Packing a lunchbox whether it is for an adult or child can be tricky. Coming up with something that is delicious, won’t get ruined before lunch and is quick to prepare is the ultimate challenge. We will explore some great ideas for what to put in a lunchbox for adults.
Packing a lunch box for adults
To plan an adult lunchbox try to include something from the 5 food groups which are meat or meat alternatives, vegetables, fruit, breads, cereals or grains and a dairy or calcium source.
Storing your lunchbox in a refrigerator at work is a must and make sure you place it in there as soon as you arrive in the morning. This will keep everything fresh and tasty.
Here are some great adult lunch box ideas.
Adult lunch box ideas
Cheese sandwich and fruit
So here is my first packed lunchbox for the week. We have a ham and cheese toastie, a fruit, nut and yogurt ball mix, strawberries and blueberries.
This hits many of the important food groups and was really easy to make. If you are bringing this to work, and you have a grill or jaffle maker, just put together the toasted sandwich and toast it when you get to work. That way it will taste fresh and delicious.
The fruit and nut mix is a great snack to go with your lunch or can be eaten earlier for morning tea or later. Add some high nutrient berries and this is a great, easy lunch for work.
So day 2 of great adult lunchbox ideas is pictured above. I will be making these lunches from what I bought shopping this week as well as what I had lying around in the cupboards.
Section 1 has a base of iceberg lettuce, and some leftover peri peri chicken breast from dinner last night. In the next section I have some water crackers, tasty cheese cubes, cut up carrot and some strawberries from the punnet I had used yesterday. This is a cheap and cheerful lunch perfect for adults or primary school kids.
Day 3 of our adult lunchbox series is all vegetarian. If you are like me and work in an office at your desk most of the day, there isn’t a need for a big lunch.
What is important is variety, meaning the more colors and types of foods you include, the bigger the variety of nutrients. If you think of each color representing a particular mix of vitamins and minerals. you can see that the more colorful the better.
For a good source of protein I have a yogurt topped with Carmen’s berry muesli and fresh blueberries. Next, there are some leftover roast potatoes from dinner. You could add a dressing to make it into a potato salad or heat it up for a warm addition to your meal. Next there is a small square of strawberries.
The next square has some cereal bites. These are an alternative to a sweet treat. They are a shredded wheat bite with sultanas in the middle. I tend to eat these with my lunch as I generally don’t snack between meals. They could easily be a great morning tea or late afternoon snack however.
The last square is some fresh green beans cut up so they fit in my lunchbox. These are crunchy, sweet and delicious. They are full of fiber and freshness. Fresh raw beans are delicious and a great addition to your lunch. If you do get hungrier than this, you could add a can of tuna to the meal to round it out with a bit more protein.
For me it is Wednesday and I am losing a tiny bit of inspiration. Also my fridge is bare of leftovers which is where I usually source my lunch from so today I will show you how to pack a bento box with a little bit of cheating.
The top corner is actually coleslaw I made at home for last night’s dinner. It is simply shredded cabbage, grated carrot and mayonnaise. If you are looking to cut back on calories you could leave it plain or try a no fat dressing.
The next square is my cheat square, this is just a roll of sushi cut up. You could also make your own if you are really talented.
Next I have 2 slices of cheese for the crackers next to that. Then some cut up apple. To keep the apple extra fresh squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top, that will stop it from going brown. Remember to also drink water throughout the day. Keeping hydrated is really important.
What I packed was leftover Pad Thai that I cooked at home the night before. So here is what a lunchbox looks like packed with a variety of snacks and a good hearty main lunch meal.
Today’s offering includes a delicious Pad Thai I made which only includes 4 ingredients. I’ll add the recipe to the end of this post. It was delicious and had heaps of leftovers. Next there is popcorn, and because it is Friday I added some dark chocolate chips. Indulgent I know, but they were leftover from some birthday cupcakes I made on the weekend.
Next is a small square of muesli, I usually mix this with yogurt but thought it would be a nice snack on its own. This one has dried cranberries and gogi berries.
Next is some water crackers with tasty cheese, next some cut up watermelon and an apple to round it out.
4 Ingredient Pad Thai
- 1 packet of rice noodles
- 500g of chicken thighs cut into small strips (or swap for hard tofu for a vegetarian option)
- 3 small bok choy
- 1 packet of Pad Thai sauce
Stand the rice noodles in boiling water to cook, add chicken or tofu to a wok or fry pan with a dash of oil. Fry off until brown, add the Pad Thai sauce, heat until the chicken is cooked through, stir through the bok choy and noodles and cook for a few more minutes. You could serve this as is or add fresh spring onions, a fried egg, fried shallots or Sriracha sauce.
Vegetables and Dip
Today I’m enjoying what I call a snack lunch. Sometimes I don’t feel like very much for lunch. I spend a lot of time sitting at my computer so don’t always feel very hungry. A mix of snacks can be a great way to keep me going throughout the day without feeling too full.
Today’s mix includes some spinach and feta dip (leftover from a Sunday afternoon snack plate.) Some toasted naan bread to dip, cut up carrot, some double brie (leftover as well) and some cut up cucumber.
This is the perfect size lunch for me today. I also have an apple if I get hungry later. I’m looking forward to digging into this snack platter, kids would love this too, I would just swap out the brie for some cheddar and there you go. I know my kids will always try to grab the lunchboxes I make for the next day and snack on them the night before I take them to work.
What are the basics?
So if we think about a good way to plan a lunchbox ideally we want to hit as many of the main food groups as we can. That is a protein food, vegetables, fruit, breads/cereals/grains and a dairy or calcium source. Of course you may not fit all of these food groups in everyday but if you can get as many food groups in as possible you know that your lunch will be varied and contains many essential nutrients.