  • ¼ cup celery, diced
  • 4 eggs, chopped (or sub 1 can rinsed and drained chickpeas)
  • ½ cup mixed greens
  • 1 green onion
  • ⅛ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp dill leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • ½ tbsp dijon mustard
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste 


Step #1: Add the yogurt, mayo, and mustard to a bowl. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well. 

Step #2: Transfer to a container that’s easy to take on the go. Serve on its own or enjoy with lettuce leaves, pita bread, or almond-based chips or crackers.

Pack With:

  • Single-serve hummus packs
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Almond flour crackers (such as Simple Mills) with nut butter or cheese

Meal Prep Upgrade Tips

Put your healthy packable lunch ideas to good use with these simple hacks. 

#1 Plan Out Your Meals in Advance!

When it comes to meal prep lunch ideas, gather your inspiration a week in advance to allow plenty of time to plan out your menu.

#2 Organize Your Pantry and Fridge

Before you can start prepping your packable lunch ideas, you’ll need all the ingredients! Take an inventory of your kitchen to determine what items are missing.

#3 Buy Bulk

Having staples on hand and ready to use (like oats, sweet potatoes, and quinoa) can make meal prep lunch ideas come to life with ease. This works for low-carb lunch ideas, too! Fill your kitchen with nuts, seeds, and frozen staples like broccoli you’ll save time and money.

#4 Make a List!

This is the most important rule when planning meal prep lunch ideas. Never go to the store empty-handed!

#5 Treat Yourself to a New Lunch Box or Bag 

There’s just something about enjoying lunch from a bento box or packing your lunch in a stylish lunch bag that makes prepping your lunch a bit more exciting, right? Just like buying a new workout outfit may help boost motivation, treating yourself to a new lunch box or lunch bag may be just what you need to get inspired to whip up some of these healthy packable lunches all year long! 

Give Your Packable Lunches an Upgrade  

No matter what this season of life looks like for you (back to school, back to work, staying at home), upgrading your lunch with some drool-worthy and equally as nourishing meal prep lunch ideas is always a good plan. 

So, use these twelve recipes as an excuse to give your daily lunch a bit of an upgrade — your tastebuds will thank you!

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