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grumpyfish's avatar

Low calorie lunch suggestions?

Asked by grumpyfish (6630points) March 23rd, 2010

So my doctor has recommended I drop to 1300 calories a day, maximum. I just looked at my typical meals, and the “outlier” seems to be lunch.

Currently it’s a peanut butter & jelly sandwich on two slices of wheat bread. That’s 480 calories, and I’d love to find something in the 200-calorie range?

Any good suggestions? I work from home, so I have a full kitchen available, and definitely willing to do some prep for something to eat all week.

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43 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Tomato soup works well.

msbauer's avatar

i’ve found spinach salads to be super duper versatile…possible toppings: dried fruits like cranberries, any nuts, other lean proteins like chicken strips or tofu, avocado (kinda high calories but sooo delicious) or other fresh veggies and even fresh fruits, low-fat/non-fat dressing…anything really, i just pile mine high!

Likeradar's avatar

Amy’s makes a delicious shepherd’s pie that’s only 160 calories. Super yummy and filled with veggies. It’s 0 prep except for microwaving, so if you don’t actually want to cook it could be a good choice.

Veg based soups with lots of veggie chunks are low in calories and will keep you full for a while too.

Just_Justine's avatar

I think prepping is a great idea. Because then you wont fall off the wagon. I sometimes cut up all sorts of salad goodies, with bean sprouts, grated nuts, lettuce, rocket, onions, feta cheese, you know all those salady things and put in an airtight container well sealed.

That means you can just shove it in a whole-wheat roll if you are not gluten allergic with cheese or tuna for a few days quick and easy.

Just_Justine's avatar

@Likeradar sounds lovely would you mind posting the recipe?

mysweetdrream182's avatar

try doing all vegetables and fruit, they are both virtually calorie free . When keeping track of calories it is best to stick to veggies cooked without oil and try eating fish instead of red meat and chicken for protein. Do not fry anything, that also adds more calories. Avoid oil, and you can add more food to a 1300 calorie diet.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My lunch is about 300 – a lot of greens, some soy chicken, and half a can of red beans.

njnyjobs's avatar

Buffalo wings (5 wings @ 200 cal) and celery sticks with sugar-free jello (0 cal)

Just_Justine's avatar

@mysweetdrream182 I also love my fresh fruit and veggies, but my darn fridge is turning all my fruit and veggies to rocks dam!

janbb's avatar

Hummus – not too much – on a whole wheat pita with lettuce, tomato and English cucumber.

grumpyfish's avatar

@njnyjobs Like one of each? =)

Likeradar's avatar

@Just_Justine Of the soup? It’s easy. Ingredients: 1 can Progresso Homestyle Minestrone (an actual vegetarian vegetable soup. Lots are made with meat broths). 1pot. 1 stove. I think you can figure out the rest. :)
Sorry, I don’t make my own but I think I might try soon.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Just_Justine Were you referring to the shepard’s pie?

Just_Justine's avatar

@Likeradar when you get a chance the shepards pie please! thank you

Likeradar's avatar

@Just_Justine It’s not a recipe- a company called Amy’s makes it. You buy it in the frozen foods section of a grocery store (around here it’s at Safeway and Vitamin Cottage).

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Likeradar Is it available in the Northeast?

janbb's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Amy’s is available in my supermarket and i am in the northeast.

njnyjobs's avatar

Black Bean and Corn Chili
From the Vermont Department of Health
Makes 6 servings @ 100 cal/serving

1 clove garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
½ cup onion
15 ounce can black beans, drained, rinsed
15 ounce can tomatoes
17 g (1 Tbsp) tomato paste with salt
1 cup frozen corn
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ cup chopped green pepper

1.Saute onion and garlic until onion is clear. (Amount of oil not specified.)

2.Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, sugar and spices. Mix and heat to boiling then reduce heat and simmer.

3.Add green pepper and continue simmering until tender.

Note: Omitting the sugar only reduces sugars by 0.7 g per serving and calories by 3 per serving.

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 182.7g
Calories 100 per serving
Calories from Fat 6%
Total Fat 0.7g 1%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 479mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 21.1g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5.5g 22%
Sugars 5.5g
Protein 5.5g
Vitamin A 7%
Vitamin C 35%
Calcium 5%
Iron 8%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional details are an estimate and should only be used as a guide for approximation.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Likeradar Thanks. @Likeradar Thanks.
I like a can of tomatoes, however you like, mixed with cooked elbow marcaroni. Use whatever proportion of each. You can use the wildest or the plainest tomatoes, diced works good, add hot sauce and as much pepper as you like. I like it hot enough to make me sweat.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I usually have a Boca Burger on a light roll.

Boca burger: 100 calories
Light bun: 90 calories


JLeslie's avatar

Tuna salad salad. I take crisp iceberg lettuce and add a little bit of “spring” greens, some shredded carrot, and my husband likes tomatoes in there also (I hate tomatoes). Mix one can of solid white tuna with one tablespoon mayo (crush it up well with the fork), and I add some celery. Place the tuna on top of the salad and use fresh lemon or lime. as the “dressing” over everything, salt to taste. Fresh and light, around 300 calories I think. I don’t remember for sure.

Also, I think Morningstar veggie patties are fantastic! (similar to the boca burger idea) I like the regular old pattie, but they have grillers that supposedly taste closer to a burger, I am not as keen on those. I put the patty on a sesame seed bun done. My husband would add tomato.

JLeslie's avatar

Also grilled vegetables to add to meals. During the summer months my husband grills portabello mushrooms, green/red/orange peppers, eggplant, asparagus, zuchini, and we have it around for 3 or 4 days to add to lunches and dinners so we eat less of the “bad” stuff, and it greatly reduces the calories.

I am not big on sandwiches, and either is my husband, so I my lunches are very similar to dinners by most standards.

Also, I was thinking about this 1300 number, which is VERY low, unless you are on the shorter side. Anyway, that means you can have 3 meals at 400 calories, plus a 100 calorie snack. You mentioned 200 calories, why so low? 200 is difficult to acheive for a meal I think. You can even have a breakfast and lunch at 300 and a 100 snack, and still have a 600 dinner. I do recommend having at least 4 “meals” if you are going to reduce your calorie intake to such a low number.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, but that is what has worked for me when I wanted to lose weight and eat healthier.

njnyjobs's avatar

Chopped grilled chicken (skinless white meat) and corn with Ginger teriyaki sauce wrapped in iceburg lettuce.

JONESGH's avatar

Amy’s burritos. They’re pretty huge, and only have 200–250 calories, plus they’re delicious and vegetarian!

thriftymaid's avatar

ham and fresh spinach with a little olive oil wrapped in a large burrito.

tedibear's avatar

My favorite is a big salad with baked or grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast on it. To save time, you can bake/grill a bunch of chicken breast, once it’s cooked, cut it up and put it in baggies in 4 ounce portions. Put the bagged chicken in a freezer bag, put that in the freezer and pull one out the evening before you want it. It should defrost in the refrigerator over night with no trouble.

As for what to cook it in, I’ve used lowfat Italian dressing and hot wing sauce with great success. Season it with what you like.

As an aside, if you do fruit as a snack or part of breakfast, have a few (8 or 10) almonds with it. I’ve found it helps to curb the “up and down” that I get with anything with any kind of sugar. That’s me, though. Your mileage may vary.

mrrich724's avatar

You can make an awesome salad out of plenty of super low fat things. Try mixing and matching:


Whatever vegetable practically has zero calories. And I just found this dressing. Two tablespoons is 50 calories. So you can make a 150 calorie salad that’s very filling and add a really low cal dressing like Galeo’s and it will taste great! Don’t add things high in calories (obviously), like cheese, avocado, or nuts. I learned that one quick.

Coloma's avatar

One of my favorites.

Lowfat cottage cheese with raw or roasted sunflower seeds and a handful of fresh blueberries. About 100 calories per ½ cup cottage cheese, and another 150 or so for a tablespoon or so of sunflower seeds and the berries.

Coloma's avatar

Tuna salad with lowcal mayo, and then stuffed into halved pickled Jalapenos…really good!

OR….tuna salad filled celery sticks…awesome!

JLeslie's avatar

I was just thinking that I should mention that my husband loves Paul Newman’s low fat sesame dressing. If you like that sort of thing, he uses it on salads, dipping sauce for chicken, he will eat it with anything and everything. Doesn’t taste lowfat at all.

Pandora's avatar

I love turkey sandwiches with mustard. Hold the cheese.
To make the sandwich worth while buy fresh, roasted turkey not that spam looking turkey.
Have it with a side of cooked peas.

Coloma's avatar

Don’t forget deviled eggs…tons of protein and very lowcal. I mix mine with a teensy bit od low fat mayo, sweet pickle relish and a bit of mustard
My little red hen delivers them daily. I do the deviling. lol

JLeslie's avatar

I love deviled eggs, but the cholesterol is astronomical. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that @grumpyfish should watch it. I could be wrong, some people have perfect cholesterol numbers no matter what they eat.

Coloma's avatar


True..didn’t think of that. I only eat eggs about 2x a month.

I used to have geese eggs..1,200 mg. of cholesterol per egg! Great for baking..but otherwise killers! lolol

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma It’s all I think about. Ugh. I love eggs. When I stop eating yolks and sweets, no other changes my cholesterol drops 50 points within a month.

Coloma's avatar

Wow! Sweets too?

Uh oh..I’m in trouble. lololol

JLeslie's avatar

Sweets that have cholesterol. I have horrible genes concerning cholesterol it seems.

Coloma's avatar

Soooo…cheesecake is a no no? lol

Well…my heart might just have to stop beating happily in that case! hahahaha

JeffVader's avatar

…...... dust!

dalia's avatar

Breakfast: cereal, and skimmed milk.
Snack options: a delicious fruit salad
Lunch: Grilled breast chicken with grilled vegetables, one slice of whole-grain bread, vegetable salad with olive oil dressing
Dinner: Soups and salad (it must be light)
Buon appetite!

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