Heart Healthy Lunch Options

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The following is a list of Heart Healthy Lunch Options to help you make better lunch decisions.

When you’re on a diet it can be challenging to stick to your dietary restrictions. One option that almost everyone has available is grocery stores which typically have healthier options than restaurants. Grocery stores are great resource for those who want heart healthy lunch options, and there is fairly simple process for picking out what you want.

Heart Healthy Lunch Options

Whether you’re eating at home or taking lunch to go, these easy recipes come together fast and keep you fueled for a busy day.

Greek-style chicken sandwiches

The fresh taste of lemon elevates this chicken sandwich to a whole new level.

Avocado tomato feta salad

Have this salad on its own or add some canned tuna or salmon, grilled chicken or steak for a heartier meal.

Pork stir-fry with black bean sauce

Flavoured with garlic, ginger and black bean sauce, this Chinese dish is good with rice noodles, whole wheat noodles or steamed brown rice.

Turkey and bean rice wraps

Easily a new family favourite to enjoy for lunches or dinner. Pack the turkey and bean mixture separately and wrap your lunch on site with the lettuce.

Thai beef salad rolls

These rolls pull together quickly and are filled with fresh and delicious vegetables, making for a balanced meal.

Menus for heart-healthy eating: Cut the fat and salt

Heart-healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult. Use these menus to get started on a heart-healthy diet.

Do you want to adopt a heart-healthy diet, but aren’t sure where to start? One way to begin is to create a daily meal plan that emphasizes vegetables, fruits and whole grains and limits high-fat foods (such as red meat, cheese and baked goods) and high-sodium foods (such as canned or processed foods).

Below are two days’ worth of heart-healthy menus. Use them as examples of heart-healthy eating.

Day 1 menu

Breakfast

  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal, sprinkled with 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts and 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup skim milk

Lunch

  • 1 cup low-fat (1 percent or lower), plain yogurt with 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup peach halves, canned in juice
  • 5 Melba toast crackers
  • 1 cup raw broccoli and cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese, plain or vegetable flavor (as a spread for crackers or vegetable dip)
  • Sparkling water

Dinner

  • 4 ounces salmon
  • 1/2 cup green beans with 1 tablespoon toasted almonds
  • 2 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 small orange

Snack

  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 9 animal crackers
Day 1 nutrient analysis
Calories 1,562
Total fat 45 g
Saturated fat 10 g
Monounsaturated fat 15 g
Polyunsaturated fat 16 g
Cholesterol 126 mg
Sodium 1,257 mg
Total carbohydrate 207 g
Dietary fiber 24 g
Protein 92 g

Day 2 menu

Breakfast

  • 1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt, topped with 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup calcium-fortified orange juice

Lunch

  • 1 whole-wheat pita stuffed with 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup sliced tomatoes, 1/4 cup sliced cucumbers, 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese and 1 tablespoon reduced-fat ranch dressing
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 cup skim milk

Dinner

  • Chicken stir-fry (3 ounces) with eggplant (1 cup) and basil
  • 1 cup brown rice with 1 tablespoon chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • 4 ounces red wine or concord grape juice

Snack

  • 2 tablespoons mixed, unsalted nuts
  • 1 cup fat-free frozen yogurt
Day 2 nutrient analysis
Calories 1,605
Total fat 30 g
Saturated fat 10 g
Monounsaturated fat 10 g
Polyunsaturated fat 6 g
Cholesterol 126 mg
Sodium 1,264 mg
Total carbohydrate 242 g
Dietary fiber 24 g
Protein 83 g

On both days, if you’re thirsty, drink water as a calorie-free way to hydrate.

The 11 Healthiest Fast-Food Lunches

When a quick fast-food run is your only choice, reach for one of these options to escape the restaurant with your diet unscathed.

Medically Reviewed

A third of adults who eat at fast-food restaurants three or more times a week are obese, a study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease found — not surprising given the preponderance of high-fat, high-calorie, and high-salt menu items.

But at almost every chain restaurant, there are smart choices to be made. An ideal meal that won’t derail your diet is a plate that’s half fresh fruits or vegetables, a quarter lean protein, and a quarter whole grains, says Kristi King, RD, a clinical dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. “Look for grilled, baked or broiled meats versus fried,” King says, and then add a vegetable option like a side salad and apple slices or a fruit salad.

If you’re looking for a few healthy standbys to order every time you eat out, try these.

McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich

350 calories

9 g fat

28 g protein

820 mg sodium

42 g carbohydrates

3 g fiber

8 g sugar

As fast-food options go, grilled chicken sandwiches generally make better healthy lunches than hamburger patties. Pair yours with a salad and light dressing and low-fat milk or water to drink. The downside is the sodium in this sandwich might be too high if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, points out Jim White, RD, founder of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, Va. “While the calories may be below 500, the problems arise with the high levels of sodium,” he says. “These lunches may not expand the waistline, but they will cause an elevation in blood pressure.”

McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Ranch Snack Wrap

270 calories

12 grams fat

16 g protein

700 mg sodium

25 g carbohydrates

1 g fiber

2 g sugar

The size of McDonald’s snack wraps are just right — as long as you order them grilled and not fried, King says. To save on additional calories and fat, ask for the wrap without cheese or dressing. Because the small wraps might not be filling enough, add a small side to help you stay satisfied. “Look for a yogurt parfait — about 150 calories, a side salad, or fruit to pair with that snack wrap,” King suggests, along with low-fat milk to drink.

Burger King Whopper Jr

260 calories

10 g fat

16 g protein

440 mg sodium

28 g carbohydrates

1 g fiber

7 g sugar

Burgers can be a smart choice, especially if you load yours with veggies, such as onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and even pickles for added flavor without much additional salt or fat. Skipping cheese and enhancing your sandwich with barbecue sauce or ketchup instead of mayonnaise saves calories and fat, too, White says. If you’re watching your saturated fat intake, try the garden patty option (for 440 calories as a fully loaded sandwich). Regardless of which burger you pick, skipping the bun will save you about 140 calories.

Arby’s Roast Chicken Club Sandwich

460 calories

19 g fat

30 g protein

1,440 mg sodium

42 g carbohydrates

2 g fiber

9 g sugar

One of the healthiest sandwiches on the menu, this option packs half of your daily protein needs into one meal. If you’re craving Arby’s classic roast beef, go for it — a plain roast beef sandwich has just 350 calories, (but beware: once you add sugary barbecue sauce, the calorie count can skyrocket). When you’re eating Arby’s, skip the classic curly fries, and order a side salad instead.

Arby’s Roast-Chicken Chopped Farmhouse Salad

250 calories

14 g fat

23 g protein

670 mg sodium

11 g carbohydrates

3 g fiber

5 g sugar

Arby’s has several healthy lunch options, and this salad — with its roasted, not fried, chicken and fresh vegetables — ranks among the best. To keep your salads healthy, resist high-calorie extras such as cheese, nuts, and full-fat dressing. Salad dressing can wildly increase your salt (and fat) intake if you don’t pay attention to how much you’re drizzling on.

Chipotle Build-Your-Own Salad

360 calories

8 g fat

42 g protein

1,265 mg sodium

34 g carbohydrates

14 g fiber

8 g sugar

At Chipotle, skip the rice and the burrito (the flour tortilla alone is nearly 300 calories!), and build your own salad, featuring chicken, fajita vegetables, black beans, lettuce, and salsa. The lean meat, beans, and fresh veggies will keep you full while a heaping spoonful of salsa adds flavor without fat. If you want an additional toppings, skip sour cream and go for guacamole for its added fiber, healthy fat, and other nutrients.

Smoothie King Pomegranate Punch, 20 oz.

396 calories

0 grams fat

0 g protein

1 mg sodium

95 g carbohydrates

1 g fiber

93 g sugar

Smoothie King offers several dozen 20-ounce smoothie options that are low-calorie lunches, depending on your taste and preference. The Pomegranate Punch is a smart choice because it’s loaded with antioxidants. The caveat to this diet meal? Although smoothies tend to be low in fat and salt, they can be very high in sugar and totally devoid of protein, so add a protein supplement if you’re using this as a meal replacement.

Pizza Hut Thin N Crispy Veggie Lover’s Pizza: Two Slices, 12-Inch Pie

360 calories

12 g fat

16 mg sodium

46 g carbohydrates

1 g fiber

8 g sugar

Pizza gets a bad rap when you’re following a weight-loss plan, but it can make a healthy lunch if you can keep to two slices at a time — that’s a quarter of the 12” pie at Pizza Hut. Loading up on veggies will help you meet your recommended number of servings for the day and increase the fiber in your meal. Depending on your calorie budget, you could add ham slices for protein that could help you feel full a bit longer.

Subway 6-inch Oven-Roasted Chicken Sandwich

370 calories

10 g fat

23 g protein

650 mg sodium

48 g carbohydrates

5 g fiber

8 g sugar

At a make-your-own sandwich spot, pile yours high with fresh vegetables, including spinach, bell peppers, lettuce, and more. Skip mayonnaise or a salad dressing, and consider adding a slice of Subway’s latest sandwich topper: avocado. Avocado might be a high-calorie fruit, but the creaminess ensures you won’t miss fatty dressings, and its fiber will help you stay full.

Chik-Fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Cool Wrap

410 calories

10 g fat (4 g sat fat)

32 g protein

1,070 mg sodium

50 g carbohydrates

7 g fiber

9 g sugar

Overall, White says, Chik-Fil-A has one of the consistently healthiest menus for fast-food restaurants, with most healthy lunches ringing in at fewer than 500 calories and plenty of options that aren’t fried and are loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. The wraps are not the lowest-calorie lunch items and are a bit high in salt, but they are substantial enough to keep you full until dinner on their own. Know that the dressings offered with the wraps are about 140 calories per serving, so you may want to decline or go for the 45-calorie barbecue sauce instead.

Panda Express String-Bean Chicken Breast, Mixed Vegetables, and Hot and Sour Soup (No Rice)

330 calories

10 g fat

19 g protein

2,230 mg sodium

37 g carbohydrates

8 g fiber

14 g sugar

Your best bet at Panda Express is to splice together a variety of menu items. An 8-ounce serving of rice will add 380 calories to this meal, so skip it entirely if you’re on a diet. The soup and the plentiful veggies should provide a side dish instead. Unfortunately, there’s no way around the sodium at Panda Express, which approaches the maximum recommended amount for an entire day, so don’t add to it by drizzling on soy sauce.

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