Need easy to pack lunches that require no reheating or refrigeration? You’re in the right place because I’m sharing the best cold lunch ideas, check out a sneak peek of each recipe in this video:
In this post, you’ll find everything from salads to wraps, pasta, and bento lunches- a personal favorite. They’re ideal for packing to school, the office, or picnic-style, if you’re kids, have a field trip planned.
Healthy Cold Lunch Ideas
Hot lunches have their place, but if you’re looking for fresh options that require very little cooking and no reheating, that’s where these lunch ideas come in handy.
Here’s a list of each of the recipes you saw in the video above:
- BLT Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Mexican 7 Layer Dip Cups
- Ham & Cheese Roll-Ups
- PB & J Uncrustables
- Peanut Butter Crunch Sandwich
- Pizza Pasta Salad
- Bento Lunches
Although these recipes require no reheating or refrigeration, be sure to store them in a lunch bag with an ice pack, so everything stays fresh.
It’s also worth mention that having the right lunch container goes a long way for easy lunch packing. I use Easy Lunchboxes for both the kids and myself, and the compartments make it convenient to pack both wet and dry ingredients in one container. Check them out here.
Cold Lunches that Come Together in Minutes
Helping you prepare fresh and healthy lunches is my goal, and when those recipes can come together in minutes, my mission = accomplished.
This video has lunch ideas that are easy to prepare and come together in less than 5 minutes! Check out the recipes below:
Cold Lunch Ideas with Hard-Boiled Eggs
Using simple and fresh ingredients, like hard-boiled eggs, can help you streamline any lunch meal prep routine.
They are one of my favorite sources of protein to use in packed lunches, and I even have an entire video about lunches you can make with hard-boiled eggs!
By the dozen, eggs are very inexpensive and provide an excellent source of protein. They’re also versatile for breakfasts like the mini quiches and lunches like these:
- Protein Bento Lunch
- Cobb Salad Wrap
- Deviled Eggs
- Bacon and Egg Salads
- Avocado and Egg Toast
I’m aware that sometimes, peeling hard-boiled eggs results in a mangled egg, and half the white stuck to the shell. Not good, but I’ve discovered the trick for perfectly cooked and easy to peel hard-boiled eggs, which you can check out in this video.
Cold Lunches with Yogurt and Fruit
Parfaits aren’t just for breakfast; they make a great lunch idea that’s packed with protein and super easy to assemble. I recommend storing the granola in a sauce container and topping it over the yogurt right before eating.
Best Salads for Kids
Salads that a kid will actually eat? Crazy right?! Not if you know how to make them right, and that is a little lettuce LOADED with a lot of toppings. Of course, you can skip the lettuce altogether and swap it with pasta for an incredible pasta salad. Who doesn’t love that?
- Cobb Pasta Salad
- Santa Fe Chicken Salad
- Jambalaya Pasta Salad
- Lunchbox Quinoa Salad
- Salmon Nicoise Salad
More Cold Lunches to Pack for School
I don’t think you’ll be upset if I include a few more cold lunch ideas, I can’t help it, I have so many ideas, and it’s one less meal you’ll have to cook.
- Cali Bistro Box
- Tex Mex Bistro Box
- Chicken and Hummus Bistro Box
- 7 Layer Greek Cups
- Ham & Cheese Apple Wraps
- Hummus Lunch Ideas
- Caprese Skewers
How to Keep a Cold Lunch Cold
Even though these lunches don’t require refrigeration, there are a few tips to keep them chilled and staying fresh for lunchtime.
Keep liquids and sauces in separate containers
When it comes to salads and wraps, it’s best to keep the sauces and dressings in a separate container. Many sauces contain salt, which causes produce to loose moisture making a soggy lunch.
Use a small lidded container, like this one, to pack salad dressings, hummus, guacamole, ketchup, and other dips.
When in doubt, toss in an icepack. They’ll keep everything cool and prevent the lunch from spoiling.
Cold Lunch Ideas for Kids | 7-Layer Dip Cups
Cold lunches are the perfect thing for kids to take to school because they require no reheating and the possibilities are endless! These 7 layer dip cups are a great place to start for a colorful and fun lunch that’s also healthy.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 4 dip cups 1x
- Category: Lunch
- 4 small, lidded jars
- 1 cup Easy Guacamole Recipe
- 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup fresh salsa
- 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
- 2 medium Roma tomatoes, diced small
- 8 ounce can sliced black olives
- Minced green onion, topping
- Layer 2 tablespoons of guacamole, black beans, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, and black olives into each cup. Top with green onions and refrigerate.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 279
- Sugar: 3g
- Sodium: 545.9mg
- Fat: 17g
- Saturated Fat: 7.9g
- Carbohydrates: 21g
- Fiber: 8.2g
- Protein: 12.7g
- Cholesterol: 32.1mg