After heavy baking over the past few months, it's nice to have a change of pace during our midweek lunchtimes.
Instead of impulsively sweating off carbs and taking out an online gym membership, try implementing a few small dietary tweaks – cutting your daily calorie intake might be as simple as replenishing those mid-afternoon energy levels with a yogurt instead of a chocolate bar.
And make no mistake: a low-cal lunch doesn't have to be boring!
We've rounded up some tasty, easy and vibrant lunches to rustle up this month and beyond…
Broccoli and goat's cheese frittata
A frittata is the go-to lunch when you have bits and bobs in the fridge that need using up. Fast, bright and substantial, what's not to like? This recipe combines florets of broccoli with creamy goats cheese, salty chorizo and tangy sundried tomatoes. A portion is only 226 calories, so you could definitely get away with serving this alongside salad or crusty bread.
Asparagus, kale and coconut soup (188 calories)
Soup is fairly unbeatable as a healthy-but-filling lunch. Whatever the weather, whip up a batch of this vibrant soup, made lusciously creamy with a tin of coconut milk, and topped with coconut chunks and asparagus, to add extra decadence.
Tortilla and salsa salad (311 calories)
This Mexian-inspired salad ticks all the right boxes for a cheat salad – it's sweet and crunchy, with added tortilla chips. Served with grated cheese and zesty sweetcorn, this dish brings a fresh, tasty twist to traditional nachos.
Pizza with A celeriac base (221 calories)
We're all pretty familiar with the idea of a cauliflower base, but how about celeriac? Topped with Parma ham, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, this pizza has a healthier crust and is about as far from a takeaway meal as you can get, at just 221 calories per serving.
bBQ steak naked burritos (308 calories)
Salads make a brilliant low-cal option, but they do tend to get boring pretty quickly… unless you keep mixing it up. This tasty BBQ steak salad has all of the delicious Tex-Mex elements of a saucy burrito, but by omitting the wrap, you keep all of the flavour at just a fraction of the calories (310, to be exact) – cheese included!
Chicken Caesar salad wraps (281 calories)
We love a tasty Caesar salad. With crispy chicken, crunchy croutons and a flavour-packed sauce, what’s not to like? But despite the healthy guise of a 'salad', this classic lunch tends to pack a punch calorie-wise.
We’ve subbed out the croutons for a tortilla wrap, helping to fill you up for longer for the same amount of calories. And less lettuce means less dressing! Just half a tablespoon contains all of the flavour you need to give this wrap some truly irresistible saucy goodness.
Greek salad pitta pockets (345 calories)
The best lunches are those that are easy, lunchbox-friendly and designed to eat on the go. These Greek salad pitta pockets loaded with Halkidiki olives and crumbled feta are really delicious and make a brilliant lunchbox option filled with sophisticated flavours. Despite the cheese content, they're light on the calories at just 345 for two pitta halves.
Brazilian-style fish stew (291 calories)
While your perceptions of fish stew might leave you thinking that silky, spiced broth needs to bubble for hours to achieve such depth of flavour, it’s actually a surprisingly quick meal – perfect for a midweek supper with leftovers for lunch! And at 291 calories per serving, you can even have a hunk of crusty, fresh baguette (a quarter of a home-baked baguette averages 94 calories) on the side to mop up all that gorgeous sauce.
Baked balsamic chicken & Mediterranean veg (266 calories)
Sunshine flavours from the Med will get you into the summer holiday mindset thanks to this delicious tray-bake of balsamic chicken with Mediterranean veg. Stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and drizzled with a honey and thyme dressing, these tasty chicken breasts makes a delicious dinner which tastes just as good in lunch boxes the next day. And for 266 calories a pop, who could say no?
Labneh and figs on toast (149 calories)
Just because something’s low in calories doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the things you love – and who doesn't love toast?
This delicious recipe involves some prep, but trust us, it's worth the wait. Labneh is strained yogurt – straightforward to make, you just need to make sure you give it enough time to thicken. Make over 48 hours during the weekend and you'll have enough to last you through your midweek lunchtimes – perfect for when you have to have a speedy break!
Feeling inspired to make some small switches to lower your calorie count this summer? Check out more low-calorie recipes here.