While breakfast has healthy ingredients like eggs, yogurt, and fruit-packed smoothies, and dinner features lean, protein-rich options like perfectly cooked steak and fried chicken, lunch is a bit of a free-for-all. Sure, you’ve got your standard salads, sandwiches, and soups, but often these dishes are underwhelming and can be made with less-than-ideal ingredients.
That’s why we’ve put together these low-carb lunch ideas that are healthy, delicious, and won’t leave you feeling tired and sluggish at 3 a.m. Nutritious meal options include Zesty Chicken Salad, Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps, and more, and each has less than 30 grams of carbs per serving. Read on for two dozen ways to up your boring dining game.
A quick steak and blackberry salad
This salad looks fancy (thanks to the steak) but comes together in just 30 minutes. In addition to the meat, this lunch dish is loaded with healthy ingredients, including fresh blackberries, arugula, toasted pistachios, and a dollop of crumbled goat cheese.
Grilled Honeynut Squash Salad
Sweet, honey-nut butternut squash is the star of this fall salad, and for good reason. Inside you’ll also find nutritious ingredients like Napa cabbage, radicchio, pepitas and mint, and don’t even get us started on the delicious miso and spicy brown mustard dressing. In addition to topping the salad, the dressing also coats the squash and kale before they hit the grill, infusing them with even more flavor.
Red Lentil Squash Soup with Lemon
Soup can be a great low-carb lunch option, and this one does not disappoint. Inside each bowl, you have nutrient-packed lentils, carrots, butternut squash, a pinch of spices, and harissa paste. Plus, you’ll find hot ginger and chopped almonds. While you can toast some bread for dipping, you really don’t need to.
Delicious chicken salad
A hydrocarbon is seen here, but you will find a lot of protein. Here, the poached chicken is diced and tossed with just enough mayo to bind, dill pickles for juiciness, fennel bits for kick, lemon juice for fresh zing, and a great wild card, fresh tarragon. Serve with a side salad and enjoy.
Chard and Herb Frittata With Cherry Tomatoes
Who said eggs can only be eaten for breakfast? This meal is proof that eggs are a great idea for lunch, especially when paired with fresh Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, and lots of herbs and spices. Healthy mixes mean there are few carbs and lots of protein.
Crunchy chicken and ginger salad
If wilted lettuce salad isn’t your jam, try this instead. This healthy recipe features marinated and fried chicken strips, shredded cabbage, carrots and red bell peppers, and a topping of sliced almonds and fresh mint leaves. A dressing made with orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, olive oil, fresh mint and grated ginger ties it all together.
Tofu and Mushroom Carrot Wraps
One trick to keeping meals low carb is to replace the wheat wrap with fresh carrots. In this recipe, the lettuce is topped with some white rice, along with shredded tofu seasoned with shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, and sweet hoisin sauce.
Warm chicken shawarma salad
In this 30-minute salad, chicken is seasoned with shawarma-inspired seasoning made with coriander, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, turmeric, and allspice. The lean, flavorful meat is then paired with peppery arugula, an herb shower, creamy yogurt, and warm pita. Skip the pita if you want even fewer carbs, but even with that, this dish is still filling and healthy.
Steak Salad with Herby Dressing
This easy weeknight salad uses half of the chimichurri-inspired dressing to marinate the steak while the grill preheats. Meanwhile, the other half makes a salad of creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes, crunchy radishes and crunchy greens. With only 18 grams of carbs per serving, this meal deserves a place in your weekly meal lineup.
Salmorejo with prosciutto and hard-boiled egg
Like gazpacho, this cold no-cook soup is made with tomatoes and bread, but it still contains only 22 grams of carbs per serving. Pair it with prosciutto and a hard-boiled egg for a super-satiating protein.
Slow-Cooker Black Bean and Zucchini Chili
Since chili is basically ground meat, beans, and spices, it’s no surprise that it’s relatively low in carbs but high in protein. Feel free to add healthy, flavorful toppings like sliced avocado, hot sauce, and cilantro.
Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad
This sweet and savory salad is as fresh as it gets. Here, chunks of feta, chunks of sweet cantaloupe, crunchy mini seedless cucumbers and chopped creamy Castelvetrano olives are bathed in a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Enjoy this on its own for lunch or pair it with grilled meat or fish for dinner.
Green Salad with Cornichon Vinaigrette
Simple yet delicious, this salad gets an extra dimension thanks to the salty pickles. In addition to the chopped gherkins that mix with the greens, there’s also a bit of sour liquid that drips into the sorrel-laced sauce, giving it a rather aromatic kick. Throw some grilled chicken on top (or even leftover pulled chicken) to add more protein if desired.
This dish reinterprets melon and prosciutto, a classic Italian combination, as a salad. In addition to that sweet and savory duo, you’ll find crunchy Little Gem lettuce, buttery Castelvetrano olives, creamy burrata, and crunchy pistachios. Because this salad is so full of flavor, the only dressing needed is a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Coconut marinated shrimp with cucumber and jicama
The star of this dish is the poached shrimp marinated in a flavorful blend of coconut milk, Fresno chili, and lime. The delicious shrimp is then mixed with sliced crunchy cucumbers, fresh cilantro and jicama matcha beans for a light dish that only requires 20 minutes of hands-on work.
Parmesan grated egg
Poached eggs are usually enjoyed for breakfast, but if you have 15 minutes at lunch, continue to enjoy these Parmesan-filled eggs mid-day. Eggs are a great source of protein, while cheese adds a lot of flavor and keeps the carb count low.
Dill Dill Pickled Tomato Salad Vinaigrette
If you have summer tomatoes, go ahead and use them in this bright and salty salad. Here, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers are sliced and dressed with a homemade dill pickle vinaigrette. Add burrata, shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese to garnish this salad and enjoy!
Chicken Satay in Carrot Wrap
A stellar dinner option, this low-carb meal is packed with flavor and ready in just 25 minutes. Here, the delicious coconut and peanut sauce is the star that brings together the other ingredients, including chicken, rice vermicelli noodles, sliced cucumber and lettuce to wrap everything up.
Crumbled Cucumber Salad with Spicy Feta and Olives
If cucumber is one of your favorite salad ingredients, then this dish is for you. Here, moist and crunchy cookies are mixed with feta and olives for a delicious 25-minute meal. The key here is to smash, salt and squeeze the cucumbers, which makes them crispier and crispier for a more satisfying bite.
Japanese style shrimp salad
In just 15 minutes, this salad is ready to become a new lunch or dinner favorite. In this dish, crunchy romaine and cucumber, juicy shrimp and chunks of avocado are coated in an irresistible creamy soy mayonnaise that you’ll want to eat all over. To save time, store pre-cooked shrimp in the refrigerator.
Although gazpacho is often mixed with bread, this version is made almost entirely from fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and onions. Other ingredients like lime juice, sour cream, cilantro and pepitas add flavor and texture even more. keeping the amount of carbohydrates low.
Tuna salad is often loaded with mayonnaise, but not this version. This lighter version is vinegar-based and uses marinated chickpeas to add flavor and texture to oil-packed tuna. And this is not all. Radicchio, red onion, kalamata olives and capers bring the flavor. Serve over a bed of sweet lettuce for the perfect low-carb meal.
Summer Squash with Onion, Chili and Parsley
If you’ve never had a raw summer squash salad, you’re in for a treat. This one gives a double breath. delicious and no cooking required. Tossing the summer squash and zucchini with salt helps them soften and absorb every bit of flavor. Top with chopped almond dressing for a light and delicious finish to this healthy, low-carb dish.
Steak and beet salad with cheddar and pistachios
If you are a fan of the classic beet and goat cheese salad, we suggest you give this similar dish a try. In this protein-packed recipe, golden beets, crumbled aged white cheddar, and sliced steak combine to create a delightful dinner salad or filling lunch option.
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