Your daily lunch is an important factor in weight loss, and regularly going to restaurants or ordering fast food can interfere with your progress. Taking lunch to work can save money and promote weight loss, and you do not need to spend much time preparing it. The lunch should be filling, low enough in calories to let you lose weight and high in nutrients to prevent deficiencies as you eat less to lose weight.
Use washed spinach leaves, mixed greens, romaine lettuce or other greens as the base for a large green salad. Add a variety of raw vegetables, such as sliced cucumber, grape tomatoes, sliced mushrooms and diced beets. Vegetables are low-calorie and high in dietary fiber, which is a filling nutrient. Add a source of lean protein, such as cooked chicken breast, turkey breast, tuna, hard-boiled egg whites or chickpeas. You can also add some fruit, such as sliced strawberries or mandarin orange segments, and a spoonful of nuts or seeds. Store some reduced-calorie salad dressing at work or take a small container of it with you so you can add it to the salad at lunch.
If you have a refrigerator and microwave at work, you can take your leftovers from dinner and eat them for lunch. Top a green salad with last night’s grilled chicken breast or fish, or make a taco salad with cooked ground turkey, tomatoes, fat-free sour cream and lettuce. Use high-fiber, whole-grain tortillas to make filling, nutritious sandwiches with leftovers such as chicken and vegetable stir-fry, fat-free refried beans or soy-based meatless burgers. Also, pack fruit and vegetables, such as grape tomatoes, to increase the nutrient content of your lunch.
Cottage Cheese and Yogurt
Fat-free cottage cheese and yogurt are high-protein, high-calcium choices that you can use as the center of your lunch. Spread cottage cheese on a low-calorie, high-fiber English muffin and top it with tomato slices and dill, or dip whole-wheat pita chips into fat-free cottage cheese. Mix oats and berries into fat-free yogurt, or make low-fat tuna salad with yogurt, tuna, chopped onions and parsley. Include some fresh fruit and a small green salad or celery sticks with your cottage cheese or yogurt dish to make your lunch more filling and nutritious without adding many calories.
Include some healthy snacks in your lunch bag or keep some at work to reduce temptation to nibble on high-calorie office treats, such as chocolates, doughnuts and pizza. Baby carrots, grapes, apples, hard-boiled eggs, oranges, popcorn and whole-grain cereal can keep you satisfied and let you munch without adding excessive calories. When you make your lunch, limit ingredients such as fatty luncheon meats, full-fat cheese and croutons, because they are high in calories and can slow weight loss.