90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for Taking to Work
Here are 90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for taking to work or just for grabbing a super quick lunch when you work at home! And most of these healthy no heat lunch ideas are low-carb and gluten-free.
When I taught elementary school and also worked on this blog, I was grateful for leftovers to take to school and warm up for lunch. But without a place to heat food at the workplace, healthy lunches are more challenging. Years ago I had a request on the Kalyn’s Kitchen Facebook page to share ideas for healthy brown bag lunches that don’t need to be heated, and I worked hard on this collection of 90 No-Heat Lunches that ended up being a big hit on the blog.
Now fast forward quite a few years and I’m focused more on low-carb eating, and my blog has also changed since this was first posted. So I’m updating this collection of healthy lunches with more low-carb options, although there are still plenty of ideas for readers who follow other diets as well.
How can you tell if the no-heat lunch ideas fit your way of eating?
I am tagging this post with low-carb, Keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, South Beach Diet, and vegetarian because there are ideas here that fit all those diets! My site has diet-type tags above the recipe title on every post, so if a recipe in this round-up sounds good to you but you’re not sure it will fit your diet, just click the link to go to that post and you can see what diets I feel it’s suitable for!
What kinds of no-heat lunches will you find here:
I focused on no-heat lunches I think will keep in the fridge for at least a day or two, but check individual recipes for more information. Some dishes contain ingredients (like fresh tomatoes or avocados) that I’d cut up in the morning and add when I eat the lunch. And some salads might be best if you refrigerate the dressing and salad separately and combine at lunchtime.
There are a few dishes (like the tostadas) would definitely need to be packed separately and then assembled when you eat them. But all these are tasty ideas that I hope can make your brown-bag lunches a lot more interesting!
Historical Information for this post:
90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for Taking to Work was first posted in 2012. The post was updated in 2020 with new photos and lots more low-carb lunch ideas, and it was updated again with more information in 2022.
Salads with Tomatoes for a No-Heat Lunch:
Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Peperoncini (shown above)
Pitas, Tostadas, and Wraps for a No-Heat Lunch:
Easy Guacamole Tostadas (shown above)
Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos (the spicy chicken is good hot or cold)
Seven Layer Dip Tostadas (a little more complicated to pack, but delicious)
Salads with Eggs and Cheese for a No-Heat Lunch:
Loaded Cauliflower Mock Potato Salad (shown above)
Snack Foods and Appetizers, for a No-Heat Lunch:
Tuna-Stuffed Avocado (shown above)
Air Fryer Shrimp (this is delicious cold)
Salads with Chicken or Fish for a No-Heat Lunch:
Chicken Pesto Salad (shown above)
Salads with Beans or Lentils for a No-Heat Lunch:
Black-Eyed Pea Salad (shown above)
Salads with Greens for a No-Heat Lunch:
Salads with Lettuce or Cabbage for a No-Heat Lunch
Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad (shown above)
Salads with Grain or Quinoa for a No-Heat Lunch:
Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette (shown above)
Salads with Vegetables or Fruit for a No-Heat Lunch:
Marinated Zucchini Salad (shown above)
Dips for a No-Heat Lunch:
Sheila’s Low-Carb Shrimp Dip (shown above)