How to Pack a Healthy Lunch (for All Ages!)

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Hiya Gorgeous!

One of the things I love most about working from home is the opportunity to make my own lunch every day. And though I generally don’t have time for anything fancy (and often devour leftovers from the night before), there’s nothing better than taking a mental break to get creative in the kitchen. Plus, because my hubby and I work together, our healthy lunch breaks give us a chance to connect, recharge and refuel—it’s one of my favorite mid-day rituals.

Now, you may be thinking, “that sounds lovely, but my life is too busy. I’ve got a gaggle of kids and a commute!” I hear ya. When I’m super-busy or traveling for work, it definitely puts a wrinkle in my routine. But I still make healthy eating a big priority, because that’s when I need my nutrient-packed meals the most! My health thanks me and so will yours.

So how do you make planning and packing a nutritious lunch simple and doable, while also ensuring you’re getting all your nutrition needs met? Well, today I’m going to show you and also give you some simple ideas to get your cooking inspiration flowing.

And here’s the best part: making healthy lunches a priority boosts your health, reduces stress and even saves money. Triple win! Plus, when you know how to pack a nutrient-rich meal, you can avoid the chances of eating something not-so-healthy on the fly, while also side stepping that afternoon energy slump.

Whether you’re preparing for yourself or the whole family, follow the formulas in the free download to make sure your nutrition needs are met (including protein, vitamins, minerals etc).

Now let’s dive into some lunch ideas for all the ages. Happy lunch packing, my friends!

Simple Lunch Ideas for All Ages

Ages 4-8

Lunch 1: Easy Squeezy: 10 whole grain crackers + 1/2 cup hummus + 1/2 cup baby carrots + 1 fruit and veggie squeeze pouch + 2 nut-free Energy Bites + Honest Kids juicebox

Lunch 2: Chocolate Sammie Lunch: Half a chocolate soy nut butter sandwich on whole grain bread + 1/2 cup edamame beans + 1/2 cup celery sticks + 1 cup apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon + 4 oz vanilla oat milk

Lunch 3: Quesadilla Hot Lunch (in foil or thermos): 1 small tortilla heated with Chao cheese and black beans + 1/2 cup sliced yellow bell peppers +  5 sliced strawberries + 2 medjool dates filled with sunflower seed butter + 4 oz rice milk

Ages 9-12

Lunch 1: Cheeseburger Mac Hot Lunch: 1 cup Vegan Cheeseburger Macaroni + 1/2 cup shelled edamame beans + 1 cup carrot sticks + 1 orange, cut into wedges + 2 pieces of dark chocolate + 8 oz almond milk

Lunch 2: Better than BLT Sammie Lunch: Hummus, Avocado, Lettuce & Tomato on whole grain bread (whole sandwich) + 1 cup sliced cucumbers + 1/2 cup grapes + 1 Chickpea Blondie + 8 oz flax milk

Lunch 3: Snackin’ Lunch: 2 oz Beanitos lime chips + 1/2 cup black beans stirred or blended with 1/2 cup salsa + 1 sliced green pepper + 1/4 cup no sugar added dried mango + 1 Healthy Vegan Banana Muffin + 8 oz fruit infused seltzer water

Teenagers: Ages 13-18

Lunch 1: Veggie Burger: Quinoa and Sweet Potato Veggie Burger on a whole grain bun with lettuce and tomato + 1 cup snap peas + 1 cup watermelon chunks + 2 Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies + 8 oz green juice like Sweet and Sour Green Juice

Lunch 2: Build Your Own Pita Pizzas: 2 small whole wheat pita breads + 1/2 cup marinara sauce + 2 slices Chao cheese, cut into strips + 1/4 cup sliced black olives + small romaine salad (2 leaves romaine plus 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar dressing) + 1/2 cup pineapple chunks + 4-Ingredient Chocolate Chia Pudding + 8 oz seltzer water with lemon

Lunch 3: “Tuna” Sammie Lunch: Chickpea Tuna Salad on 2 slices whole grain bread + 1 cup steamed, chilled broccoli + 1 cup raspberries with 1 vanilla Silk yogurt + 2 pieces of dark chocolate + 8 oz water

Adults

Lunch 1: Veggie Sushi: Vegetable Cauliflower Rice + Quinoa Sushi + 1 cup edamame in the pod + 1/2 cup baby carrots + 1 grapefruit + 1/4 cup cinnamon almonds + 8 oz iced green tea with mint

Lunch 2: Salad Lunch: Super Food Salad-in-a-Jar + 1 whole grain roll + 1 apple + 2 pieces of dark chocolate + 8 oz seltzer water

Lunch 3: Simple Soup: Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup + 10 whole grain crackers + 1 sliced cucumber + 1 cup melon chunks + Chocolate Chunk Bark + 8 oz green juice

Healthy Lunch Formula (Free Guide!)

Ready to whip up your own healthy lunches? I’ve created a simple resource to inspire you as you pack. Grab your free PDF with our healthy lunch formulas and sample food lists for inspiration below. Print it out and keep it in your kitchen! Have fun mixin’ and matching grains, proteins, veggies, fruits, drinks and desserts—and don’t forget to choose minimally processed, organic, and non-GMO foods when you can, especially when it comes to soy.

healthy lunch preview

More Lunch Packing Resources:

Once you get in the habit of packing healthy lunches, it’s definitely worthwhile to invest in some high-quality reusable containers and bags, instead of relying on low-quality plastic materials. Plastic bags end up in landfills where they take centuries to break down—and also become a big hazard to birds and marine animals.

Do Mother Earth a favor and skip the cheap-o plastic packing products. Instead, opt for reusable BPA free or stainless steel products which are a much healthier (and safer!) alternative. Here’s some awesome products to try out:

Lunch containers

Reusable sandwich and snack bags

Your turn: What’s your go-to packed lunch? Share your tips and ideas in the comments below. It’s a space for us to learn from and help each other out!

Peace & healthy lunches for all,

Kris Carr

P.S. Want more delicious plant-based lunch options?

Check out my book Crazy Sexy Kitchen for more plant-powered goodness. It’s filled with inspiration, education, cooking tips and over 150 nourishing, nosh-worthy recipes. Get Crazy Sexy Kitchen here.