10 Lunch Box Ideas for Students & Adults That Will 100% Work

Lunch Box Ideas for Students and Adults

Off to school or work with lunch in tow? Packing a lunch box can be a healthy approach to the mid-day meal and undoubtedly cost-effective as well. But beware of falling into a rut.

The same old meal components can lead to boredom and poor nutrient variety. Let’s face it–it’s hard to get excited about a sandwich, fruit, and cookie for lunch every day. 

Once you know how to pack a healthy, nutritious lunch while simultaneously avoiding your food allergens, you will be well on your way to eating nutritiously.

Everyone is individual in their food allergy, including what they can and cannot eat, so you’ll want to tailor your lunch plan to your individual needs.

For example, if you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, you’ll avoid all dairy products in your lunch, substituting with high-quality alternatives such as soymilk, coconut yogurt, or fortified rice milk.

Below, I’ve pulled together ten lunch box ideas, good for young and old! You may need to tailor these ideas further to suit your food allergies. Feel free to do so.

These ideas follow a general template for packing a healthy lunch which includes the most important food groups: protein, grain, fruit, veggie, and dairy. Add in a petite sweet if you like or an allergen-free snack, and round out the meal with a beverage such as water. Now, read on!

1. Greek Pita Pocket

Greek Pita Pocket

For, the first idea, go the Greek way! Make an easy-to-make Greek pita pocket. It might not look like it but sometimes just varying the bread type helps to bring some excitement to the lunch meal.

Spread a pita pocket with hummus. Then, add some shredded carrots, sugar snap peas, and lettuce. For some extra flavor, toss in some Kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes if you want. Add a side of grapes and soy yogurt to your lunchbox to complete your Greek lunch box.

2. Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

Want your dose of protein? Go with a good old chicken salad. Cook and slice the chicken breast. Then, place the sliced chicken breast atop a bed of lettuce and other chopped vegetables such as tomato, cucumber, sweet peppers, and carrots.

Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar for a simple yet refreshing dressing. Sprinkle some black pepper if you want. Add a side of fresh blueberries and a handful of crispy rice crackers to complete the meal. You’re done!

3. PB&J Sandwich

PB&J Sandwich

This lunch idea might be the oldest one in the book. I mean kids, adults, students; who doesn’t love a good PB&J sandwich. It’s so easy to make and satisfies the tummy and the heart.

All you have to do is spread peanut butter (if you are allergic, you can go with nut-free butter such as Sunbutter or WOW butter) and jelly on whole-wheat bread (It has fiber!).

To fill the lunch box, pair the sandwich with some apple slices, flat pretzels, and a small container of rice milk (yum yum!).

4. Protein-Packed Pasta Salad

Protein Packed Salad

Another way to get a protein-packed lunch is to make a protein-packed salad. So, what’s better than some veggie and ham-loaded pasta salad.

Listen here. Toss edamame, cubed ham, tomato, and sweet pepper with pasta corkscrews in your lunch box. Dress with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice and olive oil. That’s it. Your pasta salad is done.

Don’t let the other compartments feel left out. Fill them with strawberries and coconut yogurt on the side. These go great with your salad!

5. Turkey and Veggie Roll Ups

Turkey Roll Ups

We’d all love it if Monica made us her Turkey sandwich with the ‘moist maker‘ (I can just hear Ross go ‘MY SANDWICH!!!!). But you can go for a turkey roll ups.

Layer deli turkey slices, avocado, lettuce, cucumber, and carrots. Add some cheese if you want and roll into a tube. You can pierce it with a toothpick to keep it all in place. This is not it. Pack some clementines and a small bag of potato chips to round out the meal.

6. Make Your Own “Lunchable”

Homemade Lunchable

What if I tell you you can make your own ‘Lunchable’? You’d be excited, I know. Cut slices of deli ham and cheese (you can use dairy-free cheese such as Daiya if you’re lactose intolerant) into small squares.

Pack them into your lunch box with whole wheat crackers. Add a side of red and yellow pepper slices and some sweets.

7. Healthy Banana Dog Lunch Box

Banana Dog

You’d be surprised how easy it is to make a healthy banana dog lunch box. Spread nut-free butter such as Sunbutter or WOW butter onto a hot dog bun. Lay a peeled banana on top, and you’re done.

For some extra flair, you can top the banana with jelly and fruits. Personally, I love some chocolate spread.

Include a side of baby carrots and a milk substitute like chocolate soymilk with lunch. Your lunch box is ready, and it’s all vegan too!

8. Turkey Pinwheels

Turkey Pinwheels

Want a lunch that’s delicious but fun to eat as well? Try making Turkey pinwheels. These are a hit with students and adults.

Layer deli turkey, lettuce, halved and thinly sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced pears and cheese (dairy-free if you want) on a whole grain tortilla. Roll the tortilla up into a tight roll and slice it into 1-inch pinwheels. It’s done!

To finish up, add a small box of chocolate rice milk and a small bag of tortilla chips to go with the pinwheels. Healthy and fulfilling!

9. Southwestern Salad In A Jar

Southwestern Salad In A Jar

 This one is not exactly a lunch box idea rather a lunch jar idea. But it is easy and delicious, so it works. The best part? It comes with beautiful layers.

First, layer the most decadent ingredients, such as beans, corn, avocado, green pepper, salsa, and rice. Then, top them with cheese (or cheese substitutes) and chopped lettuce.

Shake the jar to mix the ingredients when you’re ready to eat. The salsa will act as the salad dressing. You can add your own if you want. I prefer the jar this way!

10. The Italian Lunch Box

The Italian Lunch Box

The Italian lunch box will make you feel like you’re experiencing the Italian summer. It’s a refreshing and healthy lunch box idea.

Just layer some mozzarella and tomato slices alternatively. Top with some pesto, pine nuts, and fresh basil. This is your mozzarella and tomato summer salad. Serve with toasted bread slices, some grapes, and vinegar-and-pepper-dressed black and green olives. Perfetto!


So, here are ten lunch box ideas for students and adults that I am sure will work 100%. There’s no hefty meal prep or fancy ingredients required. I hope you found this article helpful.

Tell me in the comments which lunch box idea you think was the best? I’ll see you next time with some more ideas. Until then, take care and happy cooking!

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