How to Build the Perfect Lunch for Maintenance

Article posted in: South Beach Diet South Beach DIY
Phase 2 lunch

If you’re anything like us, you’re busy. Which means you know how hard it is to get out the door on time, even without the added pressure of packing a healthy brown bag lunch. Luckily, here at the South Beach Diet, we’ve got plenty of quick and easy diet meals on the menu, which take the work out of healthy living for busy people like you. From grab-and-go lunch bars to super simple soups (just heat and eat!), we’ve got tons of options that can easily be tossed in your purse as you sprint out the door.

But now that you’ve reached your weight loss goal, you will be incorporating more DIY lunches into your week. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with all the guidance you need to build a healthy mid-day meal that’s sure to keep you satisfied without sacrificing your hard work. Our recommendation? Prep your lunches the night before… it can save you a tremendous amount of time in the morning. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a versatile cafeteria at work or a healthy restaurant nearby!

What goes into a healthy lunch?

Before we dive into your new lunch menu, we need to go over what your meals should consist of. On our South Beach Diet Success maintenance plan, you can choose to stick with 50 grams of net carbs per day (Very-Low-Carb meal plan) or increase to 75 to 100 grams each day (Low-Carb meal plan). The meal plan that you choose will determine what your DIY lunch will contain. Use the guidelines below for your specific plan and gender to create a healthy DIY lunch for weight maintenance:

Low-Carb Meal Plan

Women: 1 Protein, 1 Healthy Fat, 1 Good Carb and 2 Vegetables

Men: 1 Protein, 1 Healthy Fat, 1 Good Carb and 2 Vegetables

Very-Low-Carb Meal Plan

Women: 2 Proteins, 1 Healthy Fat and 2 Vegetables

Men: 2 Proteins, 2 Healthy Fats and 2 Vegetables

Not sure which plan is right for you? Click here to learn more >

Check out the lists below for some guidance on which foods fit in these categories:

How to Build the Perfect Breakfast for Maintenance

Read More

Let’s build the perfect lunch…

Lean Proteins:

Ground beef, 93% lean, 3 oz.

Pastrami, 98% lean, 3 oz.

Skinless chicken breast, 3 oz.

Ground chicken breast, 3 oz.

Ground turkey breast, 3 oz.

Sashimi, 3 oz.

Canned fish, such as tuna or salmon packed in water, 3 oz.

Chicken breast deli meat, regular, smoked or peppered, 2 oz.

Ham deli meat, boiled and natural uncured smoked (avoid sugar-cured, maple-cured and honey-baked), 2 oz.

Roast beef deli meat, lean, 2 oz.

Turkey breast deli meat, regular, smoked or peppered, 2 oz.

Egg, large whole egg or 3 egg whites

Healthy Fats:

Almonds, 23

Almond/cashew/peanut butter, 2 Tbsp.

Sunflower seeds, 3 Tbsp.

Mayonnaise, olive oil based, 1 Tbsp.

Italian salad dressing, regular, 2 Tbsp. (no more than 3 grams sugar)

Vinaigrette, balsamic, regular, 2 Tbsp. (no more than 3 grams of sugar)

Avocado, ½ fruit

Guacamole, ¼ cup

Cheddar cheese, 1 oz. or ¼ cup

String cheese, 1 piece

Good Carbs:

Bread, whole-grain, 1 slice

Cellophane noodles, cooked, ¼ cup

English muffin, at least 2.5 g fiber per half, ½ muffin

Pasta, made from whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, soy or spelt, cooked al dente, ½ cup

Pita bread, at least 3.5g fiber per half, ½ pita

Rice, brown, basmati, converted, parboiled, wild, ½ cup

Tortilla, 3 g fiber or more per 1 oz., 1 small

Beans, ½ cup

Hummus, ¼ cup

Looking for an actual menu for a week’s worth of healthy lunches?  Here’s an example of what a week of nutritious, yet filling lunches might look like:


Tuna sashimi, arugula, lime juice, sesame oil

Low-Carb meal plan – add a side of cellophane noodles for your Good Carb


Lean ground beef, guacamole, tomato, onion, shredded lettuce, lime juice

Low-Carb meal plan – serve over a whole grain tortilla for your Good Carb


Lean roast beef, olive oil-based mayonnaise, horseradish, lettuce, tomato, onion

Low-Carb meal plan – serve over a whole grain pita for your Good Carb


Lettuce (wedge), tomatoes, cucumbers, blue cheese, turkey bacon, Italian dressing

Low-Carb meal plan – serve with black beans for your Good Carb


Tilapia, cabbage, avocado, lime juice

Low-Carb meal plan – serve over a whole grain tortilla for your Good Carb


Lettuce, pastrami, sauerkraut, olive oil-based mayonnaise

Low-Carb meal plan – serve in whole grain bread for your Good Carb


Skinless chicken breast, olive oil, artichokes, spinach, lemon juice

Low-Carb meal plan – serve over whole grain pasta for your Good Carb

Want more tips for life on South Beach Diet Success? Click here >