35 Healthy Lunch Ideas For Weight Loss – Low-Calorie Lunch Recipes
When it’s midday and you realize your stomach is already growling, the last thing you want to do is find a place to get a healthful meal. You’re hungry, and it’s just so convenient to head to the office cafeteria for whatever they have to offer. But if your goal is losing weight, planning healthy lunch ideas for weight loss to have at the ready makes the biggest difference in supporting your goals.
And skipping out on lunch is never an option. “It’s unfair to expect our body or brain to perform at their best if we aren’t providing the fuel they need through food,” says Cara Harbstreet, M.S., R.D., L.D., owner of Street Smart Nutrition. “Skipping a mid-day meal eliminates a key opportunity to get essential nutrition or food groups that may not show up in other meals or snacks.”
How to build a healthy lunch for weight loss
The most important thing to keep in mind when planning your lunches for the week is choosing foods that taste good to you, make you feel good, and keep you satisfied, says Andrea Mathis, M.A., R.D.N., L.D.N., author of The Complete Book of Smoothies. Without that, you won’t enjoy or look forward to your meals and you’re more likely to snack throughout the day.
Additionally, choose foods that are nutrient-dense and support your health goals, Mathis says. Your plate should include fiber, fat, and protein to promote the feeling of fullness and manage appetite. One of her favorite ingredients to incorporate into meals is avocados, which have heart-healthy fats and fiber to keep you satisfied.
And if you’re struggling with planning lunches that help you reach your goals, Mathis encourages setting realistic and sustainable goals for yourself. “To help you stay on track, choose meals that are easy to prepare and set aside a time or day to prep your meals,” she says. Harbstreet adds that you can try “habit stacking” which includes attaching meal prep to a habit you already have. For example, you could prep your lunch as soon as you get home instead of waiting for later when you’d rather be relaxing, she suggests.
Ready to get cooking? Here are 35 of our favorite lunch ideas for weight loss that you can incorporate into your meal prep routine ASAP.