If you are looking for healthy lunch ideas no microwave, then this post will help. In this post I share with you some healthy no heat lunches. It’s always good to have a variety of things that you can pack in your kids’ lunches if they are eating at school.
With our kids being so young I think they need to enjoy their food while they still will, but I don’t want them loading up on crap either. So my goal is to be flexible with some things that might not be the best choice but may taste yummy or feel yummy, without packing them with too much fat or salt or sugar. Below are cold pasta salad recipes along with the health benefits of eating dinner.
Healthy Lunch Ideas No Microwave
1. Healthy Pesto Chicken and Veggies
2. Avocado Tuna Salad
3. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
4. Mediterranean One Pot Pasta
5. Chicken Bacon Pressed Picnic Sandwiches with Raspberry Honey Mustard
6. Greek Salmon Salad Bowls
7. Korean Beef Power Bowls
8. Mexican Turkey and Bean Quinoa Bowl
9. Greek Lemon Chicken Bowls
10. Sesame Soba Noodles
11. Curried Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups
12. Roasted Butternut Squash Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Couscous
13. Lentil Greek Salad with Dill Sauce
14. Grilled Shrimp Vietnamese Spring Rolls
15. Antipasti Burrata Panzanella
zero microwave. No issue. You can still prepare some fantastic lunches in advance! These incredible tasty No Microwave Make Ahead Lunches are perfect for your weekly menu plan!
You can still rock some make-ahead, meal-prepped meals even if there isn’t a microwave available at lunch. Also, you are not have to endure the same old, same old ham sandwich.
On certain days, you can keep your prepared lunch in the fridge. On some days, you have access to a microwave, so you can reheat your food as much as you like. But occasionally, you simply don’t!
Having been there Fridge space was scarce at my first work, especially in January when everyone was resolving to stop eating lunch with their paychecks. Yet, I’m secretly happy about my limited access to the fridge because it made it easier for me to find meals that I felt comfortable eating at room temperature. Nothing is worse than being starving and having to wait in line for the office microwave, after all (that somehow seems to break once a week).
I’ve compiled a list of 18 dishes that I enjoy and that are ideal (and safe) to store at room temperature without the need for reheating, whether you’re on the go, between courses at school, or there isn’t a microwave or refrigerator at work.
HOW DO YOU KEEP LUNCH COLD WITHOUT A FRIDGE?
Let’s speak about the resources you’ll need for success before we get into the recipes. If you choose the correct lunchbox and ice pack, you may relax knowing that your food isn’t being refrigerated. Here are a few of your top choices.
PackIt – Though they have many fun patterns and colors to choose from, these lunch bags aren’t just nice to look at. PackIt freezable lunch boxes come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit your preferences, whether you’re looking for something smaller to fit in your backpack or a tote to throw over your shoulder.
Store the bag in your freezer overnight, and before you leave for work stick your meal prep containers inside. Then, keep it by your desk until you’re ready to dig in! Your lunch will stay chilled inside.
MIER Adult Lunch Boxes – These bags are insulated, leakproof, and spacious, MIER’s adult lunch boxes will keep your food cool (or warm!) for hours.
Fit and Fresh Cool Coolers – Slim and easily packable, buy this set and use as many as you want—or can fit in your lunch bag—to keep your food cold.
Rubbermaid Sandwich Kit – This little BPA-free unit is a great option to not only keep your main meal cold, but also any snacks you’re taking for the day!
There are ways to heat up your food without a microwave:
HotLogic – If you’re someone who loves eating a hot lunch but you don’t have a microwave at your office, you should probably invest in this mini personal portable oven, which allows you to heat up food on the go and it’s totally safe. How cool is that!
IS FOOD SAFE TO EAT WHEN YOU HAVE NO MICROWAVE OR FRIDGE?
The FDA advises against eating food that has been kept at room temperature for more than two hours because beyond that point it enters the “danger zone,” when its temperature ranges from 40 to 140 degrees F and it may begin to grow dangerous bacteria. You’ll at least quadruple the lifespan of your food if you pack it carefully in an insulated bag with an ice pack. If you’re really concerned, you may put a tiny thermometer in your lunchbox to monitor the temperature. Fortunately, if you apply your judgment, you’ll be fine the majority of the time. These no-reheat recipes won’t let you down, but you should avoid anything that smells or looks strange, and if the first bite doesn’t taste quite right, put it down.
SOME OF OUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE MEALS TO EAT WITH NO MICROWAVE OR FRIDGE:
Veggie Burrito Bowl
A veggie burrito bowl will never let you down, even at room temperature. You can keep extra toppings on the side, too, if you’re worried they will wilt.
Basil Lime Chicken & Peach Kale Salad
This salad is bright, full of texture, and really hits the spot! It is the perfect no-reheat salad to take into the office.
Chickpea, Spinach, Onion and Red Pepper Pita Wraps with Tahini Yogurt Sauce
This sheet pan meal is extremely delicious and versatile! You can switch it up throughout the week to keep things interesting. This meal will stay cool with an ice pack and is perfect for when you run into a situation with no microwave or fridge.
Veg = vegetarian; V = Vegan
NO MICROWAVE OR FRIDGE GRAIN BOWLS
Trendy, yes, but for good reason! These grain bowls aren’t just filling— they’re also great candidates for no-reheat, no-fridge lunches because they taste great at room temp. But the best part is that they’re super versatile—you can switch it up with whatever grain you have on hand or enjoy most.
Quinoa Bowl with Lentils & Mustard Vinaigrette (Veg)
When I’m planning meals for a busy week, I know I’m in good shape if I have lentils and quinoa in my pantry. I love making this grain bowl if I know I’m going to be working remotely, but don’t want to spend $10+ on lunch just because I won’t have a fridge nearby.
Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa Salad (V)
One of my favorite quinoa bowls not just because it takes 30 minutes to make, but because it ticks two of my favorite boxes: unexpected but delicious flavor profile and ONE POT. It also keeps like a dream and somehow gets better as the week goes on.
Spiced Chicken Couscous Salad
Couscous doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, but I’m a huge fan. The spices on the chicken and the texture of couscous make this simple recipe a little unique—definitely not your average chicken and rice bowl! I like the idea of swapping in Israeli couscous, too.
Quinoa Tabbouleh (V)
It’s hard not to love tabbouleh, and I love that adding a bit of quinoa makes it so much more satisfying. This recipe makes 6 servings, so it’s great for sharing with a partner or a roommate.
Kale Butternut Squash Farro Salad (V)
This recipe features my favorite grain, farro. I love its chewy texture, and something about the roasted squash and farro combo just makes me feel cozy whether it’s chilled, warm, OR at room temperature! If you’ve never tried farro…I don’t have anything clever to say, I just think you should try it!
These sandwiches and wraps are self-contained powerhouses. Just assemble, pack, and enjoy when you’re ready, no need to heat up or keep cool. Sandwiches are a great option when there is no microwave or fridge available.
Fruity Peanut Butter Pita (V)
Pita pockets are hearty, durable, and portable, making them perfect for packing into your work bag especially when there is no microwave or fridge. Nearly anything you can put on a sandwich, you can put inside a pita pocket and it’ll be just as good. A perfect example is this upgraded PB&J, or whatever nut butter and fruit or jam combo works for you. Lately I’ve been packing almond butter and sliced plum with a little cinnamon sprinkled inside on Joseph’s pita bread.
Turkey Cheddar & Apple Sandwich
If you haven’t discovered the apple and cheddar and turkey combination, this sandwich is a great and easy start. Two pro-tips here: to avoid soggy bread, toast it slightly before assembling the sandwich and a little lemon juice prevents apple slices from browning—works like a charm!
Grilled Veggie Hummus Wraps (V)
These wraps are packed with veggies, and customizable in just about every way! If you want to take it a step further and make your own hummus as well, here is our easy and delicious recipe!
Curried Chicken Salad
The day I discovered curry chicken salad was a very happy day. Not a fan of mayo, like me? I sub plain greek yogurt with a little lemon juice. Put this inside a wrap, pita pocket, or on toasted bread and you’re in business.
Buffalo Tofu Wrap (Veg)
I was late to the buffalo-anything game, but buffalo tofu and tempeh is now something I crave at least once a month. Great on a sandwich or a wrap, or stuffed into a pita!
Cold Pasta Salad Recipes
They’re not just for summer barbecues. After you prepare a pasta salad, the flavors of all the ingredients continue to meld, so that by the time you sit down to eat lunch, it’ll usually taste even better than when you first prepped it!
Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Dressing (V)
One of my go-to pasta salad recipes all year round, especially when you have no microwave or fridge. The dressing is delicious—and when I’m out of sugar, I make the recipe with honey and it tastes just as great. However, it won’t still be vegan if you do use honey. Maybe try agave instead.
Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad With Chickpeas
This pasta salad is great cold, at room temperature, or heated up if you do in fact have a microwave! Choose your favorite store-bought pesto, or if you own a food processor, you can try your hand at making pesto. Here’s an easy recipe that can be your go-to.
Spicy Peanut Soba Noodle Salad (Veg)
So flavorful, and having this easy spicy peanut sauce in your arsenal will be a game-changer.
Greek Chicken Pasta Salad
Give me a Greek salad any day of the year and I’m happy. Add pasta into the mix and your Greek salad will actually have some staying power. The lemon juice is your secret weapon for keeping all the veggies in this salad extra fresh in your bag.
Mexican Pasta Salad (Veg)
Never thought to combine Mexican flavors with pasta? You really need to try this creamy, zesty salad with a kick.
Benefits of Eating Lunch
1. Lunch Fuels Your Brain and Body
Have you ever felt really lethargic after staying at your desk past your lunch break? More than 70% of workers state that having too much work to do is the main reason they don’t take their lunch break. Nonetheless, missing lunch in order to do more work actually backfires.
When your body hasn’t received the nutrition it requires, skipping lunch is linked to mental weariness and poor memory.
In fact, skipping lunch might result in a reduction in blood sugar, which can make you feel tired, drowsy, and in some cases, disoriented. You’re more likely to be irritable and feel cognitive fog when you’re weary, which can start a vicious cycle of exhaustion.
On the other hand, a heavy or unhealthy lunch can result in a blood sugar rise and consequent mental tiredness. Also, it might make you eat worse food later on in the day! (And that also brings with it a whole other set of issues…)
To stay alert, energized, and on top of your game, eat a balanced lunch every day that includes a variety of healthful foods. But, it’s likely that when you image something “healthy,” you’re picturing a salad without dressing. The good news is that flavor can still be retained when eating healthily. Eating scrumptious and healthful lunches is simple with our freshly prepared, chef-crafted meals.
2. A Good Lunch = A Good Life!
Making sure you have a filling and healthy lunch each day can stop the aforementioned problems from ever occurring. Moreover, it can aid in preventing the dreadful hangry syndrome (which is pleasant for anybody).
A satisfying meal keeps your metabolism active, resulting in better, healthier body systems all around. Taking a lunch break is crucial if you want to feel better, lose weight, or be more productive in the afternoon.
3. Weight Loss and The Irony of Skipping Lunch
Not eating is NOT the solution if you’re trying to lose weight! Recall how your body enters “starvation mode” when you skip a meal? Simply said, skipping a meal tells the body that you may be starving, which causes it to store extra calories in anticipation of “survival” later. Your metabolism will slow down as a result, and your desires for carbohydrates will intensify.
According to studies, missing meals causes your metabolism to slow down and reduces your calorie burn. That resembles skipping a workout from your day in many ways! Hence, not only will you eat more calories by the end of the day, but your body will also burn fewer calories overall.
Several studies have consistently shown that people who skip meals are more likely to be overweight or obese.
The solution is not starvation. You must eat if you want to maintain a healthy weight or reduce weight.