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

Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

Rating: 4.92 stars
11
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.

Vegan Superfood Grain Bowls

Rating: 4.8 stars
3
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.

Greek Meatball Mezze Bowls

Rating: 5 stars
3
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).

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Rating: 5 stars
1
This creamy cucumber salad is an easy side dish for any summer BBQ. Bright dill and white-wine vinegar add fresh tartness to cucumbers and red onions. Enjoy this salad the day you prepare it so the ingredients don't turn watery.

Carrot Soup

Rating: 4.72 stars
24
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.

Italian Pesto Chicken Salad

Rating: 4.83 stars
4
Prepared pesto is the secret ingredient in this lightened-up, healthy creamy chicken salad recipe. For the prettiest dressing, go for a bright-green colored pesto. Serve the salad open-face on toasted bread or scoop it on top of fresh salad greens.

Green Goddess Salad with Chickpeas

Rating: 5 stars
2
In this cucumber, tomato, Swiss cheese and chickpea salad recipe, a healthy green goddess dressing is made from avocado, buttermilk and herbs. The extra dressing is delicious served with grilled vegetables.

Black Bean-Quinoa Bowl

Rating: 3.86 stars
4
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
13
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.

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

Rating: 4.64 stars
10
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.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crunchy Chickpeas

Rating: 2.5 stars
3
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.

Chickpea, Artichoke & Avocado Salad with Apple-Cider Dressing

Rating: 4.75 stars
3
This delicious 400-calorie 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.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Chipotle-Lime Cauliflower Taco Bowls

Rating: Unrated
2
A bold, smoky marinade elevates roasted cauliflower in this meal-prep version of our popular Chipotle-Lime Cauliflower Tacos (see Associated Recipes). To cut down on prep time, look for precut cauliflower in the produce department. You can also save time by using microwaveable quinoa pouches (you'll need one 8-ounce pouch for this recipe) instead of cooking quinoa.

Pasta Salad with Black Beans & Avocado Dressing

Rating: Unrated
7
Everyone will love this pasta salad recipe that's packed with tomatoes, corn and black beans. We lighten up the creamy dressing with avocado for a healthier version of a picnic favorite.

Green Salad with Edamame & Beets

Rating: 3.33 stars
4

This big salad is a feast for the eyes and an everyday way to incorporate nutrient-rich beets and plant-based protein from edamame (green soybeans). If you're not a fan of cilantro, mix in freshly chopped basil or dill instead.