Three Healthy Packed Lunch Meal Plans
Taking a packed lunch to work every day doesn’t have to be boring, especially when there are so many ways to keep your meal interesting without spending hours (or your hard-earned money) on the contents of your lunch box. The key to a successful and healthy packed lunch at the office? When it comes to lunch box ideas that are both varied and filling, your choices should include a source of protein, dietary fibre/complex carbohydrates, and flavour bursts to make your packed lunch memorable. When these elements are combined, you’ll find that the contents of your lunch box go a long way towards keeping you feeling satiated for hours after you’ve eaten. Using nutritious ingredients to make sandwiches, salads, and quiche (to name but a few of the recipes we’ve chosen), these lunch box ideas for adults will cater to any taste and appetite.
A Week of Sandwiches Meal Plan
Sandwiches are classic lunch fare for a reason: they’re portable, hand-held, and can be made with a wide variety of nutritious ingredients. To streamline the lunch-making process without getting bored, we’ve included different takes on tuna salad, chicken salad, as well as a mid-week Italian sub to shake things up. Ideally, you should be able to make enough tuna and chicken for two days, and then create a different variation of the salad using the same base. To go with the classic sandwich theme, we’ve included accompaniments such as homemade chocolate chip cookies, veggies, fresh fruit, and optional decorated apple slices.
Carrot and celery sticks
Italian Sub Sandwiches (pack sliced tomato separately)
1 ounce low fat cheese
Plant-Based Packed Lunch Plan
Keeping your packed lunch plant-based is easy with this plan that largely relies on leftovers to carry you through the week. For repeat recipe options, we’ve included garden vegetable soup, roasted mixed vegetables, and a broccoli and cheddar quiche. Making up a big batch of roasted vegetables at the beginning of the week is an ideal way to maximize your veggie intake—simply reheat with brown rice and hummus for a satisfying vegetable bowl or tuck into a whole wheat pita bread with shredded lettuce. Quiche or frittata can be customized with whatever ingredients you have in the fridge, so feel free to browse our recipe section for further inspiration.
1 cup brown rice (or other cooked whole grain)
Whole wheat pita bread
Make-Ahead Salad-Based Packed Lunch Plan
Forget limp green salads, the salad recipes featured in this packed lunch plan are made with hardy ingredients that will stay fresh in the fridge all week long. Pasta, legumes, and whole grains can withstand long exposure to acidic dressings, actually improving with age. If you find yourself going through these salads faster than expected, simply replenish them with your choice of vegetables. At the end of the week, we’ve suggested a recipe for a Greek chopped salad—feel free to make any salad that will use up leftover produce, wiping the slate clean for the following week’s lunch menu. To accompany these salads, we’ve opted for peanut butter- and strawberry-topped rice cakes, homemade fruit and grain snack bars, as well as a decadent recipe for fudgy cocoa brownies.