Locker-Friendly Foods for Your Kid’s (or Your) Lunchbox

We're always on the lookout for lunchbox-friendly foods that can withstand a morning without refrigeration. Here are our top 10 picks.

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Top 10 No-Fridge Lunchbox Foods

Now that another summer is heading toward an end, we're on the lookout for lunchbox-friendly foods that can withstand a morning without refrigeration. Insulated lunchboxes help, as do ice packs. But ice packs are heavy, and they get lost. A couple of judiciously frozen items can do double duty keeping your lunchbox cold: Frozen water bottles or frozen packs of applesauce or yogurt keep food cold and ought to thaw out by lunchtime. Otherwise, here are our top 10 no-fridge lunchbox foods.

Nut Butter

If school's not nut-free, nut butters (on celery or on bread) do just fine unrefrigerated.


Easy, go-to protein that’s designed to withstand warm temperatures. Beef, pork and fish jerkies all exist (and are delicious).

Dried Fruit

Both the regular standbys (raisins, dates or apricots) and freeze-dried fruits (blueberries, strawberries or apples) work nicely in the heat.

Pita and Dips

Hummus and baba ghanoush work just fine at room temperature (with tapenade or black olives on the side).


Bread, cherry tomatoes and basil (with olive oil for dipping) make a simple, fun snack. If you have an ice pack, add little mozzarella balls to the combo.

Savory Muffins or Hand Pies

Bake off a batch with bacon or cheese inside for an easy hand-held meal.

Cold Food

Insulated soup containers aren’t just for keeping food hot: Try cold sesame noodles, gazpacho or fruit salad.

Fruit (with Peels)

Bananas, grapes and peaches all hold up nicely.

Whole Vegetables

Whole little peppers, whole baby cucumbers, or carrots or celery sticks don’t care what temperature it is.


Great for stirring into yogurt once the yogurt is thawed.

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