As part of the low-carb challenge, I have prepared this second roundup of low-carb meal ideas. You have breakfast options, a few low-carb recipes suitable for lunches and some delicious, nutrient-dense dinners. If you need a snack, I’ve got those at the bottom as well. If you’re doing intermittent fasting and only having two meals a day, you can choose between breakfast and lunch ideas or combine some of them together into a larger meal idea. See Low-Carb Meal Plan Ideas – Week 1 here.
Coffee/tea of choice (no sugar, avoid whole/skim milk and oat milk, choose heavy cream or almond milk).
Option 1. Egg muffins any way you like. The whisked egg go into muffin casings along with your favourite fillings: pan-fried mushrooms, crispy bacon, sweet potatoes, cut-up sausage, pre-cooked broccoli or spinach, onion, sun-dried tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, cheese and anything else you like. Check out these egg muffins three ways from Cafe Delites. Total Carbs: 1-4 grams depending on what you add.
Option 2. Low-Carb Cauliflower Hash Browns can be enjoyed with or without eggs. I like them with avocado and smoked salmon or sauteed garlic butter mushrooms, for example. Total carbs: 10 grams per 3 hash browns (plus add the sides).
Option 3. Low-carb porridge or n’oatmeal, as we like to call it is a good alternative if you like something comforting. Try this recipe from Healthy Sweet Eats with 6 variations and low-carb fruit options with carb counts at the bottom of the post. Total carbs: 15 g (10 g fibre so net carbs are quite low).
Option 4. Low-carb zucchini fritters is another great breakfast option if you don’t feel like eggs. These double up as snack or lunchbox additions. Top them with mayo, aioli, some nice cheese or mushrooms on the side, or perhaps some crispy bacon or sausage. I like this recipe from Gimme Delicious. Total carbs: 3 g per fritter.
Option 5. Get creative with chia seed pudding! I love these ideas from Sugar-Free Londoner and she provides a detailed breakdown of carbohydrates depending on which fillings/toppings you add. Total carbs: 10-13 grams depending on additions.
LOW-CARB LUNCH IDEAS
Option 1. Apricot Chicken Salad with curry-spiced mayo dressing inspired by Coronation chicken. Whip it up in 5-10 minutes with pre-cooked chicken (roasted or from the deli), mayo, curry spice, fresh apricot and leafy greens. Total carbs: 14 g. For a vegetarian option, make it with grilled halloumi cheese or a plant-based chicken alternative.
Option 2. Low-Carb Mexican Meal Prep Bowls from Jar of Lemons. Total carbs: 18 grams. Vegetarian option: hard-boiled egg, shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. You could also add a few chickpeas.
Option 3. Stuffed avocado is a great and easy lunch option. It can be as simple as tinned tuna and mayo or you can get more creative and make a few fillings ahead of time to store in the fridge. Get some ideas for here.
Option 4. German-style shredded cabbage style with your choice of protein on top. I love shredded ham hock or diced chicken/turkey and a dollop of sharp mustard. Total carbs: 15 g (less if you omit the sweetener from the dressing).
Option 5. LA Chop from Pinch Of Yum looks all sorts of delicious and I am looking forward to making it for lunch one day. You can do a bigger batch and divide it into two days. The chickpeas add a few carbs to this dish, so I would reduce the amount or replace it with diced cucumber, celery or some grilled zucchini or broccoli instead. Total carbs: 34 g with chickpeas, around 8-10 grams without chickpeas.
LOW-CARB DINNER IDEAS
Option 1. How about a little plant-based Indian dinner? Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese that has a similar texture to firm tofu. It has a very mild flavour and works well as a protein source in curry. I am going to make something like this Palak Paneer (Spinach Curry Paneer) from Feasting At Home (total carbs 12.9 g per serve) and this Turmeric Cauliflower Rice (9 g carbs per serve).
Option 2. Ground beef burger patties with garlic kale and carrots and roasted or pan-fried sweet potatoes. This is a satiating, hearty dinner meal that is very high in nutrients. Total carbs: 21 g
Option 3. Feeling like Asian cuisine? How about my Vietnamese pork meatballs with broccoli rice and Sriracha mayo? You can make these with any ground meat or as fish cakes. For a vegetarian version, you could replace the meatballs with tofu steaks or tempeh. Total carbs: 13.4 g
Option 4. Oregano and garlic roasted chicken thighs (or any other part of chicken) with beetroot, pumpkin salad with walnuts. The original recipe for the salad uses maple coated nuts, which would add extra sugar, so I recommend just plain walnuts or you can roast them as well. Total carbs: 2.6 g for chicken and 14 g for salad (without maple syrup! if you want to add a little maple syrup to the nuts as per the recipe, halve the amount).
Option 5. Sheet Pan Salmon Bake using fish fillets, green vegetables of choice and a delicious herby, garlicky sauce to flavour the dish while it cooks. Total carbs: 14 g
Option 6. For something warm and hearty, try my delicious soupy dish of turkey meatballs and kale in lemony garlic broth. This stew has some white potatoes, so the total carbs are 33 g per serve. You can swap those with sweet potatoes or use a smaller amount. Could be a good dish after a workout or on those more active days when you need to up the carbs. Vegetarian option: use plant-based meatballs.
LOW-CARB SNACKS & SWEET TREATS
These are some ideas for snacks you can have if you feel the need to. Ideally, you should have enough during your main meals to feel satiated and not need a snack. However, sometimes you have those extra active days or you have a smaller breakfast or lunch than usual and that’s when a snack or two will come in handy.
- Strawberries & whipped cream (or coconut cream)
- 2 squares of dark chocolate
- Low-carb hot chocolate (made with cream, cacao or dark chocolate + sugar-free sweetener)
- Miso soup with seaweed & tofu bits
- Celery sticks & hummus or guacamole
- Celery sticks or apple slices with peanut or almond butter
- Beef jerky
- A handful of nuts
- A piece of fruit: kiwifruit, berries, rockmelon, papaya.
- A small low-carb smoothie
- A cup of vegetable soup or bone broth
- Radishes with cream cheese and chives
- Cucumber & cheese slices or roll-ups
- Edamame beans with sea salt & sesame oil