Want all the flavor without all the carbs? Tired of eating sandwiches day after day? We've got a hunch you'll love these low-carb lunch ideas!

low-carb protein box for lunch, from Shelf Cooking

No disrespect to the PB&J sandwich, but every now and then, isn't it nice to change things up?! If you're tired of eating sandwich after sandwich but all out of ideas, let us do the hard work for you! We don't know who needs to hear this but step away from the $15 fancy, schmancy salad.

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We've come up with enough low-carb lunch ideas to last for two weeks! And the best part? These are all shelf cooking-friendly, so you don't have to run to the store for random ingredients or break your budget to cut out the carbs. Let's hop right to it, eh?


fresh fruit smoothie bowl, from Shelf Cooking

In a hurry? Not in the mood to heat up the kitchen? These lunch options aren't just low-carb; they're low-effort, too:

  • Smoothie Bowl – Who says smoothies are just for breakfast?! Try one of these smoothie bowls with some sliced raw veggies on the side.
  • Protein Bento Box – You know those convenient protein boxes they sell at Starbucks? Make your own for WAY less than $10! Just slice up some deli meat, throw in a hard-boiled egg or two, and garnish with sliced veggies, cottage cheese, fruit, or nuts.
  • Tuna-Stuffed Avocado – Slice an avocado in half lengthwise, remove the pit, and stuff each side with canned tuna or your favorite tuna salad. (It's just one of the many avocado recipes we love!)
  • Chef Salad – Garnish your favorite greens with some diced hard-boiled egg, a little cheese, and your favorite deli meat. Whip up a homemade vinaigrette, then toss, serve, and enjoy!
  • Bell Pepper Sandwich – Still craving a sandwich? Slice a bell pepper in half and use that as your bread. Fill it up with all your favorite meats, spreads, and veggies.

Now you've got no-cook work lunch options to last a whole week. Score!


We're willing to bet you've either got a bag of shredded chicken in the freezer, a can of chicken in the pantry, or some leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge. If so, here's how you can turn that meat into a low-carb lunch you'll love:

  • Chicken & Veggie Bowl – Throw in the kitchen sink! Whether you've got leftover broccoli, carrots, edamame, or all of the above, toss it in a bowl with your chicken and top with your favorite sauce.
  • Taco Salad – Round up some greens, guacamole, and salsa. Mix in your chicken, and you've got a delicious and low-carb take on the taco salad.
  • Chicken Lettuce Wraps – You know those delicious lettuce wraps they serve as an appetizer at your favorite restaurant? Make your own! There are endless combinations, so experiment with different toppings and sauces. Asian, Mexican, and buffalo chicken lettuce wraps are just a few options.

When in doubt, you can also whip up a quick batch of chicken salad. Toss in some mayo, sliced grapes, and celery for a refreshing, easy meal that's full of texture. YUM!


zucchini and squash on baking tin, from Shelf Cooking

Want to whip up a dish that's low-carb and vegetarian? Here are four quick and easy options that are meat-optional:

  • Stuffed Zucchini Boats – You can omit the meat from one of these stuffed zucchini boats or mix and match so you have meat-filled and meat-free options on hand.
  • Egg Roll in a Bowl – This vegetarian egg roll in a bowl recipe from the Live Eat Learn blog comes together in just 15 minutes! Want a little protein? Add a fried egg to the mix. Want to modify this one to include meat? You can use leftover ground turkey, beef, steak, or pork to make this dish, too!
  • Broccoli Cheddar Soup – Have you tried our super yummy and easy broccoli cheddar soup? It might not have meat, but it has ALL kinds of flavor. Oh, and if you make a big batch, you'll have lunch for days.
  • Egg Bites – Load these egg muffin cups up with all your favorite veggies! The meat is optional. These are great to have on hand for breakfast and snacks, too. At lunch, serve with a side salad and fresh fruit.

If vegetarian meals are your jam, definitely check out our Meatless Monday post!


Well, there you have it. Just like that, you've got a dozen low-carb lunch options to try! So you can say buh-bye to those boring sandwiches.

Do you have a favorite low-carb lunch recipe? We'd love to try it, so drop your favorite ideas and recipes in the comments, okay?

image with text that reads "easy low carb lunch ideas", from Shelf Cooking

Looking for a few more lunch ideas?

It's lunchtime!