Change up your normal lunch prep routine with some ideas that do not require reheating – just store in the fridge and grab when lunchtime arrives. Here are 16 Make-Ahead Cold Lunch Ideas to Prep for Work This Week!
Some people love cold lunches, others needs them out of necessity, because there’s no way to reheat at work! Either way, eventually we all need some variety in those cold lunch meal preps.
Below is a list of 16 delicious make-ahead cold lunch ideas. Some are variations on classics (think chicken salad or turkey wraps), and others are new to me, but maybe you’ve tried (salmon rice balls!). I’m sure there’s something on this list you’ll love!
Video of my Top 5 Favorite Make-Ahead Cold Lunch Ideas (1 minute 25 seconds):
New to meal prep? Here are my best tips:
- Keep it simple. Instead of trying to cook four brand new recipes all in one day, pick only one, maybe two new recipes at a time. After some practice, they’ll become easier and you can add another new recipe without getting overwhelmed.
- Break it down over a couple days. Don’t try to plan, shop and cook all in one day. Instead, do a maximum of one of two of those tasks per day over time.
- Get some sturdy containers. Invest in some high quality glass containers. Your food will last longer and stay fresher in containers with airtight seals. I also love clear glass so you can see exactly what’s inside. More of my container recommendations here.
- How to Meal Prep for Beginners: More info for meal prep beginners here 🙂
16 Make-Ahead Cold Lunch Ideas To Prep For Work This Week
Easy Chicken Salad with Grapes
This super quick and Easy Chicken Salad with Grapes is made with the help of a food processor! My version is filled with veggies, chicken breast, and red grapes in a creamy dressing. Perfect to make-ahead for lunch this week!
Lazy No-Chop Tuna Salad
This Lazy No-Chop Tuna Salad is quick and tasty, using dill pickle relish and spices for max flavor in no time. The recipe makes three servings and works great for tuna sandwiches, wraps, or even a tuna melt!
Chicken & Hummus Plate Lunch Meal Prep
This Project Meal Plan classic is still one of my favorite cold lunches to prep for on the go. Skip the coffee shop bento boxes and make your own at home just by cooking some chicken and prepping some produce.
Easy Turkey Pinwheels Meal Prep
Pinwheels are a super simple deli lunch you can easily make at home and turn into meal prep! This easy turkey version uses spreadable cheese and baby spinach leaves, but there are plenty of ways to modify to your tastes!
Herby Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Fresh, vibrant, and simple, this Herby Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad is fit for any cold lunch connoisseur. Try my super tender air fryer chicken breast method or use rotisserie chicken for a quick and easy protein!
Vietnamese Chicken Salad Recipe (Goi Ga)
This light and delicious cabbage and chicken salad will stay crunchy all week long! Filled with veggies, shredded chicken, and a delightful dressing, this salad will make a super satisfying make-ahead cold lunch.
Greek Salad Pita Pockets with Grilled Chicken Recipe
Load up your pita pockets with this veggie packed Greek salad! The recipe includes delicious baked chicken cutlets and so many fresh veggies. If there's any concern about the pita becoming soggy, store it separately and load it up right before you eat!
Caesar Chicken Salad Lunch Wraps
Mix up the caesar chicken salad ahead of time, then enjoy with greens on a wrap, as a sandwich, or dip in crackers at lunchtime. These Caesar Chicken Salad Lunch Wraps are simple and make-ahead friendly!
Udon with Chicken and Garlicky Peanut Dressing
These udon noodles use rotisserie chicken and a quick homemade dressing to create a noodle dish that definitely gets better after mingling overnight in the refrigerator. The celery and sprouts make these noodles crunchy and refreshing!
Turkey Ranch Club Wraps
These Turkey Ranch Club Wraps have some of my favorite flavors all in one lunch wrap! Super satisfying and easy to adjust with your favorite ingredients, these are wonderful option for make-ahead cold lunches.
Salmon and Black Sesame Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)
Using only 5 ingredients, you can make these delightfully transportable and delicious Rice Balls. If you're over sandwiches and salads, this is a delicious option that will keep you full until dinner. Perfect to make-ahead!
Black Bean And Corn Salad
Here's a different kind of salad packed with vegan friendly ingredients like avocado, black beans and corn. There's no cooking required, so it's easy to throw together and loaded with flavor!
Tuna Egg Salad Meal Prep
I bet you've never had egg salad like this! Or tuna salad for that matter. This make-ahead friendly lunch can be enjoyed with crackers or on a sandwich! Perfect for make-ahead lunches enjoyed at home or at work.
English Muffin Mini Pizzas Meal Prep
Okay, hear me out: cold pizza lovers, this one is for you! These little English muffin pizzas are so cute and customizable. Plus, they taste great cold from the fridge or reheated in a toaster oven if you have that option. Make them with your favorite toppings or leftover fridge finds!
Thai Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce
These fresh veggie rolls make a quick and easy portable lunch!! And that peanut sauce looks perfect for dipping. Use up your favorite fresh veggies to create this simple make-ahead lunch.
Easy Buffalo Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is one of the most versatile and easy cold lunches you can make. If you like buffalo chicken, this one is for you! Eat it as a sandwich, with crackers, or just plain by itself. This one packs a crunch and a punch of buffalo!
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