Eating right to lose weight is a lot harder than you might think! It’s usually pretty easy to start the day with a balanced, healthy meal, but what do you do when lunch rolls around and you’re in the mood for a big meal? How do you avoid the urge to eat out or choose the wrong foods? If you want to do lunch (and dinner) right, here are a few healthy diet recipes you can try to prepare at home—or meals you can order at your local restaurant:
Protein and Dark Greens
If the menu at your local restaurant offers chicken breast, turkey, or some other lean protein, always go for that option. For a side, choose dark greens like kale, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, or spinach. Try to stick with dark greens when eating out, as they contain more nutritional value than lettuce and other lighter greens. If you’re preparing food at home, make sure your portion of protein is sizeable enough that you can eat it without feeling hungry afterward. And, be certain you’ve got at least two or three servings of dark green veggies to go along with it!
Whole Grain Meals
If you’re including carbs in your diet, make sure that the carbs you include contain a lot of fiber and nutrients. This means choosing carbs like brown rice, quinoa, barley, potatoes with the skin on, sweet potatoes, or wild rice. Always balance a small serving of grains out with a larger serving of protein and veggies. The grain will help you to feel full without overdosing on the carbs, and the fiber in the grain and veggies will ensure your body has everything it needs for healthy digestion.
Stir fry is one of the healthiest meals on the planet, thanks to the fact that you can add a lot of veggies and protein without a lot of carbs. Let’s say you’re going to make a plate of stir-fried rice for breakfast. Fry up some onions, zucchini, cabbage, and carrots, mix in a single cup of pre-cooked brown or white rice, and finish it off with two or three eggs. Or, if you want a healthy lunch, add a lot of veggies and chicken or beef to 50 grams of pre-cooked noodles. Stir-fried dishes in restaurants may be heavy on the rice or noodles, but preparing them at home allows you to double the dose of veggies and protein while halving the amount of carbs.
Chili con Carne
Chili beans are delicious and packed with flavor, but they’re also fairly low in extra calories. You get a hefty dose of fiber and plant-based protein from the beans, and the addition of meat makes it even better for your protein intake. Just make sure to limit yourself to 1 cup of rice or two tortillas, and you’ll avoid overdoing it on the carbs.
There’s nothing like a hearty salad to fill you up without overloading on calories and carbs. You can make it a purely veggie salad with all your favorite greens and crunchy veggies, or you can add protein in the form of beef, chicken, pork, beans, chickpeas, or edamame beans. You can add some carbs by mixing in quinoa, or keep it a protein and veggie-only salad. Top it off with a nice vinegar-based dressing, and you’ve got one heck of a healthy meal!
Instead of eating a whole meal for lunch, pack yourself a container of finger foods, specifically oven-baked pita chips, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, and a pack of hummus. This is a well-balanced meal that can be surprisingly filling, and you’ll love the balance of veggies, proteins, and carbs.