Bread, chips, cookies, pasta salad, flavored yogurts… If all of these foods, (or other high-carb choices), used to be staples in your pre-packed lunches, you may be at a loss for keto-friendly substitutes to fit into your new dietary plan. While it’s true that many lunch food favorites (like sandwiches, crackers, and fruit), are carb and sugar-heavy, you simply need to be innovative and think outside-the-box.
The bottom line is, whipping up keto lunch recipes isn’t hard! It just requires a change in perspective, paired with a change in the foods that you typically enjoy. Most people look to carbs to give them a feeling of satiety with their meals. But on the keto diet, you’ll instead get that (much more lasting) satiety from fats, and secondly from protein.
In this article, we’ll share some easy meal prep recipes for keto lunches, but before we do that, here are some of our top tips for keto lunch success…
Tips for Packing Nutritious Keto Lunches
Before we share some easy lunch recipes for low-carb diets, here are some points to take into consideration to make your life simpler in the process…
1) Make a smart keto grocery list – Before you can put together keto lunches, you need to score the right ingredients, and making a list in advance can save you time and energy at the store. For the most success with this, aim to do most of your shopping around the outer edge of the store – as most of the sugary, refined and packaged foods will be in the center.
Here’s a list of ideas for foods that work great in keto lunch recipes:
- Olives (green, black, kalamata)
- Lettuce (all types)
- Leafy greens (all types)
- Low-carb veggies (celery, peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms)
- Cheeses (cheddar, provolone, muenster, mozzarella)
- Cottage cheese
- Plain Greek yogurt (add nuts or small amount of berries)
- Lunch meat (turkey, ham, roast beef, etc.)
- Canned tuna
- Smoked salmon
- Nuts and nut butters (peanut, cashew, almond, etc.)
- Seeds and seed butters (sunflower, chia, flax, hemp, etc.)
- Hummus or tahini
- Almond crackers (use sparingly or make your own)
2) Buy in bulk – In addition to making a smart grocery list for keto recipes, also think about the keto-approved foods that you’ll eat most often, and get those in bulk. For instance, you may want to get the following items in larger amounts to save time and money…
Keto foods to get in bulk:
- Nuts and seeds
- Frozen low-carb veggies
- Frozen berries
- Frozen pre-cooked grilled chicken
- Frozen pre-made meatballs
- Large containers of plain Greek yogurt
- Family size hummus or cottage cheese
3) Meal prep once or twice a week – Next, once you have your food for keto lunch recipes, it’s time to start your meal prep. This doesn’t have to be difficult or involved! There are plenty of easy meal prep recipes out there.
To do this successfully, set aside an hour or two, one or two days a week to prep some recipes/foods in advance. This is all based on your lifestyle and individual needs, but many people like to choose Sunday, Wednesday, or both because it gives a nice span of time in between days.
Here are some types of things you can do in your keto meal prep time:
- Chop up raw veggies
- Cube cheeses or lunch meats for salads
- Put nuts or seeds into individual serving bags or containers
- Cook one meat to use in various meals throughout week
- Cook one side dish to use in lunches/dinners throughout week
- Make a pot of hard boiled eggs then peel them for various meals
- Separate healthy snacks into containers (raw veggies, yogurt with toppings, etc.)
- Proportion fruits and veggies for keto-friendly meal replacement shake smoothies
3 Easy Keto Lunch Ideas
Now that you have a lot of great info for packing stellar keto lunches, here are 3 easy keto lunch recipes. The best part is that they’re extremely versatile, so you can switch them up to meet your individual tastes and preferences, and they’ll still taste delightful!
1. Keto Tuna Salad
© Photo by Life Made Sweeter
This keto recipe for tuna salad is so simple, and you can also switch it up by using canned or fresh salmon, or even canned chicken instead. This keto lunch recipe works great over leafy greens and can be accompanied by some cut avocado and low-carb veggies like cucumber or celery for a complete keto meal. In addition, you can also add some low-carb berries, nuts, or seeds on the side.
Get this Keto Tuna Salad Recipe here.
2. Keto "Snack" Box
© Photo by Food Lovin' Family
Next, this keto lunch idea is one of the easiest meal prep recipes. Simply chop up some cheese (or buy it pre-cubed), and add it to a bed of lettuce with low-carb veggies, eggs and sliced deli meats. Feel free to add some olive or avocado oil, fresh lemon juice and herbs to the top to turn this into a salad, or have some low-carb ranch on the side for dipping.
Get this Keto Snack Box Recipe here.
3. Keto Sandwich Lunch Box
© Photo by Family Fresh Meals
Finally, another super easy keto recipe, this one entails wrapping up your favorite lunch meats with cheese and securing them with a toothpick. These meat and cheese “roll ups” aren’t just for kids – they make a great adult keto lunch recipe as well.
In addition, it’s quick and easy to pick your favorite keto sides to go with the roll-ups. Great ideas include olives, avocado, or low-carb, keto fruit.
Get this Keto Sandwhich Lunch Box Recipe here.
What low-carb keto lunch recipes are you aiming to make this week? Let us know in the comments, below! Or, check out more articles for successfully following a keto lifestyle on the 310 Blog, here.