Ready-Made Low-Carb Foods at the Grocery Store

salad bar

It's been a long day, and you don't feel like cooking. You're wandering up and down the aisles of the supermarket waiting for something low in carbs to jump into your arms. Or it's lunchtime and you need a quick meal.

To put together a healthy, low-carb "grab and go" meal, look for three things: Try to get some protein, some vegetables, and some healthy fat into your basket, and you're good to go! Here's what to look for from each aisle.

Low-Carb Foods and Ready-Made Meals at the Grocery Store

Deli Foods

The deli counter can be a great place to find low-carb foods. Try tuna, chicken, or shrimp salad that you can either eat on its own or pre-wrapped (or wrap it yourself) in a low-carb tortilla or lettuce leaf. Vegetable salads can be good, although make sure the dressing doesn't have a lot of sugar. Guacamole can be purchased as a dip for cucumber rounds, celery sticks, or other low-carb vegetables. Many delis have roast chicken, which can be paired with a salad. Or make a wrap with lunch meat (check for sugars in ingredients) and a low-carb tortilla.

Salad Bars

Salad bars can be even better than deli counters in some stores because you can mix and match to your own tastes and dietary preferences. When in doubt about the dressings, blue cheese or plain oil and vinegar dressings are the least likely to have sugar added. Or you can buy your own bottle.



Some stores offer prepared vegetables in packages, and some vegetables don't need a lot of preparation. Celery, mushrooms, green beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli require little preparation to be eaten raw and can be eaten with a deli tuna or chicken salad or low-carb dip.

Pre-Made Salads

I'm seeing more and more creativity in pre-made salads these days, way beyond the strips of ham and an anemic tomato slice thrown on top of some iceberg lettuce. I've even seen some that have separate compartments for the various toppings, so everything remains fresher. Look for salads with mixed greens instead of iceberg lettuce, which is lower in nutrients. Also, look for a real serving of protein, not just a token amount for flavoring.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs can be found in several stores in our area, often near the cheese case or a special shelf for store-made items.

Individual Cheeses

Individually-wrapped small portion cheeses, usually either wax-wrapped or foil-wrapped, are fairly easy to find and a convenient and portable protein source. Examples are Mini-Gouda and Mini-Bel.

Sugar-Free Yogurt

Finding yogurt that is sugar-free and contains live yogurt cultures and doesn't have objectionable additives and tastes good often requires hunting, but it can be done. Of course, there is always plain yogurt, which you can flavor with berries or other low-sugar fruit, sugar substitute, sugar-free jam, or any other flavoring that sounds good.

Low-Sugar Fruit

Low-carb fruits are good choices if they fit into your diet plan.

Check out this list of fruit, with links to carb counts.

Sugar-Free Gelatin Snacks

For a quick bite of something sweet, packs of individual sugar-free gelatin cups (such as Jello brand) can do the trick.

Low-Carb Meal Replacement Bars

It's hard to find meal replacement bars that are sugar-free and don't have objectionable sugar alcohols such as maltitol. Atkins Advantage Bars are one brand that works for some, although some of the Atkins products contain maltitol, so (as always) read labels carefully.