Reviewed by Susan Weiner, RD, MS, CDE, CDN. Updated 8/1/19.
Soups, sandwiches, and salads are the standard American lunch fare. But when you’re counting carbs and watching your weight too, choices can feel limited. The following week’s worth of d-Friendly lunch ideas should help.
Monday: Leftover Logic
Mondays are a perfect day to use up what’s left in the fridge. Get creative and make a salad or quesadilla filled with whatever you’ve got. Chop up leftover chicken, steak, pork, or beans and throw it on top of a salad.
Or, put on a low carb tortilla with shredded cheese and a little chili powder. Heat it up until the cheese melts and add some veggies: lettuce and tomato, avocado, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, peppers, onions, there are no rules!
Note: One-half of a ten-inch low carb tortilla (Mission) has 15 grams of carbs and 10 grams of fiber. Plus, it gives you 4 grams of protein.
Tuesday: Homemade Lunchables
Those plastic trays with the little compartments may be filled with some of the worst kid food imaginable. But yours can be quite the opposite. Fill a plate or divided container with a variety of healthy, low carb snack foods you like.
Just make sure to include protein and healthy fats. Some ideas: String cheese or fresh mozzarella balls, olives, hard-boiled egg (plain or deviled), edamame (green soybeans in the pod), nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, berries, apple slices, sliced beef, pork or chicken, raw veggies & hummus. Add in a little whole grain flatbread, which can accompany peanut, almond, or macadamia nut butter.
Wednesday: Avoid the Salad Rut
Don’t get stuck in a salad rut. There are so many great protein foods you can make into salads for an open-faced sandwich or a bed of greens.
Turn hard-boiled eggs into egg salad or add them diced to tuna or chicken. You can buy tuna, salmon, crabmeat and other types of fish in cans and get a quick dose of omega-3 fats.
Just watch the sodium content of any canned foods. Next, add mayo, sour cream, or plain yogurt. Then jazz up the flavor. Use: mustard, minced garlic, pesto sauce, cumin, curry, red pepper flakes, finely chopped pickles, paprika, and diced onion.
Spread your salad on a piece of low-carb or protein bread, add sliced tomato, and melt a little cheese on top. Voila.
Or, try one of these dLife recipes:
Coconut And Crabmeat Soufflé Recipe
Chicken Ranch Salad
Miso Soup With Spring Greens
Thursday: Super Caesar Salad
You can top a Caesar salad with almost anything and have a great meal: shrimp, fish, chicken, steak, or even grilled vegetables. Start with romaine lettuce. Next, use a high-quality bottled Caesar dressing. Check the label: unless they’ve added sugar, there should be almost no carbs.
Croutons are important but up the carb count. So make your own from low carb bread or protein bread. You can make a big batch and freeze. Cut stale bread into small cubes, spray or toss with olive oil, season to taste, and toast in a 375-degree oven for 10 minutes.
Last, top your salad with shaved Parmesan and fresh ground pepper.
Here is a delicious dLife Caesar recipes: Caesar-Style Salad.
Friday: Bunless Burgers
If you have the time to grill up a burger at lunch, great. If not, a burger or sliders can be delicious reheated with cheese and topped with sautéed veggies, a Portobello mushroom, or a bed of baby spinach and salad vegetables.
Try one of these unique recipes from the dLife Recipe Finder that could easily sub-in as a low-carb pattie for your Friday night supper.
Corn And Crab Cakes
Indian Turkey Cutlets
Saturday: It’s a Wrap
Wraps aren’t exactly low carb — a burrito-size flour tortilla contains a whopping 37g of carbs. So pull out one of those low carb, whole grain tortillas you bought for Monday’s quesadilla and fill it up with whatever protein and veggies are left from your week of healthy lunches.
Start with tuna or egg salad, grilled fish, chicken or steak. Add avocado, baby spinach, peppers, olives, tomato, and cucumber.
Before rolling it up, drizzle your creation with Caesar dressing, a flavored vinegar mixed with extra virgin olive oil or walnut, almond, or avocado oil.
Sunday: You Say Potato, We Say Frittata
On Sunday, lunch really ought to be brunch. And brunch ought to involve eggs, the diabetes superfood. Omelets and frittatas, which are omelets that you don’t flip but instead finish under your broiler, are like blank slates.
Here are some great ingredient combos: Smoked salmon and dill, topped with plain yogurt. Spiced-up ground turkey, shredded Monterey jack, topped with salsa and a dollop of sour cream. Asparagus, sauteed onion, and Swiss. Tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella.
And here are some great dLife egg recipes:
Cajun Deviled Eggs
Smoked Salmon Spinach Frittata
Baked Apple Frittata