30 Easy Make-Ahead Lunch Ideas

Tired of having the same old sandwich for lunch? Try these 30 Easy Make-Ahead Lunch Ideas instead. 

make-ahead lunch recipes such as salads, wraps, sandwiches, soups

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Let’s face it, mornings can be crazy busy as everyone is running around getting ready for work and school. So, having lunch already prepared and waiting for you is the ultimate time-saving hack.

Between our quick 5 minute breakfasts and make-ahead lunches, our mornings are a lot less stressful these days. 

Plus, since we are better prepared, we are enjoying a variety of different lunch options instead of the same old boring sandwiches every day.

So, if you are stuck in a lunch rut and looking for new ideas, give these 30 easy make-ahead lunch options a try.

Need lunch ideas for the kiddos?

30 Easy Make-Ahead Lunch Ideas

These lunch ideas consist of salads, sandwiches, wraps, soups, and stews. They are perfect to take on the go or eat at home all year long.


Add one of these delicious salads as a side to your next sandwich, soup, or wrap for a hearty and satisfying make-ahead lunch option.

Pasta salad with tomatoes, cheese, chicken and pesto

Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad– She’s Not Cookin’

pasta salad with vegetables and bacon

BLT Pasta Salad– Princess Pinky Girl

angel hair pasta salad with tomatoes

Angel Hair Pasta Salad– The Gifted Gabber

salad with vegetables and quinoa

Zesty Quinoa Salad– Midwestern HomeLife

Tuscan salad with beans

Tuscan Bean Salad- Gastronotherapy

Salad with broccoli meat and cheese

Classic Broccoli Salad– Cinnamon and Sage Co.

Salad with pecans, cranberries and brussels sprouts

Cranberry Pecan Brussels Sprouts Salad– Blackberry Babe

Barbecue chicken and salad in glass jars

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad– Healthy Family Project

pasta salad with vegetables and tuna

Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe– Mae’s Menu


Looking for more sandwich options to take your lunch to the next level? These make-ahead lunch ideas are sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

chicken salad with celery and grapes

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans- Barley and Sage

egg salad

Spinach Egg Salad-Cooking for My Soul

sub sandwich with lettuce onion tomato and meat

Italian Sub Sandwiches- Spend With Pennies

pinwheel sandwich with meat, cheese and vegetables

Pinwheel Sandwiches– Amanda’s Cookin’


Wraps are not only delicious and filling but they are the perfect healthy lunch choice that can be made ahead of time to enjoy the next day.

turkey wrap with spinach

Crunchy Turkey Spinach Wraps- Organized Island

wrap with buffalo chicken

5-Minute Buffalo Chicken Wrap- Everyday Family Cooking

chicken with lettuce and avocado on wrap

California Chicken Wraps– Dash of Herbs

ranch chicken in a tortilla shell

Ranch Chicken Wraps– Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

avocado tomato and vegetables in a wrap

Avocado Tomato Power Salad Wrap– Joyous Apron

granola peanut butter and apples in a tortilla shell

Granola Crunch Apple-Peanut Butter Sandwich Wraps– Two Healthy Kitchens

Wrap with meat, cheese and peppers

Air Fryer Hot Italian Wraps-Munchy Goddess

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Meal Prep Bowls

If you are like me and love meal prep bowls then these simple and satisfying meals are the perfect grab-and-go lunches.

chicken, beans lettuce and tomatoes in a black bowl

Chicken Burrito Bowls– Chef Savvy

glass bowl with tomatoes, cucumbers and chicken

Greek Chicken Meal Prep Bowls– Budget Delicious

chicken and vegetables in glass bowls

Chicken Meal Prep Bowls- Recipes from a Pantry

vegetables, pepperoni, crackers, grapes and oranges in a glass dish

DIY Adult Lunchables-Smack of Flavor

Soups/ Stews

During chilly fall days and cold winter months, there is nothing better for lunch than a hot, steaming bowl of homemade soup. These delicious soup recipes will warm you up in no time.

Sausage and zucchini soup in white bowl with spoon

Sausage and Zucchini Soup-Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

sweet potato and broccoli soup in white bowl with spoon

Broccoli and Sweet Potato Soup-The Littlest Crumb

kale and sausage soup in white bowl

Italian Sausage Kale Soup-Craving Some Creativity

chili with chilis and cheese

Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa– Piping Pot Curry

Love your instant pot? Me too! Here are 25 more delicious Instant Pot recipes.

chicken pot pie with fork

Chicken Pot Hand Pies-Quiche My Grits

Cold Plate

cold plate with salad and cheese and pepperoni

While I enjoy a bowl of hot soup and a sandwich during the winter months, in the summer I love having a cold plate. A cold plate is basically a combination of different types of salads, meats, and cheeses. 

My grandmother usually served potato salad, macaroni salad, cottage cheese, ham or turkey rolled up, sliced cheese, and a pickle on her cold plates.

Cold plates are the perfect way to use up that leftover picnic or party food. Just assemble the leftovers into meal prep containers and add some meats and cheeses.

During the summer I’m always making a summer salad for dinner and eating leftovers is a great way to save money on your groceries.

Hopefully, these delicious recipes have inspired you to try something new for lunch this week. The best part is that you can mix and match these make-ahead lunch ideas for the perfect lunchtime combination. Enjoy!

Don’t forget dinner… Try these easy budget-friendly recipes:

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