350-Calorie Lunch Ideas

Q: Please give me some ideas on what to pack for lunch for an 1,800-calorie-a-day meal plan.

A: Assuming your meal plan includes a snack or two, lunch should provide about a fifth of your day's calories, so budgeting about 380 calories would be a good start. You may have to adjust portion sizes to fit your specific meal plan.

Some easy 350- to 400-calorie lunch ideas include the following:

Chicken sandwich sack lunch

  • Whole wheat bread spread with mustard and filled with 3 ounces sliced chicken, spinach leaves, and sliced tomato

  • 3/4 cup carrot sticks

  • 1/2 cup low-fat fruit-flavored yogurt

  • low-calorie beverage (40 calories or less per cup)

Soup and crackers

  • 1 cup vegetable-beef soup

  • 6 whole wheat crackers

  • 1 piece fresh fruit

  • low-calorie beverage (40 calories or less per cup)

Chef salad

  • 2 cups torn fresh spinach, 1 sliced hard-cooked egg, 1 ounce chicken, turkey, or ham strips, 1 ounce mozzarella cheese strips, 2 tablespoons low-calorie salad dressing, 1/4 cup fat-free croutons

  • whole grain roll with honey

  • 1/2 cup low-calorie pudding

  • low-calorie beverage (40 calories or less per cup)

Fruit salad and cottage cheese

  • 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese

  • 1 cup fruit canned in juice

  • 4 cracker squares

  • low-calorie beverage (40 calories or less per cup)

Jeannette Jordan, M.S., RD, CDE, is the American Dietetic Association's national spokesperson for African-American nutrition issues and oversees nutrition education at the Medical University of South Carolina.