8 low-calorie, high-protein meal prep lunches I eat to lose weight and keep it off — all dietitian approved

Quinoa and falafel with hummus are always delicious.GT

  • A calorie deficit is required for weight loss, and preparing meals in advance can help.

  • Eating plenty of protein is also beneficial because it keeps you full and helps you maintain muscle.

  • Here are 8 of my favorite low-calorie, high-protein lunches that helped me lose 35 pounds on and off.

1. A bowl of falafel and chickpeas

Quinoa falafel bowl.

Quinoa and falafel with hummus are always delicious.GT

This is an easy lunch, and if you’re short on time, you can even buy all the ingredients precooked and just divide them into containers to take with you. I like to add quinoa with falafel, chickpeas, and roasted Mediterranean vegetables (like red onions, peppers, or eggplant), but you can add however you like.

Dietitian Nicola Ludlam Ryan said: “Combining falafel and quinoa is a great way to add variety to your lunches while providing fiber and a complete source of plant-based protein (from quinoa). Vegetables like onions, peppers and eggplant are very nutritious but low in calories, which supports your fat loss goals and you can even add low-fat hummus.” Or keep 1-2 tablespoons per serving to keep calories low.”

2. Grilled chicken, sweet potatoes, and vegetables

Grilled chicken tray.

Baking a large tray of food is a great way to prepare meals for the week.GT

I like to think of this as a little British roast dinner – take an hour or two on Sundays to cook a load of food in the oven, and you’ll have lunches all week long.

Choose your ingredients but I like the combination of chicken breast, sweet potatoes, carrots or parsnips and Brussels sprouts. It’s a well-balanced and delicious meal, too.

Ludlam Ryan said: “Chicken breast is a low-fat, low-fat protein source, so it’s great to add to your meals if your goal is to lose fat and gain muscle. Including high-fiber vegetables from sprouts and parsnips will help keep you satiated along with sweet potatoes. It provides energy as well as one of the 5 meals a day, as it is especially rich in vitamins A and C (which help support your immune system too).

3. Goat cheese and beetroot salad

Goat cheese and beetroot salad.

Goat cheese, beetroot and walnuts are a classic combination.GT

I love this classic salad. Simply place cooked beetroot, crumbled goat cheese and some walnuts on a bed of your favorite leaves, then drizzle a little honey vinaigrette when you’re ready to eat. Try adding cereal or some bread for extra energy.

Ludlam Ryan said: This sounds delicious. Walnuts and beets are heart-healthy additions to salads. Aim for a small handful of nuts per portion while keeping the cheese at no more than 30-50g (approximately) and will still be a good source of healthy fats as well as protein and calcium to support healthy eating. joints and muscles while also keeping calorie and saturated fat levels low.”

4. A bowl of fajita

Rice Bowl, Chicken, Pepper, Avocado, And Greek Yogurt.

Fajita bowl of rice, chicken, peppers, avocado and greek yogurt.Rachel Husey

Whether it’s in a bowl or in cans, it’s basically fajitas, but rather than rolled up, over brown rice. If you want to cut down on the calories or boost the protein found in classic fajitas, replace the sour cream with fat-free Greek yogurt. I often put out containers like this from leftovers so that there is no cooking.

ingredients

  • 125g (12 cups) cooked brown rice

  • 1 chicken breast cut into pieces

  • 1 bell pepper and/or zucchini, thinly sliced

  • fajita seasoning

  • 1/2 avocado

  • 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt

method

1. Heat a little oil or cooking spray in a skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the chicken and vegetables and fry until the pepper softens and the chicken is cooked through, stirring regularly. Season with fajita seasoning, salt and pepper.

3. Spoon the rice into a bowl or bowl and place it over the chicken, vegetables, avocado and yogurt.

Ludlam Ryan said: “This sounds delicious! I love adding Greek yogurt as a seasoning to my foods (especially spicy dishes) for a boost of protein, calcium, and natural probiotics. You can also add some homemade salsa using tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro for more veggies.”

6. Chicken Avocado Sandwich

Hand holding a chicken and avocado sandwich.

The chicken and avocado sandwich provides carbs, protein, and fat.Rachel Husey

It’s hard to go wrong with a simple sandwich. This combo is delicious and ticks all the macro boxes too. Use a thin bun or try an open sandwich if you want to cut calories, or replace the avocado with cucumber or salad.

ingredients:

Ludlam Ryan said: “Many people are as shy about eating carbohydrates as bread, but they should not be feared. Bread made with whole grains and whole grains is a major source of fiber in the diet in addition to B vitamins, and may be fortified with calcium and vitamin D as well. Adding some lean protein will help. Fats like chicken and cream cheese help keep you feeling full, as well as the healthy fats found in avocados.”

7. Chicken Sausage Pesto Pasta with Vegetables

Turkey meatball pasta dishes.

Turkey meatballs or chicken sausage with pasta and vegetables are a staple.Rachel Husey

This is a great recipe for dinner, and I love eating leftovers for lunch—they’re just as delicious as reheating them in the microwave or eating them cold like pasta salad.

Cook whole-wheat pasta, stir it into a sauce made of low-fat cream cheese and pesto, cook up some meatballs or sausage (I often use versions of turkey or chicken to keep it light) and any vegetables you prefer, and mix it all together.

Ludlam Ryan said: “Turkey is a great source of lean protein that is high in essential amino acids, including tryptophan which is involved in the production of certain hormones like serotonin and melatonin that promote a good mood and better sleep as well. Salsa is a great way to keep calories and fat low. saturated too.”

8. feta omelette

The feta frittata and vegetables.

You can add any ingredients you want to the frittata.Rachel Husey

I love frittatas and always mix up fillings based on what I have on hand. The go-to mix is ​​cooked sweet potatoes, sweet corn, zucchini, red onions, and feta, and I sometimes add egg whites to my whole egg for a protein boost. A large frittata can make 3-4 lunches, and may be served alongside some salad or bread.

All you have to do is cook your fillings in a large skillet over medium heat (or add pre-cooked ingredients to heat). Whisk your eggs with the seasonings, then pour into the skillet, and top with the feta cheese. Cook for five minutes on the stovetop before transferring to the oven for about 15 minutes, until fully cooked through and golden on top.

Ludlam Ryan said: “Fritatas are a great choice… filling… and low in calories (depending on what you put in them of course). They’re perfect for using up leftover vegetables and they’re also high in protein, which is key to prioritizing when losing weight because it will help you feel fuller for longer. Top up this recipe with lots of non-starchy veggies and a handful of potatoes will add extra fiber on top of 1-2 out of 5 servings a day.”

5. Fried chicken

Fried chicken with noodles and vegetables.

Chicken fry is my dinner when I’m hungry and feel lazy.Rachel Husey

Another dinner that doubles as lunch the next day, french fries are nutritious, quick, easy, and delicious. Sometimes I speed up the process even more by buying pre-made mixes of sautéed vegetables.

All you have to do is heat some oil in a hot frying pan, quickly saute chopped veggies for a few minutes, add the protein of your choice, cook for a few more minutes, then add the finished pasta or rice, then stir in the sauce. . Sometimes I use edamame noodles or lentils for a protein boost.

Ludlam Ryan said: “French fries are a great way to pack a good amount of veggies into your meal if you struggle to get five a day. If you want to boost the protein content here, you can even add an egg and scramble with egg-fried veggies.”

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