Stuck at work during lunch time? These easy no-reheat lunches will get you through!
Being stuck at work during lunch can often be an excuse to skip the meal altogether. Even if you do have the benefit of a break room or staff lounge, you may not have a microwave available (or you may not want to use the community microwave!). And eating out for lunch every day doesn’t fit with many people’s lifestyle.
Don’t let that stop you from eating lunch! Pack yourself one of these workday lunches that require no reheating and get that midday refuel you need to get through to quitting time. (Unless you’re just not hungry. Or don’t feel like eating. Do what feels right, k? I’m not the boss of you. 😉 )
30 No-Reheat Packable Workday Lunches
This easy quinoa salad combines black beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, cumin, and lime for a flavorful Southwest inspired dish. She also gives an option for those who don’t love quinoa!
Here’s a quick vegetarian option for a cold lunch, whether you’re a vegetarian or try to go meatless a couple times a week. And you could add some chicken if you need the extra protein!
I remember this type of vegetable pizza often making an appearance at office carry-in lunches. And I remember they were always one of those dishes that disappeared because everyone loved it. You could customize the toppings any way you like, which would be a great way to use up any fresh veggies you have on hand!
Asian flavors always get me. This Asian Peanut Chicken Salad will very likely end up on my own lunch menu very soon. It uses leftover chicken, so it’s super quick – just 20 minutes to make – and could be a quick dinner as well.
The very first ingredient in this Mexican inspired pasta salad is cilantro – one of my favorite flavors ever. I can’t get enough. This is another quick recipe and you could add some grilled chicken or beans if you need a little more protein!
Here’s a gluten free dairy free lunch idea. The recipe for this shrimp avocado brown rice bowl makes 2 servings. So you’ve got two lunches covered for the week!
Only 5 ingredients in this Kale Quinoa salad, but that’s all you need! Add some olive oil, lemon juice, and sun-dried tomatoes and this salad is ready to go. (Sidebar, I bought a great big jar of sun-dried tomatoes at Costco on a whim and have been looking for ways to use them! 😉 )
Fresh veggies, feta cheese, and homemade dressing give this Greek salad lots of flavor. Keep the dressing on the side until right before you sit down to eat. I LOVE EasyLunchBoxes Mini Dippers for dressing because they are totally leak proof.
If you need something a little heartier than a traditional salad, you might like this tabbouleh hummus salad. It packs in a mason jar, so no need for separate containers for the ingredients.
10. DIY Lunchables by Katie, Mastering the Meal Plan Community Member
Create your own Lunchables using your favorite lunch meats, sliced cheeses, and crackers. Bring along some easy veggies, like cherry tomatoes and celery sticks, to make it a complete meal. I love these EasyLunchBoxes 3-compartment containers for DIY Lunchables!
Here’s another spin on a DIY Lunchable. If you want something a little fancier than lunch meat and sliced cheese, try this garlic herb cream cheese spread with prosciutto. Grab some fancy crackers and call it lunch!
12. Fruit-Granola-Yogurt Cups by SherrI, Mastering the Meal Plan Community Member
I love the idea of having brunch during the work day! 😉 A fruit and granola cup would be super easy to pack and filling. Make it with Greek yogurt to get plenty of protein to hold you through the rest of the work day.
When I worked in an office, I loved going out for sushi for lunch. But time didn’t often allow it. I wish I’d known how to make these salmon avocado seaweed rolls back then because they look like a good sushi substitute. I would pack them with some fresh fruit or a small green salad.
14. Quesadillas with Hummus or Guacamole by Elle, Mastering the Meal Plan Community Member
Elle is a member of our small meal planning community and she shared this as one of her favorite no-reheat lunches. Pack them along with individual cups of hummus or guacamole (or both!) for dipping.
This is a completely new dish to me! Have you ever heard of ube, or purple sweet potatoes? I’ll have to look for them at my grocery store. And the coconut dressing sounds super interesting too!
Ya’ll know how I like to use leftover or precooked chicken, right? That’s one of the great things about this Caesar pasta salad. It’s super easy, and to pack it for a work lunch I’d just keep the dressing and croutons separate until it’s time to eat.
What attracted me to this Mediterranean salad were a few key ingredients that I absolutely love: pickled peppers, olives, feta cheese, red wine vinaigrette, and chickpeas. Those flavors and textures take this salad to the next level. For packing, I’d keep the dressing separate.
Have you heard of agrodolce?? It’s an Italian condiment with a sweet-and-sour flavor and it’s the star of this couscous salad. It takes some time to make and it should be a room temp for this recipe, so keep that in mind when planning.
I’m super intrigued by this chickpea walnut salad sandwich. It sounds like a great plant-based alternative to chicken salad! I would pack the chickpea walnut mixture separate and spoon it onto whole wheat bread at lunchtime.
Ok, wasabi glazed salmon?? Yes. Please. This recipe makes five protein packed power bowls, so you’re whole week’s lunches are covered. To make this easier, look for pre-shredded carrots and sliced radishes at your grocery store.
This broccoli cauliflower salad is a complete meal on it’s own and will surely fill you up. But if you feel like you need a little something more, it would be a great side dish to accompany a turkey sandwich or some leftover grilled chicken breast.
Bahn mi is a yummy Vietnamese take on a cold cut sandwich with fresh veggies, pickled veggies, and cilantro as key ingredients. And it’s served on a French baguette, which is probably dense enough that you could pack this sandwich fully assembled. But if you’re worried about the bread becoming soggy, you could also pack the ingredients all separate.
I know kimchi isn’t for everyone. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, I guess. But if you love kimchi as much as I do, here’s a yummy way to enjoy it. This recipe does start with 1 cup of prepared kimchi, so make sure you have some on hand to begin.
I love a good homemade dressing. Especially something unique that you can’t buy in a store. And the maple cider vinaigrette used in this mason jar salad has me drooling. It sounds very fall-ish, but I think it’d be great any time of year.
These chicken wraps come together in about 20 minutes, so they’d be a great weeknight dinner and then lunch the next day. They’re served warm the first time, but would still be yummy served cold for a no-reheat lunch.
No way I’d get through this list without including a stuffed avocado idea! For these, make the filling the night before, but wait until right before lunch to cut and stuff the avocado. Then you don’t have to get creative with packing.
Pizza is always a hit, and this recipe says they are good served cold. Perfect for a no-reheat lunch when you really want to eat out but don’t have time during a busy work day!
I know chickpeas are making several appearances on this list, but who’s counting? I love chickpeas because they nutrient dense and a nice plant-based protein. These spicy chickpea protein bowls are easy to make ahead and will pack well for a workday lunch.
If you’re feeling ambitious and have some time, you might want to try these spinach ricotta rolls. The dough is made from scratch so you know exactly what’s in it. The recipe makes 20 rolls and I bet you could freeze them and pop them out for a quick lunch with a nice salad.
Cranberries and pistachios give a little twist to this chicken salad. You could bring along a nice chewy bread roll to make a sandwich for lunch, or eat this chicken salad with some multigrain crackers and a side of cut fresh veggies.
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