Need cold lunch ideas so you can eat healthier and save money? No problem, these make ahead lunches have got you covered!
48 Make Ahead Lunches
So often in life it seems like things either cost you money or time, do you know what I mean? For example, you can save money by brown bagging your lunch, but that takes time. I don’t know about your home, but around here, time is pretty darn scarce! However, I really like saving money and helping my family stay on budget, so it can be a bit of a conundrum. Well, at least it was a bit of a conundrum…and then I discovered these easy make ahead lunches!
Make ahead lunches allow you to enjoy all the benefits of packing your lunch without the pressure to get it all made before heading out the door. Instead, you whip up your make ahead lunch bowl or dish the night before or in some cases, as much as 5 days in advance. Then it’s just grab and go each morning! 🙂
Sound good? Great! Start saving money and time today with these 48 healthy make ahead lunches!
Make Ahead Salads for Lunch
1. Mason Jar Taco Salad Recipe (Mason Jar Breakfast & More) – Celebrate Taco Tuesday with this tasty and easy taco salad recipe. As with many healthy make ahead lunches, with just a few tweaks you can make this recipe even healthier without sacrificing on taste. For example, go light the tortilla chips or use ground chicken or turkey instead of ground beef.
2. Easy Quinoa Salad (Food Meanderings) – This yummy make ahead lunch bowl is vegan friendly and gluten free. You can make this entire dish the night before, but to make prep even easier, you can whip up a big batch of quinoa as much as a week in advance and use it as needed.
Bonus: Don’t let gluten intolerance keep you from enjoying nutritious and delicious meals. Here are 21 gluten free lunch ideas you and your tastebuds will love!
3. Easy Canned Salmon Salad (Trisha Dishes) – 4 ingredients and 10 minutes (or less!) are all you need to pull off this easy make ahead lunches recipe. Plus, the salmon gives you a healthy dose of protein.
4. Vegetarian Greek Quinoa Salad (Moneywise Moms) – Some of the best make ahead lunches for work, like this one, consist of last night’s leftovers. You can make this tasty side dish in just 30 minutes and then have a healthy (and vegetarian friendly) lunch option for the next day.
5. Rice Cooker Quinoa Salad with Dried Cherries and Feta (Vintage Kitty) – Remember a few moments ago when I mentioned making a big batch of quinoa at the start of the week to use in your make ahead lunch ideas? Here’s how to do it with a rice cooker!
6. Sesame Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing (Vintage Kitty) – Make ahead lunch bowls, like this, are often nutritious, delicious, and pretty to look at. The rainbow of colors created by the fruits and vegetables in this recipe are sure to brighten your day! 🙂
7. Macaroni Egg Salad (Dancing Through the Rain) – Take egg salad to the next level with this make ahead lunches for work recipe. I’ll admit that adding pasta to your egg salad sounds strange…but it tastes amazing! This recipe also works great for neighborhood block parties, picnics, and backyard barbecues.
8. Quick and Easy Tuna Avocado Salad (Fearless Dining) – Healthy make ahead lunches don’t have to sacrifice on taste! Take this recipe, for example; it forgoes carb-filled bread in favor of healthy fat-filled avocados that are creamy with hints of butteriness and nuttiness.
9. Easy Asian Tuna Vermicelli Noodle Salad (Fearless Dining) – Curb those Chinese takeout cravings with this easy make ahead lunch option. It takes just 10 minutes of prep time, can easily be made the night before, and has just 101 calories per serving.
Bonus: Here are 25 more healthy lunch recipes for work.
10. Whole 30 Prawn & Avocado Salad (Recipe This) – Looking for make ahead lunch ideas that take your tastebuds on an adventure? Look no further than this creative salad recipe filled with nutritious ingredients like avocados, greens, and prawns.
11. Paleo Best Ever Slow Cooked Chicken Salad (Recipe This) – Watching your waistline but can’t stomach one more salad? No worries; not all healthy make ahead lunches are “rabbit” food. This chicken recipe is hearty, healthy, and protein packed!
12. Orange, Pistachio and Pomegrante Couscous Salad (Recipes From a Pantry) – This vegan make ahead lunch bowl definitely sounds a bit odd. Pistachios and pomegranates? Really? Yep, really. Give it a try. You’re in for a surprising flavor combination that you’ll want to try again and again.
13. Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Caroline’s Cooking) – Here’s a make ahead lunches for work recipe that’s an exotic twist on traditional chicken salad. It’s sure to keep the day exciting! Bonus: It only takes 10 minutes to prep.
14. French Lentil Salad with Feta, Fennel, and Celery (Caroline’s Cooking) – Quick and easy make ahead lunches don’t have to be boring. This lentil salad is packed full of flavor combos you don’t typically encounter.
15. Zucchini Noodle Salad with Bacon and Tomatoes (Wholesome Yum) – Looking for make ahead lunch ideas you don’t have to feel guilty about? Look no further! This “noodle” salad keeps things healthy by using spiral-ized zucchini in place of regular noodles. Don’t worry, it’s not all healthy…this recipe also includes bacon, and everything is better with bacon, right? 😉
16. Healthy Layered Mason Jar Salads (Evolving Table) – Ready to come up with your own healthy make ahead lunches? Go ahead, put on your chef hat and go crazy! This “recipe” guides you through making delicious layered Mason jar salads.