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Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Three Steps to Lose the Weight and Keep it off…for GOOD!



As you all know, I am the Queen of fast, easy meals. My only other stipulation is that they taste DELICIOUS. What’s the point of eating if it doesn’t taste good?! In my opinion, that’s where so many diets miss the mark. Sure, you can eat nothing but bland diet food for a month and lose weight but YUCK!!! …who wants to do that?! NOT ME.

Health and lasting weight loss come from creating a lifestyle, not crazy restrictive yo-yo diets.  I’ve done the diet pill, restriction, fad diet, fat-free-everything, lose weight then gain it all back and then some routine and it sucks. It’s defeating and miserable. You feel like a failure when in reality you were just following a diet or a fad that was destined not to work long term anyway.

Linda Wagner's Detox E-Books are HERE!!

There have been several times throughout my journey when I was sure that I was destined to be FAT and I would NEVER, EVER lose the weight. It’s a depressing place to be. That’s why I was, and am, SO HAPPY to have found a lifestyle that works, is healthy and has helped me (and my clients) to keep the weight off for GOOD!


Step 1: Get Real

One major component to my success throughout the years has been getting REAL with myself.  In all honesty, if there are more than 10 ingredients or it takes longer than 30 min to make a recipe, then I’m not going to take the time to make it. I know that about myself. That means it’s very important that I find simple recipes that are easy to make and  still taste great.  If I can’t find them, I make them up or modify them to fit into my busy lifestyle.

Most people are intimidated by veggies but in REALITY veggies are so FAST & EASY to make!!  Throw a potato in the oven/toaster oven @ 400deg. for 30mins (let cook while you’re working, playing with the kids, walking the dog, etc) that’s pretty easy, no one can/should dispute that!  A quick scrambled egg dish, or summer salad takes 15mins tops! Steamed veggies take about 10mins to prepare.  Avocado toast takes less than 5 mins and tastes like a dream come true!!

Get real with what you WANT and what you need.  Stop making excuses like “I don’t have time” and find a way to make it work! I know that my dishes need to be quick, easy, and most importantly they need to TASTE GOOD. So I stick to simple recipes and use decadent ingredients like REAL butter, sea salt, LOTS of goat cheese, garlic, and chocolate to make things delicious!


Step 2: Always be prepared

Like I’ve said before, another HUUUUUGE factor to a successful diet is ALWAYS BE PREPARED! If you are hungry and there are no healthy options around, you are very likely to grab the first thing you can put your hands on.  The answer: ALWAYS STOCK YOUR FRIDGE with healthy options!!

The same thing applies if you are out running errands. If you know there is nothing for you waiting at home, you are 10 times more likely to run through the drive through or pick up some processed, readily available crap to satiate your hunger. On the other hand, if you’ve got something prepared at home, you know it’s there waiting for you and all you have to do is heat it up.

Another great way to make life easier is to prepare food ahead of time. Set one day of the week aside and make (for example) a huge container of salad, 5 chicken breasts, several portions of cooked veggies, a big pot of quinoa, and containers of sliced fruit & veggies to last through the week. The reality is if it’s there, you’ll eat it.


Step 3: You can always have it if you want it

When I first started to change my diet I would play a little game with myself. If I had a craving for something I would tell myself that I could have it AFTER I ate something healthy.  For example, lets say I was craving something sweet like a brownie.  I’d tell myself that if I ate a healthy sweet (like fruit or healthy chocolate shake) and still wanted the brownie, then I could have it. Nine times out of ten, the healthier option would satisfy my craving and I would no longer desire the fattening dessert I was craving.

That being said, I still think it is extremely important to enjoy your food. Sometimes that means eating a less than perfect meal.  I’ve shared my stories about jumping off the wagon.  I do enjoy treats like Crème brûlée, flour-less chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, pizza, fries etc. but I savor them. I make sure to taste each delicious bite, eat my meal slowly, and pay attention to each and every one of my senses.  If you’re going to have it, savor it, ENJOY it and then get right back on track!


Sweet Potato with Herbed Goat Cheese & Greens


Here’s a recipe that is so simple it’s almost ridiculous. I have this for lunch all the time. I’ll throw the sweet potato in the oven while I’m writing an article or responding to emails. When I start to notice the sweet smell of the potato I’ll quickly steam some broccoli and grab some greens (from my already prepared salad bag – remember preparation is KEY!) and lunch is ready!



You’ll need:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/2 – 1 broccoli floret
  • greens – I used a mix of Romaine & Red Leaf lettuce
  • Vinaigrette of choice for the salad
  • Goat Cheese – I used a Garlic & Herb Chèvre
  • sea salt

Simply bake the sweet potato in the oven or a toaster oven at 400-420 for 30 mins or until soft. The higher the temp, the faster it will cook.

When the potato is almost done you will notice the lovely aroma start to fill your house. This is the time to start steaming the broccoli. My extra fast steaming method = In a pot bring 1/2 cup sea salted water to a boil. Add cut broccoli florets and cover. Let cook for about 4 mins or until they reach desired tenderness.

Remove the sweet potato from the oven. Cut open and top with goat cheese. Serve with steamed broccoli and salad.



Yesterday I ate this right here at my desk. The whole cooking process took about 10mins and I was right back at my desk ready to chow down and get back to work!

Long term weight loss can be easy…once you get the hang of it. That means getting real, always being prepared, and ENJOYING yourself!!


I’d LOVE to hear from you!! Leave me a comment and tell me:

  • What are your favorite fast, healthy recipes? Obviously, I love how easy it is to make a baked sweet potato and veggies! But this summer I have also really loved caprese salads and Cauliflower w/marinara. I won’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten those same meals over and over again…but it’s a lot!!
  • Are there any recipes that you love so much that you make over and over again? I am such a creature of habit. I find one thing that I like and I could end up making it almost everyday for weeks!! Anyone else do this?!
  • If you’ve lost weight what were the top 3 things that helped you keep it off?

*For more healthy living tips and recipes please subscribe to this blog, follow me on twitterLOVE me on facebook, or if you are interested in getting started on your own weight loss journey, shoot me an email!

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37 Responses to “Healthy Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss”

  1. Faith July 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Great tips Linda. Love the pictures.

    • Linda July 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

      Thanks Faith,
      LOVE the new layout of your blog!! xo

  2. Vicki July 28, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    I love this!! When I’m “good”, this IS how I eat! I love sweet potatoes, broccoli and salad! Chips are my downfall and I don’t buy them, but my hubby does!!! In fall and winter I love to make a huge pot of vegetable soup with some venison–which is always lean. I NEVER feel guilty for eating a bowl of soup and often have it for a snack–it fills me up!

    • Linda July 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm #


      I am a HUGE fan of veggie stew in the winter…with a dollop of goat cheese on top, so good!

  3. Katrina July 29, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    Great suggestions here. Thanks! I needed a kick in the butt.

  4. Emily Earl July 31, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Hey Linda, I totally agree with being prepared for the week! I always do much better when I have meals ready to be served. I am in love with a pesto egg scramble right now. I made the pesto ahead of time (fresh from the farmers market!) and put it on everything all week long. My favorite was the veggie egg scramble with pesto! YUM. I will definitely make it again. I always cook sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week and bring them for lunch at work with goat cheese. Thanks for the great recipes!

    • Linda August 1, 2011 at 10:52 am #

      Sounds delicious Emily!! I can’t wait to try a pesto egg scramble, sounds delicious!! xo

  5. IK August 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Hi Linda,

    I really like your recipes (I’ve shared the green smoothie one with several people already!) I’d like to try this one, but am trying to avoid cheeses due to high cholesterol. Can you recommend some substitutions that would still work well with sweet potatoes?

    • Linda August 17, 2011 at 9:54 am #

      A really easy, yummy substitute if you are looking for something creamy is guacamole. I also love topping my sweet potatoes with a variety of veggies sauteed with sea salt and garlic, yummm!

      • Christine October 11, 2011 at 5:19 am #

        Hummus on top! De-lish!

  6. Jeff August 24, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    great article! although I dont need to lose weight I have switch to a mostly veggie diet and that ‘lunch’ recipe looks good 🙂 maybe a little goat feta cheese and some mushrooms and ill have it for dinner tonight!

  7. Kristy Fassio September 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    This looks heavenly! I’m addicted to sweet potatoes, and am always on the lookout for good recipes for lunch. This is making the list! And goat cheese? HEAVEN! Can’t wait to try this!

    • Linda September 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm #


      It’s one of my absolute FAVORITE meals!! It’s so simple and easy, you really can’t beat it!!
      Sweet Potato + Goat Cheese = HEAVEN! 😉

  8. A. Sanborn October 10, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    Happened to find your wonderful blog via Pinterest… now a definite follower!

    My inquiry pertains to the sweet potato…
    Do you need to prick {fork} and wrap {tin foil} your sweet potato prior to oven baking? Do you consume the skin as well? I usually don’t prep sweet potatoes this way. Clean – eating – has become more a way of life for our family. We’ve always consumed a healthy diet, but really trying to get our daughter into choosing better choices as a way of life… for life!

    TFS 🙂

    • Linda October 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

      So glad you found me!!
      I didn’t prick my sweet potato but you can if you like. There is no need to wrap the potato in foil.
      I personally do not eat the skins but there’s no reason you can’t eat the skin if you want to. I just prefer not to. If you are going to eat the skin I would make sure it’s organic and has been properly scrubbed before cooking to remove any excess dirt/residue.

  9. Mo October 26, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    Linda, aren´t sweet potatoes plus goat cheese a miscombined meal?

    • Linda October 27, 2011 at 10:44 am #

      If you are following strict food combining rules then yes, this meal is miscombined. However, although I do practice food combining as a rule, I don’t do it ALL the time. I pay attention to how I feel and as long as I stay high energy w/out any digestive issues then I know that meal is ok for me. This is one of those meals. Most people will do fine with sweet potato + goat cheese. If you find that you don’t feel great, then you know that combo is not for you.

      I hope that helps!

      • Sherry Little May 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

        Linda, I love all your posts! Wondering what food combing chart you use? 🙂

  10. Kristen Huls November 29, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Yum! I am going to make this today!! I have some feta in the fridge to top the sweet potatoe, prepared salad, and a homemade light vinnegrette dressing I made a batch of last night! Great Tips Linda!

  11. Amy V. December 28, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    Love this idea! I slice peeled sweet potatoes into rounds, toss them with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and roast them. I do a few at the beginning of the week and my 19-month old will eat them every day! Broccoli is his other favorite, too! Now if I could just get him to try the goat cheese!

  12. Kibby January 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Hi Linda! Is the goat cheese raw or pasteurized? I found some raw goat cheese but it is the hard kind. Can’t find the soft kind (raw) anywhere. Just curious if the regular kind is OK in moderation?

  13. Linda January 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Hey Kibbs! Try to get raw if you can but regular is ok too if you’re using goat cheese 🙂 It’s hard to find raw chevre (soft) goat cheese so don’t stress about it 🙂

    • Kibby January 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      will do. Thanks for the quick reply. Prepping all the goodies right now as I type. Let you know how it turns out. When I told my husband what we were having for dinner tonight – he got a big smile on his face and said “OK!” 🙂 Talk with you soon.

  14. Kibby January 16, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Oh, my dear! You did it again! Had the husband saying that the baked sweet potato was the best he ever had (of course I baked it in coconut oil). Coconut oil and sweet potatoes were made to be together in the food world. I served a simple romaine lettuce salad with hemp seeds and sliced cucumbers with your asian vinaigrette (which we both loved) and then followed up with the potato and steamed broccoli. IN HEAVEN! This will also be a regular meal here too. The sweet potatoes I had were uber huge so I halved them and served just the portion. My husband loved so much, he went back for his other half. Still have another portion leftover for lunch tomorrow. Yeah!

    Husband says: “I like Linda’s recipes that you have made so far.”
    Me: “Yeah, me too! And she’s nice, pretty and smart too.”

    Have a great day!

    • Linda January 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Awesome Kibbs! So glad your husband is digging the recipes!

  15. madelene January 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    I love your blog! Thanks for posting these healthy and delicious-looking recipes. I also love that they are quick! I can’t wait to try them.

  16. Jennifer February 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I just got a sweet potato and never had one before, so I decided instead of having Greek yogurt like I do everyday for lunch, I would try a sweet potato. But I didn’t know what to have with it! So I came upon your blog after searching some things up, (health lunch ideas with sweet potatoes). And this sounded good! And very healthy, except I don’t have goat cheese, so I might just put a few sprinkles of mozzarella cheese.

  17. Jennifer February 26, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    P.S. We have the same last name. 😉 How cool!

  18. Dean May 8, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    This is about the best article I’ve ever read on setting myself up for success — and I think you’re living inside my head! Thanks for putting it out on the screen for all of us to read 🙂

    And yet another fantastic recipe to add to my arsenal.

    With much gratitude!

    • Linda May 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      Awesome Dean!! Happy to help!

  19. Alicia Chafin May 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    I thought you might find it humorous that I introduced everyone on my son’s cubscout camping trip this past weekend to vanilla stevia in their coffee. Out in the woods, coffee perked over the campfire grills and I pulled out my little dropper bottle of stevia and passed it around. Thanks for introducing me to it!

    • Linda May 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      Awesome Alicia!! I heart stevia!! xo

  20. Haley September 13, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Looks so good!! I usually eat one sweet potato a day for lunch! I usually too it with a little almond butter and cinnamon. Do you think that is “unhealthy” or too many carbs to have every day? (I’m so addicted to them!)

  21. Jeff Blackwell December 14, 2016 at 12:46 am #

    Please sign me up to receive your newsletter. Thanks


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