Low Carb Lunch on the Run Free Download

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If you’re the typical person with a hectic schedule, I bet you eat your lunch on the run. And if you’re trying to follow a low carb diet, this is no easy feat. Sandwiches on massive rolls or bowls with tons of grains can add up to over 70 grams of carbs on one meal. And while you probably should pack lunch from home, who has time? I’m here to help you out! I did some detective work and found over 100 low carb lunch options with less than 575 calories and 35 grams of carbs. So if you live in a metropolitan area that has these 15 popular food chains, you’re in luck. Read on to get my tips for low carb lunches and sign up to get your FREE download (trifold brochure packed with lunch options)!

Why low carb?

Of course, not everyone needs to follow a low carb diet. But people with diabetes, prediabetes, PCOS or those trying to lose weight may opt to follow a lower carb diet.

What is low carb?

There is no one answer for “low carb”. My recommendations will vary depending on the individual person taking into account health issues, activity levels, body weight, goals, etc. I might suggest 35 grams or less a meal. My lunch guide contains a range of 5-35 grams per meal.

Tips to find a low calorie low carb lunch

  1. Go green. Salads are by far your best lunch bet. Not only can you find numerous low carb options, salads contain more nutrients and fiber than your average sandwich. They also tend to be lower in calories. Tip: load up with non-starchy veggies like greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, etc. Add a protein source like poultry, meat, fish, tofu, cheese ornuts/seeds. Opt for a healthy dressing like vinaigrette. Image credit: Sweet Greens
  2. Get a bowl… with greens instead of grains. Bowls loaded with whole grains, veggies and protein are a hot lunch item. While they can be a super healthy choice, they can pack in over 70 grams of carbs from the oversized portion of grain. Tip: ask for a greens base instead of grain. Some places even have a base of cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles as a base. You’ll save at least 300 calories and 45 grams of carbs. Or get half grain and half greens as your base (pic is of my poke bowl)
  3. Find a healthy hot bar place. “Salad bars” can contain a variety of healthy options (and of course, many not-so-healthy choices). Look for grilled, roasted, baked or steamed protein including poultry, seafood, meat, or tofu. Add some undressed salad or plain cooked veggies (not the ones swimming in sauce) and ½ cup of starch (brown rice, quinoa, potato, corn, legumes, etc) if you like – or just double up on the veggies
  4. Mix and match.If you are tired of salads and have the craving for a sandwich, try a combo of ½ sandwich and ½ salad. Many places like Hale & Hearty, Panera and Cosi have this option.This helps you cut down on carbs and give you more variety.  Image credit: Panera
  5. Choose your bread wisely. Certain breads can pack in a deceptively high amount of carbs and calories. For example, people often think wraps contain fewer calories than 2 slices of bread. Wrong! Just the wrap bread at Lenwich is 300 calories compared to 2 slices of bread for ~ 180. Tip: order your sandwich
  6. Eat your sandwich open faced. Being on a lower carb diet doesn’t mean you HAVE to avoid bread. Tip: eat only 1 slice of bread
    Moving on to more about overall nutrition, not just carbs ….
  7. Beware of condiments and sauces. Just because some mayo based sauces are low carb, doesn’t mean they are a healthy or low calorie choice. Mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, roasted peppers, hummus and avocados are better bets.Additional tips for good nutrition…
  8. Include some vegetables in your lunch– whether in a salad, on a sandwich, in a bowl or a soup. Most of us don’t even some close to eating the recommended amount of vegetables.
  9. Check out the nutritional content online of some of your favorite lunch spots so you won’t be blind-sighted with calories, fat, carbs and sodium! Many popular lunch spots including Fresh & CoChipotlePretPaneraCosi, Hale & HeartySubwayLe Pain QuotidienDig InnSweet GreenThe Little BeetSweetcatchMoazCava GrillMuscle Maker Grill,  Just SaladChoptPotbelly, Starbucks, and Au Bon Pain post the nutritional content online. (But keep in mind that many “healthy” choices are still a little too high in sodium in my opinion!)
  10. vegetable soupBeware of the sodium in soups (and other items). I don’t have too much advice about this one! If you need to limit your sodium intake for medical reasons, you may want to steer clear of soups. Otherwise, aim for the healthier soups and avoid cream based ones.FYI:The general recommendation for daily sodium intake is 2300 mg. For some individuals,  it needs to be even lower (1500 mg.)   (pic credit: Hale & Hearty) Some soups  contain almost 100% of the daily sodium recommendations.  Crazy!
  11. If trying to watch your weight, pay attention to calories. Calorie recommendations will vary based on many factors including body weight, activity level, age, sex, metabolism, etc. But the general recommendation for a female trying to lose weight is 1200-1500 calories and 1500-1800 calories to maintain weight. For a male, about 1600-1800 to lose weight and 1800-2100 to maintain weight.  I often recommend a woman aim for about 500 calories for lunch and a man about 600-700.

Get your FREE download below.  For best results, print the pages double sided and fold into a trifold brochure!




I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.

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  1. Connie Lichtenberg on August 26, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Just diagnosed diabetic 2. Try to eat healthy & watching carbs

    • Martha Mckittrick RD on October 11, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      good plan!

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