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Are you tired of eating the same things over and over again because you lack inspiration? Let me fix that real quick. I made a list of some of the best low carb lunch ideas that you could think of.
I have divided the list into four categories: Keto picnic food, Keto seafood recipes, low carb chicken recipes, and 8 recipes for yummy keto friendly soups that you could make in your crock pot. One recipe was even featured on national TV, so I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
Frequently Asked Questions about Low Carb Meals
Let’s start with a short FAQ section before I list the 32 healthy low carb lunch ideas below.
What is considered a low carb meal?
A low carb meal is a meal that has a carb content of 20 – 25 grams or less. While there is no strict definition of a low carb meal, you’ll want to eat at least 60-70 grams of carbs a day while on a low carb diet. Divide that by the number of meals (usually three) you’ll eat in a day, and you get the aforementioned number.
I’d also consider naming a diet low carb if all you do is ditch processed and refined carbs. There is nothing wrong with eating them if they come from a source of whole wheat, veggies, or other naturally occurring sources.
What are the worst types of carbohydrates?
There are three types of carbohydrates: Sugars, starches, and fibers. A properly functioning human body will break down starches into glucose (a form of sugar) and turn it into energy. Fibers are used by some gut bacteria, but are generally not digested.
Studies have shown that refined carbohydrate consumption is directly linked to obesity and type-2 diabetes. Refined carbs are those types of carbohydrates where the naturally occuring fibers have been artificially removed or changed.
To sum it up: The worst type of carbohydrates are processed carbs found in foods like sweetened drinks, white bread, pastries and such.
What foods contain good carbohydrates?
“Good carbs” or whole / complex carbs can be found in most naturally occuring foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole wheat, potatoes, legumes, carrots, nuts, seeds. You name it. Chances are that if you can harvest it and eat it in an unprocessed form (apart from cooking) then it most likely contains good carbs.
What’s the difference between a low carb diet and keto diet?
Keto is a much more restrictive diet. If you are on keto, then you’ll want to limit your daily carb intake to 50 grams or less (depending on the individual). This will allow your body to go into a state known as “ketosis”, where it starts to reach into your fat reserves for fuel.
Low carb, on the other hand, can mean many things. The dietary guidelines state that at least 45% of the daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates, so anything below that should be considered low carb.
You can eat most foods on a low carb diet, especially if you count your calories and it fits your macros. If you eat a high carb food on a keto diet then it will throw off your body and you might have to start the week(s) long process of getting into ketosis from scratch.
32 Healthy Low Carb Lunch Ideas
Tired of eating the same three things on your keto or low carb diet? Are you spending a fortune on takeout?
Then your struggle is finally over. These 32 healthy low carb lunch ideas will keep your belly, and pocket full.
8 Amazing Low Carb Keto Picnic Food Ideas
Spring is upon us, and it’s time to break out your picnic blanket. Check out these recipes for some inspiration.
Unlike other foods, no one bats an eye if you eat eggs all day every day. Matter of fact, during cutting season when I am trying to lose body fat I eat more eggs then I would care to admit. If you are bored of plain boiled eggs then give this keto omelette a shot. Perfect for a picnic, because it is easy to in advance if you have the proper meal prep containers.
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I would consider this a lazy keto recipe, because prepping and cooking it takes only 10 minutes at most. Even though I was looking for low carb lunches this one is a nice idea if you need some inspiration for keto picnic food. Prepare one boat for each picnicker and you are good to go!
This recipe is great because you can adapt it to whatever you have on hand. The small muffin shapes are perfect for snacking, great idea for a keto breakfast, or in this case, for a picnic. A serving equals 2 egg bites, and it takes around 45 minutes to cook them from start to finish.
Keto or not, this salad is incredible. You can eat it on its own, but believe me, it is best served as a side dish to any heavy meal with meat. You’ll need a mandoline slicer as you really want those slices to be thin, and make sure to press with a fork to remove as much water as you can. If you skip this step your salad will remain bland, and watery.
Don’t worry, these bagel dogs are keto friendly! The buns are made with gluten free almond, and coconut flour among other things. If you miss the crunchy texture of a bagel-bun, then this alternative recipe will make you very happy. Total cooking time is around 40 minutes, and one keto bagel dog contains 377 calories.
These scotch eggs are a whole meal if served with a salad and some home made, or keto friendly mayonnaise. But the small, cute, round little egg balls are also perfect for a picnic, because it is so easy to package and transport them! Put the eggs into an airtight container, bring a mixed, prepackaged salad and some mayo. Boom, perfect easy low carb lunches with minimal work!
When prepping for a picnic, you generally want to bring foods that are easy to package and not prone to spilling, like a soup. After all, who wants to sit on a picnic blanket on the ground and eat from a bowl with a spoon? This recipe is a savoury pie, cut up into square shapes that are easy to transport and eat.
You’ll probably want to eat a dessert, or at least something that is sweet when going for a picnic. That’s why I have included this quick and easy low carb cinnamon roll recipe. And here is a simple trick: Damp your hands when handling the sticky dough so it won’t stick!
8 Easy Low Carb Keto Seafood Recipes
Next up on the list are foods with fish or other sea dwelling creatures.
Clams are probably the easiest things to cook at home, and they are perfect for keto. Make sure to ditch any and all clams that have not opened during cooking, as that means that they are not fresh anymore. Did you know that you can also cook clams on a grill? Just wait until they pop open, done. Keep in mind that this dish is relatively low in fat compared to some other keto meals, so you might want to check out these tasty keto fat bombs as well.
You don’t have to pay restaurant prices or exorbitant delivery fees if you have a good recipe on hand. This is a very easy keto lunch meal prep idea because crab legs can be done in an oven, and the cooking time (depending on thickness) takes 5-6 minutes at most.
The author of this recipe placed 3rd on a Food Network show with his crab cakes dish. Even though this is not a perfect copy of that recipe, he modified it a little so it is not only keto, but also Whole30 compliant! Simple to make, but very impressive for special occasions. Crab cakes are also one of the best things for meal prepping, as you can store them individually
Do you like chicken stuffed with “whatever” type of recipes? If yes, then you should try this recipe as well! Ditch the breadcrumbs in the crab filling, and replace with light cream cheese and more importantly lots of caramelized onions. The results are so good you’ll want to eat the filling by the spoonful!
Salmon is likely the go-to fish if you are eating keto. High in protein, low carbs, and an abundance of healthy omega-3 fatty acids to keep your heart healthy. The creamy dill sauce in this recipe is the “cherry on top”, which will turn your boring, bland fish into a culinary experience. It is also perfect for trout!
Speaking of salmon, here is another recipe that is worth your time. Bacon and vodka cream sauce with just a hint of sweetness from tomatoes. If you are looking for low carb lunch ideas for weight loss then bacon is probably not the first thing that you’ll think of, but trust the science and keep counting your calories. It will all work out in the end!
You should know that you are not limited to crabs only when it comes to cakes. You can replace them with most minceable seafood. While I wouldn’t try to make a clam-cake, you can definitely make a tuna cake or a salmon cake. The process is very similar but the taste will be different.
This recipe is highly rated among the commenters on the blog, and for a good reason. Prep and cooking time is only 30 minutes, and the crunchy texture of parmesan complements the light fish taste of the cod. You should definitely give this a shot if you are looking for keto lunch ideas but don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.
8 Cheap Low Carb Keto Chicken Ideas
Chicken is the most accessible meat of all, so I have decided to make a separate category for these Low carb lunch ideas featuring chicken.
Are you running out of low carb lunch ideas? Worry not! These chicken breasts make the perfect quick and easy lunches. You can cook a big batch and portion them out according to your needs. Serve with fresh salad and you are good to go for a couple of days. The cheesy bacon ranch on top ensures that the meat won’t dry out for a couple of days.
Casserole type dishes are generally very good if you want to mealprepify your life. Divide the final result into equal portions, and you have yourself a dish ready to eat anytime you need it. It is also perfect for freezing as you can defrost and reheat at the same time in a microwave.
Another great example why I love casserole type dishes, even though I am not on a keto diet at the moment. So easy and quick to prepare, yet full of protein and a great alternative to bland, dry chicken breasts. This dish is exceptionally creamy, and I promise you that everyone in your family will love it!
This is one of my go-to meals that I eat regularly. The author must be pretty annoyed by the fact that chicken breasts seem to be packaged in threes, yet all easy low carb lunches featuring chicken tend to need 4. So here is a recipe for you if you have three large chicken breasts, and want to get rid of your excess spinach as well.
A parmesan crust is crunchy. You know what’s even more crunchier? Bacon bits on top. If you are on a strict keto diet you probably know your daily caloric needs, but I’d still recommend to eat something like this on workout days only. You can serve it with cauliflower rice if you want to, or eat with a salad as a side.
No collection of low carb lunch ideas for weight loss can ever be complete without featuring a chicken crust pizza recipe. You’ll only need 4 ingredients to make this dish, and if you cook 2 at a time then you’ll have ready to eat lunches in your fridge for the next couple days. One slice contains 220 calories and nearly 20 grams of protein!
I like the idea behind this blog, as they tend to feature and create recipes that can be cooked in a single cast iron pan. This means less prep time and more importantly less time cleaning up the mess in the kitchen after cooking. You’ll need ghee for this recipe, which is similar to concentrated butter with a more nutty flavor.
Unbelievably creamy if you follow the instructions closely. Similar to the few “casserole” type recipes I have included in this category, the author promises quick prep times and easy to follow instructions. Try it out if you are looking for Easy keto lunches for work!
8 Low Carb Keto Soup Ideas for Lunch
Finally, something for you soup lovers out there. I have included 8 recipes, but if you need more inspiration then here is an article with even more low carb keto crock pot recipes!
Most soups without noodles are keto friendly by default. But this recipe takes it to the next level. Very easy to make, since you’ll have to buy a whole rotisserie chicken as a protein source, which will give you all the flavor you’ll need.
Only 260 calories per serving, this recipe is perfect if you are looking for an eay, yet filling keto soup that is perfect for weight loss. The best part? Similar to most other keto recipes it has a very high protein content!
Get all the flavors of the famous stuffed pepper food with only 4 grams of net carbs and half the time! If you need extra fat then drop in a spoonful of sour cream. Preptime is only 5 minutes and you’ll need around half an hour for cooking.
I love broccoli cream soup, especially if it has cheese in it. You can cook this in under 30 minutes, which makes it perfect for a busy weeknight. I usually cook broccoli cheese soup during the fall or winter, but there is no law against eating it in the summer months. Just make sure to store it in the fridge otherwise it will go bad really quickly!
I have to admit that I prefer cream soups to normal soups, and the french onion soup is the one that gets me sometimes. Why can’t I remember that this is not the soup I am looking for? Nonetheless, this recipe is great and the end result tastes wonderful, especially with melted cheese.
A soup that will warm your soul from the inside out. More suitable for the cold months this hearty soup is all you need if you are looking for easy keto lunch ideas. Total cooking time is 6 hours, but you don’t need to stand in the kitchen watching it. Just set up your crockpot and you are good to go.
Do you miss eating mexican food on your keto diet? I don’t blame you. Fortunately for you, the people at keto summit came up with a soup that hits all the right spots. Ditch the tortillas and nachos and grab a spoon instead. It is time to dig in, muchacho!
Ramen soup is not keto friendly at all. The big batch of noodles will throw off your macros in no time, but there is a solution: Zucchini! You can use your mandoline slicer to cut uniform strips of zucchini, which will cook in no time, similar to ramen.
Jack Slobodian is the Content Director at Mealprepify. He’s a Blogger and Professional Chef who has worked in many prestigious restaurants including luxurious 5-star hotels and James Beard award-winning restaurants. When he’s not cooking or writing you can find him travelling, exercising or spending time with family and friends.