Out to Lunch
Episode #5 of the course Basics of low-carb eating by Emily Stone
You’ve started the day with a filling breakfast, avoided mid-morning carb cravings, and now it’s time to think about lunch. In my house, we are often eating or repurposing dinner leftovers to keep things simple, but it’s nice to have other lunch ideas to mix things up. Here are a few.
It’s quite cliché to equate “going on a diet” with “salad for lunch,” but I argue that with a low-carb, high-fat approach, you can still look forward to that salad! Here’s a framework to get you started—creativity encouraged. Unlike on a low-fat diet, your salad should be filling, not leave you wanting more.
|Base||Protein||Fat||Extra Veggies, or Maybe Fruit|
|leafy greens like baby spinach, kale, arugula, or chard||steak, chicken, canned salmon, bacon||sprinkle of nuts, cheese, diced avocado, homemade full-fat dressing (see below)||peppers, shredded carrot, leftover roasted veggies, diced apple or berries—aim for a rainbow on your plate.|
My personal favorite:
• baby spinach
• crumbled bacon or roasted chicken
• goat cheese
• chopped pecans
• diced green apple
• homemade lemon-dijon or balsamic vinaigrette
Have you had a chance yet to flip over those fat-free or low-fat dressing bottles to read all the unhealthy fats and sugars packed in there? Even some of the healthier brands are using soybean or canola oil as a base and some cleverly-named version of sugar like “organic evaporated cane juice.” That’s still refined oil and sugar—we can do better.
Once you make your own salad dressing, there’s no going back. It’s easy, tastes amazing, and the combinations are endless. Here is a basic recipe:
|Oil||Vinegar||Emulsifier (helps oil and vinegar combine)||Seasoning|
|3 parts||1 part||A squeeze||To taste—this is the fun part!|
|• extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
• avocado oil
• apple cider
• white wine or sherry
(can also sub in or supplement with lemon/lime juice)
|• dijon mustard||• crushed garlic
• minced ginger
• salt and pepper
• Italian seasonings (oregano, basil, etc.)
• shortcut: organic seasoning mix shaker bottle (make sure no sugar or preservatives added)
My go-to combination: EVOO, white wine vinegar, splash of lemon juice, dijon mustard, garlic powder or crushed garlic, salt, and pepper.
Another easy option is to make up your own Keto or Paleo bento box. This can be in an actual compartmentalized lunch box or separate small containers, the idea being to bring smaller portions of several different low-carb, high-fat foods.
Some options for your bento box are:
• hard-boiled egg
• sliced vegetables with full-fat dip
• sliced or chopped meat
• cheese slice or wedge
• avocado and tomato salad with olive oil and sea salt
• celery sticks with nut or seed butter
• dinner leftovers
Going Out for Lunch?
In some work cultures, going out to lunch or ordering lunch to the office is a favorite part of the day. While it’s harder to control your options in these situations, you can usually still make low-carb choices.
The most helpful thing to do is plan ahead. Most restaurants have their nutrition information (or at least their menu) available online. Some will allow you to sort by the carbohydrates column so you can quickly identify the lowest carb options. If you do reconnaissance to find dishes with a low-carb/low-sugar profile, you can feel confident ordering something that won’t derail your day.
Whether you’re bringing your lunch, staying home, or going out, you now know how to plan for low-carb options that will keep your afternoon on track. Tomorrow, we’ll tackle dinner!
From my kitchen to yours,
Perfect Keto: 13 Keto fast food places that make low-carb easy
Low-Carb Lunch: low-carb creative Pinterest board
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