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

Cabbage Diet Soup

Rating: Unrated
4
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.

Hearty Chickpea & Spinach Stew

Rating: Unrated
9
This satisfying stew comes together in a snap. Mashed chickpeas add body to the broth, and tomato paste adds a savory note without piling on the sodium. To simplify the prep, look for chopped fresh onion and shredded carrot or a soup starter mix in the produce section.

Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

Rating: Unrated
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.

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

Rating: Unrated
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.

Greek Meatball Mezze Bowls

Rating: Unrated
1
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).

Flat-Belly Salad

Rating: Unrated
3
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.

Vegan Superfood Buddha Bowls

Rating: Unrated
3
This nutrient-packed vegan Buddha 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.

Slow-Cooker Braised Beef with Carrots & Turnips

Rating: Unrated
6
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.

Middle Eastern Chicken & Chickpea Stew

Rating: Unrated
22
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.

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.

Roasted Cauliflower & Potato Curry Soup

Rating: Unrated
38
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.

Mexican Cabbage Soup

Rating: Unrated
25
Based on a popular weight-loss plan, this healthy cabbage soup recipe gets tons of flavor and a metabolism-boosting kick from spicy chiles.

Inspiration and Ideas

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Rating: Unrated
92
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.

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup

Rating: Unrated
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.

Black Bean-Quinoa Buddha Bowl

Rating: Unrated
4

Treat your Buddha bowl to a vacation south of the border! This black bean and quinoa Buddha bowl has the usual hallmarks of a taco salad, minus the greasy fried bowl. We've loaded it up with pico de gallo, fresh cilantro and avocado plus an easy hummus dressing to drizzle on top.