Low-Carb Menu Ideas for Lunch

Grilled Chicken Salad
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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's 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. It's basically any protein atop any combination of salad greens and vegetables.

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) with this Greek salad dressing
  • Low-carb taco salad
  • Low-carb Asian chopped salad with garlic-ginger chicken
  • Chopped salad with chicken, apple, and bacon
  • Chicken (cooked without breading, of course) atop salad greens, chopped snow pea pods, chopped red pepper, and walnuts
  • Low-carb coleslaw with 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
  • Cobb salad

Roll-Ups and Wraps

There are three basic kinds of low-carb roll-ups:

  1. Lettuce: Use "mushy" foods, such as tuna, salmon, egg, or chicken salad as a filling for a lettuce roll-up. Large lettuce leaves work best. Include vegetables such as strips of pepper, or 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.)
  2. Meat: Roll cheese and veggies up in a slice of roast beef, ham, etc. For example, roll spinach dip in roast beef, or coleslaw in ham.
  3. Low-Carb Tortillas: Roll whatever you want up in a low-carb tortilla and make a "wrap."


Soups are very versatile and can provide a vehicle for leftover meats and vegetables. Most soup recipes can be low in carbs 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. For example, you can try a rainbow soup.


The easiest lunch of all? Just make extra at dinner and have it for lunch the next day! Give this low-carb creamy Southwest chicken a try, for example.

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