15 Healthy Cold Lunch Ideas | Family Friendly Cold Lunch Recipes

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Having no access to a microwave or refrigerator should not stop you from preparing and eating some healthy and delicious meals. And if you should know, there are actually a variety of dishes that tastes better cold (or room temperature) than warm! With that said, here are some tasty cold lunch ideas that are quick and easy to make.

If you’ve never heard of cold lunch before, let me explain. Cold lunch is basically just another word for packed lunch. It’s the lunchbox that you prepare in the morning for your kids or even for yourself. People call it cold lunch because it’s no longer newly-cooked by the time you eat it. Hence, it’s cold. At first glance, packed lunch doesn’t seem so appealing. But you’ll be surprised. With a bit of creativity and love for the kitchen, you can have some really awesome packed lunch. I’ve experienced this myself. In this article, I am going to share with you some of my favorite cold lunch ideas as well as the ones that I crafted for myself. 

Cold Lunch Ideas For Guests

When we talk about cold lunch, the first ideas that come to mind would be office lunch or school lunch. But think harder. It could also be for recreational purposes. Let’s say that you decided to go on a picnic with a couple of friends or perhaps a certain organization. 

If you’re the one who is hosting this special and personal event, you’re going to need cold lunch ideas for guests

Picnics sound so simple but they can cause a lot of anxiety. Will they like the food? What impression is this event leaving to your guests? Stuff like that. 

Not to worry. I’ve pre-selected some cold lunch ideas that you can surely use for your picnic guests:

  • Hearty Muffeleta

Cold cuts, cheese, olive salad, mixed into an Italian bread shell. 

  • Salmon Salad Sandwiches

Everyone loves sandwiches. They have everything we can ask for. The meat, vegetables, and just the right amount of carbs so that you don’t easily get hungry. 

  • Sausage Kebabs

It just makes the picnic more interesting!

Cold Lunch Ideas for Husband

Some people say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And there is some truth to this statement.

Nothing makes our husbands feel more cared for than being fed the best meals. And If I have fantastic cold lunch ideas for husbands that you can recycle. 

But before that, here’s a question: why settle for cold lunches when you can just buy your husband his favorite meal? 

One of the biggest reasons would be the potential for savings. Naturally, if you cook the food yourself then you’ll surely save a lot of money compared to buying food from a fast-food chain or restaurant. 

But most importantly, there is just something about cold lunches that makes it more personal for your husband. With your cooking, your husband won’t be able to taste another one just like it. 

So, here are some of the cold lunch ideas that I’ve been talking about:

  • Chicken Salad And Dipping Chips

All men love chicken and most especially chips. Your husband will surely appreciate a meal like this coming from you. And he will most certainly love it if you add a bit of your own specialty to the plate

  • Meatlovers Salad

There aren’t many husbands who would be crazy for salad but I know that they will be more than willing to give it a try if there are lots of meat that comes along with it. 

  • Bagel with Cream Cheese

Come on! Who can resist the good old cream cheese?

Cold Lunch Ideas For School

Cold lunch for school can go two ways. It could be for you if you are a college or graduate school student. Or if you’re a mom just like me, you could be wanting to make some good old cold lunch for your own child. Either way, I know for sure that you are going to love the cold lunch ideas that I will be sharing with you in this section. 

  • Granola Butter Role Up with Apple Sauce

This is something that kids or even you yourself will love. It’s a great alternative to peanut butter. 

  • Mini White Bagel Sandwich 

If you want a quick lunch prep, this is it. I highly recommend that you add some sweet potatoes to the mix. It makes it heavier on the stomach so it lasts you longer. 

  • Cheese and Crackers with fruits

Cheese and crackers are something that I have always loved as a child. It’s one of the meals that I still loved to eat even as I grew older. 

  • Hummus Roll Up and Milk

No matter what age you are, nothing can beat the combination of milk and hummus. 

See also hot school lunch ideas.

Cold Lunch Ideas That Doesn’t Require A Microwave or Fridge

When I first started to make packed lunches for an entire week (as a way to save time), my fridge would be full half of the time. 

Little did I know that I could actually get away with making cold lunches without storing them in a fridge or having to rely on a microwave oven to make the food tastier. 

Here are some of the cold lunch ideas that let you do just that:

  • Rice Cake and Nut Butter Rolls

This doesn’t sound much but just wait until you actually taste it. It tastes like heaven!

  • Soba Noodle Salad

It’s just like one of those things you’ll see paired with Korean meals. 

  • Orzo Salad

I had no idea what this was but a friend recommended it to me. I didn’t regret making it. It became one of my favorite meals of all time. Aside from the delicious taste that it leaves in your mouth, it is also quite healthy. 

  • Veggie Burrito Bowl

This will never let you down. I’m not talking about just the amount of time you can leave it out of the fridge before it goes bad. But this veggie burrito bowl can also compete with a whole lot of meat-based food that we all love so much. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the recipes that I have shared with you so far. Which one did you like best? Did you get the chance to try one of the recipes already? Let us know in the comment section. In the meantime, perhaps, you may want to indulge in some other cold lunch ideas that I crafted on my own right below. 

15. Mediterranean Orzo Salad | Orzo Salad Recipe

This mediterranean orzo salad is a delicious side dish or a lunch recipe bursting with mediterranean flavors. Chick peas, olives, artichoke hearts ,feta cheese, orzo pasta and many more colorful ingredients are tossed with a home made lemony jalapeno dressing.

Check it here.

14. Peanut Crunch Salad in a Jar

A healthy, protein packed, super tasty lunch doesn’t get any easier than this Peanut Crunch Salad in a Jar. Make up a bunch of them while meal prepping on Sunday and you will have grab-and-go lunches all ready in the fridge for your week ahead!

Check it here.

13. Leftover Spaghetti Frittata

Leftover Spaghetti Frittata is one of the best things in life! You can start with cold, cooked pasta out of your fridge or boil some just to make this authentic Italian dish! It’s great for picnics, lunches and brunches.

Check it here.

12. Quinoa Cranberry Salad

This Quinoa Cranberry Salad is full of fresh, feel good flavours that everyone will love! With nutrient rich spinach, sweet dried cranberries and a zippy lemon dressing, it is able to stand alone as a protein packed, healthy meal, or can be served as a side.

Check it here.

11. Homemade Turkey Lunch Meat

Homemade Turkey Lunch Meat is so easy! In just over 30 minutes, you’ll have delicious, juicy sandwich meat that’s healthier than what you can buy at the deli!

Check it here.

10. Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Chickpeas

This Cucumber and Tomato Salad is a summertime favorite. It’s loaded with refreshing veggies, protein-rich chickpeas, and tossed with a light, lemony dressing.

Check it here.

9. Instant Pot Mujadara Lentils and Rice

Mujadara – This Instant Pot mujadara recipe is a delicious combination of lentils, rice and caramelized onions. This fragrant vegetarian recipe comes together quickly in your pressure cooker, making it perfect for any night of the week.

Check it here.

8. Dill Pickle Chicken Salad (Whole30, Low Carb)

Dill Pickle Chicken Salad, made with oven baked, slow cooker, or Instant Pot chicken, crunchy pickles, red onion, fresh dill, mayo and garlic.

Check it here.

7. Easy Ranch Pasta Salad – Go To Recipe

Easy Ranch Pasta Salad is my go to summer pasta salad recipe – perfect for serving at BBQ’s or summery family dinners and it’s super easy to make too!

Check it here.

6. Chickpea Salad Cucumber Boats

Delicious, refreshing, and easy, these Chickpea Salad Cucumber Boats are the perfect meal for a hot summer day! They’re gluten free and vegetarian, and can easily be made vegan.

Check it here.

5. Italian Marinated Green Bean Salad

A refreshing marinated green bean salad with red onions, chickpeas, and homemade Italian dressing! This vegan side dish is loaded with nutrition and great for summer potlucks and cookouts.

Check it here.

4. Healthy Israeli Breakfast Bento Box – 7 Ingredients

Healthy Israeli Breakfast Bento Box is a nutritious and filling meal, made with just 7 ingredients!

Check it here.

3. Vegan Italian Pasta Salad

So this vegan “cheesy” Italian Pasta Salad recipe is ridiculously good. I mean pasta salad in general is good for a number of reasons.

Check it here.

2. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean quinoa salad is a wonderfully healthy side dish or meatless main meal. Tender quinoa is tossed with fresh basil pesto, artichokes, Kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes.

Check it here.

1. Apricot Almond Chicken Salad

Apricot almond chicken salad an all white meat chicken salad with sweet apricots, crunchy almonds, and tangy fresh tarragon.

Check it here.

Cold Lunch Ideas – 15 Family Friendly Options You Will Love!

Cold Lunch Ideas – 15 Family Friendly Options You Will Love!

Having no access to a microwave or refrigerator should not stop you from preparing and eating some healthy and delicious meals. With that said, here are some tasty cold lunch ideas that are quick and easy to make.


  • Mediterranean orzo salad
  • Peanut Crunch Salad in a Jar
  • Leftover Spaghetti Frittata
  • Quinoa Cranberry Salad
  • Turkey Lunch Meat


    1. Choose any cold lunch ideas from the post that you like.
    2. Click on the link below the photo to get the full recipes and instructions.
    3. Try the best cold lunch ideas and share your photo under my pin on Pinterest!

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