Stop waiting in line for an overpriced salad that sneaks in double your daily calorie needs. Start lunching smarter with these weight loss lunches that are anything by lame diet food.

By Colleen Moody
Updated August 05, 2019
Lunch box on white background
Claudia Totir/Getty Images

Sad but true: A surprising number of restaurant salads pack in more calories than a Big Mac. Still, you don’t need to starve all day or resort to calling a protein bar “lunch.” Take a few minutes—and a lot of inspiration from some creative food bloggers—and whip up a quick and easy weight-loss lunch at home. Each of these DIY lunches is a cinch to pack and enjoy at the office (just don’t eat your weight-loss lunch at your desk, please!) and will help you save some cash and calories at the same time.

Weight Loss Lunch Tips

Here’s what to look for in a satisfying yet macro-smart weight-loss lunch:

Hummus and Roasted Veggie Pizza

Recipe courtesy of The Fitnessista (Serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 soft tortilla shell
  • Handful of your favorite veggies (try spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini)
  • Hummus (give our Hemp Seed Hummus a whirl for a fiber boost)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 garlic clove, minced Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crumbled goat cheese

Directions

  1. Roast veggies for about 20 minutes at 350°F with the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  2. Top your favorite type of tortilla with hummus (store-bought or homemade), add the roasted veggies and some goat cheese, then bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Slice and enjoy.
Healthy lunch snack. Stack of mexican street food fajita tortilla wraps with grilled buffalo chicken fillet and fresh vegetables, light grey background copy space
Rimma_Bondarenko/Getty Images

5-Minute Turkey, Avocado, and Hummus Wrap

Recipe courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats (Serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons red pepper hummus
  • 3 slices low-sodium deli turkey
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • Pickle slices

Directions

  1. Spread tortilla with hummus, then layer on turkey, avocado, and pickle slices.
  2. Roll, then slice.

Pasta & Peas

Recipe courtesy of Runs For Cookies (Serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces whole-wheat rotini or penne
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic to oil and cook until garlic is translucent, being careful not to burn it—lower the heat if needed.
  4. Add the peas and cook until heated through.
  5. Drain the pasta when it's done cooking, then add it to the peas and garlic. Toss to coat and serve. (Related: How to Use Frozen Vegetables to Make Meal Prep a Breeze)

Mexican Cauliflower "Rice" Bowl

Recipe courtesy of Sprint 2 the Table (Serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, cubed
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • Cilantro
  • Salsa
  • Cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cut cauliflower and red pepper into pieces and place in a food processor or blender. Pulse the pieces until they are the size and consistency of rice.
  2. Transfer "rice" to a medium bowl. Add a splash of water and microwave for 3 minutes to steam. (BTW, this cauliflower fried rice bowl will make you forget all about takeout.)
  3. Top with remaining weight-loss lunch ingredients and sprinkle with cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.

Sweet Tuna Salad

Recipe courtesy of Sweet Tooth Sweet Life (Serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 can tuna in water, drained
  • 3-4 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional mix-ins: onions, baby carrots, cucumbers, celery, corn, dried cranberries, or chopped grapes

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix together desired ingredients.
  2. Enjoy on top of a bed of lettuce, in a sandwich or pita, or scooped up with your favorite whole-grain crackers.
Preparation flour tortilla wrap stuffed with grilled chicken fillet and fresh vegetables on white rustic wooden background viewed from above. Ingredients for healthy mexican style lunch snack
istetiana/Getty Images

Burrito Salad

Recipe courtesy of The Lean Green Bean (Serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups lettuce
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1/3 cup black beans, cooked
  • 1 cup vegetables (try tomatoes, red peppers, onions, or roasted sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or guacamole (then use the rest of the fruit in these tasty avocado desserts!)
  • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • Sprinkle of cheese

Directions

  1. Place lettuce in large bowl (or, if taking to-go, a meal-prep container)
  2. Add the rice and beans.
  3. Top with your choice of vegetables, plus salsa and cheese, if desired.
  4. Eat cold or microwave for 20 seconds and serve.

Southwest Chicken Quinoa

Recipe courtesy of Food and Fun on the Run (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder 1
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • Salsa and/or sriracha sauce

Directions

  1. Saute vegetables in olive oil until tender.
  2. Add the spices and chicken to the vegetable mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Combine quinoa and the vegetable mixture, then stir in Greek yogurt.
  4. Stir in cilantro and top with salsa and/or sriracha sauce.

Turkey Chili Taco Soup

Recipe courtesy of Skinnytaste (Serves 9)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 pounds 99 percent lean ground turkey (score an extra package for these high-protein ground turkey dinners)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 10-ounce can RO*TEL Tomatoes and Green Chilies
  • 15 ounces canned or frozen corn, thawed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 16 ounces low-fat refried beans
  • 1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • 2 1/2 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • Optional: tortilla chips, plain Greek yogurt, jalapenos, cheese, scallions, onions, fresh cilantro.

Directions

  1. In a large pot, brown turkey on medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, add onions and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, corn, kidney beans, tomato sauce, refried beans, taco seasoning, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. If desired, serve with a few tortilla chips and your favorite toppings such as plain Greek yogurt, jalapenos, shredded cheese, chopped scallions, onions, or chopped fresh cilantro. Meal prep tip: Freeze leftovers for individual portions for future meals.
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