Two rounds of bread, a few slices of ham and cheese, a dollop of mayo or mustard, a can of coke and a bag of crisps...
Lunch used to be such an easy meal to throw together and gulp down during your lunch hour.
Just because you've sought an alternative type of eating plan doesn't mean you have to bin the lunch box.
Gobble up our low carb lunches
If you've been losing weight and feeling better thanks to a low carb dieting, you know burgers, chips and pizzas are off limits. In fact, these fast food staples may well be the reason you've gained pounds and lost energy in the first place.
You won't let the lunchtime doldrums get you down once you fill up on this great advice.
1. Chicken salad
Tuna salad, turkey salad! Enjoy on a bed of lettuce with other fresh veggies or as a sandwich on low-carb bread.
Fill low-carb tortillas with meats, vegetables and cheese.
Stuff a low-carb tortilla or low-carb bread with avocado slices, chicken, sprouts and other veggies and protein.
Leftovers are great for both lunch and dinner. If you make a roast chicken the night before, you can use the meat as a base for either a salad or sandwich.
5. Ready-to-drink shakes or snack bars
Supplement Low-Carb products with a piece of cheese or fresh vegetables. If you've moved beyond the first phase, you can supplement with some berries or a handful of nuts as well.
6. Caesar salad
Cobb salad, chef salad! Any salad that contains proteins (cheese, luncheon meat without nitrates) and low-carb dressing is a healthy option.
If you haven’t had eggs for breakfast, an omelette loaded with meat and vegetables makes a good lunch.
8. Burger... no bun
You can make a quick run for your favourite fast food restaurant. Order a bun-less burger and a side salad.
9. Miso soup and sashimi
If you’re going Japanese, fresh fish is an excellent selection. However, pass on the 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.
There are more choices 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.
It’s important to note that even with low-carb breads and tortillas you still have to watch your daily carb count.
Eating out and low carb lunches
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.
Go ahead... order up that cheeseburger. But simply skip the bun and fries. Or if you opt for chicken wings, make sure the wings aren't breaded and that the sauce isn't sugar-rich (sugar = carbs) Balance either one with a side salad.
For your loyal low carb followers who can’t do without your beloved bread, bring your own bread...low carb of course.
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.
It's a great way to control what and how much you eat. You can fill up on chicken salad, tuna salad, turkey salad and an array of freshly-cooked, high-fibre vegetables. But before you hit the bar, beware of salad dressings that can drown your diet in carbs.
There are still some eateries where you’ll be hard-pressed to find an appropriate low-carb lunch. Between pastas and pizzas, the local Italian restaurant can be a high-carb haven. Your best bet is to settle for a salad or even a grilled chicken breast with a side of veg. Remember, those pound-packing pastas aren’t going to win you any weight loss awards.
By keeping a small cooler packed with all your staples, you’re always prepared for the worst case scenarios, like having no time to grab a sit-down meal. Coupled with a piece of cheese, fruit or a handful of nuts, your snacks will provide the boost you need.
There are a lot of choices - it requires a little thinking ahead. In the morning when 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 - and feel free to enjoy low carb snacks between meals. Doing so maintains your blood sugar levels and keeps you on an even keel so you don’t suffer energy dips.
What is your favourite lunch? Good or bad, we'd love to know, so share your ideas and recipes.
Further reading:15 life hacks to simplify your life