19 Make-Ahead Low-Carb Lunches to Win Your Work Day
Meal prep is a surefire way to ensure you'll eat healthy all week long without using up your precious free time every night. These tasty make-ahead lunches are a great way to load up on extra protein and veggies if you're following a low-carb diet plan.
All of these low-carb lunches have 15 grams of carbohydrates or fewer per serving and make multiple to keep you fed for multiple days.
Meal-Prep Turkey Cobb Salad
Cubed deli turkey takes the place of chicken, while Cheddar replaces blue cheese in this easy Cobb-inspired salad. The protein-rich turkey and cheese, plus eggs and bacon, gives the salad staying power, so you won't get hungry an hour after you eat. Feel free to swap out the turkey for cooked chicken or chickpeas to mix things up. Serve the salad right away or pack it up in individual containers and you'll be set for lunch for days.
Spicy Slaw Bowls with Shrimp & Edamame
The quick 10-minute Spicy Cabbage Slaw serves as the low-carb base in this veggie-packed lunch recipe. Topped with high-protein edamame and shrimp, this satisfying lunch will help you power through the afternoon.
Vegan Burrito Bowls with Cauliflower Rice
These meal-prep vegan burrito bowls are healthier and more flavorful than takeout. Make them early in the week for grab-and-go meals when days are busy. We use frozen cauliflower rice, a low-carb substitute for white or brown rice, to cut down on prep time.
Thai Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Chicken satay moves from classic Thai restaurant appetizer to delicious homemade dinner with this easy meal-prep recipe. A crunchy Asian-inspired slaw serves as the satisfying low-carb base, and the bold, creamy peanut sauce brings a hint of heat to every bite.
Zucchini Noodles with Quick Turkey Bolognese
Forgo regular pasta (and most of the carbs) for spiralized zucchini "noodles" in these make-ahead meals. The zoodles quickly turn tender-crisp as the veggie-packed Bolognese warms in the microwave.
Classic Dill Chicken Salad
We lightened up the creamy dressing in this healthy chicken salad recipe with a combo of mayonnaise and plain Greek yogurt. Dill, grapes, celery and walnuts make up this classic chicken salad but feel free to experiment with your favorite fruit, vegetables and herbs. Serve it open-face on toasted bread or scoop it on top of fresh salad greens.
Chicken Curry Cup of Noodles
Make your own cup of instant soup at home with this chicken curry zoodle (spiralized zucchini noodles) recipe. Pack several jars at once to take to work for easy lunches throughout the week.
Mini Cauliflower-Crust Pizzas
This gluten-free pizza recipe uses muffin tins to create perfectly portioned mini pizzas perfect for lunch or dinner. Cauliflower acts as the base of the crust while the classic toppings of bell pepper, black olives, pepperoni and ooey-gooey cheese promise to satisfy your strongest pizza cravings.
Green Goddess Salad with Chicken
In this cucumber, tomato, Swiss and chicken salad recipe, a healthy green goddess dressing is made from avocado, buttermilk and herbs. Any extra dressing is delicious served over grilled chicken or flaky white fish, such as cod or flounder.
Asian-Style Chicken Salad Bowls
Everything you need (just 4 ingredients!) to prepare a week's worth of healthy, low-carb lunches can be found at your neighborhood grocery store. A bag of prechopped red and green cabbage serves as the crunchy low-carb base in these chicken salad bowls, which only require 10 minutes to assemble. Top with sesame-flavored almonds and a sesame dressing and you have one irresistible lunch you'll look forward to all week.
A healthy take on a loaded baked potato, this creamy cauliflower soup recipe has all the fixings of a loaded potato (bacon included) but for way fewer calories and carbs. Ready in a quick 20 minutes, this easy soup is great for busy weeknights or can be meal prepped ahead of time to take for lunch or frozen for a ready-made meal down the road. This recipe was originally made for one serving but can be easily adapted to serve more.
Cauliflower Rice Bowls with Grilled Asparagus & Chicken Sausage
Stock the fridge with a week's worth of lunches using a handful of ingredients from your local grocery store. To save on carbs, we're swapping in riced cauliflower for regular rice and adding pregrilled asparagus, which bulks up these bowls and adds fiber. At lunchtime, just reheat to steaming then top with a bit of pesto.
Thai-Style Chopped Salad with Sriracha Tofu
Prep four days' worth of high-protein vegan lunches using just four easy ingredients from Trader Joe's, including one of our all-time favorite salad mixes--Cruciferous Crunch--as a base. Because this salad mix is hearty, you can dress these bowls up to 24 hours before serving to allow the flavors in this healthy chopped salad to marry.
Mason Jar Chicken Salad with Japanese Hibachi Dressing
This vibrantly colorful and healthy make-ahead salad is sure to become a go-to weekday lunch, though it's pretty enough to serve to guests. Fresh ginger gives a pleasant bite to the toasted sesame salad dressing, which is inspired by the dressings served at Japanese hibachi restaurants.
Slow-Cooker Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Skip the roasting in this butternut squash soup recipe and let your slow cooker do the work instead. Just load up all the ingredients into the crock pot, set it and forget it for an easy, healthy dinner or packable lunches.
Teriyaki Tofu Rice Bowls
With a handful of shortcut ingredients from the grocery store, you can prepare an entire week's worth of high-fiber meals in about 15 minutes. Look for precooked wild rice packets to cut down on prep time. Plus, wild rice is a good source of fiber and each pouch of cooked rice heats in 3 minutes. Topping these bowls with prebaked tofu also cuts down on the total time. We love going to Trader Joe's for easy healthy convenience ingredients like what we use in this meal-prep lunch.
Mexican Spaghetti Squash Meal-Prep Bowls
Set yourself up for a week of super-satisfying lunches with these south of the border-style meal-prep bowls. We took one of our favorite recipes, Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash (see Associated Recipes) and repurposed the filling into a tasty topping for low-carb spaghetti squash. The Mexican-inspired seasoning blend adds a lot of flavor easily, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and queso fresco finishes the dish.
Shrimp Niçoise Meal-Prep Bowls
This low-carb meal-prep version of the classic composed salad comes together in about 10 minutes thanks to a handful of shortcut ingredients, like pretrimmed green beans and prepared olive tapenade. With a whopping 41 grams of protein per serving, these bowls will keep hunger at bay all afternoon. To switch things up, feel free to swap in canned tuna or leftover roasted salmon for the shrimp.
Tinola (Filipino Ginger-Garlic Chicken Soup)
Tinola, a comforting chicken soup seasoned with plenty of ginger and garlic, has countless variations throughout the Philippines. The soup calls for malunggay leaves (aka moringa), which can be found fresh or frozen at Asian markets. Bok choy is a good substitute. Feel free to increase the amounts of garlic and fish sauce for an even more flavorful soup. Serve this easy and healthy chicken soup on its own or with jasmine rice, quinoa or wild rice.