7 Easy & Delicious Keto Lunch Ideas
Are you just starting keto, or are you a committed member of the club? Contrary to popular belief, diets don’t have to be restrictive.
Instead, the goal is generally to swap out everyday favorites with healthier alternatives. That’s why researching recipes and building a meal plan is essential before starting any diet.
Are you looking for quick lunchtime recipes that are also keto-friendly? Our guide has easy low-carb recipes ready for any day of the week!
Why Is the Keto Diet So Popular?
While keto has been around since the early 20th century, keto has been in the spotlight recently for its fat-burning potential. It’s become a go-to for weight loss plans and has earned a lot of praise from people around the globe.
Those on the keto diet may notice results within a week, both with weight loss and their overall health. Some people note that keto makes them feel more focused and energetic.
Many people also like to pair this low-carb diet with a cleanse to “reset” their system. This can also help the diet produce effective results since toxins won’t be bogging down the body.
What’s the Keto Diet in a Nutshell?
While there are several ways to approach the keto diet, the general idea is the same. Any keto diet relies on limiting or eliminating carbs and prioritizing protein and fatty foods to guide the body into ketosis.
Ketosis is when your body uses fat from the body instead of glucose as a source of energy, making weight loss easier. Your body turns fat into ketones, which are then used as fuel.
Without relying on glucose from sugary foods, it can be easier to avoid succumbing to old cravings over time.
Instead, your diet should consist of protein-packed options and healthy fats, such as:
- Meats, like fish and chicken
- Nuts and seeds
- Cheese, like parmesan, blue cheese, feta, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese
- Olive or canola oil
Instead of counting calories, people count macronutrients (macros), which are grams of fat, carbs, and protein. Some people don’t even count calories or macros and instead focus on maintaining a consistent diet. Keto meals can be incredibly filling due to the high amount of protein in each meal, thus controlling cravings and the need to overeat.
Keto is becoming easier to do with so many keto-friendly options and alternatives on the market. With plenty of recipes that are keto versions of your comforting favorites, there are fewer and fewer reasons to not give it a shot!
7 Easy Keto Lunch Ideas
Looking for a delectable lunch to have any day of the week that’s also keto-friendly? No problem! Our seven quick and easy best keto lunch recipes are here for every day of the week.
Quick Chicken Salad
Are you looking for a classic but quick chicken salad recipe that’s both keto-friendly and tasty? In just 10 minutes, you can whip up a delicious chicken salad recipe with four servings.
- Four cooked boneless skinless chicken halves (three to four ounces each), cut into cubes. You can also swap these out with turkey.
- ½ cup of shredded carrots (about two medium-sized carrots)
- ⅓ cup of shredded beet (one medium-sized beet)
- Four cups of finely shredded purple or green cabbage
Toss chicken, carrots, beets, cabbage, and dressing of choice in a large bowl. You can also use a homemade dressing to marinate your chicken. Add some salt and pepper to liven up the taste, and chill in the refrigerator before serving.
You can also add a keto-friendly dressing like this homemade balsamic vinaigrette. If you aren’t a fan of chicken salad, you can quickly adapt this recipe to make tuna salad, broccoli salad, and egg salad.
Cheeseburger Lettuce Wrap
Easy and cheesy! This recipe satiates your need for something savory without sacrificing your diet.
- One pound of lean, ground, grass-fed beef
- Lettuce of choice
- Two ounces of your cheese of choice
- One teaspoon of garlic powder
- One teaspoon of onion powder
- Two tablespoons of sugar-free ketchup or mustard (or both, if desired)
- Sea salt and ground pepper (to taste)
- Chopped dill pickles (two to four)
- Chopped cherry tomatoes
Note: You can add, swap, or exclude any “topping” ingredients like a regular cheeseburger. Just check that any additions not on the list are keto-friendly!
Add your ground beef and seasonings to a skillet on medium-high heat. Mince and cook until brown. Stir in sauces such as sugar-free ketchup or mustard, then remove it from the heat. On a large platter or bowl, spread out your pieces of lettuce. Top with the beef and then sprinkle on toppings of choice.
Simple Chicken Soup
To make chicken soupketo-friendly, you’ll use bone broth, either homemade or prepackaged, like Dr. Kellyann's Homestyle Bone Broth powder.
- Three quarts of chicken bone broth
- ¾ pound skinless, bone-in chicken breasts
- ¾ pound skinless, bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks
- Four carrots, peeled and sliced
- Four celery ribs, sliced
- Two leeks (white part only) sliced
- ¾ cup of chopped parsley
- One teaspoon of turmeric powder
- A one-inch piece of freshly peeled ginger
- Two teaspoons of pink Himalayan salt
- ½ to one teaspoon of ground black pepper
Using a large stockpot or instant pot, pour in chicken bone broth and bring to a boil. Add chicken to a slow simmer with the heat on low to medium-low. After 15 minutes, remove any foam from the top with a sieve. Add carrots, celery, leeks, parsley, ginger, and turmeric powder to the stockpot.
Cover and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Remove the chicken from the pot, taking out the bones and shredding it before returning to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Note: You can use noodle alternatives, such as chickpea pasta or “zoodles” (zucchini noodles), to add to your soup recipe.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Yummy and savory, our stuffed bell pepper recipe is sure to help you include your veggies in your daily diet. This recipe is so good you can hardly tell it’s healthy!
- Four bell peppers (green)
- Three tablespoons coconut oil
- One pound of ground grass-fed, lean beef
- 1/2 cup of chopped onion
- One small zucchini, chopped
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- One and a half cups of fresh spinach
- One can of diced tomatoes (14.8-ounce size)
- One tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
- Pink Himalayan salt and pepper
Wrap your green peppers in aluminum foil and place them in a baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the peppers for 15 minutes. On medium heat, cook the meat with coconut oil until brown.
Place the meat in a separate bowl and cook the other peppers, zucchini, spinach, and onion with the remaining coconut oil. Place the meat back in the skillet alongside the tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Put the mixture in the green peppers and bake for another 15 minutes.
Easy Cobb Salad
This cobb salad is a play on a delicious classic.
- Lettuce (we recommend romaine)
- Two boneless skinless chicken halves (cooked)
- One avocado
- Cherry tomatoes
- Two hard-boiled eggs
- Cheese of choice
- Four tablespoons of chives
- Homemade vinegarette dressing
Chop the ingredients on a cutting board by dicing or slicing the cherry tomatoes, avocado, eggs, and chicken. Combine lettuce, chicken, watercress, cheese, chives, tomatoes, avocado, and chives in a large bowl. Drizzle homemade vinaigrette or greek dressing on top, and enjoy.
Note: You may also add chopped crispy bacon bits or smoked salmon to the recipe.
Keto Chicken Fajitas
Who doesn’t love sizzling fajitas? Recreate a restaurant favorite that’s compliant with your nutrition goals.
- Skinless grilled chicken or another keto-friendly meat
- Green, red, and yellow peppers
- ½ of an onion
- Olive oil
- Taco seasoning
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice chicken into strips ½ inch thick. Slice peppers and onion into thin strips. Place chicken, pepper, and onion strips on a sheet pan and lightly cover with olive oil. Dust with taco seasoning, mix well and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
If you have leftovers from your fajitas, consider using gluten-freetortillas to make keto tacos. Variations and additions for this low-carb lunch idea include gluten-freetortilla chips, cauliflower rice, and lettuce leaves.
Zucchini Noodles and Italian Sauce
Miss pasta? You don’t have to! Zucchini noodles (“zoodles”) and similar pasta alternatives make for easy keto lunch recipes.
- Zucchini or yellow squash
- Olive oil
- Garlic (fresh or jarred)
- Crushed tomatoes
- Italian seasoning
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Two tablespoons of fresh basil
Zoodles: With a vegetable peeler, peel your zucchini, squash, or both for a mix. Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and cook the zoodles for two to three minutes. Do not overcook.
Italian Sauce: In a pot on medium heat, saute your onion and garlic until soft. Bring the pot to a simmer and add Italian seasoning, basil, red pepper flakes, and crushed tomatoes for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over cooked zoodles and store any extra in a jar.
To add protein to this meal, consider making keto-friendlymeatballs or a greek salad for your side dish.
Who Shouldn’t Try the Keto Diet?
In general, people who shouldn’t try keto include those with a history of eating disorders, pregnant people, and those with certain medical conditions where avoiding carbs isn’t possible. This can include people with adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues (like hypothyroidism), athletes, and children.
People with a history of eating disorders can be vulnerable when eating a keto diet because of macro-counts and strict adherence to certain foods. Additionally, children and teens are still developing and need nutrients from many sources, and keto is too restrictive for a growing body.
No matter what, you should always consult a doctor before beginning a diet plan.
Does that mean you can’t enjoy these recipes? Of course not! Anyone can enjoy these recipes, whether they’re on keto or not.
The Bottom Line
With so many brilliant keto-friendly lunches, your lunch box never has to be boring. Keto lunches often include dupes of your craving go-to's, like pasta alternatives and healthier comfort foods.
These recipes have simple ingredients and short prep times and are perfect for meal prep, on-the-go lifestyles, or just a relaxing weekend at home. Remember: swap, don’t eliminate when it comes to go-to recipes!
Ketogenic diets and appetite regulation | NIH
Ketogenic Diet - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf
Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes | PMC