Packing lunches can feel monotonous, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some of our favorite recipes for lunch packing. Most of them are stand-alone recipes you might make for dinner that also happen to pack really well so they’re perfect for switching things up from your usual lunch routine.
Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing
This is a cold noodle salad so it’s perfect for lunch packing! We love making this for dinner and then having the leftovers for lunches. If you like to meal prep, this recipe also works well for that! Be mindful that peanut butter is used in the sauce. If you need a nut-free option for school lunches, substitute sunflower seed butter.
Crunchy Apple Sandwiches
A fun way to enjoy apples, these sandwiches are a hit with everyone who tries them! Two apple slices come together with a nut butter and crunchy whole grain cereal in the middle. Customize with the cereal of your choice and be sure to use sunflower seed butter if you need a nut-free option.
Chicken Veggie Meatballs
A Dr. Yum Project fan favorite, these meatballs are tasty and versatile! We love them on their own as a finger food or mixed into other dishes like pasta with sauce, soups, or on top of a stir-fry. Having a batch of these in the fridge makes it easy to pull a complete lunch together.
Sausage and Fennel Soup
If you want a hot lunch, soup in a thermos is a great option! With sausage, veggies, and pasta, this soup can easily be a complete meal on its own, but feel free to combine with sides of your choice.
Tuna P Wiggle
This pasta salad with canned tuna and frozen peas is great because you can eat it cold and it uses staple ingredients from your fridge, pantry, and freezer. It’s easy to pull together when you’re overdue for a trip to the grocery store and can be made into a complete meal with the simple addition of a fruit or veggie on the side.
Tangy Broccoli Salad
This is one of our most popular recipes for lunch packing, especially amongst kids! With a few common ingredients, chop and stir preparation, and a vegetable that holds up well in the lunch box, this is a go-to for us.
Crispy Cookie Bites
These no-bake bites don’t require any special equipment to make and come together quickly with some basic pantry items. You can also adjust the mix-ins based on your preferences or what you have on hand. We love making them with dried cranberries in place of the golden raisins!
Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa
Great hot or cold, this dish is ideal for packing. It makes a lot, so it’s perfect if you like dinner leftovers for lunch. It’s also a flexible recipe so you can use whatever veggies you have on hand that are good for roasting.
Rainbow Veggie Pinwheels
If you’re chopping veggies for a recipe, chop a few extra and make Rainbow Veggie Pinwheels! It’s a simple way to make the most of your time in the kitchen. They look especially pretty with our Beet Hummus, but any other hummus you like will work. Don’t have hummus? Cream cheese is another great spread option to use in these wraps!
White Chicken Chili with Kale
We always love soup as a hot lunch because you don’t need a way to heat it, just a thermos to keep it warm until you’re ready to eat. With chicken, beans, and veggies it can be a stand-alone meal or combined with other sides.
This classic Italian bread salad makes a wonderful lunch box option. It makes a large quantity, so we love having it for dinner and then enjoying the leftovers for lunch later in the week.
Kale and Apple Slaw
Unlike other salad greens, kale benefits from hanging out in a dressing for a while. That makes it great for lunch packing! In this recipe, the kale is chopped thinly giving it a slaw texture and the apples add some sweetness and crunch.
Cilantro Lime Lentil Soup
This vegan soup gets a hearty texture from lentils and diced mushrooms and a wonderful flavor from ground allspice. Cilantro and lime juice add some freshness to balance everything out. It’s a great vegan soup that’s delicious with crusty bread. Just pack it in a thermos to keep it warm until lunchtime!
Winter Quinoa Salad
Enjoy the flavors of winter produce like butternut squash, collards, and pomegranate with this dish! Because it tastes great hot or cold, it’s perfect for lunch packing. You can make this as a part of your dinner and use the leftovers for lunch or make it specifically for lunch packing.