21 Healthy Lunches for When You Need Something Light
After a long holiday weekend filled with yummy goodies, having a variety of healthy lunch recipes on hand will help you get back on track. Here are 21 of our favorite light lunches—all with less than 500 calories—that will leave you feeling satisfied without weighing you down.
Veggie & Hummus Sandwich
This mile-high vegetables and hummus sandwich makes the perfect heart-healthy vegetarian lunch to go. Mix it up with different flavors of hummus and different types of vegetables depending on your mood.
Lentil & Roasted Vegetable Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Goddess dressing typically gets its umami-ness from anchovies, but we use miso in this super green salad recipe to keep it vegetarian. Substitute 2 chopped anchovies for the miso if you like.
Cabbage Diet Soup
Loaded with cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, tomato and plenty of seasoning, this healthy vegetable soup packs in lots of flavor and is ultra-satisfying. This easy recipe makes a big batch for lunches or veggie-packed snacks all week. If you want to bump up the satisfaction factor even more, top with a little cheese or avocado.
Citrus Lime Tofu Salad
This veggie-packed salad has plenty of protein and fiber, so you'll feel full and satisfied. Prep the ingredients ahead of time for an easy vegan lunch idea to pack for work.
Rainbow Veggie Wraps
There's definitely a sushi vibe to these kid-friendly wraps, which are stuffed with vegetables, cheese and hummus and then rolled and sliced. Serve them with store-bought green goddess, a creamy herb-filled dressing, to take it up a notch with ease. They look impressive but they're easy enough for kids to assemble themselves for an easy lunch or dinner.
Flat-Belly Salad Recipe
This salad is a helpful tool for weight loss because it provides a good balance of fiber, protein and healthy fats from loads of veggies and beans, all tossed in a tangy apple-cider vinaigrette. To meal-prep these for lunch throughout the week, pack the dressing and the salad separately and make sure your veggies are thoroughly dried before packing them together.
Edamame & Chicken Greek Salad
This healthy salad recipe with cucumber, feta, basil and olives has edamame added for extra protein. Serve with toasted pita brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano.
West Coast Avocado Toast
Hummus, sprouts and avocado top sprouted whole-wheat bread in this healthy vegan lunch idea. Look for sprouted bread in the freezer section of your grocery store.
Chicken, Barley & Mushroom Soup
This healthy chicken soup recipe is chock-full of sturdy root vegetables and whole-grain barley. You can use any combination of dried and fresh mushrooms here. The soup will thicken as it sits on the stove—thin it as needed with more broth or water.
No-Cook Black Bean Salad
This vegan black bean salad version gets its creaminess from blended avocado. Any mix of salad greens will work well, but try arugula if you want to give this hearty salad a peppery kick.
Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup
Make a big batch of low-calorie veggie-packed soup with ease in this load-and-go crock pot recipe. After simmering away in the slow cooker, portion it into individual serving containers and store in the fridge or freezer for fast, healthy lunches. This weight-loss vegetable soup fills you up without a lot of calories, plus it's an easy way to eat more vegetables.
Tomato, Cucumber & White Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
This no-cook bean salad is a delicious way to use summer's best cherry or grape tomatoes and juicy cucumbers for a light lunch. Fresh basil elevates an easy vinaigrette recipe that dresses up this simple salad into something extraordinary.
BLATs (Bacon-Lettuce-Avocado Sandwiches)
In this healthy BLT recipe, we use a creamy avocado spread flavored with garlic and basil, and add sprouts. Look for sprouted-wheat bread in the frozen section or with other specialty breads at your grocery store.
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crunchy Chickpeas
This healthy high-fiber salad comes together in just 10 minutes. Serve it right away or pack it in individual servings for four super-satisfying high-fiber lunches for the week ahead. To cut down on prep time, we're using preshredded Brussels sprouts from the produce department and store-bought roasted chickpeas. Look for roasted chickpea snacks with the healthy snacks or nuts at your grocery store.
Greek Salad Wraps
Zesty Greek salad packed with tomatoes, cucumber and olives—plus chickpeas for a protein punch—gets tucked into a whole-wheat wrap for a healthy vegan lunch that's easy to pack for work. It's so flavorful and satisfying, you won't miss the feta!
Zucchini Noodle “Pasta” Salad
This healthy zucchini noodle salad has all the flavors you love in a classic Mediterranean pasta salad but we've swapped in zoodles for wheat pasta, which makes the salad lighter, lower in carbs and gluten-free.
Roasted Veggie Mason Jar
This vegan mason jar salad is easy to pack up and take for lunch. Layering the creamy cashew sauce into the bottom of the jar ensures that your big, bold power salad won't become wilted by the time you're ready to eat.
Tuscan White Bean Soup
A pound of dried beans is the inexpensive foundation for this simple, hearty meal. Serve it with slices of whole-wheat bread or a side salad for a complete and satisfying lunch or dinner.
Kale Turkey Wraps
Using kale leaves instead of bread to wrap your filling makes this healthy turkey lunch recipe low-calorie. If you can't find lacinato, also known as Tuscan kale, try cabbage for your wrap.
Chicken Avocado BLT Wrap
Who doesn't love a BLT? In this Mexican-inspired version, we've added chicken and avocado and wrapped it in a tortilla, making it easy to eat.
Green Goddess Salad with Chicken
In this cucumber, tomato, Swiss and chicken salad recipe, a healthy green goddess dressing is made from avocado, buttermilk and herbs. Any extra dressing is delicious served over grilled chicken or flaky white fish, such as cod or flounder.