One out of every ten Americans has diabetes of some kind, with varying levels, that has the possibility of impacting health in the future. Long term effects of diabetes include damage to blood vessels, and organ damage. These two types of damages (macrovascular and microvascular complications) cause most of the health problems that result in hospitalization and medication. One of biggest problems faced by individuals is the unexpected source of sugar from food products. Most are unaware that products with labels that sound healthy are sources of sugar. This is precisely why we are now compiling a list of low carb lunch ideas that will help you to pick a combination that works for you, for better health.
Before we launch into the list of low carb lunch ideas it is important to be aware of the background information about sources of sugar in food products. Here’s a brief overview that will help add to your knowledge on the subject.
Sugar, its impact on insulin and the need for low carb lunch ideas
Certain food products that you consume contribute to diabetes by rapidly increasing blood sugar levels. Certain food products, for instance, processed food products have low nutrient value such as minerals, vitamins and fiber, but are high on calories. Consequently, the blood sugar levels increase, and the body is unable to regulate insulin levels in the desired manner, which causes complications listed above. Insulin is necessary for processing and managing the glucose levels in the blood and to use the sugar for fueling the cells. This processing of glucose is adversely impacted when insulin regulation is affected in the body.
The sources of glucose are carbohydrates, and when the body is unable to process it, the result is long term damage to the blood vessels and organs. Additionally, the entry of glucose into the cells is affected, which results in lesser energy entering the cells. This is the reason for the symptoms commonly associated with diabetes. And this is precisely why you need to have low carb lunch ideas to ensure that you do not end up with high sugar levels.
Common reasons that contribute to high sugar levels
The reasons for high sugar levels are relatively common. The amount of processed foods that are consumed daily are increasing with lifestyle changes. More and more people are relying on processed foods to take care of their dietary requirements. As a result the input of fat, sugar, salt, processed carbohydrates is higher than nutrients. This results in a spike in glucose levels with long term consequences. This makes it necessary to make healthy choices in all the meals that are consumed daily, and this includes the need for low carb lunch ideas.
Healthy breakfast choices are important and have been covered in an earlier post, while this article will deal with the need for making suitable choices in your lunch.
Before we look at the best low carb lunch ideas, it is important to also identify the highest source of carbohydrates. This will put things in better perspective. The following food products are notoriously high on carbohydrates – cookies, white bread, sugary drinks, pasta, rice and other white grain food products. Carbohydrates turn into blood sugar and if you happen to take liquid forms of carbohydrates, then the result is a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. This rise is very fast, compared to the increase in blood sugar levels from solid foods. So keep away from those sodas and canned drinks.
Ingredients that are low on carbohydrates
The following ingredients are low on carbohydrates and need to be a part of your regular diet, especially if you are looking for low carb lunch ideas.
#1 Lean meat products. This includes chicken breast, sirloin and pork.
#2 Fish. Note that there is a difference between fish and other sea food products.
#3 Green vegetables. Especially the leafy types.
#4 Coconut oil, rapeseed oil and olive oil are low on carbohydrates and should be a part of your cooking ingredients whenever oil is involved.
#5 Eggs are great source of nutrients and proteins with less carbs, so make it a part of your diet.
#6 Yoghurt and whole milk are good sources of nutrition with less carbohydrates. Never opt for sweetened dairy products but choose plain, unsweetened products.
#7 Blueberries, apples and strawberries are low on carbohydrates and are a rich source of nutrients. This is why it figures on the dishes of some of the most effective diet control programs.
The portioning is as important as the ingredients
It is necessary to understand that portioning is as important as the ingredients. The products listed above are low on carbohydrates. However, if you end up consuming very large portions, then the food products will end up supplying higher amounts of carbohydrates to your body through volume intake. Ensure that you take only the recommended portions of food. Some of the diet programs typically suggest taking smaller portions with fewer breaks in between in order to strike the right balance in low carb lunch ideas. Another school of thought is to choose products that give you a full feeling that will prevent you from reaching out for a snack in between. Strike the right balance as per your convenience, by sticking to the overall goal. What applies to one may not necessarily be the best choice for another. Therefore choose as per your convenience, but ensure that you remain aligned with the objectives of low carbohydrates, lesser portions and a full feeling.
Understand the difference between simple and complex carbs
here are two different types of carbohydrate categories – simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs are easy to digest while the complex carbs take longer to digest. Those on a diet program need to stick to simple carbs as far as possible. For instance, raw sugar, brown sugar, glucose, fruit juice, and corn syrup are some of the more common simple carbohydrates. Complex carbs typically include skimmed milk, low fat yoghurt, beans, soymilk, spilt peas, corn, brown rice, oats, barley etc. While it may not be entirely possible to steer clear of complex carbs when you are looking for low carb lunch ideas, it is necessary to limit the intake of complex carbs as much as possible.
Possible effects of switching over to a low carb diet suddenly
If you are planning on implementing low carb lunch ideas in your diet, you need to be aware that a sudden change in your diet may result in certain symptoms and effects. This includes impaired performance in physical activities, feeling drained of energy, increased cholesterol levels, abnormal cramping and headache among others. These effects are not long term and are likely to subside naturally over a period of time. However, there are other possible long term effects that you may experience. It is not necessary that you should experience long term effects from switching over to low carb lunch ideas, but it is possible and cannot be ruled out. These long term side effects include loss of bone density, and possible gastrointestinal issues. It would help to seek medical advice before switching over to an extreme low carb diet. Here is a compilation of
#1 Chicken and Avocados (10 gms of carbohydrates per serving)
You will need chicken breast (boneless), low fat yoghurt, estragon herb, mayonnaise, salt, powdered pepper, celery (diced), avocados, and pecans.
Boil the chicken in a saucepan with water upto the level of the chicken. Chop the chicken after you have boiled it, and refrigerate. Mix the other ingredients except the avocados in a bowl along with the refrigerated and chopped chicken. Stir all the ingredients for some time, and stuff the avocado with the chicken salad.
#2 Chicken and noodles (9 gms of carbohydrates per serving)
You will need concentrated paste of chicken meat (commonly known as bouillon paste), frozen vegetables, chicken breast (boneless), zucchini noodles, chinese parsley and coconut milk.
Put the coconut milk and meat paste in jars that will eventually be used for boiling the noodles. Add vegetables, chicken and noodles in desired proportions as layers in the same jar. Add the Chinese parsley on the top of this mix and cover it. Refrigerate the ingredients for 48 hours. After two days, add boiling hot water to the jar and shake the ingredients properly. Remember to use a proper cover to ensure that the hot water or contents to do not spill. After you are sure that the ingredients have been mixed properly, put the jars in a microware for a maximum of five minutes. Your chicken and noodles is ready for consuming.
#3 Sushi rolls (total 28 gms carbohydrates)
This is definitely one of those low carb lunch ideas that has the lowest amount of calories. A total of 140 calories, less than 6 grams of fat and 28 grams of carbs are packed into this nutritious and delicious dish. Avocado sushi rolls, are quite unlike most other rolls as you do not use rice.
You will needs seaweed (the nori sheet), mashed avocado, yeast, bell peppers, onions, fish, fermented soy, tomatoes and onions.
Pack all the ingredients into the nori sheet, and ensure that the top of the roll is free from any ingredients that make up the topping. This portion will be relatively drier than the rest, therefore, wet it mildly with water before you roll it. The portions where the ingredients are packed will be flexible and will not pose a problem. This is not only delicious and nutritious, it is also one of the most easy to prep lunch ideas.
#4 Pumpkin soup (14 gms of carbohydrates in one serving)
Not only does this fit in naturally into our list of low carb lunch ideas for the nutrition, it is one of the most simple lunch ideas that you can easily make on any busy day. You can serve this hot or take it cold without having any impact on your taste.
You will need pumpkin, chopped onion, olive oil, vegetable stock, coconut milk, coconut flakes, and roasted cashewnuts. Cook the pumkin and the onion with oil till you feel the pumpkin is cooked enough (typically it takes lesser than 12 minutes). Add the vegetable stock and boil the ingredients for another 12 minutes, till you find that the pumpkin appears mashed/molten. Add the coconut milk and top up with the coconut flakes followed by the roasted cashews to serve out a fulfilling dish.
#5 Fried rice substitute (7 grams per serving)
For those who want a slightly full feeling in low carb lunch ideas, fried rice substitute is a good idea, but only when prepared properly.
You will need a good size cauliflower, coconut oil, pepper, broccoli, garlic, ginger, onions, egg and soy sauce. Tenderly break the cauliflower head into small pieces that can be easily grated. The small pieces need to be made into rice shaped and rice sized pieces. Process it in a food processor along with the coconut oil, and al other ingredients expect the soy sauce and egg. When the cauliflower is brown, it indicates that it is ready to serve. Fry the egg and add the soy sauce to the fried rice and you have a delicious law carb lunch on the table.
Other popular options on your list of low carb lunch ideas
There are other low carb lunch ideas that can figure on your list easily. For instance, you could try out mushroom soup or a Caesar salad. Both of these are winning recipes that will not only make your lunch delicious, but will also keep your sugar intake down. You can easily make these dishes and dispense with the need for consuming highly processed foods. The biggest problem faced by most individuals is not a lack of awareness about the ills of sugar, but a lack of time in being able to put together a wholesome diet in time. The give low carb lunch ideas shared above have been carefully curated to give you a selection of the easiest recipes to prepare.