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10 Low Carb Lunches

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

A can of soda, two pieces of bread, a few slices of deli meat and cheese, a glob of mayo or mustard, and a more air-than-potato bag of chips...

Aah, lunch used to be such an easy meal to throw together, then throw down during that 30-minute break your boss calls a lunch hour.

Just because you've come to your senses and sought a healthier eating regimen doesn't mean you have to bag the brown-bag lunch. Gobble up our top 10 lunch suggestions -- recommended by an Atkins insider nonetheless -- and you'll be the most envied eater at the office or factory.

If you've been losing weight and feeling tons better thanks to the Atkins Nutritional Approach, you know burgers, fries, pizzas and tacos are off limits. In fact, these fast food staples may well be the reason you've gained pounds and lost energy.

You won't let the lunchtime doldrums get you down once you fill up on good advice from Atkins Nutritionals food editor Stephanie Nathanson.

Here are Stephanie's suggestions:

1. Chicken salad, tuna salad, turkey salad! Enjoy on a bed of lettuce with other fresh veggies or as a sandwich on low-carb bread.

2. Quesadillas! Fill low-carb tortillas with meats, vegetables and cheese.

3. Sandwiches! Stuff a low-carb tortilla or low-carb bread with avocado slices, chicken, sprouts and other veggies and protein.

4. Leftovers! Leftovers are great for both lunch and dinner. If you make a roast chicken the night before, you can use the meat as a base for either a salad or sandwich.

5. Ready-to-drink shakes or handy snack bars! Supplement these Atkins products with a piece of cheese or fresh vegetables. If you have moved beyond Induction, you can supplement with a some berries or a handful of nuts as well.

6. Caesar salad, Cobb salad, chef salad! Any salad that contains proteins (cheese, luncheon meat made without nitrates) and low-carb dressing is a healthy option.

7. Omelets! If you havent had eggs for breakfast, an omelet loaded with meat and vegetables makes a good lunch.

8. Burger... no bun! You can make a quick run for your favorite fast food restaurant. Order a bunless burger and a side salad.

9. Miso soup and sashimi! If youre going Japanese, fresh fish is an excellent selection. However, pass on the sushi rolls made with rice.

10. Steak, lobster... dinner for lunch! Treat yourself. A juicy steak or a chicken breast with a side of veggies is more than suitable and a great way to beat lunchtime boredom.

Stephanie tells eDiets there are plenty of healthy choices that fit nicely into your new low-carb lifestyle. Thanks to the introduction of tasty low-carb breads and tortillas it’s gotten easier to expand your lunch menu from tuna or chicken salad and celery sticks.

"There are more choices now, even at fast food places," Stephanie tells eDiets. "Companies are starting to pay attention to the way people want to eat. There’s a whole re-education going on."

It’s important to note that even with low-carb breads and tortillas you still have to watch your daily carb count.

Whether it’s a meaty salad at your favorite burger joint or a low-carb entree at your favorite bar & grill, most restaurants are now catering to the individual who's scrapped his or her low-fat, calorie-counting approach for an eating plan that'll fill you up without filling you out.

Go ahead... order up that cheeseburger. But simply skip the bun and fries. Or if you opt for chicken wings, make sure the wings aren't breaded and that the sauce isn't sugar-rich. (Sugar=carbs.) Balance either one with a side salad.

For you loyal Atkins follower who can’t do without your beloved bread, Stephanie urges you B.Y.O.B (bring your own bread... low carb of course).

As most of you know by now, Atkins is not an "eat all the meat you want" philosophy. One of the best resources for a healthy, well-balanced lunch remains the salad bar.

Stephanie says it's a great way to control what and how much you eat. You can fill up on chicken salad, tuna salad, turkey salad and an array of fresh-cooked high-fiber vegetables. But before you hit the bar, beware of salad dressings that can drown your diet in carbs.

Stephanie warns there are still some eateries where you’ll be hard-pressed to find an appropriate low-carb lunch. Between pastas and pizzas, the local Italian restaurant can be a high-carb haven. Your best out is to settle for a salad or even a grilled chicken breast with a side of veggies. Remember, those pound-packing pastas aren’t going to win you any weight loss awards.

To avoid getting yourself in a pickle -- if you're wondering, dill is OK, sweet is not -- plan your selections in advance. If you keep the protein on hand, along with low-carb bread or tortillas, you’ll be less likely to scramble when the lunch bell rings.

By keeping a small cooler packed with all your staples, plus convenient snacks like Atkins Advantage Bars and Shakes, you’re always prepared for the worst case scenarios, like having no time to grab a sit-down meal. Coupled with a piece of cheese, fruit or a handful of nuts, your snacks will provide the boost you need. (Again, fruit and nuts are no-nos until you are in Ongoing Weight Loss and beyond.)

"There are a lot of choices," Stephanie says. "It requires a little thinking ahead. In the morning when you leave the house think about where you’ll be at lunchtime and what your choices will be."

Eating three meals a day is a must -- and feel free to enjoy low-carb snacks between meals. Doing so maintains your blood sugar levels and keeps you on an even keel so you don’t suffer energy dips.

Struggling for a simple lunch solution? Let the nutritional professionals at eDiets lend a hand. You can have all your meals, menus and shopping lists designed just for you. If there’s a meal suggestion you don’t like, no problem. With the click of a few keys you can swap it out!

By joining eDiets, you’ll also receive 24/7 peer and professional support. You’ll be able to discuss your Atkins experience on bulletin boards buzzing with other determined dieters just like yourself.

Author Sheri Strykowski is a freelance journalist who specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle. Her articles have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Lerner newspapers and National Safety Council publications. She is also a content expert who has built over 40 websites for a Fortune 100 company.

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