Nearly everything most people are used to eating for lunch includes a lot of carbs. Obviously, sandwiches are the go-to for most of us. However, you can still get a filling lunch without a ton of carbs.
Lunch time should be your opportunity to fuel up for the rest of the day. Having the right lunch on hand can mean staying on track with your low-carb diet. It can also be the big difference between being re-energized or tired for the remainder of the afternoon.
Here are 10 simple, yet nutrition low carb lunch ideas to keep you energetic for the afternoon ahead. None of them take very long to prepare so you can go from preparation to table in virtually no time at all.
There is a whole lot you can do with spring rolls. This recipe calls for a lime and peanut sauce and is very quick and simple to make. You can prepare variations depending on your palate, as well. There are plenty of sauces you can purchase or make yourself.
Get started by wetting a rice sheet. You can do this just by running it under some warm water for just a couple quick seconds. Once it is soft, put it on a hard surface and spread out sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, julienned bell peppers, and a tiny bit of mint. Put all of this in one line right down the middle of the rice sheet.
Put in your choice of protein, if you so choose. You can use salmon, chicken or even edamame. Then pour your peanut-line sauce over the top. You can buy the sauce online or in most stores. You can also just create your own by combining a tiny bit of rice vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil and peanut butter. If you have a different flavored sauce you prefer, you can also use that.
Everyone loves pasta but it really doesn’t fit into a low-carb diet. Spaghetti squash is a great alternative if you are craving pasta but don’t want to eat all of those carbs. You’ll get a good number of vitamins as well.
To prepare the squash simply prick its flesh in a couple different spots. You can do this with a fork. Then, bake it for about 30-45 minutes at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you would rather, you can also just boil it for about 20 minutes. You could even microwave it for six to eight minutes if you are in a rush. You’ll know its done when it is soft enough to pull strings out.
Once prepared, just use a fork to get the long strings out. They look just like spaghetti and offer a lot of great flavor. Now you can add whatever sauce you’d like. Bolognese is a good option that will give the meal some heartiness to fill you up. Finally, just sprinkle your favorite cheese on top. This is also a great dish for anyone who is also following a vegan diet. Just use beans instead of sauce and then you can opt for a cheese that is dairy-free. It’s still filling with some great heartiness but won’t be using any animal products at all.
There is no rice involved in this recipe, which not only lessens the prep time but also lowers the overall number of carbs.
You can begin by filling a square of seaweed, also known as a nori sheet, with a layer of mashed avocado. You want the layer to be pretty thin so the sheet will be easy to roll later and won’t be messy when trying to eat it. Then, sprinkle nutritional yeast on top.
Next, add in your favorite vegetables. Popular ones include tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and onions. If you want to add protein for a more filling option, fish and edamame make good pairings with these ingredients.
Be sure you don’t have anything in the top third of your sheet or you’ll have trouble rolling it. To finish, you are going to wet that area with just a tiny bit of water and then roll the sheet.
This is a great lunch for a particularly chilly day. You can also freeze and store it for future use when you are short on time.
You can start by cooking four cups of chopped pumpkin. Cook the pumpkin with chopped onion and a bit of olive oil. You’ll need just one tablespoon of the oil and you can start with just one onion, depending on your preference for the flavor. Cook it for just eight to ten minutes. You’ll know when it’s done because the pumpkin will be soft to the touch.
Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. You’ll want to add about 11.5 ounces of the stock. Let the mixture simmer for just ten minutes. The pumpkin should be very soft at this point. Then, add in 2.5 ounces of coconut milk or cream, whichever you prefer. Puree the full mixture with a blender.
You can add red cabbage, cashews or even coconut flakes on top before eating. You can also make more to store in your freezer for another day.
Cauliflower is a great source of vitamins and can be tasty if prepared properly. You can also get your rice fix with this recipe.
Start with a head of cauliflower, cut into small florets. You can also choose to grate them using just a hand grater. If you grate them, make sure they are in pieces the size of rice. You also have the option to use a food processor. However, you have to be extra careful not to process the cauliflower too much. This can result in mushy rice.
Then, add in some coconut oil and vegetables. You don’t want to use particularly starchy vegetables so you can add in things like broccoli or peppers. Then, add in some raw ginger, garlic, and green onion. Sautee all of it together. You’ll know when it’s done because the cauliflower will be tender to the touch and should be brown in color.
You can add some additional seasoning if you are looking for even more flavor. Good seasoning options include sesame oil, soy sauce, or even fried egg.
This is a great lunch option on a crisp fall day. It’s both creamy and filling and will warm you right up.
You start by sautéing eight ounces of sliced mushrooms. Do so with about four garlic cloves and a small onion. You should sauté for just about 8 minutes. You’ll know you’re done sautéing when the mushrooms start to get juicy.
Then, add in a cup and a half of vegetable broth along with 4 sprigs of thyme with the stem attached, and eleven ounces of coconut milk. Let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes. Then, take the full mixture and blend it until it’s your preferred consistency. You can top it with a garnish such as nuts or bacon.
This makes one of the best low carb lunch ideas when you want something quick and crisp. Kale is so good for you and has several needed nutrients. This is a super simple recipe for a quick go-to lunch.
Just get rid of the stem on your kale and then chop it into sizes you can easily bite. Tenderize the leaves with your hands. You can do this for just about a minute or two. Then, blend in some lemon juice and zest. Add in a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and an ounce of Parmesan cheese.
Mix it all together and add in a protein if you want. You can use salmon or chicken. You can then top with some more cheese if you want a little bit more flavor.
Here is another alternative to that high-carb pasta we all love. It has very few carbs but does offer a number of key nutrients and vitamins.
The seaweed pasta already comes in long strands so all you really have to do is rehydrate them. You can do this by putting them in water, cold or warm. You can also just cook them for five to fifteen minutes, depending on your preference.
Then, just toss the seaweed pasta in olives and sauce of your choice. Add a protein if you’d like. Put some cheese on top and enjoy.
This isn’t just your plain coleslaw. Instead, it has some Asian flair and flavor.
Get both green and red cabbage and toss it with green onions and some carrots that have been shredded.
You’ll want to make your own dressing, which is pretty simple to do. Just mix a tablespoon of fresh ginger with almond butter, sesame oil, and some rice vinegar. Then add in a tablespoon of tamari with some lime zest and a tiny bit of maple syrup. Our the full mixture onto your salad and top with either a veggie patty or some beef if you are looking for some more protein.
This recipe takes virtually no time at all to prepare but will keep you full throughout the afternoon. Its tasty, too.
Start by sautéing some chicken. You can add some snap peas, green onion and bok choy. You can also add in some baby corn or bell pepper for some extra flavor. Use some sweet- and -sour sauce, whichever one you like best.
You can make your own if you have the time. It’s pretty easy to do. Simple combine a garlic clove, diced red chili pepper, a fourth of a cup of sugar-free ketchup, a tablespoon of soy sauce, a tiny bit of stevia, and a half of a cup of rice vinegar. Put all ingredients together and boil, being sure to stir often. Let it cool off before putting it on the dish.
If you love pizza, you don’t have to go totally without just because you are looking for low carb lunch ideas. This portobella pizza option is a great alternative. The mushrooms used are large enough and offer a hearty texture to fill you up.
Not only do these offer a low carb option but they also have tons of vitamins. To get started, just brush the portobello mushroom bottom with some garlic oil. Make sure you’ve cleaned and dried the mushroom first. Then put them on a baking sheet with the bottoms up. Layer them with tomato slices, pepperoni pizza sauce and cheese.
Broil them for just seven or eight minutes and they are ready to eat.
Low carb lunch ideas usually come with at least a couple vegetables sliced into spirals. This recipe calls for both zucchini and beets, both of which offer a great texture for noodles. Use a spiralizer to get both into the noodle shape.
Just toss your new noodles with tempeh or chicken that’s been marinated. Put some cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, a bit of olive oil and pine nuts with your mixture. You can even add a ttiny bit of lemon juice if you want a little more kick.
The ten recipes above offer great options for low carb lunch ideas. Sticking to a low carb diet can be challenging but you do not have to sacrifice great flavor. And with these ideas, you can even get your pizza and pasta fix without having to consume such high numbers of carbs.
Not only will you be limiting your carbs with these recipes, but you’ll also be getting the nutrients you need. The substitutions used offer all the minerals and vitamins you need to stay full through the rest of your afternoon. All of them are easy to prepare and shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes from start to finish. Stay fresh and energized with these low carb options.