Jump-Start Your Healthy Lunch Routine With These 11 Must-Haves

Smart ways to pack your snacks.

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I wake up every day planning to eat a healthy lunch, but if I don't carefully organize my food, my love for bacon cheeseburgers pretty much always wins. I've learned that the key to ensuring I stick to my healthy lunch goals is to ensure I'm armed with all the right tools. I've searched high and low for every bag, box, cup and container that will help guarantee that my (and your!) healthy routine will quickly become a habit.

Yogurt-To-Go Container 

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

If you're a yogurt lover, this chilled container should be a must-have on your list. You can easily include your favorite topping (which are kept separately until you're ready to mix it all up). These are great to use for a portable breakfast or an afternoon snack.

$13, amazon.com

Stackable Snack Containers

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

If you're a snacker and like to have healthy treats nearby, this stackable snack tower is a great way to plan ahead. In fact, for anything that doesn't need to be refrigerated, you might want to fill up your containers and keep this at your desk to make sure you're covered the next time the munchies hit.

$10 (set of 4), amazon.com

Bento Lunchbox

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

This bento box-inspired lunchbox is a great way to add some variety to your daily lunch. If you tend to like a variety of foods at lunch, this box from Bentology is a perfect pick. To save time in the morning (or the night before), keep all the items you know you want to include in your lunch on the same shelf in your refrigerator so they're easy to grab.

$18, amazon.com

Salad Shaker Cup

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

These salad shaker cups are great to use for snacks or side salads. I like to keep a couple ready to go in the refrigerator for when that 3 pm tummy growl kicks in. There's a separate container for your dressing, so your salad will stay fresh until you're ready to eat it.

$10, amazon.com

Salad Dressing Container

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

Sometimes I like to grab a to-go salad at lunch from a nearby deli, but my dressing choices usually vary between pretty unhealthy, very unhealthy or insanely unhealthy. Keep a few in the refrigerator with your favorite (healthy) dressings, then you'll always be prepared whenever a salad comes your way.

$6 (set of 2), amazon.com

Fruit + Veggie Bowl

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

The last thing you want to do is eat a delicious, healthy lunch and then sabotage it with unhealthy afternoon snacks. This fruit and veggie bowl will ensure that you always have a satisfying alternative ready and waiting for you.

$10, amazon.com

Reusable Lunch Bags

Photo by: BlueAvocado®

BlueAvocado®

When you're preparing your lunch every day, it's easy to blaze through an entire box of sandwich bags in no time. These reusable zipped bags from BlueAvocado ensure you won't ever need to waste a plastic bag again.

$20 (set of 5), bedbathandbeyond.com

Shaker Bottle

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

When you're a fan of homemade smoothies or protein shakes, you quickly realize they're not the easiest things to bring on the go. However, a shaker bottle will be your secret to success. The shaker ball in the cup will allow you to easily mix up a protein drink or ensure that your smoothie doesn't get clumpy on your way to work.  

$15, amazon.com

Time-Marked Water Bottle

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

Drinking enough water every day is something that most of us find challenging. But using a water bottle like this one might help you finally conquer your daily goal. With times marked on the bottle, you'll be less likely to fall behind.

$20, amazon.com

Stainless-Steel Straws

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

I'm addicted to using a straw in my drinks, but I feel horrible about all the plastic straws I throw out. Then I discovered these stainless-steel straws. Not only am I helping the environment, but I'm also enjoying my drinks way more now.

$8 (set of 4), amazon.com

Daily Food Journal

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

Tackle your daily healthy lunch routine by tracking everything you eat in a food journal. This will help you stay accountable and identify patterns in terms of how your body is responding. If you have any allergies or other food issues, food journaling is a great way to zone in on exactly what the culprit might be.

Plus: A Month of Healthy, Kid-Approved School Lunches

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With just 15 items per week, you can make a different power-packed lunchbox each day for your child. Best of all, these meals are healthy and easy to make, too.

Week 1: Ingredients

Sugar Snap Peas ● Dark Chocolate Chips ● Pistachios ● Grapes ● Cottage Cheese ● Low-Sodium Deli Ham ● Apple-Chicken Sausage ● Roma Tomato ● Pineapple ● Spinach Tortillas ● Brown Rice ● Feta Cheese ● Baby Spinach ● Fresh Grapefruit ● Low-Sugar Cereal

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Monday: Spinach and Ham Salad

Spinach Salad With Ham, Feta and Pistachios ● Sugar Snap Peas and Tomatoes ● Grapefruit ● Apple Chicken Sausage ● Dark Chocolate Chips

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Tuesday: Ham and Spinach Tortilla Pinwheels

Cottage Cheese With Pistachios ● Grapes ● Tomato and Feta Salad ● Ham and Spinach Tortilla Pinwheels (Layer tortilla with ham and, if desired, mustard or mayo. Roll and cut into 1-inch slices.) ● Low-Sugar Cereal

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Wednesday: Rice and Veggie Salad

Brown Rice, Spinach, Feta and Tomato Salad (Prepare brown rice then stir in sliced spinach, chopped tomato and feta cheese.) ● Pineapple ● Cereal and Dark Chocolate Chip Trail Mix ● Steamed Sugar Snap Peas ● Sticker

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Thursday: Ham and Feta Quesadillas

Ham and Feta Quesadillas (Layer ham and feta between a folded tortilla and cook until tortilla is browned.) ● Brown Rice ● Pineapple and Grapes ● Tomato Slices ● Pistachios

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Friday: Deconstructed Cottage Cheese Parfait

Grapefruit, Cereal and Pistachios ● Sausage and Pineapple Skewers ● Cottage Cheese With Cinnamon (Enjoy cottage cheese on its own or add in grapefruit, cereal, and pistachios.) ● Sugar Snap Peas ● Dark Chocolate Chips

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Week 2: Ingredients

Mini Whole Wheat Pita Pockets ● Kosher Pickle Spears ● Air-Popped Popcorn ● Cucumbers ● Low-Sodium Deli Turkey ● All-Fruit Preserves ● Whole Wheat Waffles ● Mini Bell Peppers ● Blueberries ● Hard-Boiled Eggs ● Plain Greek Yogurt ● Apples ● Dried Cranberries ● Peanut Butter* ● Peaches (*Allergy Note: If your school is peanut and/or tree nut free, substitute for sunflower seed butter.) 

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Monday: Egg Salad Pita Pockets

Egg Salad in Mini Whole Wheat Pita Pockets (Stir together chopped hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt and chopped pickle.) ● Cucumber Slices ● Plain Greek Yogurt With Peaches and Cinnamon ● Blueberries and Dried Cranberries ● Sticker

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Tuesday: Turkey Waffle Wedges

Turkey Waffle Wedges (Layer turkey and condiments of choice between toasted waffle wedges.) ● Kosher Pickle Spear ● Mini Bell Peppers ● Apple Slices With Cinnamon ● Dried Cranberries

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Wednesday: Apple Dippers

Peanut Butter and Preserves With Apple Slices ● Air-Popped Popcorn ● Hard-Boiled Egg ● Mini Bell Peppers ● Dried Cranberries

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Thursday: Turkey and Pickle “Sushi”

Air-Popped Popcorn ● Peach Slices ● Mini Bell Peppers ● Turkey and Pickle “Sushi” (Lay turkey slice on a flat surface, add pickle lengthwise to one side and roll turkey around pickle. Slice into 1-inch rounds.) ● Note From Mom

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Friday: Apple and Peanut Butter Wafflewich

Apple, Cinnamon and Peanut Butter Wafflewich (Spread bottom half of waffle sandwich with peanut butter then top with thinly sliced apple and cinnamon.) ● Plain Greek Yogurt With Preserves ● Blueberries ● Hard-Boiled Egg ● Sticker

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Week 3: Ingredients

Grape Tomatoes ● Cheddar Cheese ● Tortellini ● Almonds ● Dark Chocolate Squares ● Carrots ● Lean Ground Beef ● Tomato Sauce ● Fresh Green Beans ● Mini Whole Wheat Bagel ● Salami ● Butter Lettuce ● Mandarin Oranges ● Strawberries ● Hummus

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Monday: Tortellini With Meat Sauce

Tortellini With Meat Sauce (Add marinara sauce to cooked ground beef. Toss with cooked tortellini.) ● Mandarin Orange Segments ● Sliced Cheddar Cheese ● Steamed Green Beans ● Stickers

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Tuesday: Pizza Bagel

Cheese Pizza Bagel (Top mini bagel half with marina sauce and cheese. Broil until cheese is melted.) ● Dark Chocolate and Almonds ● Mini Veggie Salad ● Strawberries ● Sticker

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Wednesday: Spring Salad

Spring Salad (Top lettuce with strawberries and almonds. Thin hummus with olive oil to make dressing.) ● Salami and Tomato Kebabs ● Mandarin Orange ● Carrot Sticks ● Dark Chocolate

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Thursday: Cheeseburger Slider

Cheeseburger Slider (Prepare cheeseburger slider and top with lettuce on a mini whole-wheat bagel. Cut in half and secure with picks.) ● Hummus ● Carrots Sticks and Blanched Green Beans ● Strawberries ● Stickers

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Friday: Pasta Salad Skewers

Pasta Salad Skewers (Thread tortellini, salami, cherry tomatoes and cheese on a skewer.) ● Steamed Green Beans With Almonds ● Whole Wheat Bagel Slice ● Mandarin Orange and Strawberries ● Note From Mom

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Week 4: Ingredients

Cookie* ● Strawberry Greek Yogurt ● Whole Wheat Bread ● Broccoli ● Quinoa ● Black Beans ● Raspberries ● Kiwi ● Cantaloupe ● Avocado ● Macaroni and Cheese ● Asparagus ● Corn ● Rotisserie Chicken ● Salsa (*Allergy Note: If your school is peanut and/or tree nut free, substitute for another small sweet treat.)

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Monday: Southwest Quinoa Salad

Southwest Quinoa Salad (Toss together quinoa with black beans, chopped avocado, corn and chopped tomatoes.) ● Sliced Chicken Breast ● Fruit Salad ● Steamed Broccoli ● Cookie

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Tuesday: Veggie Mac and Cheese

Veggie Macaroni and Cheese (Stir chopped broccoli, tomato and corn into prepared macaroni and cheese.) ● Strawberry Greek Yogurt With Raspberries ● Kiwi ● Chicken Drumstick ● Note From Mom

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Wednesday: Salsa Chicken

Salsa Chicken (Top sliced cooked chicken breast with prepared salsa.) ● Cantaloupe ● Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad ● Toasted Bread Strips ● Raspberries

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Thursday: Avocado and Asparagus Toast

Avocado and Asparagus Toast (Spread toasted whole wheat bread with avocado and top with blanched asparagus.) ● Black Beans and Salsa ● Quinoa ● Cantaloupe and Raspberries ● Sticker 

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

Friday: Deconstructed Southwest Macaroni

Black Beans, Corn and Avocado ● Strawberry Greek Yogurt and Chopped Kiwi ● Macaroni and Cheese (Stir black beans, corn and avocado into Mac and Cheese or eat separately.) ● Blanched Asparagus ● Cookie

Photo By: Holley Grainger Nutrition

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