Maintaining a healthy diet is an integral part of any weight loss journey. When it comes to lunch, it’s essential to focus on nutrient-dense foods that can help you feel full and satisfied without consuming excess calories.
This means that the best healthy things to eat for lunch to lose weight are low-calorie, nutritious, and delicious. They should have balanced protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats and be filled with vegetables.
Here are some of the healthiest lunch options that will keep you feeling full and energized while supporting your weight loss goals.
Choosing Lunch Meals For Weight Loss
When trying to lose weight, choosing the right foods for lunch can be a game-changer. While eating a variety of foods can make your lunch appetizing, you will want to make the right choices for a hearty and healthy weight loss meal.
First, eating a nutritious lunch can help prevent overeating and snacking later in the day, which can contribute to excess calorie consumption. Second, choosing whole, nutrient-dense foods can help keep you feeling full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of cravings or hunger pangs.
Third, incorporating lean proteins and healthy fats into your lunch can help support muscle growth and repair, which can boost metabolism and aid in weight loss. Fourth, choosing foods that are high in fiber can help regulate digestion and support healthy bowel movements.
Lastly, making smart lunch choices can help provide essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that support overall health and well-being, which is crucial for sustainable weight loss.
Tasty Lunch Ingredients
Avocados are a delicious and nutritious addition to any lunch. Rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, and potassium, they can help promote heart health and support healthy digestion.
In a recent finding, consuming avocados have been found to lower blood pressure, enhance cognitive function, maintain the health of the arteries, improve gut bacteria, and, yes, aid in weight loss1.
Because avocados include fatty acids, vitamins, carotenoids, and other plant chemicals, it may impact the hunger hormone leptin to help keep you full and help control your desire to avoid overeating.
- Whole Grains
Replace the refined grains (white bread) in your sandwich with whole grains (100 percent whole-wheat bread) if you want to make a small change that can affect your success with weight loss. Compared to refined grains, whole grains have more fiber. Your digestion and metabolism are positively impacted by consuming enough fiber.
A 2020 research showed that choosing whole grains over refined ones can assist with weight loss objectives and lower the chance of getting diabetes or heart disease. Oatmeal, brown rice, barley, farro, and even popcorn are excellent sources of whole grain. Grain bowls are a simple, transportable lunch option2.
An apple is an excellent option if you want something sweet with or after lunch. These crunchy fruits include dietary fiber and plant compounds called polyphenols that support healthy lunch in the gut and may help prevent obesity.
Apples contain a lot of antioxidants, which are essential in preventing cancer. Apples aren’t only a snack for after lunch; they also go well as salad toppers and give sandwiches and wraps a naturally sweet bite3.
Contrary to popular thought, dairy may be another ideal dish to accompany your meal if you want a leaner body composition. Long-term consumption of dairy was discovered to be linked to modifications in body composition, primarily fat loss and an increase in muscle mass4.
Healthy Things To Eat For Lunch To Lose Weight
Plant-based Lunches For Weight Loss
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grain bread, nuts, and seeds are plant foods rich in fiber and healthy nutrients. They frequently have fewer calories than certain animal products and highly processed foods, yet they are often filling.
As a result, some people have reported losing weight when following plant-based diets like vegan or vegetarian diets5.
- Lentil Soup
Since you can prepare soups ahead of time and reheat them for a quick meal, they make an excellent plant-based lunch alternative.
One bowl of lentil soup recipe serves as a full meal. It contains many nutritional elements you can eat to reduce weight.
The vegetables bring additional fiber, while the lentils offer satiating protein and carbohydrates. Moreover, lentils are a rich source of iron, which some plant-based eaters may be deficient in. Iron is crucial for blood health6.
- Garden Veggie Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
A versatile vegetarian protein source is chickpeas. According to several studies, chickpeas help with weight management. This is because they include vitamins, minerals, fiber, and various healthy ingredients7.
Because of their texture, chickpeas are incredibly simple to mash with a fork to form the ideal lunchtime sandwich filling, chickpea “salad.”
If you’re on a plant-based diet and attempting to lose weight, try this garden veggie chickpea salad sandwich recipe. Replace the mayo with a vegan alternative if you have a vegan diet.
- Spicy Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowls
As a soy-based complete protein, tofu has every essential amino acid you may need to obtain from your diet. It also contains isoflavones, a class of chemicals that may help prevent heart disease8.
Some people avoid tofu because they need to learn how to prepare it or don’t like the texture, but making crispy, delectable tofu at home is simple.
For lunch, try these Buddha bowls with tofu. They contain brown rice, vegetables, crispy tofu, and a hot peanut dressing.
- Veggie Wraps
A healthy wrap is a great lunch choice, especially if you need something that you can make ahead of time to eat at your desk or in between meetings.
Fortunately, it’s effortless to make plant-based wraps. To ensure that they’re filling, delicious, and help you lose weight, choose whole wheat wraps (or use lettuce) and add a protein source, healthy sauce or spread, and plenty of vegetables.
This veggie wraps recipe uses whole wheat tortillas, hummus, carrots, cucumbers, and other veggies. The edamame and hummus provide protein, while the avocado contributes healthy fats that help you feel full.
- Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
For plant-based meals, sweet potatoes are a fantastic foundation. They include stimulating carbohydrates, a ton of fiber, and the pigment beta carotene, which can help you meet your requirements for vitamin A to strengthen your immune system9.
Moreover, filled sweet potatoes are simple to prepare if you work from home or maybe packed out to eat at the office. Sweet potatoes and stuffing can be prepared in advance, baked, and then kept in the refrigerator in containers. When you are ready to eat, assemble the potatoes and reheat them.
This recipe for filled sweet potatoes includes suggestions for vegan topping substitutions if necessary and employs Southwest flavors.
Low-carb Lunches For Weight Loss
Following a low-carb diet can be an effective way to lose weight, as it can help reduce calorie intake and promote fat burning. Lunch is an important meal of the day, and it’s essential to choose low-carb options that are filling, nutritious, and delicious. The good news is that there are plenty of options for low-carb lunches that are easy to prepare and perfect for weight loss.
- Cauliflower Rice Bowls
Replacing regular rice with cauliflower rice is one way to reduce your carb intake at lunch, especially if you eat burrito bowls or other rice-based dishes.
Cauliflower not only reduces the carb content of the meal but also provides a significant amount of vitamin C. This water-soluble nutrient is essential for skin health, wound healing, and other bodily functions.
- Tuna Egg Salad Stuffed Peppers
Instead of serving egg and tuna salad on bread, stuff them into bell peppers for a low-carb meal.
Tuna and eggs are low-cost, high-protein foods that satisfy you long after lunch. Eating eggs instead of a higher carbohydrate meal may help reduce hunger and the number of calories consumed later in the day, which can aid in losing weight10.
- Zucchini Noodle Stir-fry with Chicken
If you’re watching your carb intake and trying to lose weight, this zucchini noodle stir-fry is a delicious option for lunch.
Zucchini noodles, or “zoodles,” are similar to regular noodles but contain fewer carbohydrates. The zucchini provides fiber and micronutrients, while the chicken provides protein.
Chicken is an excellent lean protein to consume when trying to lose weight. Eating chicken with a vegetable-rich diet has been linked to a lower risk of becoming overweight or obese11.
- Low-carb Eggplant Pizza
Eating more non-starchy vegetables like eggplant can often aid in weight loss. Eggplant is high in fiber but low in calories.
Low-carb eggplant pizza is a healthier and low-carb alternative to traditional pizza. Instead of using a high-carb crust, the pizza is made using slices of eggplant as the base.
It’s a great way to enjoy pizza flavors without consuming too many refined carbs at lunch.
- Mediterranean Cobb Salad
A Mediterranean Cobb Salad is a flavorful and healthy salad that is packed with ingredients commonly found in Mediterranean cuisine. Cobb salads are commonly made with lettuce, bacon, eggs, avocados, and a creamy dressing. They’re filling and low in carbs, making them an excellent weight-loss lunch option.
Furthermore, many of the ingredients have health benefits. Eggs are high in protein and antioxidant compounds that promote eye health, whereas avocados and tomatoes are high in heart-healthy nutrients such as unsaturated fats and lycopene12,13,14.
Diabetes-friendly Healthy Lunches For Weight Loss
If you have diabetes or are overweight or obese, a healthcare professional may have advised you to lose weight to improve or manage your condition.
A healthy diet and weight are essential for good blood sugar regulation15.
Many people with diabetes monitor their carbohydrate intake at meals because carbs can raise blood sugar levels. They may limit total carbs or try to maintain a consistent number of carbs at each meal.
- Avocado Toast with Cottage Cheese and Tomatoes
A diabetes-friendly lunch looks like a balanced plate, with fiber from non-starchy vegetables and complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat.
Combining carbohydrates with these other macronutrients is critical for preventing blood sugar spikes and maintaining good blood sugar and energy levels throughout the day16.
This type of lunch can be built around avocado toast on whole-grain bread. To round out the meal, this diabetes-friendly version includes protein-rich cottage cheese and fresh tomatoes.
- Lemon Chicken Quinoa Salad
Salads made with whole grains make nutritious lunches that are simple to pack for work.
Quinoa is technically a pseudo cereal, but it’s often grouped with whole grains because it’s nutritionally similar and high in fiber.
It’s also high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it an excellent food for weight loss and blood sugar control17.
This quinoa salad contains chicken for protein, a plethora of non-starchy vegetables, and plenty of flavor from lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley.
- Black Bean Soup
Black beans are high in fiber and protein. People with diabetes that are trying to lose weight can benefit from eating them.
They’re also high in folate, a B vitamin essential for healthy blood cells and fetal development18.
Making soup with black beans is a quick and inexpensive lunch option. This black bean soup recipe calls for vegetables, canned black beans, and various seasonings.
Paleo Healthy Lunches For Weight Loss
A Paleolithic (paleo) diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, animal proteins, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats while avoiding sugar, grains, beans and legumes, most dairy foods, vegetable oils, and alcohol. It’s meant to resemble a hunter-gatherer diet.
Some people find the paleo diet valuable for weight loss because it includes a lot of nutritious foods and limits foods that may contribute to weight gain.
It may also have other health benefits, such as improving blood sugar and lowering blood pressure19.
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
If you enjoy the flavor of takeout egg rolls, you can easily recreate them for lunch by making a deconstructed version.
Egg roll bowls can also be made with filling and lean protein, such as ground turkey or chicken. They’re also typically high in cabbage, a good vitamin K source.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble nutrient for normal blood clotting20.
- Paleo Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce
Meatballs are a convenient meal-prep option for lunch.
For a well-rounded meal, serve it with fresh vegetables and a tasty sauce. The meatballs will provide filling protein and vitamin B12, essential for the nervous system, while the vegetables will provide fiber.
- Paleo Chicken Curry
Chicken curry is made with a variety of seasonings that may be beneficial to one’s health. Turmeric, for example, contains anti-inflammatory compounds that aid in disease prevention21.
A healthy weight-loss lunch is a paleo version of chicken curry made with cauliflower rice instead of white rice.
This paleo-friendly chicken curry recipe includes flavorful spices and filling ingredients like coconut milk and vegetables.
- Hearty Hamburger Soup
Satisfy your lunchtime hamburger craving with a paleo soup with the same flavors but better for weight loss.
This hearty hamburger soup combines pantry staples, ground beef, and seasonings into one delicious meal.
In addition, tomatoes and tomato paste are called for in the recipe. Because tomatoes contain potassium, a mineral in healthy blood pressure regulation, eating them may benefit heart health22.
There are many filling, delicious lunch ideas to try if you’re trying to lose weight.
Whether you’re looking for plant-based, low-carb, diabetes-friendly, or paleo recipes, focus on mostly whole foods, including plenty of fruits and non-starchy vegetables.
Many of the dishes listed above are ideal for preparing ahead of time. On the weekend, prepare several servings to enjoy for lunch throughout the week.
1 Dreher ML, Cheng FW, Ford NA. A Comprehensive Review of Hass Avocado Clinical Trials, Observational Studies, and Biological Mechanisms. Nutrients. 2021 Dec 7;13(12):4376. doi: 10.3390/nu13124376. PMID: 34959933; PMCID: PMC8705026.
2 Sievenpiper JL. Low-carbohydrate diets and cardiometabolic health: the importance of carbohydrate quality over quantity. Nutr Rev. 2020 Aug 1;78(Suppl 1):69-77. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuz082. PMID: 32728757; PMCID: PMC7390653.
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