15 Packable Lunches That Have You Covered, Whatever Your Situation

Eat something you love, even when you’re on the go.

September 15, 2021
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Getting used to work at home is no easy feat, especially when it comes to eating lunch. We asked registered dietitians from around the country what they eat for lunch when working from home. Here are 10 healthier work-for-home lunch ideas using easy-to-find ingredients.

Photo by: JuliaMikhaylova; Getty Images

JuliaMikhaylova; Getty Images

Whether you’re packing a meal for the office or filling up your little one’s lunchbox, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. When you feel like you’re short on ideas (and making the same things over and over again) turn to these recipes. They’re a breeze to make, travel well — and guaranteed to please.

Jeff Mauro makes a Quick and Slow Mediterranean Lentil Soup, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

In an Insulated Food Jar

If you prefer a warm lunch but don’t have access to a microwave try making a big batch of soup or pasta on the weekend. You can reheat a little at home in the morning, tuck it into an insulated food jar and enjoy midday. I love this Mediterranean Lentil Soup (pictured above) because it comes together in the slow-cooker (translation: you barely have to do anything to make it!). Plus, it yields 8-10 servings so you’ve got enough for the whole week — even if you’re prepping lunches for two. Another great option? Italian Wedding Soup with homemade meatballs.

If you’re packing lunch for a little one, this 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Mac and Cheese will be your new go-to recipe. It stays nice and creamy and has a classic flavor, making it a kid-friendly fave. Plus, you’ll end up with 6 servings — and only one pot to clean up afterwards!

Or use your insulated food jar to keep lunch cold until it’s time to eat; pack an Easy Pasta Salad that can be customized to whatever veggies you’ve got on hand.

Food Network Kitchen’s Peanut Soba Noodles with Vegetable Salad for Healthy Dishes Every Grown Up Needs to Know, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

In a Bento Box

The beauty of packing your lunch in a bento box is that many styles give you a few individual compartments to work with. You can just as easily pack all the fixings for a hearty, colorful grain bowl as you can a sandwich or a wrap (with some fruits and veggies on the side). If you’re heading into the office, try whipping up a batch of Healthy Peanut Soba Noodles (pictured above). They’re vegetarian, full of protein and perfect straight from the refrigerator. Other great options include this Quinoa and Chicken Bowl (since your bento box will allow you to pack the tortilla chips in a separate compartment, keeping them crunchy) or slices of this Turkey Frittata (for breakfast-all-day vibes).

Sending your kiddo to school with a bento box? They’ll be excited to open it up and find these fun, swirly turkey-and-veggie wraps in one of the compartments!

Food Network Kitchen’s beet and brussel sprout salad as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

In a Mason Jar

There are a lot of things that you can pack up in a mason jar (especially if you have an assortment of lids) but none quite as eye-catching as a layered salad. I love all the colors (and flavors) in this hearty Beets and Brussels Sprouts Salad-in-a-Jar (pictured above). It’s packed with tender-chewy barley, buttery walnuts and sweet, crunchy pomegranate seeds. Craving something with a little smoky spice instead? This flavorful Southwestern-Inspired Chicken Salad makes the perfect grab-and-go lunch.

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

In a Lunch Box

With a little bit of planning, there’s almost no limit to what you can pack in your lunchbox — but nothing quite as satisfying as a good, old-fashioned sandwich. Now, just to be clear, I’m not talking about the boring deli-meat-between-two-slices-of-bread version. My idea of a lunch-worthy sandwich is one with next-level flavor like this Caprese Salad Sub Sandwich (pictured above) with salami, ham, fresh basil and thick slices of mozzarella cheese or a hearty Monster Muffaletta that’s loaded with olives and savory Italian meats.

Looking for something a little lighter and brighter, try a Lemon Roasted Chicken Salad Wrap, fruit-and-nut-filled Waldorf Chicken Wraps or a vegetarian Chickpea Salad Sandwich.

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