One of the most common complaints of those who choose to change their diet for weight loss is that they get bored. Sometimes a little variety to shake things up can be the key to consistency. But, many of us get in a routine and don’t optimize our options. This leads to taste bud fatigue. And, we deny our bodies several health boosting nutrients that we simply overlook.
Protein is a key ingredient to satisfying hunger and maintaining weight loss. While protein shakes and protein bars are great options to bring to work for lunch or to grab on the go for breakfast, adding a homemade lunch or dinner option can make eating healthy more fun. So, we put together 5 healthy lunch ideas for those on a diet that don’t take a lot of work in the kitchen.
Mediterranean Lunch Box
This combination of Greek salad, hummus, and grapes makes 4 servings and each is packed with 37 grams of protein
|¼ cup rinsed chickpeas||½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil|
|¼ cup diced cucumbers||1 teaspoon red wine vinegar|
|¼ cup diced tomatoes||3 ounces grilled turkey or chicken breast|
|1 tablespoon olive||1 cup grapes|
|1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese||2 tablespoons hummus|
|1 tablespoon chopped parsley|
- Toss chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, parsley, oil and vinegar together and pack in a medium section of your bento box.
- Place grilled turkey or chicken breast in separate section.
- Pack grapes into third section.
- Add hummus into the dip section.
Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad
This option is packed with protein and fiber and makes 4 servings that are 15 grams of protein each. For those who like to heat things up, add some red pepper or cayenne for extra flavor
1 15-19 ounce can beans, rinsed ¼ teaspoon salt
1 5-6 ounce containers water packed chunk light tuna, drained 1 ½ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
|1 large red bell pepper, diced||½ cup lemon juice|
|½ cup finely chopped red onion||4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil|
|½ cup chopped, fresh parsley||ground pepper for taste|
|4 teaspoons rinsed capers||8 cups mixed green salad|
- Combine beans, tuna, bell pepper, onion, parsley, capers, rosemary, ¼ cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil in medium bowl to mix.
- Combine ¼ cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt. Add salad greens to mixture and toss to coat.
- Divide salad mixture into 4.
- Top with tuna.
Zesty Shrimp and Black Bean Salad
This is a quick no cook recipe that makes 4 servings that have 21 grams of protein each.
|¼ cup cider vinegar||1 large poblano pepper, chopped|
|3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil||¼ cup chopped scallions|
|1 tablespoon minced chipotle Chile||1 pound peeled and deveined, cooked shrimp|
|1 teaspoon ground cumin||1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes|
|¼ teaspoon salt||¼ cup chopped cilantro|
1 15 ounce can rinsed black beans
- Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle, cumin, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add shrimp, beans, tomatoes, poblano peppers, scallions, cilantro.
- Toss to coat.
Roasted Corn, Black Bean, and Mango Salad
This is a fresh tasting dish that makes 8 servings that are 4 grams of protein each. Although it is a great source of calcium and potassium, add grilled salmon, halibut, chicken, or pork for more protein.
|2 teaspoons canola oil||¼ teaspoon ground cumin|
|1 clove minced garlic||¼ teaspoon salt|
|1 ½ cup kernels (3 ears)||1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced|
|½ cup chopped red onion||1 15-19 ounce can black beans, rinsed|
|3 tablespoons lime juice||½ cup diced bell pepper|
|1 ½ tablespoon chopped cilantro||1 small canned chipotle pepper, drained & chopped|
- Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook. Stir in corn and cook until brown.
- Transfer the corn mixture to a large bowl.
- Stir in mango, beans, onion, bell pepper, lime juice, chipotle pepper, cilantro, cumin, and salt.
Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl
This is a healthy balance of ingredients that makes 4 servings with 36 grams of protein each.
|1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle peppers||2 cups cooked quinoa|
|1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil||1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed|
|½ teaspoon garlic powder||1 ripe avocado, diced|
|½ teaspoon ground cumin||¼ cup pico de gallo|
|1 lb. boneless chicken breast||¼ cup shredded cheddar|
|¼ teaspoon salt||2 cups shredded lettuce|
- Preheat your grill to medium high.
- Combine chipotle pepper, oil, garlic powder, and cumin.
- Oil grill rack. Season chicken with salt. Grill for 5 minutes. Brush with chipotle glaze and continue cooking until center of chicken breast reaches 165 degrees F. Chop into pieces.
- Separate into 4 bowls each containing: ¼ cup quinoa, ½ cup chicken, ½ cup lettuce, ¼ cup beans, ¼ avocado, 1 tablespoon pico de gallo, and 1 tablespoon cheese.
Although you might be tired of the same old routine, spicing up your weekly diet meals with any of these healthy options can give you the variety you need. Lean protein has many options that most people looking to lose weight overlook. Don’t cheat yourself out of the good stuff that also helps you lose weight!