Choose from this large variety of healthy lunch ideas. No heating or microwave needed. Everything can be served chilled or at room temperature (perfect for packing school or work lunches). Use our printable recipe list to mix and match hundreds of lunch combinations.
If you’re in need of lunch inspiration we’ve got the solution! These ideas work great for school, work, road trips, or picnics. When you don’t have access to a microwave or oven but you still want a delicious and healthy lunch, we’ve got ya covered!
I just did the math and I have packed over one thousand(!!) school lunches for my kids. In full disclosure, there are days when they get Uncrustables or leftover cold pizza, but most days I *try* to give them a healthy packed lunch. Here are some combinations we’ve come up with over the years.
Mix and match the various foods to to suit your taste and create your perfect lunch. Check out our printable list with different categories for creating a well balanced lunch.
NOTE: If packing lunch for school, make sure that you are aware of any peanut or other food restrictions that the school might have in place.
Healthy lunch ideas for kids & adults
Greek yogurt, chickpeas, cheese, pea crisps, strawberries, chocolate chips. Not pictured: a bag of granola on the side.
Cherry tomatoes, fruit, hummus, pita, turkey and cheese roll ups, dark chocolate chips.
Energy bites, cucumbers, carrots, crackers, cheese, strawberries. Not pictured: hummus cup on the side.
Berries, broccoli, egg salad, radishes, ranch dressing, dark chocolate raisins. Not pictured: bag of crackers on the side.
Cherry tomatoes, celery with cream cheese, peanut butter banana tortilla roll ups, berries, dark chocolate covered peanuts.
Berries, tomatoes, broccoli, hard boiled egg, granola bites, pasta salad (pasta, olive oil, parmesan cheese, peas and carrots).
Raspberries, graham crackers, salad, rotisserie chicken with BBQ sauce, mini oatmeal cookie.
Tortilla chips, blueberries, tomatoes, apples and celery with peanut/almond butter and raisins, turkey and cream cheese tortilla roll ups, chocolate candies.
Cranberry walnut chicken salad, cheese, bbq chips, strawberries, carrots, mini M&M’s.
Carrots, blueberries, tortellini with marinara, cucumbers with ranch, banana chips.
Black beans with salsa, sour cream, and cheese, tortilla chips, fruit, mini cookie. Not pictured: applesauce or yogurt pouch.
Bagel with cream cheese, hummus, chickpeas, celery and carrots, fruit, dark chocolate chips. Not pictured: bag of tortilla chips or pita chips.
Healthy protein sources
The key to having a lunch that sticks with you is protein. Here are some of our favorite protein sources:
- Rotisserie chicken
- Deli meat (turkey, ham, etc)
- Chicken salad
- Hard boiled eggs
- Dave’s Killer Bagels
- Whole grain pasta
- Cottage cheese
- Hummus and chickpeas
- Greek yogurt (add protein powder for an added boost)
Lunch idea tips
- Mix and match to suit your taste.
- Variety! This is the key. It’s much easier to eat healthy if you don’t get burned out. Try new and different fruits, veggies, and protein sources.
- Think “outside” the sandwich. Use tortillas, flatbread, pita bread, bagels, or English muffins in place of regular bread.
- Adjust portion size accordingly. These photos are for elementary-age kids lunches. Obviously a high schooler or adult would eat more.
- Be sure to keep food safety in mind. Certain items will keep at room temperature but some will require an ice pack to stay cool.
Tips for school lunches
- If packing lunch for school, make sure that you are aware of any peanut or other food restrictions that the school might have in place.
- Frozen squeezy yogurt or kefir can work as an edible icepack.
- Get your kids involved! When my kids pack their own lunches they are much more likely to eat it and less likely to complain.
- When packing lunch for yourself or your child, think about the other members of your family, too. While assembling my son’s lunch I’ll put together a similar items for my husband to take to work.
Mix and match printable
Print the RECIPE CARD below for lists that you can mix and match to create your perfect lunch OR click here → LUNCH IDEAS PRINTABLE for a pretty printable to hang in your pantry or cabinet.
The lunchbox pictured is the Rover lunchbox from PlanetBox. All the food stays separated, nothing leaks, or gets squished. It’s made from safe stainless steel, it’s eco-friendly, and it’s dishwasher safe.
PlanetBox was kind enough to send me the Rover lunchbox and bag in exchange for my review of their product. All opinions expressed are my own.
Amazon also has similar less expensive options.
Healthy hot lunches
Have access to a microwave and prefer a HOT lunch? Try these:
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Healthy Lunch Ideas (for adults and kids)
- Melon, sticks or cubes
- Grapes, try them frozen too!
- Carrots, with dressing/dip
- Cucumber, with dressing/dip
- Broccoli florets, with dressing/dip
- Celery sticks, with peanut butter or cream cheese
- Bell pepper strips
- Green beans
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green salad
- Sandwiches, pb&j, turkey, ham, cream cheese and jelly
- Peanut butter, honey and banana tortilla roll ups
- Turkey/ham, cream cheese and spinach roll ups
- Turkey/ham with cheese and crackers
- Tortellini or pasta with pesto, olive oil or marinara
- Chicken salad, (on bread, lettuce, or served with crackers)
- Egg salad, (on bread, lettuce, or served with crackers)
- Tuna salad, (on bread, lettuce, or served with crackers)
- Hard boiled eggs
- Bagel with cream cheese
- Rotisserie chicken, with ketchup or BBQ sauce for dipping
- Layered Mexican bean dip with tortilla chips, (beans, sour cream, salsa and cheese)
- Hummus topped with feta cheese, serve with crackers or pita
- Whole grain waffles or mini pancakes
- Quinoa and veggies
- Overnight oats
- Pretzels with peanut butter or almond butter
- Tortilla chips and salsa
- Hummus and pita chips
- Baked cheese puffs
- Trail mix
- String cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Whole grain muffins
- Protein bars or granola bars
- Graham crackers
- Mix and match ingredients from each category to create your perfect lunch!
Nutritional Information is an estimate based on third-party calculations and may vary based on products used and serving sizes.
Nutrition facts vary based on what is served.
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