35 Quick and Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches

Need a healthy lunch? Here are 35 options. With a little planning, they can all be prepared in seven minutes or less. It’s time to kick that brown-bag lunch up a notch!
35 Quick and Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches

35 Quick and Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches

By the time noon rolls around, it may seem too easy to head to nearest pizza joint. But hold up: We have 35 healthy lunches that are 400 calories or less and can be made in no time! And for those who need a little more fuel to keep on going, each meal also includes an optional side snack to keep anyone’s belly full (up to 500 calories). So say sayonara to take-out or hours slaving at the kitchen—with these options, nobody will go hungry (or unhealthy) again.

Sandwiches/Wraps

 1. Herbed Cheese and Tomato Sandwich: 398 Calories

Why it rules: Cottage cheese is an awesome low-fat source of protein!

Calorie breakdown: 1 English muffin: 120 calories, ¼ cup low-fat cottage cheese: 40 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories, ¼ avocado, sliced: 68 calories, 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard: 5 calories, 1 leaf butter lettuce: 5 calories, 1 tablespoon chives, chopped: <1 calorie, Garlic powder to taste: <1 calorie

Side snack: 1 small banana and one square of dark chocolate (130 calories)

2. Hawaiian Veggie burger: 380 Calories

Why it rules: Avocado is a great swap for mayonnaise because it’s full of healthy monosaturated fats.

Calorie breakdown: ​1 whole-wheat bun: 90 calories, 1 veggie burger patty: 100 calories, ¼ avocado, mashed: 68 calories, 1 round of pineapple: 25 calories, 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce: 15 calories, 1 handful alfalfa sprouts: 5 calories

Side snack: 1 large handful of sweet potato chips (80 calories)

3. Crunchy Tuna Wrap: 382 Calories

Why it rules: Greek yogurt makes this tuna salad just as creamy as the classic mayo would, but without all the extra fat and cholesterol!

Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat wrap: 130 calories, ½ a 6oz.-can of tuna: 90 calories, ¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt: 30 calories, ½ a celery stalk, chopped: 5 calories, 3 slices roasted red peppers: 30 calories, 1 handful of baby spinach: 5 calories, 1 squeeze of lemon juice: <1 calorie

Side snack: 1 cup cherries (90 calories)

4. Turkey Wrap: 365 Calories

Why it rules: Turkey is a tasty and lean source of protein. Bonus points for choosing the low-sodium kind!

Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat wrap: 130 calories, 3 slices deli turkey: 90 calories, 2 tablespoons hummus: 60 calories, 1 tablespoon goat cheese: 60 calories, 1 handful baby spinach: 5 calories

Side snack: 9 Parmesan Garlic and Herb Pita Chips (140 calories)

5. Mediterranean Burger: 400 Calories

Why it rules: Subbing turkey for the traditional beef saves some calories without sacrificing flavor.

Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat bun: 90 calories, 1 turkey burger patty: 140 calories, 2 tablespoons feta cheese: 50 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories, 1 round slice red onion: 5 calories, 1 handful spinach: 5 calories

Side snack: 5 Kashi 7-grain crackers with 1 stick reduced-fat string cheese (100 calories)

6. Spiced Chickpea Pita: 350 Calories

Why it rules: Try this spin on a traditional falafel sandwich without fried chickpeas.

Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat pita: 80 calories, ½ a chicken breast: 100 calories, ¼ cup chickpeas: 70 calories, ¼ cup Greek yogurt: 30 calories, 1 sprinkle parsley: <1 calorie, 1 sprinkle oregano: <1 calorie

Side snack: 1 large peach (70 calories)

7. Spicy Black Bean Burrito: 365 Calories

Why it rules: Black beans are an awesome source of fiber.

Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat wrap: 130 calories, ¼ cup black beans: 60 calories, ¼ avocado, sliced: 60 calories, ¼ small red onion, sliced: 10 calories, 1 teaspoon hot sauce: 5 calories

Side snack: 10 baked tortilla chips with ¼ cup salsa (100 calories)

35 Quick and Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches: Spicy Black Bean Burrito

8. Grilled Cheese With Tomato and Turkey: 345 Calories

Why it rules: This healthier version of a grilled cheese has no butter and adds in turkey for extra protein!

Calorie breakdown: 2 slices whole-wheat bread: 180 calories, 3 slices deli turkey: 90 calories, 1 slice provolone: 70 calories, 1 small spritz olive-oil spray (to grease pan panini press!): 5 calories

Side snack: 1 small apple (60 calories)

9. Grilled Chicken and Cheese Sandwich: 395 Calories

Why it rules: Low-fat mayo is a great swap for the full-fat version!

Calorie breakdown: 2 slices whole-wheat bread: 180 calories, ½ a chicken breast, sliced: 100 calories, 1 slice Swiss cheese: 70 calories, 2 teaspoons low-fat mayo: 35 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories, 1 leaf butter lettuce: 5 calories

Side snack: ¼ cucumber sliced with 2 tablespoons of hummus (75 calories)

10. Pizza Burger: 360 Calories

Why it rules: Say so long cravings for greasy pizza thanks to this burger that’s also filled with protein.

Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat bun: 90 calories, 1 veggie burger patty: 100 calories, 2 slices fresh mozzarella cheese: 140 calories, 2 tablespoons marinara sauce: 40 calories

Side snack: 1 orange (85 calories)

11. Veggie Sub: 380 Calories

Why it rules: Get your daily serving of veggies and them some with this flavorful sandwich.

Calorie breakdown: 1 6-inch whole-wheat sub roll: 220 calories, 2 tablespoons hummus: 60 calories, ¼ cucumber, sliced: 15 calories, 1 small tomato, sliced: 10 calories, 5 black olives, halved: 40 calories, ½ carrot, shredded: 30 calories, 1 handful alfalfa sprouts: 5 calories

Side snack: 1 large handful of sweet potato chips (80 calories)

12. Curried Chicken Pita With Cranberries and Pear: 375 Calories

Why it rules: No mayo (aka added fat and empty calories!) needed for this tasty chicken salad.

Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat pita: 80 calories, 1/2 a chicken breast, diced: 100 calories, ¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt: 30 calories, 2 tablespoons dried cranberries: 45 calories, 1/2 pear, diced: 45 calories, 1 teaspoon honey mustard: 5 calories, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder: <1 calorie, 1 squeeze lemon juice: <1 calorie

Side snack: The other half of the pear used in the salad! (45 calories)

13. Caesar Salmon Wrap: 364 Calories

Why it rules: Light dressing and heart-healthy salmon make this a winning wrap.

Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat pita: 80 calories, 1 5oz.-can of salmon: 120 calories, 2 tablespoons light Caesar dressing: 60 calories, 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese: 25 calories, 1 handful spinach: 5 calories

Side snack: ¼ cucumber sliced with 2 tablespoons of hummus (75 calories)

14. Egg, Tomato, and Avocado Sandwich: 385 Calories

Why it rules: This sandwich is leaner and green than a traditional bacon, egg, and cheese. And delicious any time of day.

Calorie breakdown: 1 English muffin: 120 calories, 1 large egg, fried: 75 calories, 1 teaspoon olive oil: 40 calories, ¼ avocado, sliced: 60 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories

Side snack: 1 medium-sized apple (80 calories)

35 Quick and Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches: Egg, Tomato, and Avocado Sandwich

15. Ham, Pear, and Swiss Sandwich: 395 Calories

Why it rules: Deli ham is leaner than its Christmas dinner version, but still packed with protein. Choose a low-sodium version for best results.

Calorie breakdown: 2 slices whole-wheat bread: 180 calories, 3 slices deli ham: 100 calories, 1 slice Swiss cheese: 70 calories, 1/2 pear, sliced: 45, 1 teaspoon honey mustard: 5 calories

Side snack: ¾ cup apple chips (80 calories)

16. TBLT: 375 Calories

Why it rules: Turkey bacon is a leaner than regular bacon, but is still full of crispy deliciousness!

Calorie breakdown: 2 slices whole-wheat bread: 180 calories, 3 slices turkey bacon: 130 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories, 1 leaf Romaine lettuce, 5 calories, 1 tablespoon low-fat mayo: 50 calories

Side snack: Two pretzel rods with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (100 calories) 

17. Roast Beef and Horseradish Sandwich: 385 Calories

Why it rules: Impress your co-workers with this tasty lunch that’s full of calcium, too. (Thanks, mozzarella!)

Calorie breakdown: 2 slices whole-wheat bread: 180 calories, 2 slices deli roast beef: 100 calories, 1 thick slice fresh mozzarella cheese: 70 calories, 1 tablespoon horseradish sauce: 30 calories, 1 leaf Romaine lettuce: 5 calories

Side snack: 1 large peach (70 calories)

18. Better AB&J: 390 Calories

Why it rules: Almond butter is a great swap for peanut butter and contains 25 percent less saturated fat.

Calorie breakdown: 2 slices whole-wheat bread: 180 calories, 2 tablespoons almond butter: 190 calories, 1 tablespoon reduced-sugar jelly: 20 calories

Side snack: ½ cup plain Greek yogurt with ¼ cup fresh blueberries (91 calories)           

19. Tangy Shrimp and Avocado Wrap: 377 Calories

Why it rules: Shrimp is a filling, low-calorie lunch option that tastes great with our beloved avocado.

Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat wrap: 130 calories, 6 pre-cooked shrimps, chopped: 42 calories, ¼ avocado, sliced: 60 calories, ¼ cucumber, sliced: 15 calories, ¼ cup Greek yogurt: 30 calories, 1 squeeze lemon juice: <1 calorie, Garlic, salt, and pepper to taste

Side snack: 8 mixed olives (100 calories)

Salads/Platters

20. Greek Pita Salad: 368 Calories

Why it rules: Protein-packed chickpeas and naturally lower-fat feta spice up this salad.

Calorie breakdown: 1 cup romaine lettuce: 8 calories, ½ whole-wheat pita, sliced: 40 calories, ¼ cup feta cheese: 100 calories, ¼ cup chickpeas: 70 calories, ½ cucumber, sliced: 30 calories, ¼ small red onion, chopped: 10 calories, 2 tablespoons Greek dressing: 110 calories

Side snack: 10 baby carrots with 2 tablespoons hummus (100 calories)

21. Strawberry Spinach Salad: 382 Calories

Why it rules: Strawberries are filled with antioxidants, and can sweeten up any salad!

Calorie breakdown: 1 cup spinach: 7 calories, 1 cup strawberries, sliced: 50 calories, 1 thick slice fresh mozzarella cheese: 70 calories, 2 tablespoons pine nuts: 110 calories, 1 cup broccoli: 30 calories, 1 tablespoon olive oil: 110 calories, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar: 5 calories, 1 squeeze lemon juice: < 1 calorie

Side snack: A 2-inch slice whole-grain baguette (140 calories)

35 Quick and Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches: Strawberry Spinach Salad

22. Garden Pasta Salad: 395 Calories

Why it rules: Whole-wheat pasta is a great substitute for the white version.

Calorie breakdown: ½ cup left-over whole wheat pasta: 110 calories, ½ a chicken breast, sliced: 100 calories, 1 thick slice fresh mozzarella cheese: 70 calories, 4 kalamata olives, sliced: 60 calories, ½ green pepper, sliced: 10 calories, ½ carrot, shredded: 30 calories, 2 tablespoons fat-free Italian dressing: 15 calories

Side snack: A whole-wheat pita, toasted and rubbed with a garlic clove (80 calories)

23. Lentil Salad with Poached Eggs: 390 Calories

Why it rules: Lentils are one of our Superfoods thanks to their hefty dose of protein and antioxidants!

Calorie breakdown: ½ cup canned lentils: 120 calories, ½ cup spinach (sautéed with 1 teaspoon olive oil): 50 calories, 2 large eggs, poached: 150 calories, ¼ avocado, sliced: 60 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories

Side snack: 15 mini pretzel sticks with 2 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese (100 calories)

24. Sprout n' Spinach Salad: 381 Calories

Why it rules: This salad is packed with two of our favorite superfoods—spinach and avocado.

Calorie breakdown: 2 cups baby spinach: 14 calories, 1/2 avocado, diced: 120 calories, 1 handful alfalfa sprouts: 5 calories, 1/2 orange bell pepper, diced: 12 calories, 1/2 carrot, grated: 30 calories, 2 tablespoons hummus mixed with 1 tablespoons olive oil: 170 calories

Side snack: 1/2 an apple and 1 low-fat cheese stick (110 calories)

25. Tarragon Chicken Salad: 400 Calories

Why it rules: Walnuts are filled with good fats that can help boost brainpower.

Calorie breakdown: 1 cup spinach: 7 calories, ½ a chicken breast, sliced: 100 calories, ¼ cup Greek yogurt: 30 calories, ¼ cup walnuts: 160 calories, ¼ cup dried cranberries: 90 calories, 1 stalk celery, chopped: 5 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories, 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped: < 1 calorie, 1 squeeze lemon juice: < 1 calorie

Side snack: A whole-wheat pita (80 calories)

26. Sweet Potato and Shitake Mushroom Salad: 370 Calories

Why it rules: Sweet potatoes are filled with fiber and vitamins!

Calorie breakdown: 1 cup spinach: 5 calories, 1 cooked sweet potato, sliced: 100 calories, 4 shitake mushrooms, sliced: 40 calories, ¼ cup feta cheese: 100 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories, 1 tablespoon olive oil: 110 calories, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard: 5 calories, 1 squeeze lemon juice: < 1 calorie

Side snack: 1 cup halved strawberries and ½ a banana, sliced (100 calories)

27. Chicken and Rice Stir-Fry: 380 Calories

Why it rules: Brown rice is richer in fiber and protein than it’s white cousin.

Calorie breakdown: ½ cup ready-made brown rice: 100 calories, ½ a chicken breast, sliced: 100 calories, 4 shitake mushrooms, sliced: 40 calories, ½ red pepper, sliced: 10 calories, ½ green pepper, sliced: 10 calories, ¼ small red onion, sliced: 10 calories, 1 tablespoon olive oil: 110 calories

Side snack: ¼ cup boiled Edamame with 1 teaspoon soy sauce (100 calories) 

28. Rice n’ Refried Beans: 400 Calories

Why it rules: Pinto beans are a great source of fiber and iron.

Calorie breakdown: ½ cup ready-made brown rice: 100 calories, ½ cup canned pinto beans, mashed: 130 calories, ¼ avocado, sliced: 60 calories, ¼ small red onion, sliced: 10 calories, 1 plum tomato, diced: 10 calories

Side snack: 10 baked tortilla chips (90 calories)

29. Stuffed Sweet Potato: 365 Calories

Why it rules: Greek yogurt is a great swap for sour cream on this potato.

Calorie breakdown: 1 cooked sweet potato, sliced: 100 calories, 3 slices cooked turkey bacon, crumbled: 130 calories, ¼ cup Greek yogurt: 30 calories, 1/2 scallion, chopped: 5 calories

Side snack: 5 Kashi 7-grain crackers with 1 stick reduced-fat string cheese (100 calories)

35 Quick and Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches: Stuffed Sweet Potato

30. Mediterranean Platter: 370 Calories

Why it rules: Babaganoush (roasted eggplant) is a great alternative to full-fat dips.

Calorie breakdown: 1 whole-wheat pita, sliced: 80 calories, ¼ cup hummus: 150 calories, ¼ cup babaganoush: 100 calories, 5 black olives: 40 calories

Side snack: ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt with a dash of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon honey (120 calories)

31. Healthy Stir-Fried Rice: 365 Calories

Why it rules: DIY fried-rice with olive oil is way healthier than any Chinese take-out.

Calorie breakdown: ½ cup ready-made brown rice: 100 calories, 1 egg, scrambled with 1 teaspoon olive oil: 115 calories, 4 bella mushrooms, sliced: 40 calories, 1 cup broccoli, chopped: 30 calories, ½ carrot, chopped: 30 calories, ¼ small red onion, sliced: 10 calories, 1 teaspoon sesame oil: 40 calories

Side snack: Tropical fruit salad with 1 kiwi and ½ a large orange (90 calories)

32. Veggie Patty With Over-Easy Egg: 390 Calories

Why it rules: Filled with protein and healthy fats, this combo will satisfy even the heartiest of appetites.

Calorie breakdown: 1 veggie burger patty: 100 calories, 1 slice cheddar cheese: 70 calories, 1 large egg, over-easy cooked with olive-oil spray: 80 calories, ¼ avocado, sliced: 60 calories

Side snack: 1 medium-sized apple (80 calories)

33. 3-Bean Salad with Kale: 350 Calories

Why it rules: Fiber filled beans on top of vitamin-rich kale make this a winning meal.

Calorie breakdown: 1 cup kale, massaged: 30 calories, 1 squeeze lime juice, < 1 calorie, 1 squeeze lemon juice, < 1 calorie, ¼ avocado, chopped: 60 calories, ¼ cup black beans: 55 calories, ¼ cup white beans: 50 calories, ¼ cup kidney beans: 50 calories

Side snack: 5 Kashi 7-grain crackers with 1 stick reduced-fat string cheese (100 calories)

34. Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad: 345 Calories

Why it rules: The health benefits of tomatoes are endless, including helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

Calorie breakdown: 3 thick slices fresh mozzarella cheese: 210 calories, 2 plum tomatoes, sliced: 20 calories, 3 basil leaves: < 1 calorie, 1 tablespoon olive oil: 110 calories, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar: 5 calories

Side snack: A 2-inch slice whole-grain baguette, toasted (140 calories)

35. Healthier Cobb Salad: 382 Calories

Why it rules: Skipping the dangerous dressing and opting for turkey bacon leans out this filling salad.

Calorie breakdown: 1 cup romaine lettuce: 8 calories, ½ a chicken breast, sliced: 100 calories, 2 slices cooked turkey bacon, crumbled: 87 calories, ¼ avocado, sliced: 60 calories, 1 large hard-boiled egg, sliced: 75, 1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese: 37 calories, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar: 15 calories

Side snack: One KIND bar of your choice. (These are The Greatist Team's favorite snack!)

Need to up those calories even more? Add a handful of nuts, a slice of cheese, or a hardboiled egg to the plate.

*Note: For consistency’s sake, we selected a few specific products that we used for calorie counts on frequently used ingredients in these recipes. Here they are if you want to follow our guidelines exactly!

Bread: Arnold’s 100% Whole-Wheat (90 calories)
Wrap: Mission Whole Wheat Wrap (130 calories)
English muffin: Thomas’ Whole-Wheat (120)
Whole-wheat bun: Arnold’s 100% Whole-Wheat (90 calories)
Pita: Kangaroo Whole-Wheat (80 calories)

READ THIS NEXT: 40 Crazy Delicious Casseroles That Are Actually Healthy

Originally published June 2012, updated July 2014

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