My Favorite Weight Watchers Recipes: 12 Great Cold Lunch Ideas

Updated on February 19, 2018
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Rose Mary's mother and all of her aunts are great Southern cooks. She likes to think she's not so bad herself.

Curried Chicken Salad
Curried Chicken Salad | Source

I have previously shared many of my favorite Weight Watchers recipes. For this article, I will share my favorite Weight Watchers cold lunch ideas.

I convey the recipes in terms of exchanges, which is the old Weight Watchers system, before points. For more information on this, please refer to my article, Weight Watchers Quick-Start: My "Old Faithful" for Weight Loss. The Weight Watchers Quick Start Program cookbook was my go-to during my Air Force years. It is a great information source. There are a couple recipes from this book, but for salads and cold lunches, WW Meals in Minutes is a great resource, with loads of salad ideas.

These recipes are my modifications for cold lunches that are filling, preferably with 1 bread and 2 protein exchanges, but no more than 2 bread and 3 protein. I am a night owl. Even when I was forced to rise at 6 a.m., my body clock was geared toward the night. It does not work for me to eat most of my exchanges for breakfast and lunch, then a lighter supper.

Recipes for Cold Lunch Salads in This Article

  • Curried Chicken Salad
  • Citrus-Bean Salad
  • Chicken or Turkey Rice Salad
  • Bean Slaw
  • Chick-Pea and Artichoke Salad
  • Cannellini-Tuna Salad
  • Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad
  • Hoppin John Salad
  • Spaghetti Squash Slaw
  • Sweet and Sour Corn Salad
  • Curried Rice Salad (with Chicken)
  • Honeyed Fruit & Carrot Salad

Weight Watchers Quick Start Plus Program Cookbook (Including Personal Choice Food Selections)
Weight Watchers Quick Start Plus Program Cookbook (Including Personal Choice Food Selections)

I learned the Weight Watchers exchange program, which is similar to diabetic exchanges, from this book. This plan was my go-to when I was in the Air Force. I used this book so much, it fell apart.

 

Curried Chicken

Weight Watchers Curried Chicken Salad on Wasa- definitely a favorite of mine.
Weight Watchers Curried Chicken Salad on Wasa- definitely a favorite of mine. | Source

Modified from Weight Watchers Quick Start Cookbook. This is one of my absolute favorites. I love the curry in this chicken salad. It calls for raisins. I use golden raisins, which also makes it special I think.

Yield: One serving of 3 protein exchanges, 1 bread, ½ fruit, ¼ vegetable, ½ milk, and 1 fat.

Ingredients

  • ¼ c low fat yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 3 oz diced chicken
  • 2 Tbsp finely diced celery
  • 1 T raisins (I use golden)
  • 2 slices of low calorie bread (no more than 45 calories per slice), ½ English muffin (no more than 80 calories), pita, wrap, or any bread of 80 calories or less

Instructions

1- Combine yogurt, mayo, lemon juice, and spices.

2- Add chicken, celery, and raisins.

3- Stir to coat.

4- Serve on bread of your choice, no more than 90 calories.

Citrus-Bean

Weight Watchers Citrus-Bean Salad with chickpeas, orange, and bell peppers
Weight Watchers Citrus-Bean Salad with chickpeas, orange, and bell peppers | Source

From Weight Watchers Meals in Minutes Cookbook. This salad is beautifully colorful, and surprisingly tasty.

Yield: Two servings of 1 protein exchange, 0 bread, ½ fruit, ½ fat, and 2 vegetable exchanges.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz chickpeas
  • ½ navel orange, about 4-6 oz
  • ¼ c red onion, thinly sliced, about 1” lengths
  • ¼ c diced red bell pepper
  • ¼ c diced yellow bell pepper
  • ¼ c sliced celery
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lettuce leaves

Instructions

1- Combine peppers, onion, and celery in a medium-sized bowl. I did not have celery, and substituted about 1/8 c green bell pepper.

2- Peel orange, including membrane from orange slices. Cut or break into ½” pieces. Add to chopped vegetables.

3- Drain and rinse chickpeas, and add to bowl.

4- In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients to make dressing. I just poured each ingredient into my bowl with my vegetables, orange, and chickpeas. I tipped the bowl to get the honey off the spoon by swishing it in the lime juice and vinegar.

5- Stir to mix ingredients, and coat with dressing.

6- Serve on lettuce leaves.

Turkey Rice

Weight Watchers Turkey Rice Salad, pictured here made with chicken.  This is an actual portion size.  Very large serving!
Weight Watchers Turkey Rice Salad, pictured here made with chicken. This is an actual portion size. Very large serving! | Source

Modified from Weight Watchers Quick Start Cookbook. I've had this one many times. I like the large portion size.

Yield: 2 servings with 2 protein exchanges, 1 bread, ½ vegetable, and 1 fat serving each.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz diced chicken or turkey
  • 1 c cooked rice (basmati has a low glycemic index)
  • 1/3 c finely diced celery
  • 4 Tbsp finely diced onion
  • 1 Tbsp finely diced red pepper
  • 2 tsp mayonnaise
  • ½ c low fat yogurt
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp Lawry’s garlic powder with parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1- In a small bowl, combine mayo, yogurt, seasonings, lemon juice, and Dijon.

2- In another bowl, combine chicken (or turkey) and chopped vegetables.

3-Pour yogurt mixture over meat and vegetable mixture. Stir to thoroughly combine.

4- Chill before serving.

Bean Slaw

Weight Watchers Bean Slaw.
Weight Watchers Bean Slaw. | Source

Modified from Weight Watchers Meals in Minutes Cookbook. Don’t let it stop you if you don’t have all of the ingredients. I usually make it without the peppers.

Yield: 2 servings with 2 protein exchanges, ½ fruit, 1 fat, ½ milk, and 1 ¾ vegetable each serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 small apple, about ¼ lb, diced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 c cabbage
  • 6 oz small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ c shredded carrot
  • 1 oz shredded Swiss cheese
  • ½ c green onions, sliced (or diced sweet onion)
  • ¼ c red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ c green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ c yogurt
  • 2 tsp mayonnaise

Instructions

1- Toss diced apples with lemon juice to coat. This minimizes the browning.

2- Combine with remaining ingredients.

Weight Watchers' Meals in Minutes Cookbook
Weight Watchers' Meals in Minutes Cookbook

Like WW Quick Start, the recipes in this book are under the old exchanges plan. It has fewer recipes, but has many cold meal recipes.

 

Chick-Pea and Artichoke

Weight Watchers Chickpea Artichoke Salad- I cut the recipe in half and made a single serving.  It's a large portion!
Weight Watchers Chickpea Artichoke Salad- I cut the recipe in half and made a single serving. It's a large portion! | Source

From Weight Watchers Meals in Minutes Cookbook. I usually prefer water-packed artichoke hearts, but my brother bought premium marinated artichokes, which were very good. I'd like to try this salad with a different bean, such as cannellini or navy beans.

Yield: 2 servings, each with 2 protein exchanges, 1 fat, 2 ¼ vegetable exchanges, and 10 optional calories.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz chickpeas
  • 1 c artichoke hearts
  • 1 medium tomato
  • ¼ c sliced scallions
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1- Drain and rinse chickpeas. Drain and quarter artichoke hearts. Place in a medium-sized bowl.

2- Add scallions. Cut tomatoes in 6-8 wedges and add to bowl.

3- In a small bowl, add all remaining ingredients except Parmesan cheese. Whisk together.

4- Pour dressing over chickpea and vegetable mixture, and stir to coat.

5- Divide into two servings and top with Parmesan cheese.

Cannellini-Tuna

Weight Watchers Cannellini Tuna Salad.  I used a grilled tuna steak instead of canned tuna.
Weight Watchers Cannellini Tuna Salad. I used a grilled tuna steak instead of canned tuna. | Source

From Weight Watchers Meals in Minutes Cookbook. This is a very satisfying salad, and definite favorite. Using grilled tuna steak instead of canned tuna gives a more satisfying texture.

Yield: 2 servings, each with 3 protein exchanges, 1 fat, and 1 1/8 vegetable exchanges.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz cannellini beans
  • 3 oz flaked tuna
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 c chopped lettuce

Instructions

1- Combine cannellini beans, tuna, onion, basil, lemon juice, and water in a bowl. Stir to combine.

2- Serve on bed of chopped lettuce.

Southwestern Black Bean and Corn

Weight Watchers SW Black Bean & Corn Salad
Weight Watchers SW Black Bean & Corn Salad | Source

From Weight Watchers Meals in Minutes Cookbook. This is a new favorite. As with many things, it was better the next day.

Yield: Two servings, each with 2 protein exchanges, ½ bread, ½ fat, 1 ¼ vegetable, and 15 optional calories.

Ingredients

  • 5 oz black beans
  • 1 hard boiled egg, mashed or chopped
  • ½ c corn
  • ½ c diced tomato
  • ¼ c red onion, fine chopped
  • ½ oz shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Lettuce leaves

Instructions

1- Drain and rinse beans and put in mixing bowl.

2- Chop egg and add to bowl. I don’t enjoy the texture of egg white, so I finely mash the egg, or in this case, used my food processor.

3- Add corn, diced tomato, minced onion, and shredded cheese. I used Mexican Queso Fresco. I shredded it in my mini-chopper food processor, so it looks like egg white.

4- Add sour cream, cilantro, parsley, oil, and vinegar.

5- Stir to combine ingredients. Serve on lettuce leaves.

Hoppin John Salad

Hoppin John Salad.  This is less than a serving.  The servings are huge!
Hoppin John Salad. This is less than a serving. The servings are huge! | Source

Modified from Weight Watchers Meals in Minutes Cookbook. My can of peas yielded 8 oz after they were rinsed and drained. I just went ahead and threw in the extra 2 oz of peas. Regardless (of using 6 vs 8 oz of peas) this makes 2 very large portions.

Yield: Two servings, each providing 2 ½ protein exchanges, 1 bread, 1 ½ fat, and 2 ½ vegetable.

Ingredients

  • 2 c chopped lettuce, such as escarole
  • 6 oz black-eyed peas
  • 2 oz smoked ham, diced
  • 2 Tbsp sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 c cooked rice
  • ½ medium tomato, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Dash hot sauce
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

1- In a hot non-stick skillet, wilt lettuce. Transfer to mixing bowl.

2- Drain and rinse peas. Add to lettuce.

3- Add ham, onion, rice, and tomato.

4- In a small bowl blend dressing ingredients- oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and hot sauce.

5- Pour dressing over pea mixture. Stir to combine.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash Salad
Spaghetti Squash Salad | Source

From Weight Watchers Fast & Fabulous Cookbook.

Yield: Four servings, each with 2 vegetable exchanges, 1 ½ fat.

Ingredients

  • 3 c cooked spaghetti squash
  • 6 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ c diced bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped scallion, or red onion
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • Pinch of black pepper

Instructions

1- A spaghetti squash approximately 2 lbs will yield about 3 cups of cooked squash. Pierce squash several times. Bake at 350° for about an hour. Let cool. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Discard the seeds. Use a fork to separate and remove strands of squash. Save shell if desired for serving.

2- Place squash strands into a mixing bowl. Add tomato quarters, bell peppers (red bell peppers will give the dish color), and scallion or onion. Stir to combine.

3. In a small bowl, blend together vinegar, oil, salt, minced garlic, oregano, and pepper. Pour over squash mixture and stir to coat.

4. Chill for 2 hours before serving.

Sweet and Sour Corn

Weight Watchers Sweet & Sour Corn Salad
Weight Watchers Sweet & Sour Corn Salad | Source

From Weight Watchers Fast & Fabulous Cookbook.

Yield: Two servings, each with 1 bread exchange, 1 ½ fat, and 1 ½ vegetable.

Ingredients

  • 1 c corn, drained
  • ½ c celery, diced
  • 6 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp sliced scallions
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 4 lettuce leaves

Instructions

1- Place corn, celery, tomatoes, and scallions in a medium sized mixing bowl.

2- In a small bowl, blend mayo, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar.

3- Pour dressing over corn salad and stir to combine.

4- Serve each portion on top of 2 lettuce leaves.

Curried Rice with Chicken

Curried Rice Salad with Chicken
Curried Rice Salad with Chicken | Source

From Weight Watchers Fast & Fabulous Cookbook.

Yield: Two servings, each with 4 protein exchanges, 1 bread, 1 ½ fat, and 1 vegetable exchange.

Ingredients

  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 8 oz cooked boneless, skinless chicken, diced
  • 1 c cooked long grain rice
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • ¼ c chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped scallion
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions

1- Place buttermilk, mayo, sugar, salt, pepper, and curry powder in a mixing bowl and whisk to blend.

2- Add chicken, rice, tomato, pepper, scallion, and parsley. Stir to coat with buttermilk dressing.

Honeyed Fruit and Carrot Salad

From Weight Watchers Fast & Fabulous Cookbook.

Ingredients

2 c carrots, shredded

1 small apple, diced

1 large prune, diced

1 Tbsp raisins, chopped

1 tsp sunflower seed, chopped

1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp honey

Instructions

1- Place carrots, apple, prunes, raisins, and sunflower seeds in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

2- Combine lemon juice and honey in a small bowl, and blend thoroughly. Pour over carrot mixture and stir to coat with dressing.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

    © 2010 rmcrayne

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      • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR

        rmcrayne 

        8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

        Thanks Latrelle. We almost always have yogurt in our frig. I love the texture of the Greek yogurt.

      • profile image

        Latrelle Ross 

        8 years ago

        What great recipes. I like the modification of using low fat yogurt instead of mayonaise. Thanks for a wonderful hub :)

      • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR

        rmcrayne 

        8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

        You know Paradise, I've been thinking about that chicken salad a lot lately! Used to catch chicken breasts on sale at HEB for $1 a lb...

      • Paradise7 profile image

        Paradise7 

        8 years ago from Upstate New York

        Terrific. The curried chicken gets bookmarked, for sure! Thanks, RM!

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