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Lunch Box Ideas (Kids & Adults)

As working parents and having 3 kids in school, I usually have to pack 5 lunches a day.  I strive to have healthy options readily availablepack your lunch.  This requires some menu planning, consistent food shopping and prep work but overall, it’s totally doable if you are organized.  Here are my staple lunch ideas for kids and adults.  If you like my ideas, print up my list and recipes that excite you.  Shop for these foods and get organized.

If you don’t pack a Sandwich, what do you pack? 

There’s no need to rely on sandwiches for most of your lunches.  There are plenty more lunch ideas out there.   The key is to try to balance lunch out properly by combining the right foods together.  When packing my kids’ lunches, first I include a veggie, like carrots or cucumber slices, and a fruit.  Next, I always try to include some protein, like edamame pods or string cheese.  And then I include something they may pick out, like a granola bar or pretzels.

Basic Kid Combos:

  • Protein: Edamame pods, hard boiled egg, string cheese, Greek yogurt, nuts/seeds or nut butters (seeds are usually allowed at nut-free schools)
  • Carbs: Fruit, applesauce, smoothie, hummus, rice cakes, veggie chips, healthier bars, pretzels, popcorn
  • Veggies: Carrot sticks, snap peas, cucumber slices, mini sweet peppers, grape tomatoes, celery sticks, etc.

Adult Lunch Ideas:

  • Dinner leftovers are always an easy lunch option.  I always make extra large dinners to ensure leftovers.
  • Soups: Try to make a large pot every week or so.  Individually portion out small containers and freeze leftovers.
  • Mason Jar Salads: These are my favorite lunch!  They look pretty and they truly hold up for the whole week.
  • Quinoa Salads are simple to make and easy to pack.
  • Bean Salads: If you like beans, bean salads are simple to make and are a great packed lunch.
  • Kale Salads: Since kale is a heartier green, it lasts longer.  Kale salads are so healthy and tasty.
  • Tuna Salad: This is one of my favorite recipes.  Instead of bread, eat it with Mary’s Gone Crackers, rice cakes or cucumber slices.
  • Smoothies: It’s easy to make a batch of smoothie in the morning for breakfast and save some for lunch or a snack.
  • Bars: These days, my favorite bar is Kind Bars.  Look at sugar grams and try to stay under 8 grams.
  • Yogurt:  Lots of people love yogurt.  Make sure to buy plain yogurt to avoid loads of sugar or artificial sweeteners .  You can add your own fruit.  And Greek yogurt is preferred.
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