30 Wow-Worthy Packed Lunches To Brighten Up Your Day
No sad sandwiches allowed here. These perfectly-packable wraps, salads, soups, and treats are sure to give the work or school day a boost.
Chicken Salad Lunch Box
Whoever said that packing your own lunch had to be lame? These packed lunches offer plenty of fresh ideas for stunning and delicious meals that are sure to fuel you or your kids through the afternoon. First up—this stunning Chicken Salad Lunch Box. Whip up a tasty lemony chicken salad, then pair it crunchy celery, goat cheese-stuffed Peppadew peppers, and fresh cantaloupe for a complete meal.
Veggie Salad in a Jar
Make these salads up to a day ahead; pack them tightly with the dressing on the bottom, followed by denser ingredients that won't get soggy while they marinate. The recipe easily doubles if you need lunch for 4 people.
Sushi Sandwich Lunch Box
Love sushi rolls, but feel intimidated by the rolling technique? Then sushi sandwiches—actually a traditional Japanese dish called onigirazu--will be right up your alley. They require simply layering ingredients onto a piece of nori (seaweed) then folding the nori around to form a packet.
Packable Power Salads
Pack dressing separately, and drizzle onto salads just before serving. You can also stuff each salad into a quart-sized jar with lid.
Pack this simple but tasty soup in an insulated thermos and top off with hot water at home. Use a spiralizer to make fun zucchini noodles, or a vegetable peeler for ribbons. Or just finely chop for faster prep.
Kale, Farro, and Feta Salad
This easy whole-grain-plus-veg combo checks all the boxes of a satisfying winter side: hearty yet bright with zingy notes, and full of texture and color. Pair with roasted chicken thighs or as a side for pureed vegetable soup. Top leftover salad with chopped cooked chicken, apples, and pecans for an easy lunch.
Orzo Salad with Chicken and Radishes
Because the lemon and basil flavors become even more vibrant with some time to marinate together, this five-ingredient salad makes the perfect to-go lunch. Pack it up the night before, and skip the cafeteria for a bright and luscious midday meal.
Ploughman's Lunch Box
Think of a ploughman's lunch as a snacker's paradise. With a smorgasboard of breads, cheeses, meats, and pickles, you can mix and match any items based on what you have in your pantry.
Chickpea and Sausage Pesto Soup
Prepared pesto creates a rich flavor base for this Mediterranean-inspired soup; we've found that refrigerated versions taste fresher and more vibrant. If you have a spiralizer, you can make lovely carrot noodles in place of matchstick-cut carrots. With a whopping 20g of protein, this soup is just what you need to keep you full and satisfied.
Greek Chopped Salad with Grilled Pita
We take the extra step of grilling the bell peppers along with the pita wedges to add a bit of char and smoky depth to the salad. You could also broil the peppers in the oven until blackened and peel them, and then toast the pita until browned.
Lemony Chicken and Spinach Soup
While we call for rotisserie chicken and store-bought stock for convenience sake, you could certainly roast your own chicken, then make chicken stock with the carcass for an even more flavorful pot of soup. We specifically developed this soup to make a large batch so that there’s plenty to share with friends, or stash in the freezer for the next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather or simply need a warming, fuss-free meal.
Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups
Rotisserie chicken is a great time-saver on busy evenings. Freeze any extra meat in portion sizes, and use in future recipes.
White Chili with Avocado Cream
Try this recipe for a flavorful and satisfying white chicken chili.
Tuna, Arugula, and Egg Salad with Pita Chips
If your budget allows, try a premium jarred tuna, like Ortiz, which is rich, firm, and meaty. And purchase precooked, peeled eggs from your supermarket.
Tahini Chicken Salad Sandwich
Nutty, creamy, and of course, topped with greens, tomatoes, and onions, this hearty, easy-to-prep chicken salad sandwich is the perfect, packable lunch. Eat it immediately, or wrap it up and allow the rich, deep flavors of the tahini run into your hearty, toasted bread.
This tuna salad keeps in the fridge for up to one week. When you're ready to enjoy it for lunch, spread the tuna salad in pita pockets and add lettuce and tomato.
Farro Salad Lunch Box
Turn crunchy farro, green bean, and kale salad into a balanced, portable lunch with a hard-cooked egg, prosciutto, and a clementine orange.
Spinach, Hummus, and Bell Pepper Wraps
Fresh, flavorful, veggie-packed, and ready in a 10-minute snap—now that’s a lunch we can stand behind! Make this wrap the night before and store in the fridge—just grab it in the morning on your way out the door. Use Flatout Light whole-grain flatbreads to keep calories in check; you can find them at most supermarkets. Pair this tasty wrap with whole-wheat crackers or a piece of fruit to round out a nutritious, delicious lunch.
15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls
This Middle Eastern-inspired bowl is all about big flavor with minimal effort. A garlicky, tahini-spiked yogurt brings all the elements together and takes just minutes to make. Assemble a few bowls at the beginning of the week for easy make-ahead lunches.
Mediterranean Tuna Salad
You can keep this Mediterranean-style tuna salad in the fridge for up to a week making it the perfect make-ahead lunch.
Hummus in Pita
Soba Noodle Salad with Pork, Snap Peas, and Radishes
This cold soba noodle salad comes together quickly, thanks to leftover pork tenderloin. You could also substitute rotisserie chicken in place of the pork.
Tuna-and-Pickled-Vegetable Pita Pockets
We've packed plenty of clever shortcuts into these easy tuna, veggie, and hummus pitas. Microwave-in-Bag Haricots Verts are a trusted timesaver—simply throw the entire package into the microwave for crisp-tender green beans in about three minutes. The Pickled Vegetable Salad, which can be marinated ahead of time, packs a ton of flavor. Lastly, hummus acts as a great alternative to mayo for a sandwich spread.
Caesar Salad Bagels
Spin creamy Caesar salad into a handheld lunch with this easy recipe. You can use your favorite type of bagel, but we suggest whole-grain, onion, or "everything" bagels.
Soba-Edamame Noodle Bowl
Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, a wheat-free grain (look for packages that specify gluten-free), and they cook in only 3 minutes. Look for them in the international aisle.
Cherry, Chicken, and Pecan Wheat Berry Salad
What a fantastic combo! If you can't find fresh cherries, add 1/4 cup boiling water to 1/4 cup dried cherries. Let stand 10 minutes; drain and chop.
Neapolitan Crispy Rice Treats
This recipes makes 3 cups of each flavor of frosting, if that ends up being more than you to Neapolitan a few boxes of crispy marshmallow squares, you can save the leftover icings for dipping other store-bought baked goods like brownies or doughnuts. The idea is to make the Neapolitan Icing flavors, then dip to your heart's content.
Ultimate M&M Cookies
Feed your inner child (or your actual child) with these chewy-in-the-center, crispy-at-the-edges, candy-studded cookies.
Pistachio-Apple Bars with Chia Seeds
These homemade bars combine fruit and nut flavors to make a tasty snack.
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Bars
These homemade bars combine peanut butter and chocolate to make a tasty after-school treat.