Low-Calorie Make Ahead Lunch Recipes

Find healthy, delicious low-calorie make ahead lunch recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Rating: 4.52 stars
85
Make a double batch of this quick vegetarian chili, full of black beans and sweet potatoes, and eat it for lunch the next day or freeze the extras for another night. We love the smoky heat from the ground chipotle, but omit it if you prefer a mild chili. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and coleslaw.

 Spicy Weight-Loss Cabbage Soup

Rating: 4.78 stars
31
Based on a popular weight-loss plan, this healthy cabbage soup recipe gets tons of flavor and a metabolism-boosting kick from spicy chiles.

Roasted Cauliflower & Potato Curry Soup

Rating: 4.8 stars
52
In this healthy cauliflower soup recipe, roasting the cauliflower first adds depth and prevents the florets from turning to mush. A little tomato sauce and coconut milk give the broth a rich, silky texture. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, if desired.

Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

Rating: 4.92 stars
12
This mile-high vegetable 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.

Cauliflower Soup

Rating: 5 stars
2
A healthy take on a loaded baked potato, this creamy cauliflower soup recipe has all the fixings of a loaded potato (bacon included) but for way fewer calories and carbs. Ready in a quick 20 minutes, this easy soup is great for busy weeknights or can be meal prepped ahead of time to take for lunch or frozen for a ready-made meal down the road. This recipe was originally made for one serving but can be easily adapted to serve more.

Slow-Cooker Braised Beef with Carrots & Turnips

Rating: 4.86 stars
8
The spice blend in this healthy beef stew recipe--cinnamon, allspice and cloves--may conjure images of apple pie, but the combo is a great fit in savory applications too. Serve over creamy polenta or buttered whole-wheat egg noodles.

Carrot Soup

Rating: 4.72 stars
29
This easy carrot soup recipe is a great way to use up a bag of carrots that were forgotten in your produce drawer. The carrots cook together with aromatics like onions, garlic and fresh herbs before being puréed into a silky smooth soup that's delicious for dinner or packed up for lunch.

Black Bean-Quinoa Bowl

Rating: 3.86 stars
7
This black bean and quinoa bowl has many of the usual hallmarks of a taco salad, minus the fried bowl. We've loaded it up with pico de gallo, fresh cilantro and avocado plus an easy hummus dressing to drizzle on top.

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup

Rating: 4 stars
15
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 or an easy, satisfying snack. This weight-loss vegetable soup fills you up without a lot of calories, plus it's an easy way to eat more vegetables.

Middle Eastern Chicken & Chickpea Stew

Rating: 4.08 stars
26
This quick, protein-rich chicken stew recipe gets great flavor from cumin, lemon juice and garlic. Make a double batch and freeze it for a quick healthy dinner. Serve the stew with couscous and steamed broccoli.

Four-Bean & Pumpkin Chili

Rating: 5 stars
7
This healthy vegetarian chili has a fragrant touch of cinnamon for added flavor. Let diners top it with whatever suits their taste.

Vegan Superfood Grain Bowls

Rating: 4.8 stars
6
This nutrient-packed grain bowl recipe comes together in 15 minutes with the help of a few convenience-food shortcuts like prewashed baby kale, microwavable quinoa and precooked beets. Pack these ahead to keep on hand for easy meal-prep lunches or dinners on busy nights.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl
Rating: Unrated
11
Quinoa and chickpeas pack this vegetarian grain bowl with plenty of plant-based protein. Whip up a batch of these Mediterranean meals and pack in containers with lids to stash in the fridge for easy, healthy grab & go lunches all week long.
Roasted Vegetable & Black Bean Tacos
Rating: Unrated
3
These hearty vegan tacos are quick and easy to make, perfect for busy weeknights. They are so tasty no one will miss the meat or dairy.

Greek Meatball Mezze Bowls

Rating: 5 stars
4

With a variety of flavors and textures (and a whopping 30 grams of protein!), these Mediterranean-inspired meal-prep bowls will keep you fueled all afternoon. The turkey meatballs are adapted from Greek Turkey Burgers with Spinach, Feta & Tzatziki by Hilary Meyer. Look for premade tzatziki near the specialty cheeses and dips at your grocery store or make your own (see Associated Recipes).