Low carbers: what are your go-to meals?

I’ve been diagnosed with type II diabetes. Fasting blood sugar is ~130, so not too bad… yet (a1c <6). Low carbing is the ONLY thing that works for me. Easy to grab/fix things are most often carb-y, i.e., sandwiches, cereal, baked potatoes, etc.

What are your tried-and-true low carb meals? What about taking something to work/school if refrigeration is not available?

I don’t care to eat a lot of meat, and that makes low-carbing extra challenging (and makes virtually no-carb a la Dr. Richard Bernstein all but impossible). Vegan low-carbing-- I don’t think it can be done, but I’m not vegan.

Has low carbing helped with your blood sugar readings and weight loss?

Whenever I stay true to a low carb diet, my sugar behaves nicely. Whenever I stray, it goes nuts.

You have to have some carb. Stick to whole wheat/grain. My rule of thumb is, if it’s lean or green, I’ll eat it. No white, as in white flour, sugar, white rice, etc.

I don’t get too wigged out by eating or avoiding fatty meat. For example, I have a chunk of turkey sausage, a whole wheat bagel with neufchatel cheese, and 2 egss for breakfast.

Lunch is mome kind of meat, typically grilled chicken, and multiple types of vegetables for lunch.

Dinner is the same pattern as lunch, but usually different items so I don’t get bored.

Good luck!

To cover the food to carry requirements I try to always have a few hardboiled eggs in the fridge. I also prep vegetables on the weekend so Mondays my fridge looks like a ziploc container convention with strips of red and green peppers, sliced mushrooms (put a paper towel into the container with them), radishes, sliced cucumber etc.

I also cut slices or chunks of cheese and wrap those myself because paying for the serving size packages of cheese makes my wallet cry.

I know you don’t want a lot of meat but when you are eating it one tip that helps is to cook in advance and keep cold sliced chicken strips for on top of salads or to go with the slices of cheese. Those tins of flavoured tuna are also good for protein on the go.

Advance prep is the best tip I ever had for low carbing. It’s not a convenient way to eat so the more you can group the work the easier it will be to be successful.

Agree that advance prep is the key. I keep a cold whole-grain salad in the fridge always, if I remember… bulgur wheat or wheat berries usually, with some crispy veg and crumbled feta cheese. I get a small serving of that with lunch and dinner, along with a serving of meat and plenty of veg.

Yes, taking the time to shop and prep for a few days is a necessary evil. Otherwise you will pay dearly for convenience. I’m lucky in that a local grocery sells packages of cooked chicken (probably stripped from their rotissrie chicken) in their deli case. (Tyson sells cooked parts, too, but they’re expensive and awfully salty). We used to make lettuce wraps for lunch, filled with tuna or cold cuts, that’s fast and easy enough.

I lost about 30 lbs on a low-carb diet. I can share what worked for me…

Every Monday (at the time, I was working Tue-Sat, so that was my Sunday), I would get a three pound bag of frozen chicken breasts, and dump a bottle of marinade, and then let it sit in the sink until partially thawed or whenever I came back to it. Meanwhile, I would take my big roasting pan and dump a bunch of veggies into it - Sometimes what was on sale or looked good, sometimes frozen (Kroger around here has lots of different frozen mixed veg bags - better selection than Wal-Mart or Meijer, IMO, although Meijer has a better selection of fresh produce. YMMV). I would dump the whole bag of chicken - marinade and all - into a baking dish, and toss both into the oven for awhile, until everything was cooked. Cut up the chicken into bite-size pieces, toss everything together and portion into containers… that’s what I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner for months. It got pretty boring, but… I did lose quite a bit of weight.

To jazz things up, I would do scrambled eggs with cheese, string cheese, jerkey (home-made, for the lower sodium - I do half and half low-sodium soy and Worcestershire, with a big splash of liquid smoke and some black pepper, marinade for a day in the fridge, then dehydrate), apples with peanut butter (one of the highest-carb meals on the list, but really great at filling me up and lasting), cottage cheese (I’d often cheat and mix in pineapple or other fruit), or - I’ll admit it! - low-carb bars. They’re not cheap (although, really, no more expensive than the Luna bars I keep stashed these days), and not terribly tasty, but they are convenient.

The biggest thing we discovered (My husband lost about 10 lbs when I was dieting) was keeping certain foods out of the house. No cookies, no crackers, no candy, no chocolate, no ice cream… nothing. It sounds so simple and basic, but… it’s really, really hard. Go a couple weeks cold turkey from all the baked goods and sweets and it becomes much easier to have just one later on.

Also, I never ran into a restaurant that had a problem with me ordering “I don’t see it on the menu, but can the chef to do some sort of grilled chicken and veg?” As long as I did it with a sheepish, charming smile, the wait staff was always happy to oblige. Finally, Cracker Barrel seems to be the only restaurant left that still has a dedicated “low-carb” section on their menu, and while it’s tasty, it’s very cheesy and fatty. The pepercorn dressing for the salad, though, is pretty tasty and low-carb, and if you get the meal with the grilled chicken tenders and three sides, they’ll usually let you do “Salad, salad and salad” as your side and pre-box two of the salads. Except for one waitress, who’s mean.

My advice is to make your breakfast and lunch meals “no carb” or at least very low carb. Same for any mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

For dinner, add “good carbs” – whole wheat, fiber, fruit, etc. If you do this, you’ll train your body and blood sugar to have one very manageable carb-processing time a day. What wreaks havoc on blood sugar is the constant up and downs from carbs and sugars being snacked on throughout the day.

When I use the above approach, I can’t help but lose 30 pounds in a few months, no matter the bacon/cheese omelets and such.

A lot of good suggestions already stated above for low-carb food-on-the-go. Canned fish (tuna, kippered herring, etc.) is good if you like that sort of thing and don’t have to worry about an office mate. Cheese sticks, broccoli florets, pepper slices. Cold cuts with lettuce and cheese slices. A few pieces of beef jerky make a good snack.

For lunches I either go with a salad (cheese, olives, green pepper, egg, ham, cucumber, a few sunflower seeds) or tuna salad (mayo/dill [not sweet!] relish, mustard, tabasco, black pepper) eaten with celery sticks. I avoid fat-free or “Lite” dressings as they have a bunch of added sugar to compensate for the nasty flavor.

Atkins bars make a good on-the-go snack.

I wish you luck!

This is SOOO important. I live way out in the country, and if something’s not in the house, it’s not convenient for me to run to the store to indulge a craving. I absolutely need to keep this stuff out.

Thanks, y’all, for those great ideas.

I do buy low-carb bars sometimes. The Atkins coconut are quite good. I also do a whey protein shake for breakfast or dinner sometimes (add a teaspoon of instant coffee powder and an envelope of artificial sweetener).

Eggs. Learn how to make an omelet (not a scrambled egg with things mixed in). Add cheese and vegetables.

Nuts. Unsalted peanuts in the shell, mixed nuts (as little salt as possible), fresh nuts from the health food bins in your grocery.

The Atkins stuff is usually fairly good, too.

Tuna, packed in olive oil. Most Italian-branded varieties are great. I eat it straight out of the can.

Beef Jerky (or beef, Jerky).

Low-carb protein bars.

One thing that I liked was substituting romain lettuce for bread, whatever low carb stuff you like roll it like a burrito in romain lettuce instead of a sandwich bread works for most anything

another is a tuna salad recipe I just love

solid white albacore tuna
green bell pepper
red bell pepper

mix all together to taste but instead of mayo use extra virgin olive oil (doesnt take much) and red wine vinegar, add seasonings to taste…its really better than with mayo

you could also add in whatever else you like…pickles, tomato etc…

I don’t eat much meat but I stay at like 30-40g of carbs a day.

I won’t lie I eat Atkins bars. But I’ve lost 55 lbs eating 1 a day (210 cals, 17g of protein, 3g carbs - Chocolate Peanut Butter) for 7.5 months now.

I carry those everywhere.

Greek yogurt, strawberries, splenda, flax meal and protein powder as a smoothie
Mozzarella cheese/cheese blend with pepperoni on top, baked in the oven on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Pizza!
Eggs and bacon or sausage
Wendy’s Baconator with no bun, side ceasar (no croutons) and lite lemonade
Two Burger King double cheeseburgers, no buns
Sandwiches made with revolution rolls - including natural peanut butter with smashed up berries
Crumbled bacon and chopped up tomato in mayo and wrapped in leaf lettuce as a BLT
Pre-seasoned pork loin (just make sure the seasoning has no sugar) with any veggie
I always use Hidden Valley Ranch on my salads, full fat, with cheese, to get those calories in
Tuna salad
Jimmy John’s “unwich” (wrapped in lettuce)
Low carb cheesecake
Hot dogs with Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup
Old Wisconsin Beef Snacks (little salami sticks)
Cut up cheese
Celery and natural peanut butter

Zipper, you’re really hard core! :wink: Great suggestions! The Atkins bars are quite filling and have a substantial amount of protein.

Have you tried non-stick foil instead of parchment? The stuff is fantastic. NOTHING sticks. Can be used over again. I leave it attached to the cookie sheet and just wipe it off.

You have to be careful with a low-carb diet. A few years ago I went on low-carbs, lost a lot of weight, and my blood sugar normalized. I was taken off my diabetes meds, and life was good.

Then my urine was tested, and it turned out I had level 3 kidney disease, mainly from too much protein in my diet. So now I’m still basically eating low-glycemic index food, but I still have to watch my protein intake. And the ironic part is that now I’m on insulin, which contributes to weight gain.

I do all my cooking for the week on the weekends, too, at least for breakfast and lunch. The crockpot is great for breakfast casseroles. Grease it well, and throw in a dozen beaten eggs with some milk or cream, and whatever cooked veggies and meats and cheese you want. Set it on low for 8-10 hours and you have breakfast in the morning. You can also make little mini-frittatas baked in muffin tins, same concept. Good filling 300-calorie or so breakfast. Recipes abound on the internet–pretty much any combo of foods you’ve dreamed of. Just bake them at 325 for 32 minutes.

For lunches, I like making keftas. Get 3 pounds of ground beef and mix it with about a cup of chopped fresh parsley, a bunch of minced green onions, and some salt and pepper. Shape them into little logs (16 of them) and grill them until they’re cooked all the way through. 2 on a salad with some kalamata olives, cucumber, tomato, and tahini dressing is the bomb. They freeze pretty well, too.

To “replace” starches at dinnertime, I double and triple up on the veggies. Instead of fish-rice-broccoli, I put the fish on a bed of mustard greens, and maybe add some bell pepper strips in with the broccoli.

Excellent point. Was it confirmed that your low-carb diet caused or contributed to your kidney disease? How low-carb were you? Dr. Bernstein allows 12 carbs per DAY. That’s extreme, for sure. But some diabetics on his program (he has a message forum) have stayed off meds AND insulin and had no diabetic complications (eyes, kidney, neuropathy, etc.).

When I was on a low-carb diet (I’ve given up on that form of weight loss, too many other side effects for me personally) I ate an awful lot of soy burgers. Low fat, low carb, high in good protein, lots of fiber to help with feeling full. I found they were quite good plain with a good spicy mustard. I also ate a lot of raw spinach.

I see a few suggestions for jerky so far. And while it is good, if you go down that road, make sure you check the nutritional info first. There are some varieties of jerky with a ton of sugar in them. Presumably from the marinade used on the beef, if it is a ‘traditional’ sort of BBQ sauce/marinade will likely have been made with a lot of Brown Sugar in it.

This time of year, tomatoes and cottage cheese. Or almost any lower sugar fruit or veggies with cottage cheese.

Any time of year, frozen veggies are your friends to carry for work. I generally do meat in the crock pot on the weekends and divide it up among storage containers. When I get them out to put in my lunch, I dump a couple of servings worth of frozen veggies and a little seasoning on top. The everything stays cold in either the mini-fridge (in my main office) or my insulated lunch pack and a blu-pak. Nuke for a low carb lunch that you’ve also controlled the sodium in.