When your goal is weight loss, it's crucial to have just the right foods, beverages, and recipes at your fingertips—right in your own kitchen. Whether you're gearing up to meal prep for the week, craving an after-dinner snack, or rushing out the door and need a quick grab-and-go breakfast, being equipped with the healthiest choices makes all the difference. That's why we spoke with an expert who shares the #1 best lunch for weight loss. This way, you know exactly what to prepare for midday.
Of course, making healthy choices is key, but keep in mind that the timing of your meals also matters. According to research, the times of day you choose to eat meals can synchronize various tissues and organs that are connected to food absorption, digestion, or metabolism. Eating at unusual times can wreak havoc on your circadian system. When it comes to lunch, a study revealed that eating lunch after 3 p.m. can result in less weight loss than eating lunch before 3 p.m. Needless to say, you should aim to eat lunch before 3 p.m.
Now that we've reviewed timing, let's get into the #1 best lunch for weight loss. This meal idea is the ultimate choice to whip up if you work from home or prepare in the morning to bring to the office. Keep reading to learn more, and when you're finished, be sure to check out these 12 Essential Rules To Get Back Into Shape After a Long Break.
What is the #1 best lunch for weight loss?
Drumroll, please! According to Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics who sits on our Medical Expert Board, the ideal weight-loss lunch is a salad—but not just any salad.
This particular salad offers nutrients, flavor, and satiety. It's also calorie-controlled. "A salad with mixed greens, three ounces of salmon, one tablespoon of feta cheese, one tablespoon of chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup of berries, 1/4 cup of quinoa, 1/4 medium avocado, and balsamic drizzle is the ultimate lunch," Goodson shares. "It contains all five food groups and comes in at under 500 calories. This lunch is also full of fiber, protein, and healthy fat, which work together to help you feel full faster and enhance satiety after the meal."
Salads are absolutely a healthy addition to your diet for weight loss, because they're packed with veggies and other nutrient-dense items. Research shows that revving up your vegetable intake can decrease your risk of gaining weight or becoming overweight/obese.
However, keep in mind that salads can quickly add up to a ton of excess calories if you include more of each topping to the salad. In addition, when dining out, be mindful of the dressing and how much of it is used. And lastly, Goodson cautions, "Being mindful of portion sizes is key to weight loss, even when you are eating 'healthy,' nutrient-rich foods."