These easy cold lunch Ideas are perfect for meal prepping to bring to work—they're make ahead options that don't need to be reheated!
When it comes to lunchtime, meal prep can be a life saver – you don’t want to be worried about cooking something in the middle of the workday. If you don’t have access to a microwave or you’re eating on the go, there are still plenty of lunches you can meal prep that don’t require any reheating.
I rounded up some of my favourite cold lunch ideas that are super easy and so delicious! Just pull them out of the fridge and dig in.
Tips for Packing a Cold Lunch
Whether you're packing lunch for yourself or your child, these tips will help keep your lunch cold:
- Prepare food ahead of time so it has time to chill before being packed for lunch.
- Use an insulated lunch bag.
- Pack a frozen ice pack with your lunch.
- Freeze a water bottle or juice box to act as a make-shift ice pack if you don't have one on hand.
- Keep your lunch in the fridge for as long as possible (i.e. wait to take it out until it's time to leave home).
Frequently Asked Questions
No microwave? No problem! Opt to make lunch recipes that are best enjoyed cold like salads, wraps and bento boxes.
If you don't have access to a refrigerator at work, you may have to rethink what you bring for lunch. Make sure to avoid ingredients that spoil quickly like meat (including chicken) or dairy. Instead, ingredients that can be stored at room temperature for longer like pasta, vegetables and beans.
You can eat practically any leftovers cold provided you stored them properly (i.e. refrigerating them within 2 hours after cooking). It really does come down to preference though. Some people enjoy eating entire leftover meals straight from the fridge whereas others prefer using up components like chicken in cold meals like salads or sandwiches.
Boxes and Bowls
These bento boxes and meal prep bowls make excellent lunches! There are even some simple no-cook options like the Healthy Bento Boxes that come together in just mere minutes.
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Wraps don't need to be boring! Try making these wraps in tortillas, on lettuce, or even rolled up in collard greens. The shrimp salad is also super delicious on a brioche roll!
It wouldn't be a true cold lunch post if we didn't mention salads. You can meal prep them in mason jars, use grains like quinoa to bulk them up, and play around with different dressings to make something delicious!
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