Whether you want to fit into a slinky LBD or you need to take control of your health, one of the keys to success is to choose the right kind of carbohydrates in your diet. It can be challenging to come up with ideas for low-carb lunches, especially when you’re rushing around, knocking items off of your to-do list. That’s why we’re sharing these 10 clean and lean low-carb lunches.
Unhealthy carbohydrates are those that have been processed, stripping the food of nutrients and fiber. Bad carbs generally include refined sugars and refined white grains. These foods quickly flood the body with glucose, creating an unhealthy spike in blood sugar. People who eat diets high in these unhealthy carbs are at risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. What’s more, eating a diet rich in these foods may increase the risk for mild cognitive impairment later in life .
What do good carbs, like those in our low-carb lunch recipes, do? This kind of carbohydrate is full of fiber, so the body absorbs it much more slowly, helping to prevent blood sugar spikes. Examples of good carbs include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Learn more in Fiber and Weight Loss: Reasons You Need More Fiber in Your Diet. Low-fat dairy, like cheese and plain Greek yogurt, are also considered good carbohydrates. They don’t offer much fiber, but they do contain natural—not refined—sugars.
1. Paleo-Friendly Meaty Veggie Roll-Ups
This easy-fixin’ recipe is a great option when you want ideas for low-carb lunches. It’s a meal that is not only simple to make, it’s also low-mess, which means it’s perfect for days when you’re stuck eating lunch at your desk. It offers 1.2 carbs per each 4- to 6-roll serving.
2. Garden Salad with Lemon & Oil Dressing
With fewer than 17 grams of carbs per serving, this is a healthy way to fuel up for the second half of the day. Ingredients like avocado and spinach deliver good, plant-based carbs full of fiber.
3. Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Feta and Dill
We created this recipe based on the traditional Greek dish spanakopita. This variation boots the heavy dairy, phyllo dough, and fat for a light, refreshing, and gluten-free meal. It contains just 15 grams of carbohydrates in each serving, making it one of our favorite low-carb lunch recipes. Prepare quinoa the day before to speed prep time.
4. Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups
From Jaden at Steamy Kitchen, these lettuce cups are a smart way to go low carb—the recipe offers 4.1 grams per serving. The contrast between spicy warm meat and crisp lettuce is a nice change from many lunch recipes.
5. Grilled Chicken and Blueberry Salad
When you want ideas for low-carb lunches, include this in your menu planning. The recipe has about 18 grams per serving and includes good carbs like mixed greens, blueberries, and almonds. It’s also a good way to use leftover chicken breast.
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6. Clean Eating Cobb Salad
Whole, clean eating ingredients make this a great choice when you’re choosing low carb. With only 8 grams in each serving, this lunch recipe is a tasty and healthy alternative to the traditional Cobb salad.
7. Luscious Grilled Shrimp Salad in an Avocado Shell with Spiced Yogurt
This is a decadent spa-like lunch that happens to offer fewer than 13 grams of carbs per serving. It takes a bit of prep, so it’s an ideal recipe for the weekend or when you have a day off.
8. Slow Cooker Texas Chili
This is a meal that doubles as an easy entrée and one of the low-carb lunch recipes you’ll enjoy. Make it for dinner, and then eat the leftovers for lunch. It’s loaded with protein, so you’ll feel full throughout the afternoon, and it has about 8 grams of carbs per serving.
9. Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken
Another double-duty superstar, this popular recipe has only 5 grams of carbs in each serving. Enjoy it for dinner, and then use leftovers to top a green salad for lunch the next day.
10. Turkey Lettuce Wrap
Roll lean turkey, diced tomato, and salsa into a lettuce wrap for one of the easiest low-carb lunch recipes. Keep it clean (clean eating, that is) by choosing no-sugar-added salsa.
So which low-carb lunches will you try this week?
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