For most people, the average lunch consists of a sandwich, a wrap or a roll with fillings of various descriptions. Well and good if you are eating a balanced diet and tracking it in your Food Diary. But if you are following an alternative style of eating like low-carb, you need some new ideas. Don’t bin the lunch box just yet. We have ten tasty low-carb lunches for you to choose from.
If you're eating healthy and feeling good thanks to low carb, you already know that foods like chips and pizzas are off limits. These fast food staples, eaten regularly, can cause weight gain and loss of energy. By eating the right kind of carbs, cutting out simple carbohydrates and including a small amount of complex carbs in your daily intake you can enjoy a healthy variety of meals and feel great. All you need to do is think outside the lunchbox!
Top ten low carb lunches
1. Chicken, turkey, tuna or salmon salads
Enjoy on a bed of greens with other fresh veggies and just a teaspoon of low-carb dressing such as olive oil and vinegar or mayo.
2. Lettuce wraps
If you still pine for a sandwich-type lunch, try a lettuce wrap. Your favourite healthy fillings wrapped up with a lettuce leaf. Tasty and crunchy! Iceberg, romaine or other large-leaf varieties are best for this purpose.
3. Sushi – low-carb style
Try making these delicious sushi-style bites for lunch. Take a slice of smoked salmon, spread thinly with cream cheese, add shredded cucumber and wrap in a sheet of Nori, or seaweed. Slice into bite-size pieces and pack into your lunchbox. Don’t forget your chopsticks!
If you are going Italian for lunch, forget the pizzas, pastas and risotto. Try a light lunch of antipasti, which consists of lean meats, cheeses, olives and salads. For a main course, choose a bresaola of beef or fish slices served with olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper dressing with a little grated cheese.
5. Caesar salad
Cobb salad, chef salad, any salad that contains proteins (cheese, luncheon meat without nitrates) and low-carb dressing is a healthy option. Just hold the croutons and add either some crushed nuts or a little grated cheese on top.
If you haven’t had eggs for breakfast, an omelette loaded with meat and vegetables, makes a good lunch. Many lunchtime venues have an omelette bar. If your workplace has a microwave, put your beaten eggs in a bowl with some chopped veggies and zap it for some delicious, filling scramble that will see you through to dinnertime.
7. Burger - no bunYou can still make a quick run for your favourite fast food restaurant. Order a bun-less burger and a side salad. Many places actually offer this on their menu now as a low-carb option. Dig in!
Choose low-carb tapas dishes and you can enjoy a tasty, healthy lunch. Go for shellfish, olives, low-carb veg dishes, lean meat, fish, poultry and small amounts of hard cheese. Better still, visit the deli counter at lunchtime and make up your own.
9. Miso soup and sashimi
If you’re going Japanese, fresh fish is an excellent low-carb, high protein selection. However, pass on the noodles and any sushi rolls made with rice.
10. Steak, chicken, chops
Dinner for lunch! Treat yourself. A juicy steak or a chicken fillet with a side of veggies is more than suitable and a great way to beat lunchtime boredom. Just steer clear of starchy veg like peas, beans, corn and potatoes.
Remember; just because you are low-carbing doesn’t mean lunch has to be boring. There are more choices than ever now, even at fast food places, as companies are starting to pay attention to the way people want to eat. There’s a whole re-education going on so take full advantage of it.
Whether it’s a meaty salad at your favourite burger joint or a low-carb meal at your favourite bar & grill, most restaurants are now catering to the individual who's scrapped his or her low-fat, calorie-counting approach for an eating plan that'll help you fill up without filling out.
So go ahead, order up that cheeseburger. But simply skip the bun and fries. Or if you opt for chicken wings, make sure they aren't breaded and ask for them without sauce. Balance either one with a side salad.
As most of you know by now, the Low-Carb plan is not an "eat all the meat you want" philosophy. One of the best resources for a healthy, well-balanced lunch remains the salad bar. You can fill up on chicken salad, tuna salad, turkey salad and an array of fresh or freshly-cooked, high-fibre vegetables. But beware of salad dressings or toppings that can drown your diet in carbs.
Low-carb lunch on the go
By keeping a small cooler bag packed with all your staples, you’re always prepared for the worst case scenarios, like having no time to grab a sit-down meal. The likes of a hard-boiled egg, coupled with a piece of cheese, fruit or a handful of nuts will provide the boost you need.
There are lots of low-carb choices available. It just requires a little thinking ahead. In the morning before you leave the house think about where you’ll be at lunchtime and what your choices will be.
Eating three meals a day is a must. Doing so maintains your blood sugar levels and keeps you on an even keel so you don’t suffer energy dips. Track your meals in your Food Diary and take a little lunchtime exercise after you’ve eaten. Regular exercise goes hand in hand with healthy eating so track this in your Fitness Diary
What is your favourite low-carb lunch? We'd love to know, so share your ideas and recipes.
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