Here are 90 Healthy No-Heat Lunch Ideas for taking to work or to eat for lunch at home when you don’t want hot food! And most of these healthy no heat lunch ideas are low-carb and gluten-free. 

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90 Healthy No-Heat Lunch Ideas text overlay collage of featured recipes.

When I used to teach 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 Lunch Ideas and it ended up being a big hit on the blog.

Now fast forward quite a few years and I’m more focused on low-carb eating, and my blog has also changed quite a bit 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.

And truthfully, there are now more than 90 ideas here for a lunch that doesn’t need to be heated! I hope you’ll find a couple of things that will end up being a repeater lunch for you!

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!

thumbnail image of Low-Carb Italian Pasta Salad with Palmini pasta, salad in serving bowl

Salads with Tomatoes for a No-Heat Lunch:

Pitas, Tostadas, and Wraps for a No-Heat Lunch:

Low-Carb Loaded Cauliflower Mock Potato Salad

Salads with Eggs and Cheese for a No-Heat Lunch:

Tuna Stuffed Avocado

Snack Foods and Appetizers, for a No-Heat Lunch:

Low-Carb Chicken Pesto Salad with Olives and Peas

Salads with Chicken or Fish for a No-Heat Lunch:

Square image of Family Favorite Shrimp and Macaroni Salad shown in serving bowl on napkin.

Salads with Fish or Seafood for a No-Heat Lunch:

Salads with Beans or Lentils for a No-Heat Lunch:

Baby Kale Salad with Apples two bowls of finished salad

Salads with Greens for a No-Heat Lunch:

Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad

Salads with Lettuce or Cabbage for a No-Heat Lunch

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans top photo

Salads with Grain or Quinoa for a No-Heat Lunch:

Laurel's Jicama Salad square image of salad in serving bowl

Salads with Vegetables or Fruit for a No-Heat Lunch:

Sheila's Low-Carb Shrimp Dip

Dips for a No-Heat Lunch:

Historical Information for this post:

90 Healthy No-Heat Lunch Ideas 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 2023.

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