5 best fat-burning lunches to meal-prep at home

Fitness expert Sam Wood shares the best high protein, low-carb lunches for when you’re striving to get in shape again. 

I should preface this by saying there is no lunch that burns fat. To burn fat you need to eat a balanced diet, move your body daily and ensure you aren’t neglecting your sleep, stress management and recovery.

For me personally, if I’m nailing my training and recovery then the most effective way to drop body fat involves eating high protein, low carb meals with a healthy portion of good fats.

Here are five easy, high protein, low carb lunches for when you’re trying to lean up…

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Detox tuna salad

This has got to be one of the healthiest salads out there. It’s packed with good fats so it keeps you full and I find this kind of meal helps me to stay really focused when I have a lot of work to get through.

Serves 1

Prep: 5 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup(s) rocket leaves
  • 1/2 cucumber (Lebanese) sliced
  • 1/4 avocado(s) sliced
  • 1/2 pear(s) sliced
  • 1/2 lemon(s) juice
  • 95 g tinned tuna (drained)
  • 1.5 tablespoon(s) almonds (roasted) roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon(s) olive oil (extra virgin)

Method

1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and toss to combine.

Alex’s grilled chicken zucchini salad

I got this recipe from my brother and I love it. Don’t be fooled by how healthy it looks- the basil, lemon and pine nuts make it seriously delicious. High protein, low carb and super easy.

Serves 1

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 110 g chicken breast sliced lengthways
  • 1 teaspoon(s) olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1/4 lemon(s) zest and juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

For salad

  • 1 tablespoon(s) pine nuts
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1/3 cup(s) green peas (frozen)
  • 1/4 cup(s) basil (fresh) roughly torn
  • 1 tablespoon(s) parmesan cheese shaved
  • 1 teaspoon(s) olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1/4 lemon(s) juiced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice. Toss chicken through and season well.

2. Place peas in a bowl and cover with boiling water for three minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water.

3. Heat a frypan over medium-high heat and toast the pine nuts for two minutes, tossing to ensure they do not burn. Remove.

4. Add chicken breasts and grill for three to four minutes on each side (or until cooked through and golden). Set aside to rest.

5. Shave the zucchini into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Toss in a bowl with peas, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, pine nuts and parmesan. Serve chicken on top.

Healthy chicken caesar

Who doesn’t love bacon in a salad? This one has a whopping 46g of protein and proves that you can make friends with salad.

Serves 1

Prep: 5 min

Cook: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 150 grams chicken thigh fillets diced
  • 1 rasher(s) bacon
  • 1/2 head(s) cos lettuce leaves
  • 1 free-range egg(s) hard-boiled for pregnancy
  • 1 tablespoon(s) parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

For dressing

  • 1 tablespoon(s) yoghurt (greek)
  • 1 teaspoon(s) mustard (dijon)
  • 1 teaspoon(s) parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 anchovies (tinned) (optional) finely chopped
  • 1/2 clove(s) garlic minced
  • 1/4 lemon(s) juiced

Method

1. Heat a medium fry pan over medium heat; add bacon and fry for two minutes. Remove bacon and place onto paper towel. Add chicken into the frypan with the bacon juices, season well and cook for five to seven minutes or until golden and cooked through.

2. Bring a small pot of water to boil on the stove, carefully place the egg and cook to your liking, or approximately five to seven minutes. Rinse under cold water and allow to cool before peeling.

3. To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

4. In a large bowl combine the cos lettuce and the dressing and mix well to combine. Add chicken, bacon, and sliced egg and grate the parmesan on top to serve.

Sticky chicken

A great combo of healthy fats from the almond butter, protein from the chicken and goodness of the greens- you can’t go wrong.

Serves 1

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon(s) raw honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon(s) tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon(s) almond butter
  • 1/4 chilli (red) finely chopped
  • 1/4 lime(s) juice
  • 1/4 cup(s) coriander (fresh) roughly chopped
  • 150 g chicken thigh fillets

For salad

  • 1/2 bunch broccolini (baby broccoli)
  • 1 cup(s) baby spinach
  • 1.5 teaspoon(s) olive oil (extra virgin)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Combine honey, tamari, almond butter, chilli, lime and coriander in a small bowl and mix until well combined.

3. In a bowl, mix chicken thighs with the sauce until thoroughly coated. *If time permits, place the chicken in the fridge for two to three hours to marinate.

4. To cook the chicken, place thighs on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.

5. While the chicken is cooking, make the salad by boiling the broccolini in a saucepan of boiling water for three to five minutes, or until cooked to your liking.

6. Drain water and set broccolini aside to cool slightly. Toss the broccolini and spinach in a bowl with the olive oil.

7. Serve cooked chicken alongside the salad.

Omelettes

There’s nothing wrong with breakfast for lunch and omelettes are such a cheap and easy option. Chuck in whatever veg is in your fridge and you’ve got a tasty, high protein, low carb meal in a matter of minutes.

Here is an omelette with goats cheese.

Serves 1

Prep: 5 min

Cook: 6 min

Ingredients

  • 2 free-range egg(s)
  • 1 teaspoon(s) olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 sprig(s) spring onion(s) finely diced
  • 1/3 bunch asparagus roughly chopped
  • 1/3 broccolini (baby broccoli) roughly chopped
  • 1 cup(s) baby spinach
  • 20 g goat’s cheese
  • 1/2 cup(s) rocket leaves
  • 1/3 avocado(s) sliced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

1. Preheat oven grill.

2. Whisk two eggs in a bowl until well combined.

3. Heat a small frypan over a medium heat, add the oil and pour in the egg mixture.

4. As the eggs begin to cook, place in the spring onion, asparagus, broccolini and spinach. Season well and cook for three minutes.

5. Sprinkle goat’s feta over the omelette and place the pan under the grill and cook for a further three minutes (or until eggs are cooked to your liking).

6. Slide the omelette onto a plate and top with rocket leaves and avocado.

For more recipes, head to 28 by Sam Wood.