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No-Carb Lunch Ideas

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
No-Carb Lunch Ideas
Sashimi and leafy greens have no carbs. Photo Credit: kamui29/iStock/Getty Images

Standard lunch fare is often loaded with carbohydrates -- tacos, sandwiches, creamy soups, pizza and pasta salads contain grains, potatoes, milk and sugar that raise your intake of this macronutrient. Whether you're limiting carbohydrates to promote weight loss or to manage a health condition, you don't want to use up your daily allotment at lunch. It's possible to have a satisfying meal consisting mostly of protein and healthy fats, you'll just need to spend a few minutes planning.

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No-Carb Salads

Salads are a natural for a low-carb lunch. Green leafy vegetables have only trace amounts of carbohydrates. Top them with a lean protein and a no-carb salad dressing, and you're ready to go. Mix romaine lettuce with shredded Parmesan cheese, chopped chicken breast and black olives. Go old-school and make a chef salad with iceberg lettuce, roast beef, turkey breast, chopped cheddar and eggs -- toss in some spinach leaves for more vitamin A and iron. A virtually no-carb Cobb salad contains green leaf lettuce, watercress, bacon bits, chicken breast and blue cheese. Leave out the avocado and tomato, because these raise the carbohydrate count by a few grams.

Use a jar or shaker bottle to mix a dressing using red wine vinegar, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Most commercial dressings contain at least 1 gram of carbohydrates per serving.

Protein With Vegetables for Lunch

A super simple no-carb lunch contains a serving of protein with a serving of green, fibrous vegetables. For example, have a roasted breast of chicken with sauteed bok choy, flavored with a tablespoon of soy sauce, which adds less than 1 gram of carbohydrates. Broil a fillet of salmon and serve it over raw baby spinach and mushrooms. Grilled steak -- sliced and served on a bed of raw arugula and sliced radishes -- also contains zero carbohydrates.

A No-Carb Sandwich

Low-carb wraps contain 4 or more grams of carbohydrates -- far less than traditional wheat- and corn-based wraps, but not low enough to qualify as no-carb. Satisfy your sandwich urge by using a large leaf of butter lettuce, collard, romaine lettuce or iceberg to wrap no-carb sandwich fillings. Mix a can of drained tuna with 1 tablespoon of chopped celery, fresh dill and a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Use sliced ham and cheddar cheese or deli turkey and Gouda as a filling. A lean ground beef patty topped with a slice of mozzarella wrapped in romaine makes a no-carb burger substitute.

No-Carb Endive Boats

A member of the chicory family, Belgian endive leaves make a perfect vehicle for tasty no-carb fillings. The leaves are concave and sturdy, with a crunchy texture and pleasant bitter bite. Fill each leaf with a mixture of finely chopped eggs, mayonnaise and fresh tarragon; cream cheese with chopped ham and paprika; or shredded chicken topped with goat cheese and minced chives. Each person can enjoy two or three of the filled "boats."

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