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Easy Diet Lunches

by Jayne Blanchard

About Jayne Blanchard

Jayne Blanchard's work as a journalist and editor has appeared in "The Washington Post," "Psychology Today," "Brides," "Newsday," "USA Today," "Cosmopolitan," "ADAM," "Style" magazine and myriad other publications. In addition to writing about health, travel and women's issues, she has also worked as a movie reviewer and theater critic and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

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Diet lunches don't have to be so time-consuming you wonder if you are burning more calories chopping, dicing and whipping up low-cal sauces than in two hours of Pilates. You could rely on the dieters' mainstay, a turkey sandwich on thin-sliced bread, but that gets dull after a while and you might find yourself craving bacon burgers with a chaser of chili cheese fries. The key to diet success lies in a variety of interesting and healthy foods that add up to 400 calories or fewer.

Turbo Tuna

Another staple of the diet lunch is a can of water-packed tuna, with a spritz of lemon juice for excitement. Turbo-charge that tuna by mixing it with a little fat-free Greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, Greek olives, oregano and garlic salt for a Mediterranean treat. "USA Today" suggests a garden tuna wrap made with shredded carrots and cucumbers, tuna and low-fat Italian dressing, all rolled up in whole-wheat tortillas.

Sizzling Salads

Life's too short for limp lettuce. A bowl of iceberg lettuce isn't going to fill you up or ring your chimes. Add some smoked salmon or fish over spinach leaves with a drizzle of Asian-style dressing and some blueberries or raspberries for color. Make your own low-fat and low-cal version of a taco salad with black beans, salsa, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, 1 oz. crushed tortilla chips and low-fat shredded cheddar cheese.

Better Burgers

Low-fat and lower calorie choices include those made with chicken, turkey, tuna or veggie varieties. Spice up a vegetable patty with some feta cheese and spinach and swap the white bread for a whole-wheat bun, advises "Fitness" magazine. Or, go Baja with a veggie burger topped with sliced avocado, barbecue sauce and a smattering of fresh bean sprouts. Lighten up fast food favorites by topping a chicken or turkey burger with turkey bacon, sweet onions cooked in bottled chili sauce and a 1-oz. wedge of low-fat cheese.

Hip Hot Lunches

If you crave something warm and comforting, "Fitness" suggests mixing a can of vegetarian chili with frozen broccoli, 3 tbsp. low-fat shredded cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup crushed corn chips and popping it into the microwave for five minutes. Other satisfying hot lunches include turkey meatloaf with smashed garlic cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes glazed with low-fat gravy or a spicy stir fry with shrimp and your favorite vegetables ladled over rice noodles.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.