Easy Weight Loss Lunch Ideas That Don't Taste Like Diet Food
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:
- 400-500 calories
- 15-20 grams of fat
- 20-30 grams of protein
- 50-60 grams of carbohydrates
- 8+ grams of fiber (quite possibly the most important ingredient in your diet!)
Hummus and Roasted Veggie Pizza
Recipe courtesy of The Fitnessista (Serves 1)
- 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
- Roast veggies for about 20 minutes at 350°F with the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- 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.
- Slice and enjoy.
5-Minute Turkey, Avocado, and Hummus Wrap
Recipe courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats (Serves 1)
- 1 whole wheat tortilla
- 2-3 tablespoons red pepper hummus
- 3 slices low-sodium deli turkey
- 1/4 avocado, sliced
- Pickle slices
- Spread tortilla with hummus, then layer on turkey, avocado, and pickle slices.
- Roll, then slice.
Pasta & Peas
Recipe courtesy of Runs For Cookies (Serves 1)
- 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
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic to oil and cook until garlic is translucent, being careful not to burn it—lower the heat if needed.
- Add the peas and cook until heated through.
- 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)
- 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
- Cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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)
- 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
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix together desired ingredients.
- Enjoy on top of a bed of lettuce, in a sandwich or pita, or scooped up with your favorite whole-grain crackers.
Recipe courtesy of The Lean Green Bean (Serves 1)
- 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
- Place lettuce in large bowl (or, if taking to-go, a meal-prep container)
- Add the rice and beans.
- Top with your choice of vegetables, plus salsa and cheese, if desired.
- Eat cold or microwave for 20 seconds and serve.
Southwest Chicken Quinoa
Recipe courtesy of Food and Fun on the Run (Serves 4)
- 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
- Saute vegetables in olive oil until tender.
- Add the spices and chicken to the vegetable mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
- Combine quinoa and the vegetable mixture, then stir in Greek yogurt.
- Stir in cilantro and top with salsa and/or sriracha sauce.
Turkey Chili Taco Soup
Recipe courtesy of Skinnytaste (Serves 9)
- 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.
- 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.
- Add tomatoes, corn, kidney beans, tomato sauce, refried beans, taco seasoning, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- 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.