Whether you're heading to work, going on a day trip or simply fancy eating your food alfresco, an adult lunch box will keep your meals and snacks organised. After all, if you have your food prepared in advance inside a lunch bag or box, you'll have something tasty to eat on hand, even if your day gets busy, meaning you'll be less likely to pick up additional snacks that are usually more costly and less nutritious compared to what you may have at home.
When you picture a lunch box, you may have the image in your head of a brightly coloured, cartoon-adorned bag that wouldn't look out of place in the hand of a school child. Lunch boxes for adults are a much more sophisticated option. Think modern and sleek Bento boxes and bags in more muted colour palettes. They also tend to have separate compartments and additional removable tubs so you can keep sweet and savoury apart, or dry foods away with wet foods to ensure everything stays fresher for longer.
Best adult lunch box at a glance:
• Best overall adult lunch box: BLACK + BLUM Microwavable Stainless Steel Lunch Box – view on Amazon UK
• Best adult lunch box for leftovers: Brabantia Large Lunch Box – view on Argos
• Best adult lunch box for salads and sandwiches: Sistema To-Go Salad & Sandwich Lunch Box – view on John Lewis
It can be tempting when you're out and about to just grab a 'meal deal' from a local supermarket or café, but these are often ultra-processed and can lure you into buying more food than you originally wanted. Bringing in your own meals in an adult lunch box can help you stay more informed about your food choices and promote better health, as well as save you money in the long run. If you're wondering what to pack in a lunch box for adults, we asked nutritional therapist Dominique Ludwig for her advice and some healthy lunch ideas in our FAQs section.
No matter if you're a fan of cold sandwiches and salads or love some leftovers for lunch, we've rounded up all the best adult lunch boxes that will help your food stay fresh until it's time to eat.
Best adult lunch box
Best overall adult lunch box
Leakproof with an airtight vacuum-sealed lid, the BLACK + BLUM Microwavable Stainless Steel Lunch
- Leakproof and airtight vacuum-sealed lid lock
- Microwave/oven safe (excluding lid)
- There's nothing to separate food inside so while great for meals, not so good for storing individual lunch elements
Best adult lunch box for leftovers
Microwave and freezer safe, this Brabantia Large Lunch Box is great if you want to heat up last
- Microwave and freezer-safe
- No customer reviews
Best adult lunch box for salads and sandwiches
Sistema's To-Go Salad & Sandwich Lunch Box is designed to have two separate compartments to offer
- Keeps food separate for freshness
- Made of phthalate-free and BPA-free polypropylene
- No customer reviews
Best eco-friendly adult lunch box
Another option from Sistema, the Ocean Bound Ribbon Lunch Box is made using recycled plastics to
- Made using recycled plastics
- Removable compartments
- Comes in two colours, but it's not possible to select a specific colour
Best adult lunch box for liquids
Keep hot food warm for up to six hours and cold food chilled for up to seven hours using the
- Great for hot and warm food
- Leakproof lid
- Better for liquids rather than solids
Best layered adult lunch box
Two layers and three compartments make up the OITUGG lunch box and it allows you to store
- Different layers and compartments
- In-built cutlery storage
- Includes fork and spoon but not a knife
Best bento lunch box
Ideal for work lunches, food-on-the-go, and picnics, this lunch box from Mepal is a Bento-style
- Removable Bento box and different sections for food organisation
- Made from BPA-free plastic
- Main case and lids aren't microwavable so not ideal for lunches that need heating up
Best stackable lunch box
With three separate containers for your main lunch and snacks that can be stacked on top of each
- Plenty of compartments
- Easy to clean
- Some reviewers have said it was smaller than they expected
Most stylish adult lunch box
Make a statement at lunchtime with this beautiful Sara Miller Orchard Bamboo Lunch Box. Designed
- Beautiful design
- Fairly deep
- Bamboo lid is handwash only
What are the best lunch boxes for adults?
The best lunch boxes for adults all depends on what type of lunches you like. We think the best overall lunch box on our list is the BLACK + BLUM Microwavable Stainless Steel Lunch Box. It’s microwave safe so you can easily heat up any leftovers and it’s leakproof, thanks to its airtight vacuum-sealed lid. If you like to bring in lots of different elements to your lunch as well as snacks, you’ll want to look for a lunch box that has separate compartments to stop food from touching. We’d recommend the Sistema To-Go Salad & Sandwich Lunch Box or the Mepal Bento Lunch Box for dividing your food.
We asked nutritional therapist and the founder of nutrition and lifestyle programme, Renew, Reset, Recharge, Dominique Ludwig, all about what to put in a lunch box for adults so you can have a nutritionally balanced, healthy lunch that will leave you feeling full and satisfied after eating it.
What to pack in a lunch box for adults?
To avoid ultra-processed "meal deals" and stay informed about your food choices, bringing your own meals is the best option. It can save you money and promote better health. Buying lunch out may lead to fewer healthy choices and increased consumption of processed foods. Meal deals often tempt us into buying more than planned, with pre-packaged options usually being highly processed.
Dominique recommends thinking about protein, fats, and fibre, also known as the PFF method when you start to plan what you're going to eat and build your meal on this basis. She says to include the below foods:
Protein not only fills us up but also provides our body with amino acids. Proteins are vital because they form building blocks in our body, so we need to consume them in our food. Our body craves proteins, so it is important to have them at every meal. Aim for a portion of meat or fish that is around 100g and top up with plant proteins, such as edamame beans, chickpeas, lentils, or tofu.
Vegetables are a fantastic source of nutrients and fibre, but they also contain plant compounds known as phytonutrients, which can act as powerful antioxidants in the body. One of the main advantages of vegetables is that they are packed with fibre. This creates an obstacle course in our gut that slows down the release of energy from our meals, keeping our energy levels stable for longer and making us less likely to snack. Choose three to ten different vegetables for your packed lunch and choose as many different colours as possible.
Natural healthy fats are vital for the health of our brain and nervous system and are present in all our cell membranes. Fats nourish our bodies and keep us full up. If we are still hungry after our packed lunch it is usually because it is lacking in protein, fibre, and fats. Healthy fats are ones that come from natural sources and have not been processed, found in foods such as nuts, seeds, avocado and olives.
Whole food carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, but are more of a top-up than the star of the show. Refined carbohydrates such as white rice, bread, pasta, and wraps contain fast-release carbohydrates and sugar, which can spike our blood sugar levels and wreak havoc with our afternoon energy levels. It is therefore important to add healthier whole food varieties as they contain more fibre, are less processed and don’t spike our blood sugars in the same way as refined. Good choices of these include oat cakes, quinoa, sourdough bread and wild rice.
What is a healthy lunch box for adults?
If you want to avoid the afternoon slump, Dominique says you need a balanced lunch box. This means that it is the right proportions for your body, metabolism and biology.
She suggests your lunch box should be filled with these guidelines:
• 1/4 filled with protein-based foods.
• 1/2 filled with vegetables, whether cooked, raw or as a soup.
• 1/4 filled with whole food carbohydrates.
• A serving of natural, healthy fats, such as olives, avocado or extra virgin olive oil dressing for example.
• Top with three things to add interest and diversity to your lunch, like seeds, nuts, hummus, sprinkled feta etc.
• Add some fruit for dessert, opting for ones that have lower natural sugars, such as berries, apples or pears.
According to Dominique, making sure your lunch box carefully balances proteins, natural fats, vegetables and carbohydrates can do the following:
• Increase our energy levels and productivity
• Keep our blood sugar levels stable
• Leave us feeling satiated so we don’t need to snack on sugary drinks and snacks in the afternoon
• Helps us to maintain our weight more easily
When we eat a meal that is properly balanced, our appetite and need to snack reduces, meaning we are less likely to snack between meals.
Meet the expert
This article contains expert advice from Dominique Ludwig. MSc Nutrition, Nutritional Therapist mBANT, CNHC, AFMCP. Founder of the nutrition and lifestyle programme Renew Reset Recharge, Dominique has over 30 years of experience as a King’s College, London qualified nutritionist and almost 20 years as a nutritional therapist. She works globally and is the secret weapon of many high-profile clients and A-listers.
Rosie Floyd is a Pets, Homes and Garden Product Writer for Yours, specialising in home appliances, décor and furnishings, as well as all things dogs. After completing her Journalism & Media degree from Coventry University back in 2015, she started her career writing about must-visit holiday destinations, moving on to creating content around outdoor living and garden buildings, before joining the team at Bauer.
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