Stay Awake This Afternoon: 11 Low Carb Lunches


The morning countdown to lunch finally ends, and you and your colleagues head out to lunch for burgers, sandwiches, burritos, falafel, or loaded rice bowls. They’re delicious, and it’s a glorious break from the morning’s work.

But then back at your desk a stupor sets in. The afternoon stretches long ahead of you, and your eyelids threaten to collapse onto your cheeks. Coffee, green tea, or strong willpower may help, but sometimes the best way to avoid afternoon snoozes is to skip the heavy, carb-centric lunches to begin with. For just that reason, I’ve pulled together brown bag favorites that’ll inspire you to keep lunch light and afternoons productive.

**11 Low-Carb Brown Bag Lunches**

1. Herby Avocado Hummus. Scoop this nutrient- and protein-packed dip onto carrots, crackers, cucumbers, celery, or whichever crunchy dipper is your fave.

2. Arugula & Radicchio Salad with Pomegranate, Pecans, and Pecorino. Cheese and pecans add protein to my favorite mix of lettuces–arugula plus radicchio. Pretty pomegranate makes the salad exciting. Pack the dressing separately.

3. Creamy Habanero and Tomato Soup. A splash of cream cools down a classic tomato soup punched up with spicy habaneros and smoky chipotle in adobo.

4. Baked Tofu with White Wine, Mustard, and Dill. This tofu gets its flavor from a mustard-y mix of olive oil, lemon, and dill. Pack a few slices of tofu on top of fresh greens or beside cut-up carrots and celery sticks.

5. Miso-Roasted Asparagus. As spring finally gets here, make lunch out of its offerings. Roasting spears of asparagus with a miso marinade turns them rich and filling. Slice a hardboiled egg on top to make lunch complete.

6. Devilish Eggs with Lime and Sriracha. These unexpectedly spicy deviled eggs would also make a meal out of that miso-roasted asparagus. Otherwise, pack a few and snack on them, picnic-style, at your desk.

7. Chicken, Avocado, and Hearts of Palm Chop Chop Salad. A lettuce-free salad rich with avocado, tangy dressing, and hearts of palm, this cool, filling chopped affair will be the envy of nearby coworkers.

8. Cacik. A delicacy eaten during hot summers in Turkey, this yogurt and vegetable dish is half salad, half soup. Add garlic to your taste, or depending on how many colleagues you’ll exhale on this afternoon.

9. Grilled Ratatouille. Summer’s vegetables come together in a cooked salad topped with fresh herbs. But even before summer, you can often find decent zucchini and eggplant at the store. For more protein, chop up your favorite cheese and add it to your lunchbox.

10. Small Kitchen Cobb Salad with Carrot-Tarragon Vinaigrette. Cobb salads contain all the good stuff–sometimes so much they might seem to undermine eating a salad at all. But really, what better vessel than greens to convey bacon, chicken, avocado, and egg to your mouth?

11. Romaine and Radicchio Salad with Shaved Fennel and Canlis Dressing. Plenty of Parmesan give this salad not just umami but also heft. It’s a perfect vessel for whatever extra protein you prefer–poached chicken, canned tuna, or, if you’re lucky, leftover steak.

Posted in: The Best of BGSK
  • christin schindewolf

    all of these look amazing so i’ll be making them of course. it’s so true, if you want to not feel like you’re going to pass out after lunch, don’t carbo load like you’re running a marathon.

    • BGSK

      Yeah, I learn that lesson the hard way…every week.

      • christin schindewolf

        same. i can’t resist a meatball sub. I JUST CANT.

  • marie @ little kitchie

    Great list, and SO true on the post-carb afternoon slump. Love these beautiful salads!

    • BGSK

      Thanks, Marie!

  • Jessie Blum

    Ooh, this post is so inspiring to me today. I’m making a big list of lunches for this week!

    • BGSK

      Yay! Glad to inspire!

  • Gemma Chew

    LOve this roundup! (: xxx

    • BGSK

      Thanks, Gemma!

  • Good

    I really like eggs and steamed cauliflower salad, but they smell so badly I never bring them to work anymore. Yesterday I made ww seeds bread (saltless) and this morning I toasted 4 thin slices, put TONS of basil, some gruyère and jogurt-butter in it, then made carrotsticks for the side. I ate one little sandwitch during the morning and the rest at lunch break. I find that I eat more calmly and less if I have eaten during the morning. I also adore the dip idea. And salads are the best for lunch, so tasty and hydrating! But I hate washing saladleafs, that’s the boyfriends job. And he’s not here this week.

  • Bob

    These do not look like brown-bag options. They look like they take serious time to prepare, both prior to work and during your lunch break. Not practical.

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