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Low-Carb Lunch Menu Ideas

Alternatives to Sandwiches

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Updated April 03, 2014

Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled Chicken Salad - A Great Low-Carb Lunch

Photo © Paul Johnson
If the word "lunch" has become synonymous with "sandwich", it's time to get out of your rut! There are lots of low-carb lunch possibilities.

Salads

We're all familiar with the old fashioned chef's salad -- cut up cold cuts, cheese, and hard-boiled egg on a green salad (usually iceberg). But meal salads have become much more popular in restaurants and at home, in a variety limited only by the imagination. It's basically any protein atop any combination of salad greens and vegetables.

Low-carb "Meal Salad" Tips:
  • Use lots of dark green salad greens, which are much richer in nutrients than the traditional iceberg lettuce. Now that bagged greens are in every grocery store, salad making has never been more convenient.
  • If you are using bottled dressings, check the label for carbs. Many "light" dressings have sugar added to make up for the loss of flavor when oil is reduced.
  • Choose dressings with oils high in monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil. More About Finding Healthy Salad Dressings
  • It is very easy to make dressings yourself - it literally can take less than a minute. Whip up an oil-based one in the bottom of the bowl, put the salad on top, and toss. For a creamy dressing, just mix some of your favorite herbs and spices into some mayonnaise. Thin down with water or lemon juice.
Examples of Salads include:

Roll ups and Wraps

There are three basic kinds of low-carb roll ups:
  1. Lettuce: Use "mushy" foods, such as tuna, salmon, egg, or chicken salad as a filling for a lettuce roll-up. Large lettuce leaves work best. Include vegetables such as strips of pepper, or else that sounds good (as long as you don't overload it). (A similar alternative is to use the "protein salad" as a dip, and use celery, Bell pepper, cucumber, etc as dippers.)
  2. Meat: Roll cheese and veggies up in a slice of roast beef, ham, etc. For example, roll spinach dip in roast beef, or cole slaw in ham.
  3. Low-Carb Tortillas: Roll whatever you want up in a low-carb tortilla and make a "wrap". My husband eats hot dogs this way. Example of a wrap

Soups

Soups are very versatile, and can provide a vehicle for leftover meats and vegetables. Most soup recipes can be low carb if you just take out the starch (noodles, rice, potatoes). There are a few low-carb canned soups, but the vast majority are not; you have to read labels carefully. Make up a big pot of soup and freeze portions. Rainbow Soup

Leftovers

The easiest lunch of all: just make extra at dinner and have it for lunch the next day!
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