You might be planning delicious lunch boxed meals for your kid, but when it comes to your own lunch, you’re likely letting the prep slide and picking up something around the office instead.
And without a set lunch that’s nutritious and available right when you’re hungry, you might feel tempted to reach for something that’s either super convenient (like a plate of takeout that the office orders in) or just plain not-so-good-for-you once those midday cravings kick in.
That’s why it’s a great idea to treat your own lunch as your kid’s—making sure you bring something healthy from home for a well-rounded, balanced meal. The one issue? It’s hard to prepare two lunches ahead of time—especially on busy mornings when you’re already running late.
The solution? Buy ingredients that work for both yours and your child’s lunchbox—where you can both fuel properly and enjoy what’s inside. Since kids do have different taste buds (they don’t love a broccoli or Brussels sprouts salad, as we do!), it’s important to design meals that have kid-friendly foods that still offer excellent nutrients and are free of unwanted sugars and processed junk.
Here are a few ideas to get you started in the kitchen!
3 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Both Kids and Adults
1. Nut butter squeeze pouch + mini FitJoy protein bar + apple slices + turkey & cheese roll-ups
Using one tortilla wrap (use a nice gluten-free option to avoid inflammation and GI discomfort, if needed), layer on 4 turkey slices, 2 slices of cheese, like provolone or Swiss, lettuce leaf, and then roll to make a wrap. From there, you can segment the wrap into “roll up” minis. Kids love finger foods, and it helps you slow down when eating as an adult.
For some healthy fats to pair with that protein-dense wrap, enjoy a nut butter packet (try almond or peanut butter) on top of apple slices and even on that mini FitJoy protein bar!
2. Serving of grain-free, gluten-free pretzels + 4 oz. grilled chicken breast with a side of oven-baked zucchini fries + ketchup for dipping + dark chocolate square
As lunchtime hits, you might need some quick, fast-acting carbs to get energy back up (the morning grind can certainly bring it down!), and these pretzels are a healthy snack that’ll offer a bit of both immediate and longer-lasting carbs to keep levels stable throughout the day. Plus, these pretzels are a huge hit with kids! And if you had a workout during lunchtime and are eating them after, you’re able to replenish lost electrolytes through that pinch of salt.
Grilled chicken is high in protein to keep both you and your kid full, and it’s healthier than chicken wings or fingers. As for the zucchini fries, kids will love those, and they’re healthier than normal fries and offer fiber and nutrients. Kids can dip them into the ketchup—another eating habit that seems to go over well with them!
To round it out, dark chocolate has antioxidants to better your heart and some sweetness to satisfy any sugar cravings that creep up.
3. Protein puffs + hummus + pita bread + chopped veggies + Greek yogurt + diced meat
Make a Mediterranean platter that both you and your kid can pick at—no silverware required. Keep a portion of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt and one of hummus for protein-dense, creamy dipping options and cut a slice of pita into small wedges for dunking.
You can also add some cubes of steak, chicken, or turkey to the mix, piling on top of the hummus or yogurt and over the pita. With veggies, you can dip freely! If you do want a knife, you can grab one to layer the components better.
And lastly, the protein puffs add some extra protein but feel like a bag of chips! So, your kid will think they’re eating a processed, junk-food snack, when really they’re eating something nutritious that’ll keep them full for hours.
Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy. She can't resist a good sample, a margarita, a new HIIT class, or an easy laugh. She writes for various magazines, such as Men's Health, Women's Health, SELF, LIVESTRONG, POPSUGAR, Allure, Health, Cooking Light, and more. Learn more about her on her website: isadorabaum.com.