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Low Carb Lunches

What are your favorite low carb lunches and snacks to take to work? I'm trying to give up bread and crackers.

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  1. Soups are easy because they're usually made in large batches, so one night of cooking will feed you for a week of lunch. You can also freeze them for later (so you don't get sick of having soup every day).

    Someone else posted about making meat rollups with cream cheese and something else. That would be good.

    I like salads with either chopped egg or sliced chicken and tomatoes. If I have them around, chopped cucumbers go in for crunch. I used to hate salads until I found good salad dressings.

    Hard boiled eggs make good snacks. Is fruit considered low-carb? I'm also a fan of the Babybel Light cheese. Every now and then I like hummus with either cucumbers or carrots, but ww baked pita crisps are my favorite (I know, pita has carbs, but these are ww and they're just really good).

    1. If you're like me, you don't want to spend eons each morning making a salad, but lettuce salads don't keep well for days. So, at the beginning of the week, I make a big helping of a salad that will keep. One good one is corn, black beans, diced peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, chili powder and a squirt of lime. Another is an Asian cabbage slaw, with carrots, peanuts, pickled ginger, scallions, and a homemade peanut butter/vinegar/soy/sesame dressing. Or a waldorf salad can keep for a few days (though the apples lose some of their crunch if it keeps too long.

      1. Snax: Celery ribs with schmears of Boursin cheese; slices of pepper jack cheese and sliced kosher salami; 1/2 an avocado with bottled Italian dressing (surprisingly yummy).

        Lunch: Rotisserie chicken; bagged salad mix with creamy caesar dressing or bleu cheese; leftover whatever I had for dinner.

        If you must have crunch of a crackery variety, sample pork cracklins with slices of cheese.

        1. I have been doing the South Beach thing since Jan 1 and also trying to bring lunch to work, to save on $$. Here are some things I have done recently: with leftovers from a large roasted chicken, I made homemade chicken salad using toasted pecans, crunchy celery, hard boiled eggs, mayo and curry powder to spice things up. We have a microwave at work, so there is the option to heat up foods as well. I made a big pot of ratatouille using onions, several kinds of peppers, zuchinni, eggplant & chopped tomatoes. Took this to work one day and put some refrigerated raw shrimp on top and nuked it till done. Turned out very well. Had some leftover rare tuna and made homemade tuna salad with lots of crunchy veggies, mayo and basil. We have a salad bar in our cafeteria and took some leftover roasted salmon and added that to purchased green salad. Also, made big vat of egg salad using onions, mustard, mayo & celery that kept for a few days.

          As for snacks, went to Sam's Club and bought huge bags of almonds and pecans, repackaged them in small containers. Also bought Laughing Cow light cheese triangles. Have been making big vats of homemade hummus and keeping plastic containers of ready to eat cut-up veggies (celery, peppers, grape tomatoes, scallion brushes, etc) and taking some of that to work. Have big jar of peanut butter in my desk. One tablespoon is a good snack and seems to be working. Also keep light string cheese (mozzarella) in fridge and take for snacks.

          Have become addicted to peach diet iced tea - either Arizona or Lipton. Have been buying 12 pack cases of that and taking to work.

          1. For snacks:
            Nuts. Spiced nuts, slightly sweetened nuts. Various types of jerky, salami, pepperoni and cheese, cottage cheese, just cheese slices... chicharonnes (sp? pork rinds), these come in spicy flavors in most supermarkets I've seen.

            For lunches:
            I often wrap up cheese slices in deli sliced meats. Or spread soften cream cheese on top of sliced roast beef, sprinkle with green onions, then roll it up around matchsticks of cucumbers or other veggies. :)

            Eggs are also a good thing for low carbing it. Egg salad eaten in a low carb wrap, or, this is how I usually do it, just wrapped up in some sliced cheese or a leaf of lettuce.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Morganna

              Was it you who recently suggested this roll up thing? I tried it with thin ham. A minute on microwave with cream cheese was too much -- it protested at half that so I'll do less time next time. I think my ham was sliced too thin because it was a bit leaky. I stuffed in chopped green onions, slivers of japanese cukes, slivers of carrot and rolled up in plastic wrap and chilled in fridge. This was so delicious. Maybe I could do with laughing cow cheese instead of cream cheese -- the low fat variety tastes just as good to me. Low carb is the only way my body will lose weight.
              Any more ideas?

              1. re: walker

                Heh, it was likely me, It's my new favourite lunch and I'm telling everyone about it and have mentioned it in a couple threads here. I did a minute and a half in my microwave with it set on power level TWO, not full power. :)

                And I got my roast beef sliced on a 2 at the Shaw's deli, so it was thicker than the typical deli slice. :)

            2. I sometimes put roasted vegetables over spaghetti squash. I use carrots, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, red onion but you can use anything.

              I used to put a heap of parmesan cheese on it, but to save on calories I now put some ponzu on it.

              1. Salads are hard for me when it is cold out.

                My current lunch fave has been to microwave a bag of frozen veggies--I like the Bird's Eye Steam in the Bag Asian Medley--and mix in a precooked chicken breast. (If you live in Texas, I use HEB's Sweet Chili marinated chicken.) We have a microwave at work so I nuke the veggies and heat the chicken while the veggies cool. Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces, mix with veggies and drizzle with a touch of Newman's Own Lite Sesame Ginger Salad dressing.

                For snack, I am big on apples, nuts, and string cheese.

                1. It can be hard to low carb without going into protein overload or for that matter veggie overload (sometimes bellies can have TOO much of a good thing)...I have also been low(er) carbing it since New Years...to boot, i don't eat meat.

                  I opt for soups alot this time of year.....loads of great recipes out there. I cook larger batches and freeze. Some of my favorites are a curry flavored carrot cashew soup, a vegetable soup that has spinach and chick peas and moroccan type spices, and also a roasted red pepper soup. I also like lentil soup, but it depends on how extreme you are low carbing. I find soups very filling, particularly if they have beans or what not.

                  I also like eggs for lunch. I sometimes whip up a couple of eggs in a micro container, throw in some salsa, or sometimes some partially cooked onions and mushrooms, olives or pesto etc.....and cook in the micro, maybe top with some cheese. A more formal version might be a crustless quiche.

                  Suppers for me have been veggie hamburg type fry ups, stir fry's and curries....with no rice or noodles. leftovers go up in the freezer, so that i dont' have to have the exact same meal the next day.

                  I snack on nuts, yogurt, fruit....

                  1. Lunches - usually I make enough dinner to bring for lunch the next day - this week I had eggplant meatballs w/ spaghetti squash and marinara, shrimp scampi with cauliflower "rice" and leftover porkchops with creamy cabbage (from "All About Braising"). Those days I don't have leftovers I usually do ham/swiss rollups or roast beef/havarti from the deli, and veggie sides like snap peas or red pepper strips are nice and crunchy. Egg salad or tuna salad with Belgian endive scoopers makes a great lunch too. I drink either water or one of those low-carb FUZE slender drinks (they really curb my appetite).

                    Snacks include premade sugar free jello cups, almonds or string cheese. I find I'm not really hungry for snacks on the low-carb plan. Just make sure you're getting enough protein and remember that this is not a low-fat diet so don't be afraid to use butter, mayo, etc., to your heart's (or tummy's) content.

                    That being said, I have a can of fish-oil packed sardines in my desk drawer for emergencies. Hopefully for my co-worker's sake I won't have any emergencies!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mimilulu

                      What great ideas. Question: what is 'ponzu'?

                      1. re: dolores

                        It's an asian sauce made from soy and citrus. Not sure of the carb count, though ;-)

                        1. re: dolores

                          I like it in place of soy sauce for a lot of things. It's a little less "harsh" than soy sauce, if that makes sense, and a bit more flavorful. I also use it when I eat sushi all the time.

                          http://www.kikkomanusa.com/_pages/con...

                      2. I've been buying romaine (I can get "just the leaves" in a bag) and I use the nice big leaves to make sandwiches. Egg salad, ham and cheese, even burgers.

                        You can also make Suzanne Sommer's "bread" by taking frozen spinach, squeeze it dry, add enough beaten egg to make a "slurry", pour into a jelly roll pan and bake until set. Slice into bread size slices to make sandwiches. Different, but I like it a lot. I add garlic and S & P.

                        I also take egg plant, slice thick, dip in beaten egg, roll in parm. and cook in wafflebaker. Crispy outside, tender inside. On low carb, I often miss "crunch". These are really good. Zuchinni works too.

                        I also always keep hard boiled eggs handy. Deviled eggs are always fun too.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: scuzzo

                          Is a wafflebaker a George Foreman grill?

                          1. re: DaisyM

                            No, but I would try a George Foreman grill. Maybe slice thicker.

                          2. re: scuzzo

                            Could you possibly paraphrase the "bread" recipe? Thanks.

                            1. re: walker

                              What I put in the above post was my best guess at the recipe. I only use frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry. Add enough beaten egg so it's a thick but pourable mixture. Salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Pour into a greased jelly roll pan. You want it to be about a half inch deep, maybe a bit less. Bake until it's set. You could add parm too, I'm sure. No flour, so it's not really like bread at all, but it does make a practically carb free slab of something that tastes good and can be used to make a sandwich. How that's clear.

                              Suzanne Sommers also had a low carb pancake recipe.

                              How I make it is.... Separate four eggs. Mix 4 oz. softened cream cheese with the yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the two together and cook like making pancakes. These taste really great, and they look exactly like pancakes to me. Oh, probably add some salt to the batter. They are a bit fragile, so use a bit of care when flipping. Use a good non stick pan.

                          3. I have been on South Beach for about 2 months and lost 17 lbs. This "cake" is all the rage among South Beachears and Low Carbers alike. You may laugh, but I assure you, it's a perfect snack or breakfast:

                            Bean Cake
                            1 can cannelloni (white) beans (15 oz)
                            4 eggs
                            1 cup Splenda
                            1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (Hershey or Droste)
                            1/2 tsp. baking soda
                            1 tsp baking powder
                            1 Tablespoon vanilla

                            Preheat oven 350
                            Rinse and drain those beans really well!
                            Dump all in food processor. Pulse til creamy smooth (takes 2 min. MAX). Pour in greased loaf pan (or make cupcakes, if you like).
                            Bake at 350 for 35 minutes (loaf) or 15-20 minutes (cupcake).
                            Let cool and enjoy. It is a spongy, chocolate cake. you cannot taste the beans. The main complaint is the Splenda taste, but you can cut back on the Splenda and add an extract flavor (Sugar Free of course).

                            There are many variations on this - not using chocolate and adding pumpkin, for example. But, the chocolate one is the best. Some folks use black or pinto beans in place of the white beans. I have not done that.

                            I was skeptical - but it is good. And kind of fun to trick your friends.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: stellamystar

                              Do you know the carb count per serving? Canned beans have about 50 g of carbs per cup (less fiber). Seems it would be too high for Atkins or Protein Power folks.

                              1. re: mimilulu

                                No doubt it's higher in carbs then some other recipes. But, it is sugar free/high protein. And, it makes about 10 thinish slices - so, 5-8 per serving. Not too bad. Better than white bleached flour.
                                For South Beachers, we can have 1/2 cup of beans per day. So, it works for that.
                                My 15 oz can here says 56 carbs, 17.5 fiber grams, 27 grams protein.
                                Give it a whirl!

                              2. re: stellamystar

                                Cool recipe! I'll try it. I'll bet one could sub Stevia for the Splenda even. I think I'll try a mini muffin pan.

                                1. re: scuzzo

                                  Scuzzo:

                                  I just want to tell you that I tried your eggplant and it was delicious! I used a George Foreman grill and it came out crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. I'm going to be making this a lot. Thank you and please keep giving out your other great recipes!

                                  1. re: DaisyM

                                    Thanks! I was bored one night and was trying to think of something interesting to do with my waffle baker, and it struck me. I tell people about it whenever I can, but I think many discard the idea as too different. But I think they taste GREAT, are low carb, and they look super interesting.

                                    I also played around with making a more typical waffle using soy flour. They turned out great too.

                                  2. re: scuzzo

                                    Yes - Stevia would work (Have not tried it). I am thinking of switching myself to Stevia.

                                2. A crustless quiche made over the weekend can give you a few lunches. Any quiche recipe will do, just leave out the crust and cook it in a pie pan or square baking dish. Obviously a vegetable quiche will round out the meal a bit more. Also deviled eggs (there are tons of different variations). And a turkey burger reheated at work in the nuker can be ok.

                                  1. This might not be appropriate for the office, but it's a great snack or breakfast: here's a recipe for "one minute muffins" that I got from a low-carb message board. This recipe is very popular and there are tons of variations/possibilities. Basically you take the ingredients below and mix up in a coffee mug... nuke for about a minute in the mug (I usually go 1 min 9 seconds) and it pops out. They remind me of bran muffins... I've been enjoying these at night with my sugar-free chai.

                                    1/4 c ground flax seed or almond meal (I use 2 T of each)
                                    1/2 tsp baking powder
                                    1 tsp cinnamon
                                    1 egg
                                    1-2 tsp butter or coconut oil (melted)
                                    1 packet splenda (or 2 tsp sugar equivalent of your choice)
                                    I also add a tiny shot of vanilla extract

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mimilulu

                                      Great ideas! I lost 6 whole lbs in the last couple weeks. Its hard losing AND being a Chowhound. Cant wait to try the eggplant in my Foreman. It wasnt brown bag but today I had pho soup-hold the noodles-it was fantastic!

                                    2. Thanks for the great ideas everyone. I'm also low carbing and I got so tired of salads. I just wanted to mention Carbquik if you haven't seen it. It's a low carb baking mix. I've made muffins with it so far and they are good. I'm going to try plain biscuits this weekend. http://www.tovaindustries.com/carbalo...

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: GenieinTX

                                        I used carbquik (mixed with other frankenfood ingredients) in a baking mix this past Xmas to make some of my favorite Xmas cookies. I found it not quite the same texture-wise but quite acceptable - but only for special treats. Mostly because the sweetener I used for baking (Diabetisweet) had adverse effects on my digestive system. I'll say no more...

                                        1. re: GenieinTX

                                          I use the Carbquick to make Pecan Crusted Oven Baked "Fried" Chicken.
                                          Here's the recipe: http://www.chow.com/recipes/11259

                                        2. i just had a egg white egg foo yung. garlic, bean sprouts, green peppers scallions. It was super yummy! I didn't have any shrimp or I would of tossed that in too..

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            Minimal carbs in egg yolks... unless you're on restricted fats you can have the yolks :-)

                                          2. stuffed tofu:

                                            mix about 1/2 lb of ground beef with minced onions, green onions, finely chopped jalapeno pepper, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper. set aside.

                                            cut tofu into 1/2 inch slices and make a small well in each piece. pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. spread about 1/2 tablespoon of the ground beef mixture onto a slice of tofu and place another on top to form a sandwich. dip in beaten egg and pan fry on medium - medium high heat for about 5 minutes with the lid on. flip over and continue frying for another 2 minutes uncovered.

                                            low carb chicken nuggets:

                                            cut chicken into nugget-sized pieces and season w/ garlic salt and lemon pepper. dip into beaten egg and coat in fiber one cereal that has been ground into crumbs. spray baking sheet w/ oil, place nuggets on sheet and spray nuggets w/ a little more oil/cooking spray. bake at 375 for 10 minutes and flip over and bake for another 10 minutes.

                                            if you don't want to use fiber one cereal, i've heard that you can crush up pork rinds for the same effect.

                                            1. I made a great low carb dish last night I have to share. I browned some hamburger meet with garlic and spices. I poured some cream over the meat and let it reduce a little, then I added some grated cheese. It comes out like a creamy casserole. I had it with a side of green beans, but it's really good of macaroni when you are being bad.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: GenieinTX

                                                I did something similar last week, but with boneless skinless chicken breasts. Added some diced green chiles, cream, a little chicken broth, reduced then topped with grated colby jack. It was awesome!

                                                1. re: mimilulu

                                                  That sounds awesome. I'll be trying that very soon.

                                                  1. re: GenieinTX

                                                    Forgot - add a little bit of dijon mustard with the liquids (just a teaspoon or 2)

                                              2. When going low carb, one of my favorite lunches was tuna salad stuffed into a red bell pepper or in a tomato.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                  That's exactly what I'm having for lunch today! Well except it's not stuffed into the red bell pepper, I cut that into strips to munch along w/ the tuna.

                                                2. Today I am having "Tuna in green curry sauce" and "Punjab Eggplant". Both from Traders Joes. They are cheap and come in foil packages that don't need refrigeration.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Rhee

                                                    Today, I didn't have leftovers so I drove thru Mickey D's - got a double quarter pounder w/ cheese, no bun, no ketchup, a side salad w/ ranch (only used 1/3 of the dressing packet) and a bottle of water.

                                                    Not my preference but it worked in a pinch.

                                                    1. re: mimilulu

                                                      I drove through Mickey D's yesterday too, but you did much better than I did. Do you guys get grouchy when you low carb for too long? I was so freaking grouchy yesterday I got a milkshake. I was in such a better mood yesterday afternoon. Totally ruined the whole low carb thing, but it was really good. Then for dinner I had your green chile chicken thing. It was very yummy!

                                                      1. re: GenieinTX

                                                        One reason I left Atkins WOE to South Beach was after the first 2 weeks, you add in some fruit/grains. If you find yourself getting crazy, then look int o the SB Plan.

                                                        But, I actually wanted to share a South BEach/Atkins Friendly "roll" recipe that any Chowhound can make. It's low carb and low fat - and easy. This is a modified recipe from http://cleochatra.blogspot.com

                                                        Best Ever Revol-Oopsie Rolls (formerly called Revolution Rolls

                                                        )

                                                        3 large eggs
                                                        1 pkg Splenda
                                                        dash of salt
                                                        pinch of cream of tartar
                                                        3 ounces cream cheese (not Tbsp!) Do not soften!

                                                        Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

                                                        Separate the eggs and add Splenda, salt, and cream cheese to the yolks. Use a mixer to combine the ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff (if you're using the same mixer, mix the whites first and then the yolk mixture). Using a spatula, gradually fold the egg yolk mixture into the white mixture, being careful not to break down the whites. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and spoon the mixture onto the sheet, making 6 mounds. Flatten each mound slightly.

                                                        Bake about 30 minutes (You want them slightly softer, not crumbly). Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes, and then remove to a rack and allow them to cool. Store them in a bread sack or a ziplock bag to keep them from drying out.

                                                        Makes 6@ about 85 calories a piece, >1 carb per

                                                        I have used these to make "sandwiches" and other folks used them to make pizza.

                                                        Its not an everyday thing, but fun to make and enjoy.

                                                        1. re: stellamystar

                                                          Funny, I was going to recommend this very recipe! I made these last night and used them as rolls for Italian sausage & pepper sandwiches. Really nice - and satisfying. These rolls would be great to use for low carb lunches!

                                                  2. Lunch today - stopped at the local supermarket. Deli roast turkey breast w/ swiss cheese slices, rolled around a tiny squirt of dijonnaise and some real mayo. A small sack of sugar snap peas on the side (5 ECC per 3 oz).

                                                    I gotta watch my cheese consumption, though. Easy to overdo it!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: mimilulu

                                                      Yes - Cheese is a favorite, but also a "problem." Glad you are on the Revolution Roll kick as well. I love the sausageg & pepper idea. I did boring stuff so far. I did put a small bit of melted butter on one with cinnamon & splenda. it was tasty!

                                                      1. re: stellamystar

                                                        We get the best fresh Italian sausage directly from a small business that makes it... that's all they do. It doesn't have any fillers or sugar, as far as I know. It's really a treat, and something I couldn't indulge in too often when I was on WW.

                                                        I really like the oopsie rolls straight. However I also made a turkey sandwich w/ the leftover deli turkey from yesterday's lunch and it was great.

                                                    2. FWIW - went to TJ's last night and found little packages of whole almonds already prepacked in individual packages that are easy to transport in meals or for snacks. Am always in a rush in the morning, convenience appeals to me. They didnt seem more expensive than a similar amount of bulk whole almonds.

                                                      1. Low carb yogurt, celery with peanut butter, chicken salad/tuna salad/egg salad, cold cuts w/o the bread (ie: ham & cheese & spinach roll-ups), low carb protein shakes, hard boiled eggs, any types of nuts & leftovers from your low-carb dinner from the night before.