Skip to Content
UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

Quick and Easy Healthy Lunches

Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch

Packing a lunch isn't just for school kids. As adults, making sure we have healthy meals throughout the day can help improve our health and save money.


Top 5 Reasons to Pack Your Lunch


1) It's cheaper than eating out


2) You'll have extra time to enjoy your lunch break. Driving to a restaurant or going to the cafeteria (if your workplace has one) takes time.


3) Well packed lunches will have fewer calories and fat


4) You'll curb impulsive eating. Hungry decisions are often directed toward higher calorie, sugar and fat choices.


5) Your lunch will have a variety of delicious foods


What to Pack?


Planning and packing meals ahead of time will ensure you get the proper nutrition for your body. There are several strategies you can use to make lunch preparations a little easier.

  • Pack your dinner leftovers from the night before
  • Purchase or prepare pre-cut fruit and vegetables and put them in containers at the beginning of the week to save time
  • Reserve a drawer at your workpalce to keep lunch supplies such as reusable containers, baggies, drinking bottles and utensils in easy reach

Sandwich Ideas


If you like sandwiches, consider mixing and matching from the categories below as a start:


Bread/Wraps Protein Fillings Condiments
Whole grain bread Ham Lettuce Light mayo
Tortillas Turkey Tomato Light cream cheese
Pita bread Roast beef Cucumber Jam/Honey
buns Shredded pork Onion Pickles
Bagels Chicken Sprouts Mustard
  Egg salad Avocado  
  Tofu Black beans  
  Hummus Salsa  
  Peanut butter    


Skip the chips as a side, and make sure you have fruits and vegetables. A few possibilities include:


Fruits Vegetables
Orange Beans
Raspberries Tomato
Strawberries Pepper
Blueberries Carrots
Apple Celery
Pineapple Cucumber
Grapes Cauliflower
Banana Broccoli
Watermelon Zucchini


And don't forget dessert! Even a healthy diet can include some sweet treats such as low-fat pudding, applesauce, or a mini candy bar.




When you're packing your lunch, be sure to include snacks. Having healthy snacks during the day are important to maintain blood sugar levels to prevent fatigue, boost your metabolism and help with weight maintenance and loss. Aim for 100 - 150 calories or less. Pay attention to portions and serving sizes though, because it can be easy to over-indulge. A few snack ideas include:


  • Almonds/nuts
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • hummus with carrot sticks
  • Popcorn
  • Granola
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Cottage cheese
  • String cheese
  • Crackers
  • Baked chips