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Kalyn's Kitchen

90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for Taking to Work

Here are 90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for Taking to work and most of these healthy lunch ideas are low-carb and gluten-free. Use Lunches to find more recipes  like these. 

PIN 90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for Taking to Work to try some later!

90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for Taking to Work top photo collage

During the years I taught elementary school and also worked on this blog, I was grateful for leftovers that I could take to school and warm up for lunch. But without a place to heat food at the workplace, healthy lunches are a lot 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 a collection of 90 No-Heat Lunches for Taking to Work 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 changed a lot since this was first posted. So I’m updating this collection of healthy lunches with a lot more low-carb options, although there are still plenty of ideas for readers who follow other diets as well. And now 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, just click the link to go to that post and you can see what diets I feel it’s suitable for!

I focused on no-heat lunches for taking to work that I think will keep in the fridge for at least a day or two, but check individual recipes for more information about that. Some of these 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, and 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’ enjoy!

(90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for Taking to Work was first posted in 2012. Updated in 2020 with new photos and lots more low-carb lunch ideas.)

Spicy Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Peperoncini

Salads with Tomatoes for a No-Heat Lunch:

Spicy Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Peperoncini (shown above)

Not-so-Dumb Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Onions, Avocado, and Balsamic Vinegar

Heart of Palm Salad with Tomato, Avocado, and Lime – with or without Cilantro

Effie’s Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar

Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing

Tuna and Tomato Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Chopped Greek-Style Salad with Red, Yellow, and Orange Bell Peppers

Tomatoes, Hearts of Palm, Olives, and Feta with Basil Vinaigrette

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans

Garbanzo, Tomato, and Cilantro Salad with Lime and Chile Dressing – with or without avocado

Tomato Salad with Avocado, Tuna, Cilantro, and Lime

Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Easy Guacamole Tostadas

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

Easy Guacamole Tostadas (shown above)

Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps with Capers and Tomatoes 

Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos (the spicy chicken is good hot or cold)

Egg Salad in Pita with Green Olives, Green Onions and Dijon 

Easy Leftover Turkey Pita Sandwiches with Fresh Cranberry Salsa 

Deviled Ham Spread for Filling Whole Wheat Pita or Celery 

Mediterranean Tostada with Hummus, Feta, and Kalamata Olives 

Seven Layer Tostadas (a little more complicated to pack, but delicious)

Low-Carb Loaded Cauliflower Mock Potato Salad

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

Low-Carb Loaded Cauliflower Mock Potato Salad (shown above)

Low-Carb and High Protein Avocado Egg Salad 

Low-Carb Marinated Cauliflower Antipasto Salad

Lettuce-Free Keto Cobb Salad

Kalyn’s Favorite Antipasto Salad

Tuna Stuffed Avocado

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

Tuna-Stuffed Avocado with Cilantro and Lime (shown above)

Shrimp Cocktail with Low Sugar Cocktail Sauce 

Sriracha Deviled Eggs plus Ten More Interesting Ideas for Deviled Eggs 

Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Ham 

Air Fryer Spicy Shrimp with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce (this is delicious cold)

Hummus and Cucumber Appetizer Bites with Sesame Seeds 

Ham and Dill Pickle Appetizer Bites 

Low-Carb Chicken Pesto Salad with Olives and Peas

Salads with Chicken for a No-Heat Lunch:

Low-Carb Chicken Pesto Salad with Olives and Peas (shown above)

Chicken and Avocado Salad with Lime and Cilantro

Low-Carb Curried Chicken Salad with Asparagus and Pine Nuts

Low-Carb Greek Peperoncini Chicken Salad

Chicken, Black Bean, and Red Pepper Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing

Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan

Shredded Chicken Salad with Green Olives, Celery, and Green Onion 

Leftover Chicken Chopped Salad with Red Pepper, Olives, and Feta  

Chicken Salad with Tarragon and Peas

Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Peppers, Cilantro, and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

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

Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Peppers, Cilantro, and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette (shown above)

Spicy Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad with Peperoncini, Tomatoes, and Parsley

White Bean Salad with Tuna and Parsley

Butter Bean Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta, and Basil Vinaigrette

Marinated Pepper Salad with Garbanzos, Olives, and Feta 

Curried Chickpea Salad – From Joan’s on Third, Los Angeles 

Southwestern Bean Salad with Black Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Peppers, and Cilantro

Garbanzo, Tomato, and Cilantro Salad with Lime and Chile Dressing – with or without avocado

Middle Eastern Bean Salad with Parsley and Lemon

Baby Arugula Chopped Salad with Chicken, Fresh Mozzarella, and Tomatoes

Salads with Greens for a No-Heat Lunch:

Baby Arugula Chopped Salad with Chicken, Fresh Mozzarella, and Tomatoes (shown above)

Raw Baby Kale Salad with Apples, Sunflower Seeds, and Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette

Arugula Chickpea Salad with Feta and Balsamic-Tahini Vinaigrette

Baby Kale, White Bean, and Tuna Salad with Lemon 

Low-Carb Caesar Salad with Kale, Romaine, and Shaved Parmesan

Spinach Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans and Feta Cheese 

Asian Spinach Salad with Chicken, Mushrooms, Pepper, and Almonds

Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad

Salads with Lettuce or Cabbage for a No-Heat Lunch

Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad (shown above)

Peperoncini Chopped Salad with Romaine, Red Bell Pepper, and Feta 

Fattoush – Lebanese “Crumbled Bread” Salad with Sumac and Pita Chips 

Southwest Chicken Salad 

Mediterranean Salad with Hummus Dressing, Olives, Capers, and Feta 

Thai-Style Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Mint and Cilantro 

Crunchy Low-Carb Napa Cabbage Asian Slaw

Red Cabbage and Chicken Asian Salad with Tangy Cilantro Dressing 

Low-Carb Chicken Cabbage Salad with Mustard and Celery Seed

Brown Rice Salad with Olives, Bell Peppers, Peas, and Basil Vinaigrette

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

Brown Rice Salad with Olives, Bell Peppers, Peas, and Basil Vinaigrette (shown above)

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Peppers, and Cilantro 

Lentil and Barley Greek-Style Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, and Capers

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint 

Farro Salad with Asparagus, Red Bell Pepper, and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette 

Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad

Marinated Zucchini Salad with Olives, Artichokes, and Red Pepper 

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

Marinated Zucchini Salad with Olives, Artichokes, and Red Pepper  (shown above)

Jicama and Carrot Slaw with Radishes, Cilantro, and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette 

Green Bean, Tomato, and Feta Salad Oreganato 

Grilled Zucchini Greek Salad 

Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Lime, Mint, and Feta 

Barely-Blanched Broccoli Salad with Feta and Fried Almonds

Easy Thai-Flavored Raw Broccoli Salad with Red Onion, Mint, and Peanuts

Spicy Shredded Carrot Salad with Mint 

Green Apple, Celery, and Walnut Salad with Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette 

Winter Fruit Salad with Persimmons, Pears, and Grapes 

Whole Wheat Couscous Salad with Persimmon, and Grapes

Grilled Sweet Potato Salad with Green Onions, Basil, Thyme, and Feta

Sheila's Low-Carb Shrimp Dip

Dips for a No-Heat Lunch:

Sheila’s Low-Carb Shrimp Dip (shown above)

Grandma Denny’s Homemade Ranch Dip 

White Bean and Artichoke Dip with Whole Wheat Tortilla Chips 

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip 

Black-Eyed Pea Hummus with Olive Oil and Sumac 

Slow Roasted Tomato Hummus 

Parsley Hummus with Whole Wheat Pita Chips 

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    57 Comments on “90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for Taking to Work”

  1. Well this list sure beats the frozen green beans I'd take to work and pop in the microwave. So many great ideas here!

  2. You have just inspired me to take my lunch! Healthier – more frugal – and yummier!

  3. Thanks CJ! We were writing comments at the same time I guess.

  4. Thanks Jeanette! It was fun finding some old favorites I had kind of forgotten about!

    Noritae, I do hear from a lot of people who have used my recipes to follow The South Beach Diet. If you're really serious about losing weight, here's a post on Getting Started on the South Beach Diet. I always recommend you start by reading the book!

  5. Kalyn, Outstanding! I already know how delectable your recipes are. To have a list of no-heat lunches all in one place is a fantastic, easy to use resource for work and travel. You are the best. This page is getting an extra "favorite" as a go-to for healthy lunch options.
    Thank you again!

  6. Hi Kalyn,
    I have been looking at your website and it looks so delicious. I am wondering if I can lose weight with your receipes. I will try because I am at a dangerous weight at this time and I need to learn how to cook more healthy not only for myself but my family as well. thanks again

  7. Wow Kalyn! I could just print all these out and try each one – thanks for putting so much time into pulling these recipes together. They would be perfect for our church luncheons too!

  8. Alicia, so glad it's useful. Good luck on phase one. I return to it quite often myself!

  9. This is so prefectly timed, Kalyn. I am hopping back on phase one this week and I heading to the store tomorrow. This reminds me of some favorites and helps me write my shopping list!

  10. Gwen, so glad it's helpful for you, and thanks for the pin!

  11. These are great ideas and so many to choose from! I'm going to Pin this and make my way through them all. No more hospital cafeteria food for me! JOY!

  12. She's Cookin', so glad to hear there are ideas here that will work for you guys. And always appreciate the pin!

    Thanks Lydia! It was kind of fun looking through past recipes to find some of my old favorites.

  13. What a fantastic collection of no-heat lunch recipes! Even though I work at home, I'm going to treat myself to some of these dishes for lunch.

  14. Great post to get out of the lunch rut! My husband is on a strict sodium restriction and many of these will work for him. Pinned to my Special Diets board to share with others 🙂

  15. Thanks Carrian, and thanks for the pin too!

  16. Such a great post Kalyn. I made sure to pin it because heaven knows I can't keep track of where I found great ideas.

  17. Kare, glad you like it. And I get it totally; I think I ate healthier lunches when I had to pack a lunch for work. Now it's far too easy to grab something when I'm out.

  18. What a great list of recipes! I'm not working right now (staying at home with my little one) but we are always on the go, and I've gone through the Starbucks drive thru for lunch more times than I can count. It was actually easier when I worked in an office because I had access to a microwave, but I don't right now, and I really needed no-cook ideas for when my babe and I are on the move!

  19. Savvy WorkingGal, great idea. Really all you need are ten good lunch ideas to alternate and you're set. Glad this was helpful.

  20. One of my goals is to come up with a list of ten recipes for healthy lunches. I have to stop eating those frozen meals. I'm sure I will find a few here. Thanks for sharing.