All About Lunch

We all need a midday meal that’s nutritious, balanced, and built to support a busy afternoon. (And often a later dinner than we’d like.) But unfortunately, lunch can become a challenge—or worse, a daily chore. If you pack school lunches every day, by now you’re likely finding it tough to keep things interesting. And for yourself, maybe you’re looking for something more inspiring that you can look forward to eating. 

Either way, we’ve got lunch for you. Here are some great ways to think outside the lunchbox and make fun meals that match a variety of preferences.

Bento Box

Tried and true, the Bento Box-style meal remains a go-to. It’s ideal for people who prefer to build their own meals or are tired of traditional midday meals. To keep it healthy, build your Bento Box with balanced options including fruit or vegetables, protein-rich foods, and carbohydrates. Try making Black Bean Salsa or Garlic-Lime Black Bean & Avocado Spread to enjoy throughout the week. They go great with multi-grain corn chips and carrot sticks. Or make a meal of fresh berries, cracker-cut cheese squares, and whole-grain crackers. (Add turkey pepperoni for young eaters looking for a “Lunchables”-style meal.) Anything goes if it works for you.

Snackle Box

Speaking of anything goes, there’s no more personalized approach than a Snackle Box. Made with an assortment of snack-size foods, a small Snackle Box might just be what you need. (They’re especially practical if you’re packing lunch for a particular eater or must eat at your desk.) Build your box with an assortment of Guiding Stars rated products to enjoy a balanced “snacky” lunch. Choose from nuts, fruits, veggies, cheese cubes, mini turkey jerky sticks, cereal, granola, snacks, and more!


Not new, but still so good and convenient. Start your jar with dressing at the bottom. Then add “heartier” ingredients like beans, carrots, and celery, followed by pasta or grains and other veggies. Pass on traditional jarred garden salads and make a Greek Pasta Salad or Chickpea and Red Onion Salad.

Pitas & Wraps—More Than Just a Sandwich

If a Greek pasta salad doesn’t sound good, then maybe a pita will. Or if sandwich bread is what you have on hand, pass on the high-sodium lunch meats, and make something more interesting instead. And for a gluten-free alternative, lettuce wraps are a perfect substitute for traditional bread-based wraps. Here are some tasty options:

Versatile Salads

Simplify lunch prep by making salads that are full of flavor and easy to assemble. Then use them in wraps, sandwiches, or simply alongside crackers and fresh vegetables. Here are some to try:

Grains & Beans

If you’re looking for a satisfying vegetarian alternative, put grains and beans first on your list. These recipes are easy to assemble in the evening for a fast morning, and the perfect use for leftovers. Try:

Nextover Lunches

The best packed lunches come together easily and quickly, so your morning doesn’t feel rushed. Put together some snacks or trail mixes at the start of the week in individual reusable containers. Then pair them with yogurt, salads, and more. You can also streamline the lunch-making process by assembling it while cleaning up from dinner. (And maybe turn some of dinner into lunch!) These recipes are ideal for that: