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TOPIC: Healthy, low calorie lunch (for work) ideas?

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July 4, 2011 6:18 AM
Hi,

I'm looking for some ideas for things to eat at work when I go on lunch. I usually have around 400-500 calories for lunch and mostly I have a sandwich or a pasta pot but I'm getting bored of eating the same thing all the time. What do you guys eat for lunch at work?

There are a couple of things I'm looking for...
1) Obviously it has to be low in fat/calories i.e. not a microwave cheeseburger!
2) It has to be quick. A couple of minutes in the microwave maybe.
3) It's got to be filling. Soup just doesn't do it for me!

Today I found a Microwave Bombay Potato pot in Tesco. It was only £1.30, 300 calories for the whole 300g pot and it took 5 minutes in the microwave. I've never thought of Bombay Potato for lunch but it was really tasty and quite satisfying :-)

Over to you.....
July 4, 2011 6:22 AM
My husband is on a low carb diet and loves it! He takes a low carb pita or wrap filled with lots of ham, and little cheese and a little mayo. Plus a small salad or a boiled egg. He says if he doesn't bring the salad he gets hungry.
July 4, 2011 6:27 AM
I tend to similar to the above comment as i enjoy salad in a wholemeal pitta with a form of protien. I vary it to stop myself getting bored of it but I also don't use any dressings/ condiments as i don't care for them much. For a more filling lunch I do like to take cous cous to make at work and a grilled chicken breast that can be warmed up, occassionally adding some homemade roasted veg.
Edited by Whiskey_Byrne On July 4, 2011 6:28 AM
  4897316
July 4, 2011 6:28 AM
Not sure if you're interested in prep, but I made a really nice Frittata yesterday and had some leftovers today! You can find some healthy recipes out there, it's really filling and delicious :) You can eat it cold or pop it in the microwave for a minute or so.

Or else I know Sainsburys has these really nice sandwiches, I can't remember the brand, but they had hummus, carrots and sprouts. Yum!
July 4, 2011 6:31 AM
I usually get those ready made low calorie dinners and sometimes bring a salad and for a snack I bring either a fruit or one of those cereal bars, If you are wanting to make something yourself, make a large salad and add fruit and grilled chicken strips with low calorie vinaigrette salad dressing. smile
Edited by skinnyme47 On July 4, 2011 6:32 AM
  4936416
July 4, 2011 6:32 AM
QUOTE:

My husband is on a low carb diet and loves it! He takes a low carb pita or wrap filled with lots of ham, and little cheese and a little mayo. Plus a small salad or a boiled egg. He says if he doesn't bring the salad he gets hungry.


I do this too .... my lunch is in pieces. I generally bring a salad (or a veggie side). I eat the veggie first and then I eat my "lunch." How about cottage cheese and fruit with a side of whole grain crackers?
July 4, 2011 6:35 AM
when eating the processed foods watch the sodium or you will go over your sodium for the day and gain water weight!!
a salad with low sodium albacore tuna on top with sugar free raspberry vinegarette dressing would be good!!
(tuna is plain not with mayo).


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  4925355
July 4, 2011 6:38 AM
Innocent veg pots - The Thai curry one is 234 cals and very filling. They have a variety too all of which under 400 cals I think and gets you 3 portions of fruit & veg in one go.

I suspect the supermarket own brand ones will be similar (cheaper but not sure about the cals).

do you have time to prepare a packed lunch (salad / protein) to take with you? Could you reheat left overs from dinner the night before or make extra portions to take to work? That way you'll always know what you're eating (and hopefully that you like it! laugh

Also don't give up on soups too quickly. Thick soups are great especially if home made. I watched a programme a while ago that ran the following experiment which changed my view on soups.

Guys in army training barracks were split into 2 teams. Both groups had their stomachs scanned before lunch. The teams then ate grilled chicken, rice and steamed vegetables with a glass of water. the first group ate the meal as a meal - solid food and drank the glass of water. the second group had their meal liquidised with the glass of water to make a thick soup.

Both groups then returned to training for the afternoon and did the same training. They then scanned the stomachs of both groups before dinner and found that the group who had had the soup meal's stomachs were significantly fuller for longer.

The suggestion from the experiment is that your stomach will digest solids more quickly than thick soups.

Might be worth a try.... (and to be fair it does work for me)!
  3532223
July 4, 2011 6:40 AM
If I am buying out I go for Boots Shapers meal deals do under 500 cal meal deals, they have some really tasty stuff these days. I usually go for the sushi or the prawn and rocket wrap. Or I know you said not soup, but EAT soups are really, really filling and most come in at about 300-400 cals if you don't have the garnish.

If you want to make your own stuff, you can fill up on salad and put some chicken breast or something like smoked mackerel with it. Or you can make some rice and throw in a tin of tomatoes and veggies.
  4156517
July 4, 2011 6:44 AM
I tend to eat leftovers the next day, so that could be something to consider.
  7364120
July 4, 2011 6:45 AM
QUOTE:

Innocent veg pots - The Thai curry one is 234 cals and very filling. They have a variety too all of which under 400 cals I think and gets you 3 portions of fruit & veg in one go.

I suspect the supermarket own brand ones will be similar (cheaper but not sure about the cals).


I've tried the Tesco own brand ones and they are really nice as well. They are normally cheaper than the Innocent ones and the cals are around the same (but check to make sure).

Another thing I like to make to break out of devil sandwich helldevil is a cous cous or pasta salad. You can quickly make a big batch on the weekend and then freeze them in portions.
  8790495
July 4, 2011 6:47 AM
it's all about fish...Sushi! it's fairly easy to make, really filling and so so good for you! alternatively you can buy small packs in supermarkets (never as good!) but it certainly does the job and averages around 250 calories a packet. Also if you like fish pie, they do a healthy living one in Co-op for 290 calories total fat 4.8g, saturated 3.2g and have some vegetables with it. really good for a microwave meal it has to be said.
July 4, 2011 6:52 AM
QUOTE:

Innocent veg pots - The Thai curry one is 234 cals and very filling. They have a variety too all of which under 400 cals I think and gets you 3 portions of fruit & veg in one go.

I suspect the supermarket own brand ones will be similar (cheaper but not sure about the cals).

do you have time to prepare a packed lunch (salad / protein) to take with you? Could you reheat left overs from dinner the night before or make extra portions to take to work? That way you'll always know what you're eating (and hopefully that you like it! laugh

Also don't give up on soups too quickly. Thick soups are great especially if home made. I watched a programme a while ago that ran the following experiment which changed my view on soups.

Guys in army training barracks were split into 2 teams. Both groups had their stomachs scanned before lunch. The teams then ate grilled chicken, rice and steamed vegetables with a glass of water. the first group ate the meal as a meal - solid food and drank the glass of water. the second group had their meal liquidised with the glass of water to make a thick soup.

Both groups then returned to training for the afternoon and did the same training. They then scanned the stomachs of both groups before dinner and found that the group who had had the soup meal's stomachs were significantly fuller for longer.

The suggestion from the experiment is that your stomach will digest solids more quickly than thick soups.

Might be worth a try.... (and to be fair it does work for me)!


interesting... I wonder why-

I love soup though
July 4, 2011 6:52 AM
What about a salad??? Throw some cottage cheese and fruit on it? or make it with some black beans/salsa, chicken. Super easy to put together.
July 4, 2011 6:57 AM
One of the best low cal lunches I've had recently was taco salad. Left over taco meat (lean burger), a bunch of spinach, tomatoes, onions (I buy pre-chopped onions, LOVE them), salsa, and some 2% cheese. I just nuked the meat in a separate container. Of course the salsa was also in a separate container, making 3 of them but it worked.

I also do wraps a LOT but I can't handle the extra fiber ones, so I use ones that have 210 calories which is more than I'd like. I used canned chicken (yes, canned chicken), some light ranch, Frank's Red Hot, spinach, tomato and onions.

And yeah, leftovers. I tend to cook things for their leftover quality. Spaghetti w/ turkey sausage and whole wheat noodles. Red beans and rice w/ turkey sausage.
July 4, 2011 7:09 AM
WOW! A much better response than I expected. Thanks guys, keep them coming.

I'm definitely going to try some veg pots. I'll have a look in Asda tonight.

To those of you that mentioned pittas I have a question..... how the hell do you get the filling in without ripping the pitta?? I tried doing my own pittas for a few week but I used to go through 3 before I could open one without ripping big holes in them!

I'll try a few soups again but they just don't fill me. I certainly don't feel full. Maybe it is a placebo because I'm not eating solid food. The experiment mentioned sounds interesting. Maybe I should start blending my leftovers into soup!!
July 4, 2011 7:25 AM
happy heat the pittas in the toaster so they puff up then slit it open to fill it
Edited by Whiskey_Byrne On July 4, 2011 7:27 AM
  4897316
July 4, 2011 7:29 AM
I like the pitas that are made w/ flax seed and whole grain- they aren't as dense, not as "stiff" so I have never ripped one and they taste great!!
Another great option is the "Arnold sandwich thins", I love the multi grain and the honey wheat varieties, and they are even great as toast!! =)
July 4, 2011 8:02 AM
I make a few meals which I freeze in batches and take to work:

1) Spicy lentil stew with loads of veg/poached chicken

2) chili con carne

3) sausage casserole

4) turkey spagbol

Then I'll have other cold things like steamed fish with moroccan cous cous. I will get 2 small salad portions to go with this also. Today I had leftover prawn/chicken laksa, homemade. It was yum and very filing.
  6495535
July 4, 2011 8:29 AM
I usually make green salads containing:
Spring onions, cucumbers, peppers, Olives, Mozerella, Goats Cheese. Chicken Frankfurters, Chicken or turkey pieces (pre packed), Low calorie dressing, Grated carrot, feta cheese, sweetcorn, avocado (but only half) and prawns. Obviously I don't have this all at once but mix and match.

I put these into sandwiches aswell, I don't butter my bread..just use a low cal condiment and add salad.

Other editions are cous cous and quinoa. Current Sainsburys magazine has alot of ideas.

For snacks I have a Graze box once in the week which lasts me four days. Other snacks are veg and pitta, mini breadsticks and dips and fruit



Good to know diet (website) has good recipes and snacks that are 100 cal and under.

When I am at uni I just do the Tesco meal deal which is usually fine.
  5645120
March 12, 2013 2:26 AM
Best way to do a pitta without splitting it is just to cut it in half - it naturally opens up then and you end up with two pockets... changed my world when I started doing this rather then trying to open one edge of the whole pitta :) x
  8184010
March 12, 2013 3:03 AM
I would cut out the microwave meals. I honestly don't often recommend cutting something out completely, but I used to eat them all the time, and it was only when I switched to fresh food that I realised how truly unsatisfying they are! Plus, they are full of salt.

I usually eat a salad with a chicken breast or salmon fillet, and a hard boiled egg. It's full of protein, it takes minimal time to prepare, and it fills me up for ages. Plus chicken is versatile, sometimes I make homemade chicken nuggets, or cajun chicken, or tomato and basil chicken, etc, so it doesn't get boring.

You could also try making extra for dinner and taking it into work the next day.
  2276902
March 13, 2013 2:04 AM
I pretty much have soup every day. I buy a couple of pots/cartons of Glorious Skinny / New Covent Garden / Own brand soup from the supermarket on the way in to work on a Monday then have half a pot each day done in the microwave at work, with a couple of ryvita broken up into 'croutons'. Yummy, varied and usually around 200 cals per lunch. And if you get the Glorious 'Meal' Soups (mmmmm the new york chicken noodle and the sunny thai chicken are delish) they are honestly really filling. Also the Glorious Skinny Goan Tomato & lentil - super filling!

And then on the 5th day, she ate a boots shapers meal deal!!
Edited by roseymacdoo On March 13, 2013 2:09 AM
  1563323
March 13, 2013 11:17 AM
I have a super large appetite, myself, so soup doesn't usually cut it for me either. Anything that's high in protein is usually more filling.

How about roasting a whole chicken (so easy!), then using that meat for your meals in the days to come. You don't have to worry about added sodium (which most deli meats are loaded with) or other additives. It's delicious, filling, and good for you. You can make whatever you want with the chicken... salads, pita pockets, stews, or just on its own.

Also check out quinoa salads - high in protein on its own, versatile and filling, especially if you add chicken or other protein.

Also "white chili" - using ground turkey or chicken, loaded with different veggies (peppers, tomatoes, courgette, beans), and topped with some shredded cheese or light sour cream or greek yogurt. Very yummy and filling!
Edited by bookyeti On March 13, 2013 11:25 AM
March 13, 2013 11:20 AM
Leftovers!!

No leftovers? My go to is usually a wrap - basically some sort of protein (chicken, tuna, cheese, hummus, etc.), a generous handful of dark leafy stuff, other chopped veggies/fruit I find in fridge), maybe some hot sauce or vinaigrette all rolled up into a high fiber wrap. Easy peasy, as low calorie as the stuff I roll up.

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