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Healthy Brown Bag Lunches Under 500 Calories

It's a fact: Dining out for lunch means you lose less weight. After all, it's harder to control calories and fat when someone else is doing the cooking. Instead of heading to a buffet, pack up some of the following healthy dish suggestions at home. Not only are they delicious enough to make your co-workers jealous, but your waistline and your wallet will both thank you.

By Lynya Floyd

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Honey-Dijon Chicken and Spinach Wraps
David Prince
Andrew McCaul
Andrew McCaul
Andrew McCaul
Andrew McCaul
Yunhee Kim
Andrew McCaul
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Honey-Dijon Chicken and Spinach Wraps

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise and 2 tbsp each honey-Dijon mustard and milk. Stir in 2 cups cubed rotisserie chicken, 1 cup each chopped celery and halved red seedless grapes and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Wrap 4 whole wheat tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds. Scatter baby spinach over each tortilla and spoon about 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture down the center. Roll up tightly and cut diagonally in half.

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Filled-with-Flavor Quinoa Salad

1 cup cooked quinoa mixed with 1/4 cup each shelled edamame, chopped yellow pepper and chopped carrots, 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, and fresh chopped herbs, such as cilantro or basil. Whisk together 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and mix into salad.

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Greek Pasta Salad

1 cup whole wheat pasta (such as rotini or bow ties) tossed with 1/4 cup each halved cherry tomatoes and diced cucumber, 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese, 10 sliced black olives, and chopped red onion. Top with dressing of 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Eat with 2 tablespoons hummus with one 4-inch whole wheat pita.

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Salmon Salad Sandwich

3-ounce pouch salmon (such as Bumble Bee) mixed with 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons celery, and 1 tablespoon chopped red onion on 2 pieces lower-sodium whole-grain bread; 1 cup baby carrots and 1/4 cup dried cranberries

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Turkey-Avocado Sandwich

2 slices whole-grain bread layered with 3 ounces deli turkey breast, 1/4 cup sliced avocado, and 1 slice low-fat Swiss cheese. Have with 1 medium pear.

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Greek Pita

6-inch pita filled with 1/4 cup hummus, 1/4 cup chopped romaine lettuce, 1/3 chopped cucumber, 1 small chopped tomato, 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt, and 1 teaspoon McCormick Greek seasoning.

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Tuna Salad

2 cups mixed greens topped with one 3-ounce pouch white albacore tuna, along with 2 tablespoons each sunflower seeds, dried cherries, and light balsamic vinaigrette. Have with 2 fiber crackers (such as Wasa), spread with 1 wedge Laughing Cow Light cheese, and 1 medium apple.

Originally published in December 2012 on FamilyCircle.com.

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