MyPlate Lunch Ideas
Make a MyPlate Lunch
Each of these lunch ideas fills your plate with all five food groups or offers ideas for sides to serve with them to satisfy each food group. These delicious lunch recipes take the guesswork out of meal planning and help you stick to the MyPlate guidelines for a healthy 2,000-calorie diet.
Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad
Loaded with the fresh summer flavors of mango, lime, and avocado, this colorful salad is a refreshing yet satisfying meal. Add a bit more fruit on the side to get a full fruit serving, and serve with a glass of milk or side of yogurt.
Flank Steak and Plum Salad with Creamy Chimichurri Dressing
Succulent steak, sweet plums, and fresh greens topped with a creamy salad dressing make a flavor-packed salad. Serve with 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice or other grain topped with a sprinkling of reduced-fat cheese.
Mediterranean Kale and Cannellini Stew with Farro
Loaded with plenty of veggies and protein from beans, this low-cal stew will keep you fueled for hours. Serve it with a small slice of whole wheat bread to complete the grain portion of your plate, and add a side of low-fat cottage cheese with fruit to round out the rest of the meal.
This makeover of a restaurant taco salad slashes the calories, fat, and sodium, plus offers many more healthful nutrients. Serve with a dollop of light sour cream for a full serving of dairy, and add chopped mango or another favorite fruit to get all five food groups.
Chipotle Pork Chili
This quick chili recipe provides plenty of protein and veggies. To round out the meal, serve with a small whole grain roll, shredded cheese or sour cream, and a cup of your favorite fresh fruit.
Honey-Lime Rice Salad
An herb-infused honey and lime dressing adds immense flavor to this main-dish salad. Serve with an ounce of low-fat cheese or other dairy choice.
Cook a Big Batch of Brown Rice
Watch our clever technique for cooking a large batch of brown rice to add a serving of whole grain to any meal.
Open-Face Italian Beef Sandwiches
A meaty sandwich for lunch will keep you recharged for hours. Round out the meal with a fruit and veggie salad, such as spinach, apples, and grapes, tossed in your favorite light dressing.
Greek Quinoa and Avocados
This Mediterranean-inspired meal can be made the night before and toted to the office for lunch the next day. Fill the protein section of your plate by adding an ounce or two of fish, chicken, or nuts to your salad, and serve with a side of fruit.
Buffalo-Style Turkey Wraps
To tote these Buffalo-style wraps full of blue cheese goodness, assemble the wraps immediately before eating. Use a microwave to warm the chicken and tortillas, and add the rest of the fillings. Serve with 1/2 cup of berries or another favorite fruit.
Turkey and Apricot Bread Salad
This hearty lunch salad can be toted to work -- just wait to toss together the wet and dry ingredients until just before eating to avoid soggy bread. To get full servings of each food group, serve with a side of cottage cheese and fruit.
Chicken with Orzo
Four basic ingredients and 20 minutes are all you need to make this healthy dinner. Serve a fruit-and-yogurt parfait for dessert, and you’ve got a complete meal with all the food groups.
Lemon-Dill Shrimp Pasta
Bright, lemony flavor pairs fantastically with shrimp and garlic in this pasta toss. Once tossed together, the salad will continue to wilt, so enjoy it at home for a weekend lunch, or prep the ingredients and pack them separately to assemble at lunchtime. Serve with a small fruit-and-cheese plate to complete the meal.
Pasta with Chicken, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese
This delicious, nutrient-loaded salad recipe can be added to your brown-bag lunch with a little planning. Instead of tossing the entire recipe with the dressing all at once, add dressing to each serving just before eating so the salad won't wilt too much. Pack dressing in a small container to take along. Don't forget to pack some fruit to get all the food groups.
Mushroom-Topped Burgers with Slow-Roasted Tomato Ketchup
Homemade ketchup is the secret to this amazing burger. Make this lunch recipe on a weekend when you have time to slow-roast tomatoes. A side of fruit will round out the meal.
Pasta with Garbanzo Beans
Top this veggie-loaded recipe with a little extra feta than called for to get a 1-ounce serving of dairy, and enjoy a baked pear or apple for dessert to work in the fruit group.
Papaya and Coconut Chicken Salad
This salad recipe brings a taste of the tropics to your lunch break with flavors of coconut and papaya. Serve with whole grain crackers and cheese to get the rest of the food groups.
Classic Cheeseburgers with Grilled Romaine and Onions
This juicy burger is best enjoyed hot off the grill, so save it for a day when you're eating lunch at home. Serve it with a salad of fresh melon and greens to complete the plate and enjoy the tastes of summer.