3 Steps To Make A Lunchable Fit For An Adult

by Kristen Keen, MBA, RD, LDN

Last Updated: March 22, 2021

If you ever brought your lunch to school, it was always a fun surprise when you opened your lunch box and found a Lunchable. For a quick refresher, a Lunchable typically includes some lunchmeat, cheese, crackers, and something sweet wrapped up in a small package.

Lunchables have always been a time-saving meal idea. While these quick lunches add protein, they lack the fiber and nutrients we need throughout the day. Our calorie, macronutrient, and micronutrient needs increase as we age. We can take this Lunchable idea and boost the nutrients to make it adult-friendly!

Use this three-step process when planning an adult lunchable:

Step #1: Include protein.
Protein is a daily essential. Including protein in meals and snacks will help us meet our protein needs and keep us full longer. Focus on leaner protein options to get the biggest bang for your buck. When building your Lunchable, start with two protein options. These options could be animal-based, plant-based, or a combination of both.

Animal-Based Options
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Lunch Meat (opt for a lower sodium version)
  • Cheese (sliced, string, cottage, or cubed)
  • Tuna
  • Chicken Salad
  • Yogurt

Plant-Based Options
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, or cashews)
  • Seeds (sunflower, chia, hemp, or pumpkin)
  • Beans (hummus, roasted, or mash up your favorite bean to use as a spread)
  • Nut Butter (peanut, almond, sunflower, or cashew)

Step #2: Include a carbohydrate.
Our bodies love using carbohydrates as their energy source. Focus on including a carbohydrate with fiber, and check the nutrition facts label for added sugar content. Here are some great carbohydrate choices to consider for your adult Lunchable:
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Bread (whole grain or sourdough)
  • Whole grain pita
  • Whole wheat tortilla
  • Granola
  • Cereal

Step #3: Add color.
When building your Lunchable, ask yourself, “What can I do to add a fruit or a vegetable?” Adding fruits and vegetables is the perfect way to work in some color and nutrients to any meal or snack. Canned, fresh, dried, or frozen are all great choices (keep in mind frozen could potentially be problematic depending on refrigeration access). Aim for 2-4 fruit and/or vegetable options.

Fruit Options
  • Berries (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, or blackberry)
  • Grapes
  • Melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, or watermelon)
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Banana
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Dates
  • Apricots
  • Oranges

Vegetable Options
  • Carrots
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Radishes
  • Peppers
  • Avocado
  • Zucchini
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus

Adult Lunchable recipe inspirations:

For an even speedier option, head to the store and purchase a premade option like the ones listed here:
Once you pick your premade option, pair it with 2-4 of your favorite fruit and/or vegetables to make this quick meal more well-rounded. Another addition to the above-premade option could be a single-serve vegetable snack tray like the ones here. To get more of that Lunchable feel, assemble your Lunchable in one of these divided containers or bento boxes. If needing guidance on building an adult Lunchable specific to your individualized needs, reach out to our Kroger Health Dietitian Team.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Kristen Keen, MBA, RD, LDN

Kristen Keen, MBA, RD, LDN

Kristen believes having a strong relationship with nutrition is key to having a healthy life and that relationship should center around the power of self-love!