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Fit Meals in Under 5: Super Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss

By Rob Poulos...

So here’s the scenario: You’re on a diet, and those bags of chips in your drawer aren’t in on the deal.  Neither is the meatball sub sandwich your co-worker is maniacally wolfing down–but you’re really, really hungry.  So what do you reach for?

In the world of calories and lunch time food, one answer reigns supreme: Home-cooked food is your best calorie-saver.  But not all meals are considered equal when it comes to maintaining your healthy calorie balance.  With the CDC recommending a 500 calorie deficit per day, adding something innocuous, such as a dressing or extra cheese, could undo your deficit just over your lunch hour.

So what choices are best?  To help you make the best choices for your waistline, here are several healthy lunch ideas that will keep your weight under wraps:

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss

Need to trim down for lunch?  Try these diet-friendly lunch ideas on for size:

1. Skinny tuna sandwich–on whole wheat.  Tuna sandwiches have always been the blue collar worker’s fave lunch of choice during hectic weekdays, but they’ve never been calorie-friendly–though tuna is healthy, the glob of mayonnaise adds too much fat and calories to this meal.  For a healthier spin, try this: Replace the mayonnaise with a dollop of low-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.  Plain Greek yogurt contains fewer calories and fat and has another bonus–it contains muscle-building fiber!  Serve on whole wheat bread for an extra dose of fiber as well.

2. Protein salad.  Salad is the dieter’s favorite meal of choice during work hours, but not all salads are best–for instance, loading up your salad with dressing or croutons can easily rack up hundreds of calories, which aren’t usually healthy.  For a healthier way to beef up your salad, go low-cal–try raspberry vinaigrette as a replacement for creamy salad dressing, or switch croutons for helpfuls of almonds or dried fruit.

3. Soup before lunch.  While it may not be the most convenient choice for workers, it does a world of good for staying fit–research shows that people who have soup before a meal eat 20 percent fewer calories throughout the day.  For the healthiest bet, stick to classics–broth-based soups, such as vegetable or chicken noodle soup, are healthy ways to fill up without overdoing your caloric budget.  Add whole wheat bread to the mix for fiber too–fiber can also help you feel fuller on fewer calories!

4. Healthy, nutritious stir fry.  Nobody would dare turn down a savory, Chinese stir fry–but most stir fries often contain caloric sauces that amp up its unhealthy factor.  For a healthier twist, try this: Replace sauce with hot sauce and dry spices to cut down on the calorie load.  You can also add more complexity by adding in almonds, sunflower seeds, or a dash of cranberries or apples.  It may sound weird, but it makes it savory and sweet–a wonderful burst of flavor perfect for the mid-day meal.  Bon appetit!

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