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18 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss

CoachMel Recipes 23 Comments

Trying to come up with healthy lunch ideas for weight loss can be a real challenge. And if you don’t plan your lunch properly, the chances are that you’re going to eat something unsuitable for your goals.

I know personally, that even when you’re not trying to lose weight, coming up with healthy lunch ideas isn’t easy. If you’re not well prepared, you can end up having the same things every week, which can be quite boring.

Healthy lunch ideas for weight loss

So, I thought I’d do a bit of research, and since I’ve already shared some healthy lunch ideas recently, I thought I’d specifically cover some healthy lunch ideas for weight loss.

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The result?

Well, here are 18 delicious healthy lunch ideas for weight loss conscious individuals. If you give them a go, be sure to let me know.

To succeed, healthy lunch ideas for weight loss should be prepared on weekends

The secret to healthy eating is to plan ahead.

So, if you can set aside a few hours at the weekend, or on a free weeknight, you can easily prepare healthy lunches for the week ahead that you, or your whole family will enjoy.

Any of the following salads could be made on the weekend and then stored in an airtight container until needed.

Serve in small plastic containers, with a leafy green salad for a complete meal.


#1 Bean potato and beetroot salad

Serves 8 (2 tablespoons each)

450 grams potatoes, cut into 3cm pieces
2 cups frozen broad beans
450 grams can baby beets, drained, quartered
2 cups watercress sprigs, half a bunch
1 small onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup flat leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup fat free French dressing

1. Cook potatoes in large saucepan of boiling water for 8-10 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water.
2. Place beans in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water. Stand for 5 minutes, or until tender, then drain, and rinse under cold water. Peel and discard skins. Place beetroot on a plate lined with a paper towel, and pat dry.
3. Put potatoes, beans, watercress, onion, beetroot and parsley in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing, and toss to combine.

#2 Lime and coriander couscous

Serves 6

1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons of finely grated lime rind
Juice from half the lime
2 tablespoons of fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber, finely chopped

  1. Place couscous in a heatproof bowl, add boiling water, cover and stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Toss through lime rind and juice, coriander, onion, capsicum, and cucumber.

Serve in small pots with a large leafy salad, and veggie crudites.

#3 Tuna pasta salad

Serves 4

250g pasta spirals
1/4 reduced fat mayo
1 tablespoon lemon juice
125g cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 medium green capsicum, sliced
6 button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
95g can tuna in spring water, drained

  1. Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. Combine mayo with lemon juice in a large bowl. Add pasta, tomatoes, capcium, mushrooms, parsley, and tuna.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.

#4 Tabouli salad

Serves 4

2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup cracked wheat (burghul)
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 olive oil

  1. Place tomato, wheat, lemon juice in a bowl, and stand for 30 minutes, or until the wheat has softened.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, and toss to combine.

Serve with plain yoghurt and lebanese style bread.

#5 Veggie sesame salad

Serves 4

1 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 cups savoy cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, grated
1 large zucchini, grated
1/3 cup honey soy dressing, salt reduced

  1. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Add sesame seeds, and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden.
  2. Place cabbage, carrot and zucchini in a large bowl, add dressing and two-thirds of the seeds. Toss to combine, top with remaining seeds to serve.

#6 Chickpea and tomato salad

Serves 4

400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
200g cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Combine peas, onion, tomatoes, and coriander in a bowl. Add vinegar, and oil, and toss to combine.
  2. Cover in plastic wrap, and stand for 30 minutes for flavours to develop before serving.

#7 Crunchy broccoli salad

Serves 6

1 head fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup reduced fat mayo
1 cup sunflower seeds

  1. In a medium bowl combine the broccoli, onion and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar and mayo. Pour over the broccoli mixture, and toss until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow flavours to develop.
  2. Before serving, sprinkle over the sunflower seeds.

If you have facilities at work to reheat food, soup is an excellent healthy lunch option. Alternatively, you could bring a thermos flask of soup if you don’t have kitchen facilities, or your work involves a lot of traveling.

#8 Wholesome mushroom soup

25g pack porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion , finely diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
500g fresh mushrooms, such as chestnut, finely chopped
1.2l vegetable stock (salted reduced)
5 tbsp marsala
2 tbsp tomato purée
100g pearl barley

  1. Put the porcini in a bowl with 250ml boiling water and leave to soak for 25 minutes. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, carrot, garlic, rosemary and seasoning. Fry for 5 minutes on a medium heat until softened. Drain the porcini, saving the liquid, and finely chop. Tip into the pan with the fresh mushrooms. Fry for another 5 minutes, then add the stock, marsala, tomato purée, barley and strained porcini liquid.
  2. Cook for 30 minutes, or until barley is soft, adding more liquid if it becomes too thick.

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food

#9 Spiced lentil soup

2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch chilli flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
600g carrots , washed and coarsely grated
140g split red lentils
1L hot vegetable stock (reduced salt)
125ml reduced fat milk

  1. Heat a large saucepan and dry-fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 minute, or until they start to jump in the pan and release their aromas. Scoop out about half of the seeds with a spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the oil, carrots, lentils, stock and milk to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils have swollen and softened.
  3. Whizz the soup with a blender until smooth. Season to taste and finish with a sprinkling of the reserved toasted spices. Serve with wholegrain bread.

Recipe edited from BBC Good Food

#10 Chickpea spinach and pasta soup

Servings: 6

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup small pasta shapes
227g fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until just softened.
  2. Pour in the tomatoes, broth, chickpeas and pasta. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat and simmer  for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender, but not mushy.
  3. Stir in the chopped spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with pepper to taste.

Recipe edited from Kaboose

Other healthy lunch options…

#11 Veggie pasta bake

Serves 6

200g pasta spirals
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small leek, halved, thinly sliced
100g button mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated

  1. Preheat over to 180 degrees. Grease a 20cm round cake tin, and line base with baking paper.
  2. Cook pasta according to packet instructions, drain, rinse in cold water, and return to the pan.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add leek, mushroom and garlic, cook for 5 minutes or until leek has softened.
  4. Add leek mixture to pasta along with zucchini, carrot, parsley and eggs. Add half the cheese, stirring to combine. Transfer to the prepared tin, and top with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes. Cool in the tin, and cut into wedges to make individual portions. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate in lunch boxes.

Serve with a green salad.

#12 Veggie fritters

Serves 4

1 small carrot, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
1/4 cup corn
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1/3 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
3 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. Combine carrot, zucchini, corn, parsley, cheese, eggs, and flour in a bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan, add a tablespoon of mixture, flatten slightly, and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden.
  3. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to cool. Then refrigerate wrapped in plastic in lunch boxes (2 each).

Serve with veggie crudites and hummus dip.

#13 Salsa with cracker bread

Serves 4

125g corn
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 green capsicum, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

  1. Place corn, tomatoes, capsicum, and coriander in a bowl and combine, season with pepper.
  2. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Serve with multigrain crackers topped with reduced fat avocado dip.

Sandwich style lunches…

Sandwiches are the classic lunchbox option, but they don’t need to be boring!

To keep your sandwiches fresh wrap in plastic, and store in the fridge overnight in lunch boxes.

In the morning pop a frozen bottle of water into the box to keep your lunch completely cool, the bottled water will also serve as an ice cold drink for you later on.

Note: all sandwiches serve 4 people.

#14 Egg and veggie rolls

4 wholegrain bread rolls
1/3 cup reduced fat spring onion dip
40g spinach leaves
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 small green capsicum, sliced
3 hard boiled eggs (boil for about 7 minutes), sliced

  1. Spread inside of rolls thinly with onion dip, top with half salad leaves, then all of the tomato, capsicum, and egg. Finish by adding the remaining salad mix, and the top half of the bread.
  2. Wrap rolls tightly in plastic wrap, transfer to individual lunch boxes and you’re ready to go.

#15 Hummus and veggie wraps

4 multigrain wraps
1/2 cup reduced fat hummus dip
1/2 baby cos lettuce, leaves torn
150g tabouli (see recipe above)
1 small cucumber, cut into ribbons
1/2 red capsicum, sliced

  1. Place wraps on a flat surface. Spread with hummus along the centre of each wrap, top with lettuce, tabouli, cucumber, and capsicum.
  2. Roll up firmly, tie with small amount of string if necessary to keep together, wrap in plastic, and transfer to lunch boxes.

#16 Greek sandwich

1 large wholegrain bread roll
1 medium red capsicum, sliced
2 small tomatoes, sliced
1 small cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup olives, sliced
100g feta cheese, crumbled

  1. Half the bread cross ways. Fill the base of the bread with capsicum, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and feta.
  2. Replace bread tops, and cut into 4 pieces, before wrapping individually with plastic.

#17 Tuna sandwiches

8 slices wholegrain bread
310g can corn kernels
185g can tuna in spring water, drained
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated
30g spinach leaves

  1. Place 4 bread slices on a flat surface. Spread corn, tuna, cheese, and spinach onto bread bases.
  2. Top with leftover bread, and cut into triangles before wrapping securely with plastic.

#18 Mexican turkey wraps

4 wholegrain tortilla wraps
1 1/2 cups iceburg lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated
125g cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 medium green capsicum, sliced
1 small avocado, sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey
1/2 salsa

  1. Place tortillas on a flat surface. Put lettuce along centre of each, top with cheese, tomatoes, capsicum, avocado, turkey, and salsa.
  2. Roll up tightly, and fix with string if necessary. Wrap in plastic.

What healthy lunch ideas for weight loss do you have? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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Comments 23

  1. Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips

    Mmmm. The Mexican Turkey Wraps sound fantastic.

    I would also recommend smoked salmon sandwiches. All you need is some wholegrain bread, some cream cheese, some baby spinach and some smoked salmon. Spread the bread with cream cheese, add baby spinach and then top with slices of smoked salmon. Delicious and a good way to get some good fats into your diet 🙂

    Tom Parker – Free Fitness Tips’s last blog post..Eating and Metabolism Revisited

  2. Cathy in NZ

    I’m not about to give any other healthy lunch ideas but rather to talk about packaging2go…….I have this lunchbox which is plastic but is sorta a double job. In one side you put the sannies and in the other side there are a number of recessed boxes and the lid that fits over it encases the other side where the sannies could go. Everytime I take it to some group thing…..everyone says “what a deal little box!” no idea where I got it and I’m surprised how long it has lasted.

    The item I have that is very handy is a ?brand name lunch sack which is insulated and when you’ve finished with it (if you ain’t got a plastic lunchbox in it!) is that it folds up neatly. A few days after I bought it I saw this nice week ice things which I now keep in the freezer and then just pop in at the bottom keeping everything at the right temp.

  3. Melanie

    Hey Tom,
    You’re right that is a great way to get in those healthy omega-3s! I really should have had a salmon recipe in this list. 🙂

    Thanks for the tip, sounds delicious!

  4. Melanie

    Hey Maggie,
    I love the bento style lunches, and it sounds great what you’re putting in there! What is kinpira?

    Hi Sabs,
    Thank you!

  5. Slacker

    I love the idea of preparing on weekends, then freezing for later use. I also go to those dinner workshop things with my wife and we come back with all that food… same concept.

    that being said, this weekend I’ll be doing my first tri-athlon so I’ll be too tired to make my own food.

    Slacker’s last blog post..Slacker Method for Completing Your First Triathlon

    1. Melanie

      Hi Charlei,
      Have you tried grating different veggies, such as carrots, beetroot, cabbage and putting it in a wrap with a little hummus or mashed avocado?

  6. Rhiannon

    I have been saved. No more canned tuna and crackers for me!

    When I worked at my old job (better facilities), I used to steam a small potato, top it with baked beans, capsicum, tomato and low-fat cheese.

    My personal trainer is working on my diet with me as I don’t eat enough for my high activity levels. These recipes are going to be made asap!

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