You can eat a filling lunch without taking in a lot of extra calories. Planning ahead, which will help you to avoid a last-minute rush to the nearest fast-food restaurant, is the ideal way to keep your lunches tasty, satisfying and low-calorie. When you cook meats such as turkey or chicken, make sure you have leftovers to use in sandwiches and salads. Opt for the fat-free or light calorie versions of the foods that jack up the dietary price of lunch, such as cheeses, sauces and dressings.
Make satisfying, warm tuna melts for lunch. Mix 1/2 cup of water-packed light tuna, drained but not dry, with a tbsp. of light creamy ranch dressing. Spread it on two pieces of light whole-wheat bread, add tomato slices and top each one with a slice of low-fat American cheese. Slide them under the broiler to heat until the cheese bubbles. Serve the tuna melts with celery sticks and 2 tbsp. of light ranch dressing for dipping, for a total of about 325 calories.
Make a southwest turkey sandwich by spreading the inside of a pita with 1 oz. of low-fat cream cheese. Stuff it with 2 oz. of cooked turkey breast, two tomato slices and a cup of shredded iceberg lettuce. Top your sandwich with 1 tsp. of chipotle salad dressing. Total calories: 375. Or whip up a chicken Caesar pita with 2 oz. of chicken breast, a cup of shredded romaine lettuce, 1 tbsp. of Caesar dressing and 2 tbsp. of grated Parmesan cheese. Calorie count: 370.
Fajitas make up quickly and, when you put them together yourself using low-calorie ingredients, you can eat two and still have a light dessert. Warm two corn tortillas in your oven or toaster oven. Put 3 oz. of raw chicken breast, a small sliced bell pepper, a small diced onion, tomato sauce and a shake of chili powder in a skillet and simmer the mixture until the chicken is cooked. Fill the tortillas and roll them. Add a 5-oz. fruit cup for a total of 359 calories, or two medium-sized chocolate chip cookies for a total of 355 calories.
Treat yourself to a piece of pizza for lunch. Thin-crust cheese pizza with vegetables contains 202 calories per slice. Add a salad of iceberg or romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, celery, shredded carrots and a few black olives drizzled with 1 tbsp. of regular creamy balsamic dressing. The 1 tbsp. of dressing is about half the serving size and contains about 50 calories. Skip the cheese on your pizza and enjoy two smaller slices with your salad.