3rd August 2023

Low Carb Lunch Ideas

It’s time to say goodbye to carb-heavy lunches and hello to fresh, energising meals that get you through the rest of your day, and keep your mind clear. Whether you’ve got half an hour to make lunch or a rushed five minutes, we’ve got you covered with our quick, easy and delicious low carb lunch ideas.

Eating a good lunch will help keep your metabolism fired up and burning calories throughout the day, and should keep you full all the way through to your evening meal, avoiding the need for snacking. A low-carb lunch, which is rich in protein and healthy fats, will also help to ensure your brain is working efficiently and that your stress levels are kept steady, avoiding that horrid ‘hangry’ feeling.

But why is a low-carb lunch the way to go?

The benefits of eating a low carb lunch

Lunch is often a meal where we turn to carbs in the hopes that they will fill us up for the afternoon. While pasta salads, sandwiches, beans on toast, and crisps are all common go-tos, they actually spike our blood sugars which give up a ‘crash’ or ‘dip’ in the afternoon.

Carbohydrates can be a helpful source of energy for your body. When we consume quality carbohydrates, like whole wheat, beans, and certain fruits and vegetables, our body burns the glucose (sugar) from the carbohydrates as its primary source of energy. However, if we consume too many carbohydrates, or rely on complex carbohydrates like white bread, that excess glucose spikes blood sugars and is stored as fat in the body. 

More and more research is suggesting that we don’t need to rely on glucose, and actually points towards fat being a far more efficient source of energy. This is why we promote a Mediterranean-style diet, which is high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. 

Low-carbohydrate diets have been shown to reduce appetite better than a low-fat diet.[1] Studies suggest that a low carb diet results in the consumption of far fewer calories in general, potentially as a result of a reduction in snack cravings later in the day.[2] Furthermore, low-carb diets can lead to more weight loss, and particularly assist with the loss of visceral fat (a dangerous type of fat which wraps around internal abdominal organs).[3] Not only that, but opting for low carb lunch ideas can help to reduce your risk of various illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.[4][5][6][7]

Top tips for meal prepping low carb lunches

Planning your meals and pre-preparing dishes to enjoy later is a key way of keeping on track with your diet goals. Being caught short while out and about is a sure way to make poorer choices, so here’s a few of our top tip for pre-preparing low carb lunches:

  1. Hold onto those leftovers: if you made a healthy dinner, keep some leftovers aside for a low carb lunch idea later. 
  2. Invest in a good lunch box: having a convenient, sturdy container for your low carb lunches will make it easier to grab-and-go. A well-insulated lunch box will help keep your food ready to eat for longer, in case you aren’t able to heat before you eat later on. 
  3. Batch-cook your lunches: pre-prepare some low-carb options for easy access throughout the week, such as frittatas (see below for recipe), roasted vegetables or soup. 
  4. Make use of your freezer: freezing any leftovers or ingredients which may go past their best is a great way to hold onto them until you can use them later. Taking a frozen low carb lunch dish out of the freezer in the morning should give it enough time to defrost by lunch.

Low-carb lunch ideas for meal-prepping:

Why not try one of our top low-carbohydrate lunch recipes to prepare ahead of time?

Easy Feta, Pea and Mint Frittata

This Italian dish is a simple way to use leftover veggies for an on-the-go lunch. At just 309 calories per serving, they’re the ideal protein boost to keep you full until your evening meal. Keep in the fridge for a few days to grab on your way out of the house, and enjoy at lunchtime.

High-Protein Quiche

Another egg-based low carb lunch idea perfect for enjoying at lunch. This quiche is inspired by the recipe King Charles III chose for his coronation, but lower carb with the omission of pastry. It packs almost half of your recommended daily protein into just one serving, and has the added bonus of being keto and fasting-friendly.

Low Carb Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls are a classic lunch go-to, but they are often high in saturated fats and very carb-heavy. This low carb lunch recipe is gluten free, under 200 calories per serving, and high in healthy fats that help keep you fuller for longer. Ideal for pre-prepping, these sausage rolls can be stored in the freezer until ready to eat.

Low carb Chicken Minestrone

This keto low-carb lunch is one for the soup-lovers out there. As a hearty, healthy crowd-pleaser, this minestrone can be batch-cooked and enjoyed by the whole family. It’s fabulously filling, packing in almost 40g protein in one serving, and takes just 20 minutes to make from start to finish.

Last-minute low carb lunch ideas

All of those delicious pre-prep recipes are all well and good if you are on top of your meal planning, however, it can be helpful to have a fewlast-minutee lunch ideas up your sleeve for those days when you’re caught short for time.Here ares a few of our top tips:

  1. Keep tinned fish stocked in your cupboard: tinned fish, like anchovies, mackerel and sardines are low in calories but high in protein so they’re ideal for pairing with a quick salad to keep you energised and satiated throughout the afternoon. Their long shelf lives make them extra convenient to keep on hand.
  2. Pre-prep veggie sticks for your fridge: if you have a spare few minutes at the beginning of the week to chop up some veggie sticks, you’ll thank yourself later. Having your favourite veggies to hand, paired with hummus or homemade guacamole, are an ideal way to ensure you make healthy lunch decisions when you’re strapped for time.
  3. Try our shakes: The Fast 800 Shakes can be the perfect option for those days when you’re too busy to stop and prepare a lunch. Just add water for a low-carb, protein-packed boost to keep you going until your evening meal: perfect for keeping those sweet treat cravings at bay too!

For more low carb lunch ideas, see our other articles like Healthy lunches for work, and to try our range of indulgently sweet Shakes on our next lunch break, head here.


McClernon FJ, Yancy WS Jr, Eberstein JA, Atkins RC, Westman EC. The effects of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on mood, hunger, and other self-reported symptoms. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Jan;15(1):182-7. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.516. PMID: 17228046.

McClernon FJ, Yancy WS Jr, Eberstein JA, Atkins RC, Westman EC. The effects of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on mood, hunger, and other self-reported symptoms. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Jan;15(1):182-7. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.516. PMID: 17228046.

Volek J, Sharman M, Gómez A, Judelson D, Rubin M, Watson G, Sokmen B, Silvestre R, French D, Kraemer W. Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2004 Nov 8;1(1):13. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-1-13. PMID: 15533250; PMCID: PMC538279.

Wood RJ, Volek JS, Liu Y, Shachter NS, Contois JH, Fernandez ML. Carbohydrate restriction alters lipoprotein metabolism by modifying VLDL, LDL, and HDL subfraction distribution and size in overweight men. J Nutr. 2006 Feb;136(2):384-9. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.2.384. PMID: 16424116.

Westman EC, Yancy WS Jr, Mavropoulos JC, Marquart M, McDuffie JR. The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008 Dec 19;5:36. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-5-36. PMID: 19099589; PMCID: PMC2633336.

Feinman RD, Makowske M. Metabolic syndrome and low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets in the medical school biochemistry curriculum. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2003 Sep;1(3):189-97. doi: 10.1089/154041903322716660. PMID: 18370662.

Gasior M, Rogawski MA, Hartman AL. Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behav Pharmacol. 2006 Sep;17(5-6):431-9. doi: 10.1097/00008877-200609000-00009. PMID: 16940764; PMCID: PMC2367001.

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