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March 09, 2016 / Nicole Villeneuve

Healthy Packed Lunch Ideas: A Field Guide

Turkey-Bacon-Lettuce-Avocado-and-Tomato-Sandwich (1)

Of all the questions we get on PlateJoy, one of the most common is, "Can someone PLEASE help me get over my lunch rut?" Healthy lunch ideas can be a challenge because they have to satisfy the basics:

So here's a field guide to my favorite healthy packed lunch ideas, in three yummy (and easy) categories.

Want more healthy lunch ideas? Get custom meal plans and handy shopping lists on PlateJoy and make healthy eating simple. 

Sandwiches and wraps

Sure, it's a classic, but it's classic for a reason. Sandwiches are a great vehicle for getting a bunch of nutrients and flavors in one convenient package, and they often don't require any cooking. You can also place the greens between the bread and the filling so the bread doesn't get soggy.

Some favorites:

Mason jar salads

The biggest problem with salads is that the dressing needs to be packaged separately or you get a soggy mess by lunchtime, and ain't nobody got time to package dressing separately. That's why I love putting salads in a big jar (it doesn't need to be a mason jar - a re-used normal jar is fine, as long as it has a wide mouth). You can put the dressing ingredients in the bottom, then layer the salad ingredients on top. When it's time for lunch, just shake it so the dressing emulsifies and the salad gets coated.

Some ideas:

Bento boxes

One of the simplest options is to put a bunch of different healthy ingredients in a box and just enjoy them together at lunch. This also gives you a lot of variety, and you can enjoy them throughout the day if you'd rather have several little meals instead of one big one.

Want more healthy lunch ideas? Get custom meal plans and handy shopping lists on PlateJoy and make healthy eating simple. 

Nicole Villeneuve
Director of Content @ PlateJoy

Nicole Villeneuve is the Director of Content Strategy at PlateJoy and a certified Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. A graduate of Yale University, she previously worked in book publishing, with a focus on cookbooks and health, and ran the food blog Paper and Salt. Her writing has been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and The Daily Beast. Nicole lives in San Francisco and loves cooking, reading, exploring new restaurants, and running by the ocean. You can (very occasionally) find her on Twitter.

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