How to Keep Lunch Cold Without Refrigeration

For all of us who have to be at the office or anywhere else during lunch time, there has always been an issue of keeping lunch cold or in safe temperature. We cannot have a refrigerator everywhere we go.

But most of us cannot give up the nutritious homemade food with the fear of getting it spoilt as the store-bought is not hygienic and healthy all the time. So, what should we do to keep our lunches cold?

The food that we prepare in the morning and eat at midday gives us no assurance that it is still alright. I don’t know what other people feel. But the food needs to be cold or heated up if you want to stay in good health. The food gets warm by midday and that warm food is harmful to the health.

We send our children to school with a lunchbox prepared in the morning. Can anyone guarantee that the food will stay fresh till it is midday? I don’t think so. But every school or office or other workplaces hasn’t got a refrigerator. We have to have alternative ways to keep lunch cold without refrigeration.

Why do we need to keep lunch cold

Most children in the U.S fall victim to stomach problems due to eating food that might have been spoilt because of temperature rise. The food has to be at a temperature between 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Any temperature below or under this range will take the food to a ‘danger zone!’ By this term ‘danger zone’ I refer to the state where harmful bacteria start to increase their number and to rot the food.

The food that has been such harmed by bacteria must not be eaten. But we often have to swallow these foods without even knowing that it has been such damaged. This yields foodborne illness that results in stomach aches, vomiting, diarrhoea, etc.!


This is why we need to keep the lunch cold. We have to do it for our safety. What if we really don’t have any refrigerator in our workplace or school?

So, we need to keep our lunch cold without refrigeration. Let’s look into some steps how we can do that.

Pack food in insulated lunch bags

Taill date, we’ve been using brown paper bags to take lunch. I guess those days are over now. Shouldn’t we invest in a more reliable thing than those paper bags? To keep our lunch safe and cold we might consider using insulated bags.

These bags, as the name suggests, don’t let any heat to enter through the bags and heat up the food. The lunch box, the water bottle stay at the temperature you packed them in.


The insulated lunch bags will cost you more than the paper bags but will keep your food undamaged and healthy. The insulated bags are made of safe materials, so you don’t have to worry about any kind of contamination.

These packs keep your water bottle cool too. If you have these bags as your lunch bag, you won’t have to worry that the food will get rotten with the temperature rise.These bags are handy if you are going to school or work or hiking or any other activities.

Whatever condition you might get in, the food inside the bag will stay just in the temperature you took them in.

Using Ice cubes

You can use ice cubes to keep lunch cold. Fill an ice tray the night before. Next day, pack your lunch box. Then take the ice cubes out of the dish. Take a ziplock bag. Place the ice cubes in the ziplock bag and then put the lunchbox in it. Push all the air out of the bag and then lock it properly. Our lunch pack is ready.

The ice cubes will keep the food cool until mid-day or afternoon. Your lunch will have the perfect temperature, and it will not get spoilt. And you won’t need any refrigeration till noon. You can have your lunch all chilled and cold the way you want.Ice cubes can make this process so easy. You can make a lot of ice cubes and use them throughout the week. And, stay relaxed about the food. This way you won’t have to put a lot of efforts for keeping the food safe.


Refrigerate at the night before

Consider preparing the lunch on the night before. Yes, that can help. Prepare your lunchbox for the previous night and then put the box in the freezer. Let it get frozen overnight. Don’t worry; I’m not telling you to swallow ice chunks for lunch! In the morning, you have to take the lunchbox out and take it to work.

The food will get to the average temperature by lunchtime. Or you can do another thing. You can freeze the ingredient overnight; for instance, the sandwich bread. In the morning, you just have to make the sandwich with those bread and pack your lunchbox. And the food will stay cold and safe when you have them.

This is also a great way. At lunchtime, when you will have those sandwiches, you won’t even feel that the bread was frozen the night before. Trust me; I’ve been doing this for all my life and never had to have food rotten in my lunch pack.

Using cold water bottle

This one is another great alternative to refrigeration. Take a bottle and fill it with drinking water. Put the bottle in the freezer. Let it stay there overnight. In the morning, put this bottle along with your lunch box in a ziplock bag.

The frozen water bottle will keep the food cold, and the water will defreeze by midday. This process is easy and more than that; it saves a lot of time. This way you can keep the lunch cold even without the need for refrigeration. Also, you can have chilled and fresh water this way. 


Use insulated food containers

The insulated food containers are not new inventions. They have been introduced earlier, but people don’t use them a lot. I think they should. Like the insulated lunch bags, the insulated containers also don’t let any heat enter through them. This is what we need. We need to keep the temperature of the surrounding from damaging our foods.

You will find insulated water bottles or flasks, food containers etc. in the stores. It’s time to make a wise choice and shift from plastic containers to insulated ones. They can keep the food safe and hygienic.

These containers keep cold things cold and hot things hot. So, if you want to have your lunch warm and tasty, insulated containers should be your choice.


Use steel containers

You can carry food in the steel containers too. The metal-based containers keep food cooler than other containers. So, you might consider starting to use them. If you carry your food in a steel box, it’ll likely have fewer chances that your food will get warm by the surrounding temperature.

This is precisely what we need. You should buy a couple of steel containers for taking your lunch. This way is simpler than all others. You just have to buy some of these containers and do nothing else than carrying the food in them

Use earthen pots

Though it’s a too much old practice, it has its benefits. Earthen pots keep food cold. After cooking food, wait until the food reaches the room temperature. When you see that the food’s temperature is average, you have to transfer it to an earthen pot or plate and cover it.

It will keep the food cold and harmless. You can search stores for these pots. Once you have them, you won’t have to worry about eating food that you cannot guarantee is safe. 


So, these are some ways where you can keep your lunch cold even without refrigeration. Though some of the ways here included freezing things overnight, they don’t require you to refrigerate the food at your workplace or school.

The ways I described here are super easy and also reliable. Though I think having the chances to refrigerate the food will be the best way, I won’t disagree that all the ways described above are great to go on without refrigeration.

If you think the food you give to your child stays safe till midday, you should read the reports made on U.S kids that describe how badly eating the lunch at noon which was prepared in the morning can affect the children.

So, you should start taking measures to prevent our children and ourselves from getting sick. If we don’t want to get sick or don’t want our kids to, we should not delay following the steps mentioned above. These will help us sustain the nutrition of the food and more precisely, to stay healthy.

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