12 Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas
Remembering your sunnies, slathering on sun cream and staying hydrated are top priorities when it’s a scorcher out, so it can be easy to forget about an important question: what should I have for lunch? To save you some time, we’ve rounded up our favourite nutritious (yet delicious!) slimming-friendly summer lunches. With that taken care of, you can get on with enjoying the hot weather while it lasts!
From chicken bowls to pasta salads (and plenty of lunch ideas that aren’t a salad at all), every one of these will go down a treat.
Chicken Pesto Salad
A colourful midday pick-me-up, we’re obsessed with the crunchy freshness in every bite of our Chicken Pesto Salad. We love the fun lemon-infused pesto brings with it, and it works perfectly in this summery salad. To make sure the pesto tang is as punchy as possible, let the chicken pieces rest in our homemade marinade for at least half an hour (the longer, the tastier!). We’ve served our pesto-infused chicken on a bed of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and crunchy radishes, but you can use up any fresh veggies you’d prefer.
Just before it’s time to sit back, relax and eat your salad in the sun, make sure you drizzle it with what’s left of our zesty pesto dressing – it’s the perfect finish!
Chopped Thai Chicken Salad
Fresh, fragrant and really quick to make, our Chopped Thai Chicken Salad never fails to perk us up. We’ve combined zingy lime juice and peanut butter powder, so you can get the nutty flavours you’d expect from a Thai-inspired dressing, for far fewer calories. Once you’ve tried how delicious our satay-style sauce is with juicy, sweet pineapple, tender chicken pieces, crunchy carrots, cabbage, peppers and red chilli, you’ll understand why it’s such an effective midday pick-me-up.
Best enjoyed fresh, the rainbow colours from the brightly coloured crunchy veggies look so fun on any table!
Tuna Niçoise Pasta Salad
With filling boiled eggs, pasta, crispy veggies and a creamy homemade dressing that gives the whole dish a lift, our Tuna Niçoise Pasta Salad is a dreamy summer lunch option. It’s fridge-friendly for up to 24 hours, so there’s nothing to stop you preparing this one the night before you’re ready to enjoy it (at least you won’t have long to wait!).
It wouldn’t be one of our recipes without a Pinch of Nom twist, and we’ve really worked our magic on this dressing. Using a clever combination of fat-free yoghurt and punchy mustard mixed with zesty dill and lemon juice, we’ve given this dish a satisfying creaminess that’s just as rich as a higher-calorie alternative. What a treat!
Chicken and Bacon Caesar Salad
It wouldn’t be right to talk about light, leafy lunches without our version of one of the most famous salads in the world: Chicken and Bacon Caesar Salad. Full of flavour, with a combination of ingredients you’re likely to already have at home, the whole dish can be prepped and put together in under 20 minutes. That’s our kind of salad!
To make this one even quicker next time, ready-cook your chicken and bacon pieces and store them in the fridge – that way they’re ready to throw in with your crunchy salad veggies at a moment’s notice!
Chicken Caesar Pasta
Fancy punchy, Caesar-style flavours in a creamy pasta dish? Our Chicken Caesar Pasta delivers on all that, and more. Whenever we prepare this dish for dinner, we have to make sure there’s leftovers for lunch the next day. We like to halve the portion size and serve it alongside a crispy side salad. The luxuriously rich garlic sauce is so satisfying in the midday sun, and it’s slimming friendly too!
The only part about this recipe that isn’t freezer-friendly is the croutons. You’ll want to make sure your ciabatta chunks are freshly-baked each time for maximum delightful crunchiness!
Lemon and Pepper Crusted Chicken
With zesty lemon and a peppery kick, our Lemon and Pepper Crusted Chicken is guaranteed to liven up your plate. Our lemony yoghurt marinade is there to keep the meat as tender as it is tasty, so every forkful is succulent, zesty and crunchy all at once. Not bad for 232 calories per crispy-coated serving!
Whether you enjoy your crusted chicken on a bed of fresh, green salad or combine it with a scoop of Potato Salad for a heartier lunch, we think it’s a right treat (rain or shine!).
A refreshing change from salad and a break from meat, everyone around the table can enjoy these vegan-friendly Vegetable Tarts. With courgettes, cherry tomatoes, onions and peppers involved, there’s no shortage of nutritious deliciousness here. We’ve used a tortilla wrap as a slimming-friendly alternative to pie crust, so you can enjoy the yummiest baked tomato, veggie-loaded flavours for just 252 calories per tart!
Chicken and Mango Salad
On the table in less than half an hour, our Chicken and Mango Salad does lunchtime with a fruity twist. Bursting with fresh, summer vegetables, lime juice, avocado, chilli and fresh mango, the flavour combinations are to die for! A sweet yet fiery match made in heaven, we love how well the mango and chillies work together. To ramp up the spice a bit, don’t be shy – add a few more chillis to the dressing if you can handle the heat!
Spicy Braised Beef Salad
Our Spicy Braised Beef Salad is slow-cooked until it melts in the mouth, making it effortless to enjoy on a warm summer’s day. We love it served over our fresh, crispy salad, or you can make it heartier with a side of fluffy mashed potatoes if there’s a chill in the air. While it’s bubbling away, the smells are absolutely yummy!
Once the spicy sauce is thick and rich with flavour and the beef is tender, serve with the homemade fresh, crunchy side slaw and a drizzle of dressing.
Inspired by a love for a traditional Ploughman’s Lunch, our oh-so-fluffy Ploughman’s Quiche never disappoints. We’ve used ham, cheese and the delightful tang of Branston smooth sandwich pickle to ensure our crustless quiche comes in low on calories, without compromising on signature Ploughman’s flavours. Delicious hot or cold, it’s the perfect light lunch with a handful of fresh salad.
BLT Pasta Salad
Full of creamy, garlicky deliciousness, this BLT Pasta Salad is a Weekly Indulgence worth adding into your meal plan. We’ve borrowed all the best bits from a BLT sarnie to bring you a satisfying pasta dish that’s filling and rich with flavour. Whether it’s served as a side dish or the main event, you can trust this luxurious lunch to fill you right up! We originally made this one for sharing (barbecue, anyone?), but we love dividing up the leftovers into smaller portions to enjoy as a quick, light lunch.
Halloumi Fries Salad
At 443 calories per serving, you can trust that our Halloumi Fries Salad is packed with flavour! The melt-in-the-middle, breadcrumb-coated halloumi fingers are impossible to say no to, especially served over a bed of fruity salad. We’re talking sweet bursts of pomegranate, salty halloumi and a mildly-spiced chilli-infused dressing. Trust us, it’s too good to miss!
Feeling inspired for your sunshine lunch?
Which of our summer lunch ideas will you enjoy in the garden first? Tell us over in our Facebook group, where there are almost 1 million members sharing ideas and inspiration.
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