Lunchtime! You know scarfing down a burger and fries isn’t the healthy lunch ideas to lose weight if you’re trying to slim down.
So stop waiting in line for too-expensive salads or sandwiches that pack on double your daily calorie needs.
Instead, take a look at our healthy lunch ideas to lose weight so you can save some cash and lose weight at the same time.
A.HEALTHY LUNCH IDEAS TO LOSE WEIGHT
If you’re trying to lose weight, aim for the 400-to-450 range. If you’re trying to maintain your weight, especially if you work out, aim closer to 500 calories.
Go for the gold and get 20 to 30 grams of protein, which is about 17 to 25 percent of your lunch calories.
A healthy dose of midday protein will help prevent the dreaded afternoon slump and will keep you feeling satisfied post-lunch so you’re less likely to reach for sugary pick-me-ups.
Shoot for at least eight grams of fiber, which is 30 percent of the daily recommended total of 25 grams per day.
Including fiber-rich carbohydrates (whole grains, starchy veggies, and fruit) and fiber-containing fats (nuts and seeds) will help you reach your fiber goals.
Yes, you need to eat carbs! Go for 50 to 65 grams, which is 45 to 55 percent of your lunch calories. Carbs offer your brain and your body energy, so skimping can leave you feeling sluggish.
Overdoing it can also have the same affect, so stick to this range. Avoid refined carbs, like foods made with white flour and white sugar, and go for whole grains, whole grain breads and pastas, and starchy veggies and fruits.
Healthy lunches should have four grams of sugar or fewer, but if you enjoy foods that contain natural sugars.
Like grapes or dried cranberries in your salad, sweet potato or squash in soups, whole pieces of fruit, or natural sweeteners like maple syrup or honey in sauces or dressings, then aim for fewer than 20 grams of sugar.
Be mindful of the hidden sugars in certain products like sandwich bread; read labels, and choose those without added sugars.
Including healthy fats in your lunch makes your meal more satisfying, so strive for 13 to 18 grams, which is 30 to 35 percent of your total lunch calories.
Including healthful sources like nuts, seeds, oils, avocado, and olives can help beat sugar cravings later.
Enjoy your lunch about one to three hours after your morning snack. If you eat breakfast around 7:30 and your morning snack around 10, aim to eat lunch around 12.
Or if you like to exercise at noon, enjoy your lunch when you get back around 1. If you tend to forget to eat because you’re so busy, set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to stop and nosh!
B.Lunch Mistakes to Avoid
1. Waiting until you’re famished.
Busy schedules can make hitting that midday meal tough, but avoid heading to lunch when you’re starving.
Not only will you inhale your lunch quickly and reach for more food because your body hasn’t had time to register that it’s full, but also, it can also throw off your natural hunger and fullness cues for the rest of the afternoon, which can lead to eating more later in the day.
2. Eating out.
Do you know how many calories are in that soup and salad you ordered from the cafe? It seems like a healthy lunch, but hidden high-calorie ingredients could make your lunch well over 600 calories. Pack lunch from home so you know exactly how much you’re eating.
3. Not taking a break.
When you mindlessly gobble down your lunch while doing something else like working or watching TV, your mind will be too distracted to be able to fully register each bite, so you’ll tend to take in or crave more calories.
Get away from your desk, get outside, or eat lunch with a friend.
Examples of Perfect Lunches
1.TUNA WRAPS WITH PESTO AND TOMATO
Mix one can or packet of tuna with your choice of pesto and chopped tomato. Spoon onto lettuce leaves, roll up, and enjoy
2.GREEN SMOOTHIE BOWL
Blend a 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries, 1 banana, 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, 2/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt, and 1/2 Tbsp honey until smooth. Pour into serving bowl and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp chopped almonds.
3.PB AND BANANA SANDWICH
Spread 2 Tbsp peanut butter onto 1 slice of sprouted whole-grain bread and add a layer of banana on top. To stomp out your hunger, add another dose of low-cal fiber with a side of carrot and celery sticks
Layer 1 cup raspberries with a 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup oat clusters, suggests Cipullo.
Yogurt parfaits are highly satiating, thanks to the double whammy of quality protein from the Greek yogurt and dietary fiber from the oat clusters and fruit.
5.BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD WITH GRILLED CHICKEN
Roast 1 1/2 cups of shredded Brussels sprouts. Add a palm-sized portion of grilled chicken, 1 strip of cooked bacon, and cherry tomatoes to taste.
Mix two parts olive oil to one part apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper, coating the salad with the mixture.
Mix one can or packet of tuna with half an avocado, plus seasonings like garlic or chili powder to taste. Spoon onto a whole-wheat wrap and top with salad greens.
The combo of protein, fiber, and healthy fats is super-satiating and will help keep your appetite in check over the long haul.
Cook a veggie burger and top with one slice of low-fat cheese, mushrooms, and tomato on a whole-grain bun.
There’s oodles of protein and fiber-rich carbs in veggie burgers (mostly from soy beans or other beans). The protein and fiber will keep you full, and the carbs will give you an energy boost, curbing your appetite until dinner.
Layer a whole-wheat tortilla with a palm-sized portion of fish (sautéed and shredded), half a chopped avocado, and shredded red cabbage.
Fish provides a good amount of protein to keep you full and metabolism-boosting omega-3 fatty acids (especially albacore tuna or salmon)
9.ROOT VEGGIE BOWL
Mix 1 cup of cooked quinoa with 2 cups diced and roasted root vegetables, such as carrots, beets, turnips, and parsnips. Toss in 2 Tbsp of your favorite pesto for flavor.
Start with a base of a half cup brown rice, roasted sweet potatoes, or lots of greens. Top with a half can of black beans mixed with taco seasoning, pico de gallo, and an avocado slice or dollop of plain Greek yogurt.
Cook a 1/2 cup of quinoa and let it cool. Mix in 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, 1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, 1/4 cup reduced-sugar dried cranberries, 1 or 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp olive oil, and 1 Tbsp lemon zest. (Makes 2 servings.)
12.SPICY SHRIMP AND BLACK BEAN WRAP
Spread 1 Tbsp of hummus over the bottom of a whole-wheat wrap. Add 2 oz. of cooked shrimp (roughly 5 or 6 shrimp) and 1/3 cup black beans. Top with spring mix and 1 to 2 Tbsp of salsa.
13.LEFTOVERS OVER GREENS
Make an extra serving or two of your dinner and put the leftovers atop a bed of greens, like lettuce or kale. You can also try adding steamed kale to your Chinese takeout or broccoli and Brussels sprouts to your leftover mac ‘n cheese.
14.GREEK YOGURT CHICKEN SALAD
Dice 1 poached boneless, skinless chicken breast and place in a large bowl. Mix in 2 Tbsp of nonfat Greek yogurt until the chicken is evenly coated. Add 2 or 3 Tbsp each of diced celery, apple, and grapes, along with 2 Tbsp of slivered almonds. (Makes 3 servings.)
15.VEGGIE AND HUMMUS SANDWICH
Toast 2 slices of sprouted whole-grain bread. Spread 1 Tbsp of hummus on each slice. Layer with 3 thin slices of cucumber, 2 thin slices of tomato, 3 slices of avocado, 1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts, and 1/4 cup grated carrots.
16.MASON JAR SALAD
Layer your favorite salad components in a jar: Pour in your dressing of choice. Add firmer veggies to the bottom of the jar, like tomatoes, cucumber, or peppers.
Then add your greens! Opt for a mix of kale, spinach, and romaine for a flavorful and vitamin-rich mix.
17.TOFU AND CABBAGE SALAD
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup chopped raw spinach
3 oz firm tofu
1/2 cup canned mandarin oranges, packed in juice, drained
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1 oz soft goat cheese
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Combine all ingredients into a salad.
18.CHICKEN GOAT-CHEESE QUESADILLAS
3/4 oz goat cheese, softened to room temperature
1 Tbsp shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/4 tsp virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped Vidalia onion
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
Pinch ground black pepper
1/4 cup diced cooked skinless white-meat chicken
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 six-inch corn tortillas
Combine cheeses in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add onion, and sauté for two minutes.
Add corn and pepper; sauté for one minute. Add chicken, and sauté for one minute. Remove from heat, then stir in cilantro. Divide cheese mixture, and spread over two tortillas.
Layer each tortilla with half the chicken mixture, and top with remaining tortillas. Spray a large frying pan or griddle with cooking spray.
Warm quesadillas over medium heat for five to six minutes, flipping halfway through.
19.GRILLED CHICKEN AND PINEAPPLE SANDWICH
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 Tbsp Teriyaki sauce
1 slice Swiss cheese
1 slice pineapple (1/2″ thick)
1 whole-wheat kaiser roll
Red onion, thinly sliced (to taste)
Pickled jalapeno slices (to taste)
Marinate chicken in Teriyaki sauce in re-sealable bag in fridge. Grill chicken for four to five minutes, flip, and immediately add the cheese to breast.
Continue cooking until the cheese is melted and the chicken is lightly charred and feels firm to the touch. Remove, and set aside.
While the chicken is resting, place the pineapple slices and rolls on the grill. Toast the rolls lightly, and cook the pineapple until it’s soft and caramelized, about two minutes on each side.
Top each roll with chicken, pineapple, onion, and jalapeno.
20.MOZZARELLA AND TOMATO SALAD
1 medium tomato, cubed
1 oz fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper
Combine, and toss all ingredients.
1 1/2 oz sliced low-fat Swiss
1 oz sliced reduced-sodium Black Forest deli ham
1 oz sliced reduced-sodium deli chicken breast
1 whole-wheat roll (12 oz total), sliced and gutted
1/4 cup marinara sauce, heated
Heat lightly oiled grill or panini press to medium heat (or use a grill pan). Place cheese, ham, and chicken on the roll, starting and ending with cheese.
Close sandwich, and grill, flipping and pressing with spatula if necessary, until golden brown on both sides and cheese is melted, about five minutes total.
Halve sandwich, and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
22.TABBOULEH AND TUNA ON GREENS
3 oz canned water-packed light tuna, drained
1 1/2 cups red leaf lettuce
1 cup romaine lettuce
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 4-inch whole-wheat pita
1/2 cup cooked bulgur
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped scallions
1/2 clove garlic, minced
Combine all tabbouleh ingredients, then use to top lettuce with tuna and carrot.
23.OPEN-FACED TURKEY AND FETA SANDWICH
1 slice whole-grain bread
3 oz sliced turkey breast
1/4 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tbsp feta
12 yellow or red cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
4 large black olives, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped scallion
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fresh mint
Top bread with turkey, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta. Broil six to eight minutes, or until golden. Serve with salad.
24.AUTUMN PUMPKIN MIX
3/4 cup Brussels sprouts
1 cup cubed pumpkin
2 tsp olive oil
1 oz crumbled goat cheese
2 Tbsp pistachios
1/2 medium pear, sliced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp yellow mustard
Toss Brussels sprouts and pumpkin with oil, and roast for 30 minutes at 350°F, turning halfway through. Remove from oven, and toss with remaining ingredients
25.SALMON CUCUMBER BOATS
3 oz canned pink salmon, drained
1 Tbsp capers
1 tsp yellow mustard
2 Tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
Combine the first six ingredients. Halve cucumber lengthwise, hollow out each half, and stuff with salmon mixture.
3/4 cup romaine lettuce
2 Tbsp chopped macadamia nuts
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
26.EGG SALAD SANDWICH
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 slices multigrain bread
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
2 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped scallion
1/4 cup raw spinach
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Spread mustard onto bread slices, then layer egg, cheese, scallion, and spinach on top. Drizzle with lemon juice.
27.OPEN-FACED LOX SANDWICH
1 slice pumpernickel bread
2 Tbsp part-skim ricotta
4 oz smoked salmon
2 Tbsp capers
1 1/2 Tbsp minced onions
Layer in the order listed above.
28.SPICY CHICKEN SALAD
1 cup roasted skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 jalapeno, diced
1/2 medium celery stalk, chopped
Dash of black pepper
1 cup baby spinach
Combine the first six ingredients, and serve on a bed of spinach.
1/4 cup dry farro
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp filtered apple cider vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup sliced kale
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/2 blood orange, sectioned
Cook farro (found in the grains aisle) according to package instructions. Whisk olive oil, vinegar, agave nectar, and zest for dressing. Toss farro with kale, chickpeas, blood orange, and dressing.
30.WINTER SAUSAGE AND LENTIL SALAD
1 link pre-cooked chicken sausage (3 oz)
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup cooked lentils
1/2 bulb fennel, finely diced
1/2 Granny Smith apple, finely diced
1/2 stalk celery, finely diced
2 cups arugula
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Warm chicken sausage, and season with garlic salt in a pan, then stir in lentils for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in fennel, apple, and celery, and serve over arugula.
Whisk oil, vinegar, and mustard, and drizzle over top.
4 oz ground turkey (93% lean)
1 1/2 tsp Simply Organic Southwest Taco seasoning
3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1/4 cup black beans
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup yellow corn
1 Tbsp cotija cheese
5 blue-corn tortilla chips, crumbled
Brown turkey in a pan on the stove top, and stir in taco seasoning. Toss turkey with remaining ingredients.
32.SALMON AVOCADO “SUSHI”
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
2 oz smoked salmon, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cooked rice noodles
1/4 papaya, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp chopped scallions
2 sheets nori seaweed
1 lime wedge
Lay fillings on nori sheets, and roll up sushi-style. Cut, season with lime juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/8 tsp minced garlic
4 oz tofu, extra firm, thinly sliced
1 cup snow peas, slivered
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
2 Scandinavian crispbread crackers
Whisk soy sauce, almond butter, and garlic. Toss with tofu and snow peas. Top with sesame seeds, and serve with crackers.
1/3 avocado, mashed
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 oz white albacore tuna, drained
1 thick slice tomato
1 piece butter lettuce
1 slice red onion
1 slice whole-grain bread
Combine avocado with lemon juice, and fold in tuna. Stack tomato, lettuce, onion, and avocado and tuna mixture on bread for an open-face sandwich.
35.ROAST BEEF AND HORSERADISH WRAP
2 Tbsp 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp horseradish sauce
2 leaves Bibb lettuce
4 slices lean deli-style roast beef
4 slices tomato
1 cup fresh raspberries
Combine yogurt and horseradish, and spread on lettuce. Top with roast beef and tomato, and roll into a wrap. Serve with raspberries.
Thank for reading! Read more: Healthy Food List For Weight Loss | What Is The Best Food To Eat To Lose Weight