10 Quick & Easy Lunch Boxes

Back-to-school and back-to-work mean reentry on the lunch-packing routine. Excited? Not so much? If you and yours are bored of peanut butter and tired of turkey, think outside of the box. First, see how a nutritionist packs a perfectly balanced lunch (in three easy steps!). Then, get inspired with these delicious ideas, from hit-the-spot soups, salads, and sandwiches to satisfying grain bowls and snack packs for kids of all ages.

These bloggers prove that lunch doesn’t have to be a bore, or a chore. With one of these recipes, your quick, easy, and healthy lunch is in the bag.

Cranberry Orange Bread (Vegan)

Photo courtesy of Vanilla and Bean

Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Find the full recipe on Vanilla and Bean

Lots of bloggers are finding clever ways to lighten up classic sandwich fillings. Make chicken salad with avocado, cut your tuna with yogurt, or get some plant protein with these creamy smashed chickpeas.

 

AvocadoChickenSalad_FamilyFreshMeals

Photo courtesy of Family Fresh Meals

Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad
Find the full recipe on Family Fresh Meals

Here’s that creamy chicken salad, enriched with healthy fats from buttery avocado. Pile it into a pita pocket, or add a scoop to a tub of mixed greens.

 

ApplePanini_TheNoviceChef

Photo courtesy of The Novice Chef

Apple, Cheddar & Turkey Panini
Find the full recipe on The Novice Chef

Load up your sandwich with colorful veggies or fruit. Sliced bananas or strawberries are delicious with nut butters, and autumn apples and pears go well with sharp cheddar or blue cheeses. This recipe gives you the idea, but ease up on the fillings to avoid breaking the calorie bank—stick to 1 tablespoon butter, 1 slice of cheese, and about 2 ounces turkey per sandwich.

 

TacoSalad_Beard&Bonnet

Photo courtesy of Beard & Bonnet

Vegan Mason Jar Taco Salad
Find the full recipe on Beard & Bonnet

Mason jar salads are still going strong. Drop your dressing at the bottom, layer sturdy chopped veggies and grains, and get some protein in the mix.

 

KaleSalad_GarlicDiaries

Photo courtesy of The Garlic Diaries

Crunchy Sesame Kale Salad
Find the full recipe on The Garlic Diaries

Kale salad only gets better as it sits, softens, and marinates in your lunch box. Try this tempting sesame dressing, and toss in some cubed tofu or lean grilled pork.

 

BeanSoup_SimpleVeganista

Photo courtesy of The Simple Veganista

Kale, Quinoa & White Bean Soup
Find the full recipe on The Simple Veganista

As the weather cools off, colorful veggie soups pack comfort and nourishment. Make a big pot of creamy butternut or chunky tomato, perfect for dunking crusty whole-grain bread. But beans really tide you over until dinnertime. Consider this the superfood minestrone, plumped with quinoa and kale.  

 

Lunchable-Cover

Photo courtesy of Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Healthy Homemade Lunchables
Find the full recipe on Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Why should kids have all the fun with stack-and-build lunches? When you’ve had enough of sandwiches, throw together your own snack pack: sliced turkey, cheese, whole-wheat crackers, done. Tuck in some grapes and baby carrots, on the side.

 

teriyaki-via-one-equals-two

Photo courtesy of One Equals Two

Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs
Find the full recipe on One Equals Two

Make meatballs for dinner and pop leftovers into lunches. They’re perfect little bundles of protein, and they even freeze beautifully, if you want to save some for later. Pair them with marinara or tzatziki and a side of roast veggies. Or make this adorable bento box, with brown rice (instead of white), tender-crisp asparagus, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

 

MedBowl_PinchofYum

Photo courtesy of Pinch of Yum

Mediterranean Quinoa Bowls with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Find the full recipe on Pinch of Yum

Healthy dips are good for a quick dollop. Box up hummus, eggplant, or red pepper dip with a little crumbled feta, a handful of olives, and lots of sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. This blogger spins it into a beautiful grain bowl, but you could just grab a whole-wheat pita on the fly.

 

BurritoBowl_Cookie&Kate

Photo courtesy of Cookie + Kate

Spicy Sweet Potato & Green Rice Burrito Bowls
Find the full recipe on Cookie + Kate

Spicy and satisfying even, veggie or vegan, a burrito bowl always sounds awesome. Make extra rice and roast veggies for dinner, and all you have to do is crank open a can of black beans and grab an avocado. You have hot sauce at your desk, right?

Note: This recipe has enough carbs to load up for a big race. If you’re at the office and watching your calories, halve the rice and sweet potatoes, and add a couple of handfuls of baby spinach.

 

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