15 Packable Lunches That Have You Covered, Whatever Your Situation
Eat something you love, even when you’re on the go.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.