Low Carb Lunch Menu IdeasAuthor: Cactuslover
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.
We're all familiar with the old fashioned chef 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.
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.
- 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:
- Greek salad (put extra protein on, such as hard boiled eggs, chicken, or seafood)
- Chicken (cooked without breading, of course) atop salad greens, chopped snow pea pods, chopped red pepper, and walnuts
- Low carb cole slawwith chicken, pecans, and bits of apple
- Tuna salad with greens, tomato and avocado
- Salmon on top of greens, blanched green beans, mushrooms, and sprouts
- Chicken with greens, cucumbers, pecans, and crumbled blue cheese
- Steak with greens, thinly sliced red onions, green pepper, and mushrooms
Roll ups and Wraps
There are three basic kinds of low carb roll ups:
- Lettuce: Roll "mushy" stuff, such as tuna, salmon, egg, or chicken salad up in a large lettuce leaf, along with anything 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.)
- Meat: Roll cheese and veggies up in a slice of roast beef, ham, etc.
- Low Carb Tortillas: Roll whatever you want up in a low carb tortilla and make a "wrap". My husband eats hot dogs this way.
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.
The easiest lunch of all – just make extra at dinner and have it for lunch the next day!
- Pack lunches the night before and store them in the refrigerator overnight.
- Purchasing lunch foods in larger containers instead of single-serve packages costs less. Buy yogurt and applesauce in larger containers and spoon it into a smaller container for lunch. Buy quality bulk bin items, including fresh-ground peanut butter, nuts, dried fruits, and granola.
- Test out new lunch box recipes at home before they make it into the lunch pail.
- Watch the temperature. Harmful bacteria grow best between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so it's important to keep perishable foods outside this danger zone as much as possible.