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Ideas for lunches to take to work - sandwich alternatives

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Does anyone have any good ideas for lunches? I currently am making sandwiches (normally chicken, lean ham or brie and apple) but finding that the bread is a huge amount of my daily calories. I normally eat 3 slices of white, about 210 just for the bread! My total lunch (bread, flora spread, lettuce, ham/chicken, banana) will come to about 400 calories. I want to cut this down to between 200 - 300 calories, but I work long hours so don't really want to eat any less food!

What do other people bring to work for lunch? I have no time in the mornings so needs to be something I can prepare the night before. I was thinking maybe some kind of cous cous salad? I don't want the carbs causing the same calorie problem as bread.

Any ideas?

Edited Jul 11 2009 03:44 by nycgirl
Reason: Moved from WL to Foods forum
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Make a larger quantity of dinner the night before, and take the leftover's to work the next day for lunch.  The good thing about sandwiches is that they are filling.  It will be hard to be fulfilled on just 200-300 calories.

I have tried that, problem is I often cook things I can't take as leftovers. I work in an office where there is a "no hot food" policy - so it could only be something that doesn't need re-heating. This rules out soup, chili etc. Pasta would be good though, I will try that. Thanks

Have you tried low calorie bread? I buy nimble and its 49 calories a slice.

Also pita's make a great alternative to bread, a wholegrain pita is around 160 calories and you can fill it in the same way as a sandwhich. Ive also noticed there are low carb tortillas that are quite low in calories.

Unfortunatly most kinds of carbs are really high calorie, you could get away with pasta but you would have to keep the portions small and bulk it out with veg.

The only other thing i could suggest is cutting out the carbs all together and perhaps making salads instead. I also find potato salad with extra light mayo is really filling for a small portion and it goes great with salad and sliced chicken/ham/tuna.

You could try alterative wraps, using lettuce leaves instead of bread / tortilla...a spicy chicken filling inside some lettuce wrap would do the job

Pepperidge Farm and Healthy Life make bread thats 35-40 cals per slice. Its my sandwich savior! ; )

That "diet" bread stuff doesn't satisfy me at all.   Get some beans in your life.  Hummus on whole grain pita.  Cold bean salads.  Tuna salad on whole grain crackers.  Low carb protein shakes that mix with water and a spoon (pharmacy aisle at WalMart). Cottage cheese and melon.  Cold stir-fries with cashews. 

You could try substituting a whole-grain tortilla and making a wrap instead of a white bread sandwich.

Or, if you feel like doing something different, there are a lot of healthy lunch options for bento. Just Bento is a good resource, and weight loss plans are incorporated into the info there pretty often. -bento-making/easy-diet-bento-rules Just go easy on the rice, or you'll end up with the same problem you had with the bread in your sandwiches!

Cold bean salads sound like a really good idea.

Would you make these with tinned beans, like butter beans, etc?

i know what u mean,iv basicly cut out bread(with a few exceptions)

i have a sandwhich made of rice cakes and letis and chicken for lunch all the lime or somtimes id have my sandwhich filler eg chicken and stuffing and wrap it with lettus. yum!.

Hey! How about a cold pasta salad? I've just finished making mine for tomorow. Here's what's in it:

Diced tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, corn, grilled chicken, peas, black and green olives, avocadoe, onion, a little bit of fresh cheese and some bread croutons. And pasta, lol.

You could top that up with a yoghurt maybe?


I definately loove this salad. Really quick and easy too!

You can take any kind of cold salad, with chicken, tuna or beans, and stuff it in a bell pepper with the seeds removed.  It makes a yummy and easy substitute for a sandwich with far few cals than bread.  Rice cakes at 20-30 cals each also are a good bread substitute.  Hummus and pesto are good healthy spreads.  I'd stay away from commercial sliced deli meats.  Even the ones that are "light" still have a lot of salt and preservatives.

I take pre-made sushi for lunch a lot that I buy from Trader Joes.

 Today I made a big bowl of filling for wraps.  I used a can of tuna, can of salmon, chopped artichokes, onions, cucumbers, tomatos, and olives.  I put that on a low carb wrap with fresh spinach and greek yogurt.  Making a big batch of wrap filling saves a lot of time in the morning.  

Hello there!! I found a great subsitute for sandwiches! I am using "flat out" multi grain flat bread. It only has 100 Cal per flat bread. I put Hummus (about 1tbs 40 Cal) or Low fat Ricotta 1tbs (about the same) I then add Basil or spinach, Tomatoes & choice of lean meat. It's not to high in calories and It has a great carb boost! I usually eat some fresh fruit with it. Hope this helps!

Did you think of just a big ole salad? You know, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, a little fat-free dressing, a sprinkle of low-fat cheese, a dash of fake bacon bits? I love my salads, I have them for lunch all the time, since they're comprised mostly of raw veggies, they're pretty low calorically, and you get a really satisfying meal. Sometimes I cut off a hunk of french bread, put a little smear of margarine on it, and eat that as well. Or you can buy the pre-cooked chicken breast pieces, and toss a couple on each salad for a bit of meat.

Even a small salad is a good low-cal side to go with something if you find salads a little boring. I also really love granola bars, there are a ton of low-cal varieties, and they are so handy to have as "dessert". I eat little strawberry and yogurt ones, they taste like I'm cheating.

Good luck!

if you like tuna, you could try tuna salad with avocado. Yummy. 

also why don't you explore cottage cheese ? you can do a lot with cottage cheese.

I eat most of my sandwiches on Orowheat "Double Fiber" whole wheat English muffins.  It's 110 calories for the whole thing and more satisfying than those diet breads.

(edited to add brand name of muffins)

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6 inch Subway turkey sandwiche with no cheese, no dressing (except regular mustard or a little fat free mayo), wheat bread, lots of green stuff is only 280 calories and absolutely filling.

6 inch Subway oven baked chicken breast sandwiche with no cheese, no dressing (except regular mustard or a little fat free mayo), wheat bread, lots of green stuff is only 320 calories and absolutely filling and yummy.

There are 2 main things that helped me alot losing 40 pounds in less then 4 months:

* Eating Subway sandwiches for lunch

* Eating health, yummy, low calorie dinners that my wife cooked

Yours is the first time I've ever heard of a work place having a no heat policy.

I tend to keep: Cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, bagged salad, fruits such as apples (I keep a jar of peanut butter for my apples too), and a bottle of salad dressing in the fridge.

I dunno if anyone at your office has coffee, but you could run hot water through a coffee less machine to get hot water into the carafe (I use this for oatmeal packets, and dry soups.

Any type of soup, tortilla wraps, home made trail mixes, oatmeal, cous cous, um there was an article about supergrains on MSN a few days ago. There were some grains in this article that had as much protien as a cup of milk!

Noodles with cold meat or veggies. Pretty tastey!

I agree that tuna/tuna salad is a good way to go.  You can have it on crackers, bread (tho I know you want to avoid that), or a bed of lettuce.

I sandwich that I love and is actually quite tasty (and filling given the proper savoring) is the BLT.  I use 1 serving (3 slices) of normal, low sodium pork bacon, the bare minimum of mayo, 2 leaves of red leaf lettuce, and a 1/4" slice of tomato on toasted bread.  Currently I use white bread, but you could go whole wheat.  That comes to 325 calories for me.  I suggest taking the ingredients separately (toasting the bread beforehand since you have a "no heat" policy) and storing them until lunchtime.  Otherwise the bread gets soggy.  I did that when I worked in an office during the summer.  Very tasty.

p.s. Actually, at that time at the office job I was using turkey mom bought some and it was only palatable on a BLT.  Turkey bacon is salty!

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