While you might have the ability to eat a hot lunch each day, knowing some no-heat lunch recipes that you can make is super important. After all, a girl’s gotta eat. Whether you don’t have a microwave at work or would simply prefer not to use it (sometimes they get gross!), having some recipes in your back pocket that taste great cold or room temperature is a must. Opting for the same old super basic salad or sandwich can get boring quickly, however. What you need is a bit of inspiration.

Yes, of course, plenty of more exciting salads or sandwiches are on the table, but you have many more options than just that. There are meat, fish, and veggie dishes that can all work just as well at room temperature as they do when newly out of the oven or off the stove. And those are absolutely the perfect thing for you to bring for lunch. Honestly, even if you do have access to a microwave or toaster oven, who has the desire to put forth the effort to heat up lunch each day anyway?

These no-heat lunches will get you out of your lunchtime rut, without sacrificing flavor or adding pre-lunch preparation. What’s not to like about that?

1. Healthy Pesto Chicken and Veggies

Source: Gimme Delicious

2. Avocado Tuna Salad

Source: Isabel Eats

3. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Source: Eating Bird Food

4. Mediterranean One Pot Pasta

Source: Midwest Foodie

5. Chicken Bacon Pressed Picnic Sandwiches with Raspberry Honey Mustard

Source: Host The Toast

6. Greek Salmon Salad Bowls

Source: Gimme Some Oven

7. Korean Beef Power Bowls

Source: Chungah Rhee | Damn Delicious

8. Mexican Turkey and Bean Quinoa Bowl

Source: I Will Not Eat Oysters

9. Greek Lemon Chicken Bowls

Source: Half Baked Harvest

10. Sesame Soba Noodles

Source: Love & Lemons

11. Curried Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups

Source: The Toasted Pine Nut

12. Roasted Butternut Squash Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Couscous

Source: Ambitious Kitchen

13. Lentil Greek Salad with Dill Sauce

Source: Pinch of Yum

14. Grilled Shrimp Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Source: Foodie Crush

15. Antipasti Burrata Panzanella

Source: What’s Gaby Cooking

With warmer weather around the corner, the idea of having a hot meal isn’t as appetizing, is it?

Personally, I prefer hot meals over cold ones. I’ve never worked in an office that doesn’t have a microwave, but I can imagine how hard it might be to find meals that taste good without heating them up!

For the record… most of my recipes can be eaten cold.

I used to eat my salmon and sweet potatoes meal and buddha bowls cold because I would be so busy at work, I just didn’t have time to wait to use the microwave!

Yup. I used to eat a meal like this one ^ cold.

In this post, you’ll find 20 links to meal prep ideas that you won’t need to heat up before eating.

Before we dive in, a couple of safety things you should know:

  • Even though you don’t have to reheat them, these meals still need to be stored in a fridge after you’re done making them.
  • It’s perfectly safe to eat fully cooked food that was stored in the fridge for up to four days without reheating it.
  • But also note that heat kills off some bacteria. So if you’re not able to reheat something that is questionable, you’re not able to kill off unwanted bacteria.

Cool? Cool. Here are my picks for no-reheat meal prep recipes:

1. Chickpeas + avocados = endless possibilities

Okay, maybe not *endless.* I created three ways to use chickpeas, avocado and fresh veggies to make no-cook meals to be eaten cold. These are super basic and you don’t even need a kitchen to make them!

What I love about this formula is that with the same ingredients you get a ton of variety.

Three No-Cook Vegan Meals You Can Make Without A Kitchen

2. Chicken salad meals

I’m not a huge fan of mayo, so I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a chicken salad. BUT I know chicken salad would be an excellent protein addition to a cold meal prep dish.

After researching these recipes for you, I’ll probably end up trying a version below with avocado and greek yogurt in place of mayo.

Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad

3. Pasta salad meals

Pasta salad is a solid choice for a meal prep you don’t have to reheat.

It’s easy to change up with different types of pasta, sauces, veggies, spices and proteins. And what’s more comforting than a big bowl of pasta and veggies at work?

Best Pasta Salads – 4 Ways – Meal Prep + VIDEO

4. Grain bowls and salads

One of my go-to meals, when I want something I don’t have to reheat, is definitely a grain bowl.

Pick a grain, any grain, and mix it up with your favorite veggies and proteins. I prefer quinoa, but farro, couscous, wild rice and millet make excellent choices too.

Asian Quinoa Salad (30 minutes!)

5. Tacos!

I’ve had great success with meal prepping tacos. You don’t have to heat up anything in the microwave before eating them!

The key to meal prepping tacos: put your filling in your meal prep containers and pack two or three tortillas to assemble them at work. Boom!

Sweet Potato Taco Meal Prep

6. Mason jar salads

This is another type of meal I have yet to try out (I’m just not a salad person!) but these babies would make AWESOME cold meal preps.

The combinations are endless, but the key is to put the ingredients in the jar in the right order to avoid sogginess.

At work, all you need is your favorite salad dressing and a plate or bowl to dump out the jar onto and you’re ready to rock!

Meal Prep Idea: 4 Healthy Mason Jar Salads

Southwestern Quinoa Mason Jar Salads

7. Cold noodles

If you’re anything like me, you constantly crave Asian-inspired food. Especially at work.

Cold noodles will absolutely fit the bill if you’re someone who doesn’t have access to a microwave but wants their Asian food fix (without having to resort to takeout). It helps that the combinations here are also endless! With a cold noodle base you can easily prep omnivore, vegetarian and vegan meals. I’m almost positive there are GF varieties of cold noodles too.

8. Pita pockets

I loooove stuffing pitas with fresh or cooked veggies. It’s the perfect lunch, easy to pack and you don’t have to heat it up!

The trick is to prep your filling and keep the pita separate (don’t pack lunches with the filling in the pita in advance because then you’ll have one soggy pita).

Here are some recipes I’ve used in the past:

Chickpea Shawarma Sandwich

9. Cold proteins: canned tuna and hard-boiled eggs

These are both proteins I can’t stand personally, so I don’t cook with them.

That being said, they make good high-protein choices if you don’t feel confident cooking with meat, don’t have access to a full kitchen or just need animal proteins in your cold meals!

Canned tuna is a popular ingredient in easy tuna patties, but I found a salad that looked better for a no-reheat meal.

Hard boiled eggs are most often found in breakfast meal preps like the one I shared below, or in a cobb salad meal prep.

Thai Tuna Power Bowl

Meal Prep Breakfast Bistro Box

10. Sandwiches and wraps

I know what you’re thinking. Won’t they get soggy?

Not if you assemble them correctly!

A trick for sandwiches that I like: toast the bread lightly before assembling. This helps combat sogginess.

Note that any sandwich you have to cook (like grilled cheese) is not a good option for a no-reheat mal prep.

Also, you can use a bento box to store ingredients separately and assemble the sandwich right before eating. That way, nothing has a chance to get soggy!

ultimate rainbow veggie sandwich

Smashed White Bean, Basil, & Avocado Sandwich

I hope this post helped you get some more inspiration and navigate the world of no-reheat meal preps.

Got any favorite no-reheat ideas of your own? Drop them below.

54 Cold Lunch Ideas for Work – Packed Lunches Ideas

You’ve been asking for cold lunch ideas and foods that can be packed and taken for work. I realize not everyone has a microwave at their fingertips!

I’ve rounded up 54 of the best cold lunch ideas, no heat required! If you need ideas for easy lunches to take to work, then read on!

This resource has a ton of ideas ranging from mason jar salads to wraps and noodle dishes to low carb cold lunches.

Even better, you can make a batch of these as part of your weekly meal prep and be set for the week!

You may have seen my Ultimate Guide to Easy Sandwiches because let’s face it, sandwiches are a part of life. But with so many cold lunch ideas, you don’t need to have a boring old sandwich every day for lunch!

These are perfect for farmers and those who work in agriculture who don’t have an office to heat their lunch. But these cold lunch ideas are awesome for workers on the go whether it’s working in construction, driving a truck, or even for students who want to catch a quick bite between classes.

My goal here is to give you some ideas that are somewhat healthy and easy to prepare.

But before we get started, let’s talk about how to set up cold lunch success!

Recommended tools for packed lunches

A heated lunch box is awesome for those days you want something warm. I have one of these (thanks, Mom) and it actually DOES work!

For other days, cold lunch will have to do!

That means you’ll want to keep your cold foods cold without taking up too much room in your lunchbox.

A tiny lunchbox won’t do, especially if you’re on the road all day! I recommend this lunch box because it’s big enough for a meal plus drinks and snacks for later!

Okay, now let’s talk about the lunch ideas. Like I said, this resource has a ton of ideas ranging from mason jar salads to wraps, noodle dishes to low carb cold lunches.

Ladies who have been asking for cold lunch ideas for their husband, here you GO!!!!!!

Free Cheatsheet: with 101+ recipes and ideas for meals on the go (complete with links and categories!)

Cold Lunch Ideas for Work

  • Mediterranean Chopped Salad – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Chick-Fil-a Chicken Salad Recipe – Mom Foodie
  • Spinach Salad with Root Vegetables – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Greek Pasta Salad – Hungry Healthy Happy
  • Turkey Ranch Wraps – Garnish and Glaze
  • Chicken Taco Mason Jar Salads – The Seasoned Mom
  • Cucumber Subs – Wholesome Yum
  • Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bars – Served From Scratch
  • Lean Chicken Meatloaf Muffins – Haute and Healthy Living
  • Rainbow Couscous And Tzatziki Chicken – Zested Lemon
  • Meal Prep Taco Salad Lunch Bowls – Kristine’s Kitchen Blog
  • Asparagus and Green Bean Salad – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Creamy Vegetarian Black Bean Taquitos – Backyard Bohemian
  • Cold Noodles In Peanut Sauce – The Cozy Cook
  • Strawberry Salad with Cherries & Blueberries – Tasty Galaxy
  • Make Ahead Chia Breakfast Pudding – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Cranberry Pecan Chickpea Salad Sandwich – Peas & Crayons
  • Lemon & Pea Pasta Salad – Luci’s Morsels
  • Mediterranean Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette – Big Flavors Tiny Kitchen
  • Cobb Salad Wraps – Living Well Kitchen
  • Easy Banana Bread Muffins – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Zucchini Muffins with Goat Cheese – The Foodie Journey
  • Arugula, Watermelon & Feta Salad – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Lemony Pasta Salad with Artichokes and Chickpeas – I Am A Honeybee
  • Pizza Stuffed Crescent Rolls – Adventures of B2
  • Bell Pepper Nachos – Momables
  • Mason Jar Chicken Taco Salad – Neighbor Food Blog

More Packed Lunch Ideas…

  • Strawberry Chicken Pinwheel Sandwiches – Simple Seasonal
  • Mediterranean Bean Salad – The View From Great Island
  • Quick Pizza Dippers – Finding Zest
  • Healthy Zucchini Slice – Cook It Real Good
  • Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwich Rolls – Christina’s Cucina
  • Cold Spinach Pasta Salad – Carmy
  • Individual Lasagna Cups – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Chicken Hummus Naan Wraps – The Rising Spoon
  • Super Easy Ham Roll Ups – Longbourn Farm
  • Turkey & Pesto Panini – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Southwest Turkey Wraps – Thrifty Jinxy
  • Easy Turkey Pinwheels Meal Prep – Project Meal Plan
  • Pepperoni Rolls – Dancing Through the Rain
  • Italian Farro Salad – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Granola Crunch Apple-Peanut Butter Sandwich Wraps – Two Healthy Kitchens
  • Easy Chicken Greek Salad Wrap Sandwich – Snappy Gourmet
  • Easy Chicken Pepperoni Pasta Salad – Carmy
  • Make Ahead Baked Eggs – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Italian Tuna Salad Recipe – Keto Lunch Idea – Mom Foodie
  • Easy Chickpea Thai Quinoa Salad With Peanut Dressing – V Nutrition and Wellness
  • The 5 Minute Turkey Club Ranch Wrap – Food Meanderings
  • Mediterranean White Bean, Tomato And Tuna Salad – The Clever Meal
  • Mayo Free Potato Salad with Bacon – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Chicken Avocado BLT Wrap – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Parmesan Bacon Chicken Salad – India from Indiana
  • Honey Biscuit Ham Sandwiches – This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Healthy Broccoli Slaw Recipe – This Farm Girl Cooks

Other related posts and recipes:

  • On the Go Lunch Ideas
  • School Lunch Ideas for Kids
  • Field Meals – Lunchbox Edition
  • 64 Healthy Meal Prep Snacks

What’s your favorite on the go meal?

60 healthy lunch ideas for work- save yourself money and eat healthier by making your own lunch. Get a ton of lunch ideas including cold salads, hot lunches, granola bars, snacks and soups! Simple and healthy lunch recipes.

This post has been updated in 09/2019 with more healthy lunch ideas and lunch packing tips!

Are you stuck in a work lunch rut? Then look no further, because you’re about to find a TON of healthy lunch ideas for work!

I used to find myself completely lost for work lunch ideas when we didn’t have dinner left-overs, and it led to me buying lunch more often than I’d like.

Lunch packing tips

  • Plan ahead- make sure to include your lunches in your meal plan. Often we will plan for dinner leftovers to eat for lunch the next day and that goes on the plan. See How to Write a Meal Plan
  • Use the right equipment- I personally love these 2 cup meal prep containers, but 3 compartment meal prep containers and 1 pint jars are also on repeat. See The Best Lunch Containers for more ideas!
  • Keep condiments separate- (unless stated on the recipe). This is usually a good bet when it comes to salads etc. I like layering salads in 1 pint jars, or storing dressings in these condiment containers
  • Set a reminder- forgetting your lunch is the WORST! Set a reminder on Alexa, your iPhone, or even just leave a post it on the door. See 5 Ways to Use Amazon Echo in the Kitchen

These healthy lunch ideas for work are nutritious, delicious, will travel well, and will last in the fridge until lunch time! Here’s some lunch inspiration!

Don’t forget to pin this post to save it for later!

This post covers a LOT! Click on any of the links below to go directly to that section

    • Cold Salad Lunch Ideas
    • Hot Lunch Ideas
    • Granola Bars & Energy Bites
    • Muffins & Other Snacks
    • Sandwiches & Wraps
    • Soups

Cold Salad Lunch Ideas

Salads do not necessarily mean lettuce. All of these salads have a few things in common: healthy, delicious, they have some staying power, and they are portable! Perfect for lunches!

Meal prep it- Keep salad dressings separate until just prior to serving (unless otherwise directed).

Best lunch containers- For salads, I like these condiment containers, layering in 1 pint mason jars, or storing in these 3 compartment meal prep containers.

1. Chicken and Rice Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing // 2. Kale, Barley & Feta Salad with a Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

3. Meal Prep Chopped Chickpea Salad // 4. Roasted Carrot Falafel Salad with Citrus Tahini Dressing

5. Caprese Chicken Salad Meal Prep Bowls // 6. Pearl Barley Salad with Chickpeas & Lemon

7. Healthy Greek Chicken Pasta Salad // 8. Refreshing Quinoa Black Bean Salad

9. Taco Salad Recipe // 10. Wild Rice & Sweet Potato Salad

Hot Lunch Ideas

Cook these lunch recipes ahead and re-heat at lunch! These hot lunches are going to make your lunch feel a bit more of a meal. These recipes are portable, healthy and have a good dose of protein to keep you feeling full.

Meal prep it- Many of these hot lunch ideas are freezer-friendly (check directions on each recipe for storage info). Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw as needed.

Best lunch containers- For hot lunches, I like my 2 cup meal prep containers.

1. Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs // 2. Instant Pot Fiesta Rice Bowls

3. Lighter Mongolian Beef Meal Prep // 4. Honey Sriracha Glazed Meatballs

5. Turkey Taco Lunch Bowls // 6. Creamy Black Bean Taquito Meal Prep

7. Honey Sesame Chicken Lunch Bowls // 8. Spicy Chicken Meal Prep Bowls

9. Healthier Firecracker Meal Prep Bowls // 10. Chicken Fajita Meal Prep Bowls

Granola Bars & Energy Bites

Hands up if you spend too much money on granola bars! Me me me!! I would much prefer to make my own from scratch, and I’m feeling inspired by all of these creative granola bars and energy bites.

Meal prep it- Granola bars are often fridge and freezer-friendly (refer to storage directions in each individual recipe)! Freeze for 1-3 months, or store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Best lunch containers- We freeze energy bites and granola bars for a few hours on a baking sheet, then transfer to reusable stasher bags or 6 cup meal prep containers.

1. Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars // 2. Chocolate Tahini Oat Bites

3. Pumpkin Trail Mix Granola Bars // 4. Easy Homemade Protein Bars

5. Blueberry-Vanilla Greek Yogurt Granola Bars // 6. Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Energy Bites

7. No Bake Energy Bites // 8. 7 Homemade Granola Bars

9. Homemade Kind Bars // 10. Apple Quinoa Breakfast Bars

Muffins & Snacks:

Let’s call this the ‘misc’ category! Here’s some healthy and delicious muffins and snacks!

Meal prep it- These snacks can all be prepped ahead, but storage directions vary greatly. Refer to each recipe for specific instructions!

Best lunch containers- I like these 6 cup meal prep containers to store muffins, kale chips, egg muffins and more. I like 1 pint mason jars to store chia pudding, roasted chickpeas, and hummus.

1. Healthy Blueberry Muffins // 2. Foolproof Crispy Baked Kale Chips + 4 Flavors

3. Crispy Baked Falafels // 4. Morning Glory Breakfast Cookies

5. Peanut Butter & Jam Breakfast Cookies // 6. 7 Healthy Breakfast Egg Muffins

7. Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas // 8. 7 Homemade Hummus Recipes

9. Easy Baked Oatmeal Muffins // 10. Chocolate Chia Pudding

Sandwiches & Wraps

Sandwiches and wraps…these seem like they would keep in the fridge until lunch, perhaps leaving the condiments separate until just prior to serving.

Meal prep it- Sandwiches and wraps can be prepared the same day you serve them OR you can store the filling separately. For some of these wraps & pitas, I heat the filling, then roll my wraps and fill the pita just before eating.

Best lunch containers- Sandwiches store great in these reusable LunchSkins sandwich bags, and I like to store wrap fillings in 2 cup meal prep containers.

1. Avocado Caprese Wraps // 2. Cajun Chicken Wrap Recipe

3. Green Goddess Sandwiches // 4. Spicy Carrot & Hummus Sandwich

5. Meal Prep Pesto Chicken Pita Pockets // 6. Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

7. Smashed White Bean & Spinach Quesadillas // 8. Freezer Cauliflower Rice Burritos

9. Vegan Mediterranean Wraps // 10. Greek Chicken Wraps


Probably my favorite type of lunch 🙂 If you have a good microwave-safe dish with a lid, they aren’t too difficult to transport to work. Heat them up in the microwave, and you have a healthy and delicious warm lunch!

Meal prep it- Cook a big batch ahead and portion out through the week. Leftovers can often be frozen for long term storage.

Best lunch containers- some options for soup include 20 oz meal mugs from Corningware, store in 1 pint mason jars, then reheat in bowls in the microwave, this super popular Crock Pot lunch warmer, and this 24 oz thermos.

1. Thai Curry Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup // 2. Broccoli Cheese Soup

3. Moroccan Soup with Kale and Chickpeas // 4. Thai Curry Wild Rice Soup

5. Healthier Beef Barley Soup // 6. Anti-Inflammatory Broccoli Turmeric Soup

7. Stuffed Pepper Soup // 8. Instant Pot Summer Soup

9. Hearty Vegetable Soup // 10. Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

So that takes care of our Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work! I hope this post has inspired you with a whole bunch of new healthy lunch ideas!

Let me know if you try them.


Pin Recipe 5 from 5 votes

60 Healthy Lunch Ideas For Work

60 healthy lunch ideas for work- save yourself money and eat healthier by making your own lunch. Get a ton of lunch ideas including cold salads, hot lunches, granola bars, snacks and soups! Simple and healthy lunch recipes.

No microwave lunch ideas

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