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: 5 stars 16
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.
By Katie Webster

Vegan Superfood Grain Bowls

Rating: 4.5 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.
By Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps

Rating: 5 stars 2
We love the retro vibe of these egg salad lettuce wraps. Iceberg lettuce makes a perfect low-carb swap for bread to serve the egg salad.
By Katie Webster

Weight-Loss Cabbage Soup

Rating: 4.5 stars 10
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.
By Carolyn Casner

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

Rating: 4.5 stars 14
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.
By Carolyn Casner

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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Hearty Chickpea & Spinach Stew

Rating: 4.5 stars 17
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.
By Patsy Jamieson

Pea Soup

Rating: 5 stars 13
A simple pea soup makes an elegant start to a spring meal. It's also a great way to use frozen vegetables when the produce section is looking bleak.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Avocado Hummus

Rating: 5 stars 9
This vibrant green hummus recipe couldn't be easier--just toss a few ingredients in the food processor and whir away! Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) and avocado make this healthy dip extra smooth and creamy. Serve with veggie chips, pita chips or crudités.
By Devon O'Brien

Black Bean-Quinoa Bowl

Rating: 4 stars 11
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.
By Katie Webster

Greek Meatball Mezze Bowls

Rating: 5 stars 7
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).
By Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.

Chipotle-Lime Cauliflower Taco Bowls

Rating: 4.5 stars 4
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.
By Carolyn A. Hodges, R.D.
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Inspiration and Ideas

28 Make-Ahead Lunches That Can Help You Lose Weight
Recipes like our Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl and Meal-Prep Chili-Lime Chicken Bowls are healthy ways to prep-ahead and meet your nutritional goals.
26 Lunches Under 400 Calories That Are Perfect for Meal Prep
From veggie-packed grain bowls to creamy pasta salads, these low-calorie, meal-prep ideas will save you time and energy at lunchtime.
Chickpea, Artichoke & Avocado Salad with Apple-Cider Dressing
Rating: 4.5 stars 5

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.