The 12 Best Low-Carb Lunches to Meal Prep

updated Mar 4, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

If you’ve made a commitment to eating low carb this month (or this year) you probably know by now that it can be fairly easy at breakfast (eggs!) and dinner (salmon! chicken!) but lunch is a pain point. Maybe that’s because sandwiches are off the table and paying upwards of $13 for a salad at the place near your office can get expensive — fast.

Here’s a better idea: Pick one of these low-carb recipes to make over the weekend, and pack it up for the week. All of these recipes are tasty, filling, and easy to pack:

1. Baked Chicken and Veggies

If you’ve got 20 minutes, you can make this sheet pan of chicken and veggies and it will last you all week. The secret to the quick cook time is cranking up the oven temperature, which also results in perfectly-juicy chicken.

Get the recipe: Baked Chicken and Veggies

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Cauliflower Rice Lunch Bowl with Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas

Not only is this lunch completely feel-good, it’s also budget-friendly. That’s thanks to cheap ingredients like canned beans and frozen cauliflower rice. If you want to make it even more low-carb, ditch the sweet potatoes.

Get the recipe: Cauliflower Rice Lunch Bowl with Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas

3. Veggie Nori Rolls

Skip the fork and knife, and bring along these hand-held rolls instead. The crunchy veggies keep well for hours and it feels way more special than a salad.

Get the recipe: Veggie Nori Rolls

4. Zucchini Buffalo Chicken Salad

Pack these salad ingredients separately and then assemble at work. Skip the croutons and toss the shredded chicken with your favorite hot sauce to achieve that signature Buffalo flavor.

Get the recipe: Zucchini Buffalo Chicken Salad

Credit: Faith Durand

5. Crisp Tuna-Cabbage Salad

Cabbage not only adds crunch to classic tuna salad, it also bulks it up — which is great when you’re trying to eat low-carb. Ditch the bread, though, and serve it in a lettuce wrap, over greens, or with carrots and celery sticks.

Get the recipe: Crisp Tuna-Cabbage Salad

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Egg Roll in a Bowl

This fun twist on a takeout favorite is low-carb thanks to a mix of ground meat, vegetables, and spices. If you’re packing it to-go, bring along the spicy mayo separately.

Get the recipe: Egg Roll in a Bowl

Credit: Andrea Bemis

7. Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous Salad

Feel free to skip making the cauliflower rice yourself and pick up a fresh or frozen bag of pre-riced cauliflower instead.

Get the recipe: Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous Salad

Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. The Absolutely Easiest Salmon Patties

Canned salmon is often overlooked, which is a shame because it’s an affordable ingredient that’s especially useful if you’re low-carb. Here it’s transformed into dill-flecked lemony fritters.

Get the recipe: How to Make the Absolute Easiest Salmon Patties

Credit: Kelli Foster

9. Swiss Chard Slaw with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Swiss chard is usually cooked, but when left raw, it actually makes a great base for a hearty slaw. Since it won’t wilt when tossed with dressing, it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.

Get the recipe: Swiss Chard Slaw with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Credit: Dana Velden

10. Classic Egg Salad

Don’t overlook this diner favorite. Egg salad won’t win a beauty contest and it’s hardly fancy, but it’s yummy, sustaining, and definitely low-carb.

Get the recipe: How To Make Classic Egg Salad

Credit: Joe Lingeman

11. Vegetable Soup

Reach for this recipe when the vegetables in your crisper drawer are looking less than perfect and you’re not quite sure what to do with them. It’s completely adaptable to whatever you have on hand.

Get the recipe: How To Make Soup from Almost Any Vegetable

12. Shrimp and Avocado Summer Salad Rolls

You can buy pre-cooked shrimp to make these refreshing rolls or if you prefer, tryswapping in cooked, shredded chicken.

Get the recipe: Shrimp and Avocado Summer Salad Rolls