5-day guide to healthy lunches

young woman at market looking at vegetables

When it comes to losing weight successfully, the key is balancing a proper, wholesome diet with regular exercise. For some, managing a healthy diet can be the hardest part of weight loss, especially when it comes to eating outside of your home.

Eating lunch at the office can be brutal, with an abundance of options for take-out or the luncheon meeting that always provides pizza from your favorite shop around the corner. News flash: A delicious lunch doesn’t have to be high in calories or make you feel guilty when you’re finished eating. There are plenty of wholesome, satisfying lunches that you can pack from home that’ll make both your stomach and attitude happy.

Here’s a 5-day guide to easy, healthy lunches that’ll make you kiss that slice of pizza goodbye – at least until cheat day.

Day 1: Power Salad
Start your week off right by eating a salad packed with wholesome nutrients. Don’t bore yourself with the usual unexciting salad consisting of lettuce covered in Italian dressing. Instead, give your salad some character with this recipe from Eating Well magazine. You’ll need:

  • 2 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped raw vegetables – onions, peppers, tomato, cucumbers, etc.
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons almonds
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat balsamic dressing.
Add fresh, raw vegetables to create a nutrient-packed salad that will aid your weight loss venture.Add fresh, raw vegetables to create a nutrient-packed salad that will aid your weight loss venture.

Simply toss the ingredients together in a large bowl and package in a container. Enjoy this lunch for only 402 calories!

Day 2: Little Italy Chicken Pita
This isn’t your usual white bread and bologna sandwich. This chicken pita idea from My Recipes uses sun-dried tomatoes to add some zest to your lunch hour. Pair with a side of grapes for a perfectly satisfying meal.

This recipe yields six servings, so reduce it if you don’t want leftovers. You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato oil
  • 1 tablespoon oil-packed sun-dried tomato – chopped and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove – minced
  • 4 cups chicken breast – cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup medium tomato – chopped
  • 1/2 cup Asiago cheese – grated
  • 1/4 cup basil – thinly sliced
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 6 pitas cut in half.

Combine the vinegar, sun-dried tomato oil, chopped sun-dried tomato, black pepper and garlic in a large bowl. Then, stir in the chicken, tomato, cheese and basil.

Fill each pita with about 1/4 cup mixed greens, then divide the chicken mixture evenly among the pitas. Enjoy this healthy recipe for only 342 calories!

Day 3: Thai Tofu Sandwich
If you’re looking for a meal that’s a step outside of the box, this tofu sandwich recipe from Health magazine is perfect for you. You’ll need:

  • 1 4-ounce piece of tofu
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1/4 avocado – peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup cucumber – sliced
  • 1/4 cup carrots – shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 whole-grain roll.

“Enjoy a Thai tofu sandwich for only 400 calories.”

First, use a skillet to heat the tofu until it’s golden brown – this should take about 4 minutes on each side. Then, brush tofu with sriracha. Next, assemble the sandwich by placing tofu on the whole-grain roll. Top with avocado, cucumber, carrots and cilantro. Enjoy for only 400 calories!

Day 4: Tabbouleh, Chicken and Red Pepper
This delicious meal from My Recipes is the perfect tool for weight loss. The Mediterranean-inspired ingredients will take you to another country for your lunch break. You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup bulgur – uncooked
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups plum tomato – diced
  • 3/4 cup chicken breast – cooked and shredded
  • 3/4 cup fresh parsley – minced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper – finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup English cucumber – diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

First, mix bulgur and boiling water in a large bowl. Cover and let sit until the bulgur is tender – this should take about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Next, combine the bulgur with the remaining ingredients. Enjoy this dish for only 150 calories!

Add chicken to create the perfect tabbouleh dish. Add chicken to create the perfect tabbouleh dish.

Day 5: Veggie Quesadilla
You’ve made it to the end of the week, so you deserve a little flavor party. What better way to celebrate than with a Mexican-inspired dish that won’t ruin your diet? This recipe from Eating Well is a delicious, low-calorie meal that you’ll definitely be having a second time. You’ll need:

  • 1 whole-wheat tortilla
  • 1/3 cup low-fat cheddar cheese – shredded
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup peppers of your choice – sliced
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms – sliced
  • 1/4 avocado – sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Combine cheddar, black beans, peppers, mushrooms and olive oil in a bowl. Next, lay the combination out on the whole-wheat tortilla. Top with avocado slices and fold tortilla in half. Prepare the night before by grilling each side for about 2 minutes to melt the cheese. Enjoy this meal for 402 calories!