No-heat lunches

I'm trying to come up with some ideas for lunches that don't require heating (or a thermos). I only get a 15 minute break, and while I can eat quite a bit in that time if I focus, the microwave at work is pretty slow, so I try to avoid food that requires more than a minute zap to get rid of the chill (frozen meals usually take twice the time on the package to heat through).

I got a new lunch container that has one larger container with three smaller ones on the inside: 1 container is approximately 2.5 cups; the other two are 1 cup each. The idea is to use the larger container for fruits and veggies and the two smaller containers for protein and carbs (though I'd remove the two smaller containers and use that space for a sandwich on occasion.

However, I also plan on having breakfast sandwiches on my earlier work days (I just got a new breakfast sandwich maker), so I want to do something other than sandwiches or wraps for lunch. Salads are also a little iffy since they tend to take a bit longer to eat, so I'd rather stick to a smaller side salad over a larger meal salad (I'll keep the meal salads for dinners, days off, and days I get a 30 minute break).

Any ideas?


  • missiontofitness
    missiontofitness Posts: 4,074 Member
    Fruit, potato salad, and lunchmeat rollups with the meat and cheese of your choosing.
  • Sunflower_65
    Sunflower_65 Posts: 2 Member
    I've been trying to find quick, healthy things to take to work for lunch, too. Have you tried Pinterest? I've had some luck with Bento Box pins there. Here's one web site I found with ideas:

  • knittnponder
    knittnponder Posts: 1,954 Member
    My husband's lunches are usually our dinner leftovers. Sometimes he can heat them up but if he's out on a job site he can't so he just eats them cold. Some things are actually really good cold. You could also do salads, sandwiches or wraps or as someone else posted, Bento boxes.
  • JoanaMHill
    JoanaMHill Posts: 265 Member
    Sandwiches is my immediate thought. You shouldn't eliminate them just because you have a breakfast sandwich, because you can put literally anything in them. Leftovers might work too; I often eat leftover pizza or chicken cold rather than heating it up and tastes fine to me.
  • Aemely
    Aemely Posts: 694 Member
    OK, here's my weird no-heat protein lunch. Little shredded chicken can & olives-to-go are self-contained w/ pull-tabs. I keep a bag of crackers in my work bin & the mayo is in the fridge. Warning: I'm a salt-a-holic. :smile:

    Valley Fresh 100% White Chicken, 5 oz. can
    Kraft Light Olive Oil Mayo, 0.4 tbsp.
    Olives-to-Go Black Olives, 1 container (or green olives; subtract 20 cals.)
    Black pepper to taste
    Oyster Crackers, 15 crackers
    ~250 calories
  • 47Jacqueline
    47Jacqueline Posts: 6,993 Member
    As opposed to sandwiches, which I'm sick of, there are all kinds of things I've seen people make in a jar, from salads to various mixtures.
  • sheldonklein
    sheldonklein Posts: 854 Member
    A wedge of frittata. It's best at room temperature
  • aylajane
    aylajane Posts: 979 Member
    I get the precooked frozen chicken (diced, fajita style etc). If you put it in your lunch bag in the morning, it is pretty well thawed by lunchtime so it only requires about 30 sec in the micro to warm up (as opposed to the two minutes on the bag if frozen).

    If you make the steamables veggies in the morning at home (or night before), then put in the same container as the chicken, they only need the same 30 seconds to reheat.
  • skinnyinnotime
    skinnyinnotime Posts: 4,141 Member
    You can make a huge variety of salads using canned tuna, really easy, cheap and full of protein to keep you full.
  • tibby531
    tibby531 Posts: 717 Member
    I do a tuna half-sandwich, a bag of veggies, half a snack bag of popcorn, and an apple.
  • Gidzmo
    Gidzmo Posts: 904 Member
    A sandwich is good--have you considered pita (pocket) bread? I'd be concerned about the mayo-based salads unless you've got some way of keeping things cold.

    If you have access to some already-hot water, there are the Cup O'Soups (if you are watching the sodium intake, then avoid these, as they have a generous amount of sodium).
  • melifornia
    melifornia Posts: 227 Member
    I'm interested in similar lunches for when I substitute teach. I never know if there's going to be a microwave available. (The one time I was SURE there would be, I was subbing for a home ec teacher...but they moved us to a different classroom with no microwaves. *facepalm*)

    Anyway, here are some no-heat lunches that I pack:

    * crackers, cheese, turkey kielbasa, fruit (usually grapes)
    * yogurt, Belvita biscuits, fruit
    * pita bread, hummus, cut up carrots/celery/broccoli/cauliflower
    * lunch meat rollups, applesauce, carrots, chips
  • oxlisaxo91
    oxlisaxo91 Posts: 67 Member
    I tend to do salads, takes me about 5 minutes to demolish it but I don't make a large one or use big leafy greens, I dislike most of them.

    I use a handful of baby spinach leaves, one whole carrot sliced, 25g of cheese and i cut up some orange and throw it in there for a summery taste! (I squeeze the juice out of it prior though)
    Then with the chicken I will have it in a baggy frozen and stick that ontop of my salad and close my lunch lid. Usually after 3-4 hours, exactly around lunch time, the chicken will be thawed and the cheese and salad will still be cool :)
    I will also eat a piece of fruit if i'm still hungry.
  • Aemely
    Aemely Posts: 694 Member
    edited January 2015
    I'm not sure I have enough willpower to bento, but it would be kinda fun to pull out a hard-boiled egg that looked like this... :disagree:



    Also see: & (Warning: This site sells the containers, but still has fun looking "Winter" menu ideas... I'm not affiliated/pushing this in any way...)
  • pamplemousse212
    pamplemousse212 Posts: 1 Member
    I am LOVING the tuna rice salad Can make a big batch and feed off it all week :)
  • SergeantSausage
    SergeantSausage Posts: 1,673 Member
    Every lunch is a "no heat" lunch when you're lazy enough like me.

    Anything that can be eaten warm can be eaten at room temperature or even cold.

    There's no requirement for food temperature in a nutritious, delicious meal.

  • katya_be
    katya_be Posts: 227 Member
    I always make a salad! Every day during the workweek. It is filling and yummy.. a basic salad for me is: Half a roasted chicken breast, half an avocado, half stalk of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, bacon, blue cheese, olives, and anything else that sounds yummy.
  • Want2bthin135
    Want2bthin135 Posts: 30 Member
    Chicken Salad, tuna salad or egg salad, if you don't want a sandwich eat it with crackers. I like the clubhouse crackers. Try the refrigerator oatmeal recipe.
  • AngryViking1970
    AngryViking1970 Posts: 2,847 Member
    I hate using the microwave here at work because there's only one for like 50 people. So...

    - ham salad and crackers (this is my lunch today)
    - frozen cooked shrimp and cocktail sauce (this is mostly defrosted by lunch and just needs a 3 minute soak in cold water)
    - deli meat and cheese rollups with mustard or something else to dip
    - all the salads: 3 bean, tuna and chickpea, Buffalo chicken
    - avocado and grilled chicken on Wasa crispbreads