For those of you who know me well, I’m not a big fan of “recipes”—especially when it comes to healthy nutrition. I love the idea of recipes, but the reality of them is much less alluring. Most of them are far too labor intensive and, when it comes to healthy eating plans, they often end up overwhelm and burnout. The six low calorie lunches I have in this post are SUPER SIMPLE and work perfectly with my favorite way of cooking healthy—Buffet Style Meal Prep.
Buffet style what???
What is Buffet Style Meal Prep?
Buffet style meal prep is a SIMPLE take on regular meal prep. (Notice how I emphasize SIMPLE a lot???) It works like this:
- Once a week, you prep several UN-seasoned healthy single ingredient food staples (like meats, eggs, other protein, veggies, rice, etc.) and store them in individual containers in your fridge, freezer or pantry.
- When it’s meal time, you have a restaurant buffet at your fingertips! You grab a little bit of this and a little bit of that and you have a meal. Throw some seasonings on top and you have a delicious meal in minutes. Feel like Mexican? Add some taco seasoning, cumin, and/or hot sauce. Italian? Add basil, oregano, and/or balsamic vinegar. Thai? Add lime juice, crushed red peppers, and cilantro.
In addition to being a HUGE timesaver, buffet style meal prep is perfect for feeding a family with a different eating preferences and diets!
Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher
Before I was a full-time Beachbody Coach, I was an elementary school teacher. Teaching is in my blood, heart and soul!
When I discovered the beauty of Buffet Style Meal Prep, I created a little online series of lessons to help my customers learn this AWESOME meal prep system.
It’s really easy—you’ll totally get it once you finish “school!” Click below to get started:
In the meantime, let's get to those low calorie lunches, shall we???
6 Healthy & Low Calorie Lunch Recipes
Let's get started with six SIMPLE, doable, non-burn-outable healthy and local calorie lunches!
#1 — Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
The first one is Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos by Beachbody. Tacos are a FABULOUS meal because of the ability to customize them to whatever meal plan you're doing, whatever (healthy) foods you have in your fridge, and whoever is eating them with you.
It can be a bit challenging when not everyone in the household is on a specific healthy eating plan. The beauty of tacos it their adaptability — everyone can make them based on their own personal tastes and desires. That means you can too, without straying from your plan!
They are perfect for lunch because all of the ingredients can be pre-made and they can be thrown together in minutes.
#2 — Simple Chicken Souvlaki
This recipe maximizes simplicity by using rotisserie chicken. If you're a Trader Joe's shopper, don't be discouraged by their lack of rotisserie chicken...just head to their deli section and pick up a package of their pre-cooked chicken ("Just Chicken") or pre-grilled chicken breasts!
A couple of tried and true tips—make sure you use either 100% whole wheat flatbread or tortillas OR throw carbs to the wind and replace the bread with romaine lettuce, and definitely use Greek yogurt.
#3 — Tuna Salad Sandwich
If you're sticking with the sandwich route, make sure the bread is 100% whole grain. Some easy and healthy variations include using whole grain crackers instead of bread, converting it to a wrap with a 100% whole wheat tortilla or a piece of romaine or butter lettuce, or ditch the bread completely and have a tuna salad SALAD!
#4 — Greek Frittata
This low calorie lunch hits all my buttons — it has eggs 😍, it's super low carb, and perfect for cooking ahead of time.
#5 — Arugula Salad with Chicken
This recipe is a PERFECT fit for my Buffet Style Meal Prep system. On meal prep day, wash and prep the arugula, cook the chicken, drain and rinse the black beans, chop the tomatoes, and store them all in containers in the fridge. Pick a healthy salad dressing from our Pinterest board and make a bottle for the week. When you're ready to eat, just throw it all together and chop your avocado and voila!
#6 — Thai Chicken Salad
To make this extra easy, you can use rotisserie or pre-cooked chicken (like from Trader Joe's!) — or just poach and shred some chicken tenders during your weekly meal prep session so it's ready to go.
This can be eaten as is or made into a wrap using lettuce or a 100% whole wheat tortilla.
I hope you enjoy these six delicious, healthy and low calorie lunches! As you can tell, eating healthy does NOT mean you need to deprive yourself or miss out on delicious meals. And, you definitely don't need to spend hours in your kitchen.
Before you leave, make sure you check out my Healthy Low Calorie Snacks post!
And, I really encourage you to learn how to do Buffet Style Meal Prep. It's a life changer! Check it out: