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5 Easy and Totally Sandwich-Free Lunch Box Ideas

How do you feel about sandwiches? I’m a bit of a bread avoider so I rarely eat them but when I do, I feel like I want to curl up under my desk and nap for the rest of the day. It’s like they’re made of sleep. I went to a conference last week and for the whole three days, there was nothing for lunch but sandwiches. Which I totally understand, it’s the easiest way to feed a bunch of people but I just can’t eat stodgy lunches that many days in a row. Look, I love a cheeky sanga every now and then (especially ham, pickles and cheese) but I can only handle one sandwich a week max. Otherwise, I write off my whole afternoon in a carb-induced coma. I work from home but if I need to eat on the run I often pack my own lunch box.

Here are few sandwich-free lunch box ideas to get you out of your lunch rut…

sandwich-free lunch box ideas

1. Rice Paper Rolls

You can put almost anything in rice paper rolls – lettuce, avocado, tofu, chicken, carrot, vermicelli noodles. I particularly love this recipe from Minimalist Baker because it’s full of yummy quinoa which will leave you full for the afternoon and not chewing on the walls because you’re so damn hungry!

sandwich-free lunch box ideas

2. Mason Jar Salad

Again, you can put almost anything in a mason jar salad but this one from Rachel Cooks is a staple for my work lunches. I know I’m not supposed to used the dreaded ‘clean’ word but this salad is just super fresh and well… clean. I use buckwheat instead of farro because I have no idea where to find farro. I always dump my mason jar salads in a bowl because eating straight from a mason jar is really frustrating. You heard it here first.

sandwich-free lunch box ideas

3. Homemade Pot Noodles

I have a weird affinity with anything you can home-make that shouldn’t be homemade. Like pot noodles. I pinned this recipe about a year ago and didn’t make it until last week when I was feeling a bit under the weather but my lord is it a delicious little pot of goodness to take to work with you. You just add hot water when you want to eat them. It’s such a good way of packing soup for lunch without the worry of it spilling in your handbag.

4. Frittata

sandwich-free lunch box ideas

I feel like frittata often gets overlooked. It’s such a wholesome and healthy little pocket of food good – veggies and eggs. What’s not to love? You can make a batch of little frittatas at the beginning of the week and pack them in your lunch box with a yummy side salad. I’ve tried these from Free From Heaven and they’re really tasty. They also make all your workmates super jealous.

5. Chunky Soup

sandwich-free lunch box ideas

I have a little soup Thermos that I love and it’s totally leak proof. I carry it when I work from my co-working space several times a week, filled yummy soup and it keeps it hot all day, which is perfect if I’m out and about and won’t be near a microwave. I’ve tried a few vegetable and ‘detox’ soups but I find they just don’t fill me up enough, so I tried this one from Bbritnell and it’s amazing. Perfect for winter and way more satisfying than a sandwich.

I’m eating hardcore amounts of vegetables this week to try to keep winter colds at bay. Mr Smaggle has a scratchy throat so he’s banned from

What does a regular everyday work lunch look like to you? Do you prefer sandwich-free lunch boxes?

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  1. Author
    Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

    It’s similar to this one – you can get them at DJs.

    I’m the same. I only have to walk past a bakery and my body just absorbs all the wheaty goodness and suddenly my pants don’t fit anymore.

  2. Author
    Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

    I adore left overs! They’re the best. We had soft tacos this week and it made for the best ever treat Wednesday lunch. So good!

  3. I like sandwiches. The problem is I don’t usually like slapping one together because mine tend to be kind of boring! Thanks for the tip about rice paper spring rolls. That’s something I should be doing. I have an hour for lunch and I’m just a few minutes away so I come home every day to let my dogs out. Lunch for me is often a baked potato in the microwave while I’m outside with the dogs. Sometimes a sandwich. More often than not I plan on leftovers from whatever I had for dinner the night before.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Rice paper rolls are great! And you can make them the night before because they last! I’m actually VERY good at making sandwiches they just make me so sleepy!

  4. melanie postmus 5 years ago

    Great post Carly! I’m tired of sandwiches and bread in general. I love the look of these recipes – tasty and healthy. Will give them a go 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Sandwiches get so boring and stodgy after a while!

  5. Missy D 5 years ago

    Love a sandwich, but I mostly do the leftovers thing so I don’t have to make extra meals.

  6. Erika 5 years ago

    Beloved and I are trying to do the whole low-carb/high protein bit for health reasons (insulin resistance for both of us, CFS for me). Leftovers are brilliant, so I plan our weekly shop with that in mind. A roast so that there’s bones for making stock and odd bits of meat for making into a soup (or if it’s really thick, a potage). A big pan of savoury mince (quick, easy, cheap, very low carbohydrate) means two or three extra lunchs. Ditto pretty much any stew. Ratatouille – same deal (add grated cheese for protein), with the added bonus of not having to share because Himself doesn’t like eggplant. I’m also a big fan of either yoghurt with honey or an apple (small and tart, like a Sundowner – or if I can get older varieties – any of the pippins) and a chunk of brie on days where I’m not very hungry or just generally nauseous.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Are you doing low carb high protein or low card high fat? Low carb high fat has been a game changer for me for real – I won’t go back to any other kind of eating, it’s amazing. I’m hugely into savoury mince! We make some most weeks.

      • Erika 5 years ago

        High protein and moderate fat (so lavish amounts of butter and cream). We’ve both found we’re eating less (but not hungry). And our butcher loves us 🙂

        So on days when we do have taties, bread, rice or pasta, we REALLY enjoy them – they’re no longer a staple, much more of a treat.

        I’m using this as a guide (, but not really bothering with any measuring or calculations. And including dairy, but not seafood (which I’m allergic to).

        • Tanya 5 years ago

          Your meal ideas sound delicious Erika!

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