An adult lunchable is the perfect packed lunch box idea for work or school! This post will tell you all need to know about the yummy foods you can choose from to create a balanced, nourishing, and tasty midday meal. Meal prep options, container recommendations, and packing tips are included too!

Adult lunchable in a bento box

Why Are Adult Lunchables The Perfect Packed Lunch

  • Fun & Different: Perhaps the best part about these packed lunch ideas is that your midday meal never has to be boring again! Remember how excited you were as a kid when you got to eat a lunch-able? Picking and assembling your bites as you go is just so much more fun than eating a boring sandwich! Now you can still experience that childhood joy at lunch time. But with tastier, better-for-you, adult-ified elements. Everyone at the office will be jealous!
  • SO Easy: Prepping your own lunchables makes lunch as easy as can be! You don’t have to worry about any cooking at home or reheating in the office microwave. All you have to do is go to the grocery store at the beginning of the week and purchase a few simple ingredients! Throw them in a bento box in various combinations throughout the week. That’s it! The daily problem of “what’s for lunch?” is solved.
  • Simplified Nutrition: These adult lunchable ideas are not only fun and easy, but they are a fabulous healthy option as well. I like to view building each meal as a math problem of sorts! I add all of the necessary components (protein + carbs + fruits / veggies) until the perfect balanced, satiating meal is accomplished. When my lunches are broken down like this I actually find it easier to hit my various nutrition goals and stay on track!
  • A Snacker’s Dream: If you would describe yourself as a snacker then you have to try these lunch ideas! It’s a must. These snack-style boxes will be truly perfect for you. You’ll get all the different tastes and textures that you seek in the form of a balanced lunch. You can even separate the lunch into smaller snacks throughout the day!
  • Endless Options: The world is truly your oyster when it comes to assembling these adult lunch boxes! You can add anything and everything you’d like. I have included an extensive list of all of my ideas below – fresh fruit, fresh veggies, salty snacks, sweet treats, easy protein, dips, spreads, and so much more! Even a picky eater will be able to assemble the ideal lunch.
work or school lunch idea

How To Build Your Adult Lunchable (Ultimate Guide to Work or School Lunches!)

There is a very simple method to building the perfect adult lunch box! It is essentially the same as building any healthy plate. It is the same formula that I’m sure we have seen over and over again in slightly different variations. I am not a nutritionist or dietician, but this is what I like to do:

Protein + Carbs + Fruits & Veggies + (Fun)

These are my building blocks for a filling, balanced meal! I love to follow a high protein diet, so the protein source is what I like to build each box around. Next for me comes color! Also known as fresh fruit and vegetables. These will provide tons of essential nutrients – fiber, vitamins, minerals, and even carbohydrates. I love to bulk up my lunch with these!

Next comes the carb source. I prefer to reach for fiber rich, whole-grain options here. Or things like beans that have a bit of protein too! Lastly, fun foods. These are optional, and I don’t always include them, but they are well … fun! This includes little sweet treat desserts or perhaps a salty chip-like snack.

To build the actual lunchable, I tend to pick 1-2 options from each of the categories. This tends to be a perfect variety of foods! I love to mix and match the ingredients too, so no two lunches need to look the same. However, experimenting can also lead to finding a tried and true favorite combination. Whatever works for you!

Here are all of my ideas for ingredients that you can add to your own adult lunchables.

adult lunhcable


Protein is always the star of my packed lunches. Heck it is the star of all my meals and snacks! I truly think that following a high protein diet can be life changing. I personally find it to be the most important macronutrient. A protein rich diet can increase satiety – meaning you will be less hungry. It can also help with muscle growth, aid weight loss, and benefit your skin and nails!

If you are interested in high protein recipes – check out my Greek Yogurt Alfredo Sauce, Egg White Frittata, or Protein Overnight Oats.

  • Chicken breast or rotisserie chicken – I love incorporating lean proteins like this!
  • Canned meat – Canned tuna or canned chicken to make a tuna or chicken salad.
  • Deli meats – Ham, chicken, roast beef, turkey slices. I just wouldn’t recommend choosing a processed deli meat every single day!
  • Charcuterie meats – Pepperoni, salami, prosciutto – for a mini charcuterie board feel.
  • Cheese – Any kind of cheese! Cheddar cheese cubes, fresh mozzarella cheese balls, cheese sticks, parmesan cheese chunks, etc.
  • Hard-boiled eggs or soft-boiled eggs
  • Greek yogurt – Top with granola, fresh berries, and honey.
  • Cottage cheese – Cottage cheese with fruit, as a dip, or just by itself!
  • Beans – Edamame, chickpeas, white beans, or black beans for plant based protein.

Fruits & Veggies

Next I really love to bulk up my healthy lunch with tons of fresh and colorful fruits and raw veggies! They provide so many nutrients and I find them to be super tasty too. The key is to choose the fruits and veggies that don’t feel like a chore to eat. You can also pair with various dips and spreads to make the experience more enjoyable!


  • Fresh Berries – Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
  • Kiwi – A fiber rich favorite of mine!
  • Apple slices
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Stone fruit – Peaches, plums, nectarines
  • Banana
  • Melon – Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew
  • Grapes
  • Dried fruits – I treat this as a bit more like a treat since they tend to be more calorically dense and higher in sugar.


packed lunch idea


I don’t personally always add a dedicated carb source to my lunch boxes! I find that sometimes I have enough of this macronutrient from the fruit or fun food additions. However, if I am adding a dedicated carb I like to incorporate fiber rich ones. My favorites are listed below:

  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Rice cakes
  • Pita bread
  • Beans – chickpeas, black beans, etc.
  • Whole grains – brown rice, quinoa.

Fun & Miscellaneous

Last but not last, we have the finishing touches. The extras if you will! This can include anything from dips and spreads to popcorn and cookies. Snacks, sweets, and pairings!

  • Dips – Hummus, tzatziki, guacamole, salsa, ranch dressing
  • Nut butter – Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter
  • Salty snacks – Popcorn, goldfish, chips, pretzels, etc.
  • Sweet treats – Dark chocolate, chocolate chips, cookies, granola, granola bars. I do like to try to pick a relatively healthy option here!
  • Nuts – Almonds, pistachios, walnuts … great to add more healthy fats.
  • Protein balls or bars – For store bough options I love good! snacks, Quest, or Misfits.
  • Baked goods – Banana oatmeal bars, no-bake cookies, or mini brownie bites.
work lunch idea for adults

Leftover & Meal Prep Options

Most of the healthy lunch ideas above do not require any cooking or prepping! They are mostly single ingredient elements. However, there is definitely room to take these work lunch ideas up a notch and include some meal prep items.

Container Recommendations & Packing Tips

After you have chosen your food preferences – your prefect combination of protein, fresh ingredients, healthy snacks, etc – the only other step is to pack it all up!

This step does not have to be complicated. You can seriously pack all the elements in various containers or baggies and throw it in one of your kids’ lunch boxes that you find lying around. There is no need to buy anything special to enjoy these healthy lunch box ideas!

However, if you would like to elevate the experience I would recommend purchasing containers with separate sections. This makes storing the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in one place so much easier! I love bento boxes or the glass containers with dividers.

You can also use additional items – like muffin liners for small bites or little salad dressing sized containers for various dips and spreads.

When it comes to actually packing I would also just be conscious of what foods you are putting together. It is very practical and convenient to pack everything in one container! But maybe just be careful to not pack a tuna salad and greek yogurt with berries on the same day. That cross contamination may be a little questionable!

easy lunch ideas for work

Are adult lunchables healthy?

That is entirely up to you! Adult lunchables can be a great way to incorporate each necessary food group into your midday meal. However, the nutritional value or healthiness will be dependent on what foods you choose to include.

Here are the items I would to include for the most nutritious lunch box ideas:

  • Protein: Chicken breast, rotisserie chicken, simple tuna or chicken salad, hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, or greek yogurt. A properly portioned amount of cheese is a good option as well for a secondary protein source!
  • Fruit: Really any fruit will work! But I love to use fresh berries because they are low in calorie and high in fiber. I have really been loving kiwi recently too.
  • Veggies: Cucumber slices, bell pepper slices, or raw carrots are my favorite veggie options. You can crunch on them all day long for a very low calorie count, but high nutrient content.
  • Carbs: I tend to choose fiber rich carbohydrates. Such as apple slices or a banana! Perhaps whole-grain crackers as well.
  • Fun: If I want to add something fun I will choose a healthy treat or snack. I love these Mini Drizzled Rice Cakes for my sweet tooth or popcorn for a salty craving.

Connect With Me!

If you make or use these easy lunch box ideas or any of my other recipes, I would absolutely love to know! Tag me @wellnessbykay on Instagram so I can see and share your recreations.

how to build an adult lunchable

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