Healthy Lunch Ideas Take Out


What exactly are healthy lunch ideas take out and could this benefit you in any way? You might be wondering what a cookbook has to do with your career? I want to go into more detail with addressing these questions and also talk about how you can be involved in the near future. First, I’ll talk about what this really is. Healthy Lunch Ideas Take Out is a brand new cookbook that provides local restaurants in an area the chance to create new healthy lunch item options.

Healthy lunch ideas are an important part of staying healthy and maintaining a diet. I’ve created my personal list of healthy lunch ideas take out. All these healthy lunches can be made in less than fifteen minutes, helping you to stay on track even at work.

Healthy Lunch Ideas Take Out

When it comes to fast food, “healthy” basically means food that offers you a decent combination of macronutrients, without going overboard on calories or potentially harmful things (like sugar or sodium, for people who have high blood pressure). The key here is moderation, with ideally some benefits if possible. With all that in mind, here are the parameters for the foods below:

  • Low in calories: For lunch, that means about 500 calories or less.
  • Protein, to help you build muscles: Each of these meals has at least 10 grams of protein (ideally more!).
  • Low in sodium (or at least not HIGH in sodium): We aimed for less than 1,000 milligrams of sodium per meal (which is high already, yes). Unfortunately some of the options are a bit higher than that — for anyone with high blood pressure, these are definitely not ideal
  •  Low in sugar (or at least not HIGH in sugar): Each of these meals has less than 20 grams of sugar.
  • No trans fat: Trans fats are related to heart disease, so each of these meals comes with 0 grams trans fat.

Another thing: I’m also assuming that you’re not ordering sides or any sugary drinks. If you combine these meals with just water, and don’t add a side of fries or what have you, then you can get a decent lunch without overloading on things you don’t need or that might make you feel kind of gross.

And on a final note: Obviously you should eat whatever you want to eat. This is just a helpful guide to people who are trying to make healthy decisions about their food and would like some help.

1. McDonald’s

OK, so. The key here is to keep your orders small, and make sure not to order a side of fries or soda or apple pie to round out the meal. You won’t be getting any veggies here (beyond what’s on your sandwich), but you will be getting some protein, and keeping your serving sizes in check. Hey — you do what you gotta do. McDonald’s DOES offer a few salads that all come in under 500 calories, but the dressings that go with them bring the sodium totals up well above 1,000 milligrams. It’s really a personal call whether you’d rather eat more veggies and more sodium, or less veggies and less sodium when dining here.

Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich (pictured)

360 calories

32 g protein

6 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)

930 mg sodium

43 g carbohydrates (3 g fiber, 11 g sugars)

Chicken McNuggets (6 piece) With Honey Mustard Sauce (1 package)

340 calories

13 g protein

22 g fat (3.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)

655 mg sodium

24 g carbohydrates (2 g fiber, 5 g sugars)

2. Chipotle

Ahhh! For Chipotle it’s really, really hard finding things under 1,000 mg of sodium that also meet the other criteria listed above. That’s why one of these choices is over 1,000, unfortunately (and the other one is pretty close). The American Heart Association recommends that people eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day, so if you choose one of these options, you’ll want to be a lot pickier with the rest of your meals that day. That’s especially important for people who have high blood pressure (too much sodium can exacerbate that).

Burrito Bowl With Steak, Black Beans, Fajita Veggies, Fresh Tomato Salsa, Cheese, and Romaine Lettuce (pictured, but without modifications)

460 calories

46 g protein

15.5 g fat (7 g saturated)

1,150 mg sodium

36 g carbohydrates (15 g fiber, 8 g sugar)

Salad with Romaine Lettuce, Brown Rice, Black Beans, Fajita Veggies, and Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa* (vegetarian)

430 calories

15.5 g protein

10 g fat (0 g saturated, 0 g trans)

895 mg sodium

76 g carbohydrates (19.5 g fiber, 8.5 g sugar)

3. Subway

It’s easy to eat healthy at Subway as long as you customize your orders. That means choosing more veggies and less spreads, and forgoing cheese in some cases. Oh, and keep your sandwiches at 6 inches or under.

Six-inch Turkey Breast Sub on 9-Grain Wheat with Swiss Cheese, Banana Peppers, Cucumbers, Green Peppers, Lettuce, Spinach, Tomatoes, Avocado, and Vinegar dressing (pictured, but without modifications)

390 calories

23 g protein

14 g fat (4 g saturated, 0 g trans)

720 mg sodium

49 g carbohydrates (8 g fiber, 7 g sugar)

Six-inch Veggie Sub on 9-Grain Wheat with Provolone, Cucumbers, Green Peppers, Lettuce, Red Onions, Spinach, Tomatoes, Avocado, and Olive Oil Blend Dressing* (vegetarian)

380 calories

13 g protein

17 g fat (4.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)

410 mg sodium

47 g carbohydrates (8 g fiber, 7 g sugar)

Subway also has a tool that helps you figure out the nutritional value of your favorite toppings.

4. Taco Bell

Taco Bell has some items that keep the serving sizes in check, but the thing you should watch out for is the sodium content. A lot of stuff on the menu unfortunately comes with over 1,000 milligrams of the stuff. The two items we chose below are both just barely under that limit.

Shredded Chicken Burrito (pictured)

400 calories

16 g protein

18 g fat (4.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)

960 mg sodium

45 g carbohydrates (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar)

Cantina Power Burrito — Veggie* (vegetarian)

430 calories

15 g protein

19 g fat (7 g saturated, 0 g trans)

940 mg sodium

52 g carbohydrates (9 g fiber, 5 g sugar)

See Taco Bell’s nutrition info here.

5. Pret a Manger

Pret’s salads are excellent, although if your goal is to stay under 500 calories you’ll have to go very easy on the dressing (or go with the lowest calorie version, the Tahini Yogurt). But if calories aren’t a huge concern, basically any of their salads are healthy and filling options. The new “power lunches” they’ve pulled together are also great and come with a LOT of great veggies and other healthy things. Re the turkey chilli below, 200 calories might not fill you up enough for lunch. In that case, the large is 340 calories with 32 whopping grams of protein. Just know that it also has more sugar, and 1,070 mg of sodium. Worth noting: Soups in general tend to be very high in sodium.

Egg and Veggie Power Lunch* (pictured) (vegetarian)

420 calories

22 g protein

17 g fat (3.5 g saturated)

680 mg sodium

45 g carbohydrates (10 g fiber, 2 g sugar)

Small Turkey Chili

200 calories

19 g protein

4 g fat (1 g saturated)

22 g carbohydrates (7 g fiber, 7 g sugar)

630 mg sodium

See Pret’s full menu here.

6. Burger King

Burger King has some items you can order that fit within the parameters listed above, without needing to make modifications. They even come with a good deal of protein! A few things to look out for: A lot of their burgers come with trans fats (and any amount of trans fats are not good). And the salads are pretty reasonable, although some of them come with a LOT of sodium. The one selected below comes in at 1,080 mg — higher than the 1,000 mg limit.

BK VEGGIE Burger* (pictured) (vegetarian)

390 calories

21 g protein

16 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)

900 mg sodium

44 g carbohydrates (5 g fiber, 9 g sugar)

Chicken BLT Garden Fresh Salad with TENDERGRILL and dressing

440 calories

33 g protein

29 g fat (8 g saturated, 0 g trans)

1,080 mg sodium

11 g carbohydrates (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar)

7. Hardee’s

Hardee’s has a menu with “better for you options,” which is a helpful way to figure out how to manage serving sizes when you’re eating there. Heads up, though: The “Veg’ It” Thickburger (basically the Thickburger sandwich without a meat patty) still has over 1,000 mg of sodium. It’s still a relatively low-calorie option compared to many other things, so we included it on this list.

1/4-Lb Low Carb Little Thickburger (pictured)

220 calories

15 g protein

15 g fat (6 g saturated)

590 mg sodium

6 g carbohydrates (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar)

Veg’ It — Modified Thickburger Without Mayo* (vegetarian)

470 calories

11 g protein

24 g fat (6 g saturated)

1,130 mg sodium

56 g carbohydrates (3 g protein, 14 g sugar)

See all the nutrition info for Hardee’s here.

8. Jimmy John’s

When it comes to eating healthy at Jimmy John’s, you’ll have the best options when you customize the sandwich orders. Here are some sandwiches we came up with.

Big John (roast beef) Sub on French Bread, Without Mayo, With Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Cucumbers, and Avocado Spread (pictured, but without modifications)

378 calories

25 g protein

6 g fat (1 g saturated)

980 mg sodium

61 g carbohydrates (5 g fiber)

Vegetarian Sub on French Bread, With Avocado Spread, Cucumber, Lettuce, Provolone Cheese, Tomato, Onions, and Without Mayo* (vegetarian)

508 calories

21 g fat (10 g saturated)

1,000 mg sodium

63 g carbohydrates

9. Quiznos

If you have high blood pressure or are worried about your sodium intake, it’s going to be a bit difficult to eat healthy at Quiznos — there are very few options that come with less than 1,000 mg of sodium. The salads make good options, although if you order the large for any of them you’ll end up having to choose between going over 500 calories, over 20 grams of sugar, or over 1,000 milligrams of sodium. So deciding which salad is the best option for you is really a personal opinion.

Small Honey Bourbon Chicken Sub (pictured)

360 calories

23 g protein

6 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans)

1,000 mg sodium

51 g carbohydrates (2 g fiber, 13 g sugar)

Small Veggie Guacamole “Classic”* (vegetarian)

450 calories

13 g protein

25 g fat (8 g saturated, 0 g trans)

940 mg sodium

44 g carbohydrates (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar)

You can see Quizno’s whole nutrition info here.

10. In-N-Out Burger

11. Chik-Fil-A

Chik-Fil-A’s sandwiches tend to have fairly normal serving sizes, and it’s pretty easy to stay below 500 calories if that’s what you care about. The thing to watch out for is sodium: All the salads (except for the 200-calorie Grilled Market Salad) come with over 1,000 mg. So if you’re looking for something a bit more filling, you will do better by ordering a chicken sandwich or wrap.

Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap (pictured)

340 calories

36 g protein

13 g fat (5 g saturated, 0 g trans)

900 mg sodium

30 g carbohydrates (15 g fiber, 3 g sugar)

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

320 calories

30 g protein

5 g fat (2 g saturated)

800 mg sodium

40 g carbohydrates (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar)]

Calculate your own Chick-Fil-A nutrition here.

12. Starbucks

Starbucks has some excellent box options and some healthy wraps, both with meat and also vegetarian, if that’s what you’re looking for. Avoid the sugary coffee drinks and the bakery aisle, and stick with the stuff with cheese and eggs and veggies, and you’ll have a pretty easy time staying within the parameters mentioned above.

13. Panera Bread

Panera has a lot of healthy choices, and we’re just highlighting two of them below. The salads are all pretty great, whether you’re looking at the full size or the half size, although the dressing can sometimes nudge the calories and sugars above the levels we’ve outlined above.

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