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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 

Pinterest image of 90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for Taking to Work

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

  1. Hello Kalyn – thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipes. Some of your recipes feature peanuts, almonds, or peanut butter. Sometimes they are in a sauce. Any ideas for substitutes in these recipes? One of my family members has a peanut and nut allergy.

  2. Thanks a lot for this post! It's so helpful!

  3. If you have a Trader Joe's, I combine one package their steamed and vacuum sealed lentils + one container of the yogurt onion and chive dip. Throw it in a pita with some mixed greens or spinach and you've got one flavorful no-heat lunch!

  4. Hi Cher,

    I think what you're describing sounds like Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps with Capers and Tomatoes.

    Let me know if that's not the one.

  5. Great website, Kalyn!!! I stumbled upon your website through Pinterest where I saw a picture of a salad from your 90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches. However,I can't find it. I wanted to see if this is a chicken or tuna salad with tomatoes on a leaf of Romaine. It reminded me of P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps. It's interesting that there are so many combinations of salads. Thank you

  6. What I need are ideas for lunches I can eat in the car. My job involves lots of travel and I hate to take the time to sit down to eat. If I eat and drive, I can get home quicker. It's way too easy to eat drive-thru food!

  7. Lana, so glad it's helpful for you!

  8. Thank you so much! I am part of a weight loss surgery group and we are always looking for easy and healthy things to fix! This is a GREAT inspiration for all of us! Thanks so much! I have shared this with our site.
    Lana in MI

  9. These are great ideas! Thanks for sharing. I just really dislike microwaves so I love the help. One of my favorites is a Garbanzo bean and red pepper salad (on my blog). I make a big batch on Sundays and take it a few times. So easy!

  10. Fabulous inspiration – thank you!

  11. Yes you did miss my favorite.. IRS moong bean sprout or lentil sprout. I normally do my sprouts at home. But you can buy them at grossry stores too.

  12. Christie, so glad it is giving you some good ideas. That does sound like a challenge!

  13. Thank you for this, I ask am over the road truck driver. Eating is very hard to figure out. I think I Can try a few of these each time right after I do my shopping. Very little cigarette lighter fridge. Ugh. Thank you though iam excited to try.

  14. Courtney, glad it was helpful!

  15. Thanks Kalyn. Just went off meat for a while. Found great new recipes!

  16. Thanks Sally, and so glad it was useful for you! (I know what you mean about getting behind on the feed reader too!)

  17. Kalyn, I am SOOOO glad I saw this. My life is beyond chaotic at the moment, and I've been missing a lot of posts around the blogosphere, without a chance to even read my feeds.

    Anywway, this is a masterpiece of a post, and it will come in very very handy for me!

    thank you – I am going to have a post coming up soon on a simple salad, and will include a link to your article because it's a must read!

  18. Linda, I will have to start thinking about that; good idea!

  19. Thanks, Kalyn! This is great – I find that as a work-at-home person, it's hard to even stop for lunch never mind figure out what to eat. Now that cooler weather is coming, a roundup of nice warm lunches would also be helpful, if I might be so bold to request it. I find salads hard to face when it's cold outside.
    Thanks again!

  20. Thanks Donna, so glad!

    Kelly I bet you don't miss those days!