Going low-carb looks a lot different now than it did five or ten years ago. When Atkins was all the rage, people were frying up eggs and bacon while having to mostly swear off pizza, pasta, and other traditionally carb-y foods. But now, all of those foods are very possible if you choose to go low-carb thanks to creative uses of cauliflower, zucchini, and other vegetables.
And no, eating low-carb doesn’t necessarily mean all meat, all the time, either. “Low-carb eating means excluding foods that are high in carbs—think pasta, cereals, bread—from your diet to reduce the amount of carbs you’re having and focus on eating foods that primary contain protein, low-carb fruits and veggies, and healthy fats,” says Maggie Michalczyk, RD. Most people on low-carb diets eat around 50 to 150 grams of carbs a day, although people on keto likely are consuming less.
“The good news is you can still enjoy a lot of your favorite foods on a low-carb diet, and it definitely doesn’t have to mean low flavor,” says Michalczyk. “There are many low-carb options of favorites like pizza out there at the grocery store these days.”
Of course, going low-carb is not for everyone, says Michalczyk. While this kind of eating can be particularly helpful for people with diabetes or other blood sugar issues, it’s important to remember that your body needs some carbohydrates to function. (The brain needs it for energy!) Everyone’s health and dietary needs are different.
However, if you are feeling that low-carb life and you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these low-carb dinner recipes. They’re all easy, delicious, and come together in 30 minutes or less. Dinner tonight is saved.
Keep reading for 7 easy low-carb dinner recipes ideal for weeknight cooking:
Because who doesn’t like tacos? “These are packed with veggies and protein and flavor, and what’s cool about this recipe is that you can really use any veggies you have on hand to fill the tacos with,” says Michalczyk. Opt for low-carb tortillas or use a lettuce to wrap it all up—and don’t forget the avocado or guac on top!
Easy, flavorful, and the perfect amount of protein on top of any type of salad that you want to put it on, this piece of glazed salmon is low in carbs but is sweet and citrusy to hit the spot. You can serve with low-carb rice and with roasted veggies, too. “Salmon is a good source of monounsaturated fat, vitamin D, and protein, which helps to make a meal satiating,” Michalczyk says.
“This will be your new favorite low-carb meal,” says Michalczyk. “These stuffed peppers are easy to make in less than 30 minutes and super flavorful.” Peppers and broccoli are two low-carb veggies that also provide you with filling fiber, and you’re getting lean protein from the ground turkey.
This recipe is a gluten-free take on classic chicken noodle soup with an Asian-inspired flavor profile. “This quick and yummy recipe takes advantage of many traditional Thai veggies, spices, and more,” says Charlotte Martin, RDN, CPT. Since this recipe uses zucchini noodles instead of regular ones, this dish is low-carb and Paleo-approved. “Plus, it uses rotisserie chicken for a quick and easy meal that’s ready in just under 20 minutes,” she says.
You can’t talk about low-carb dinner recipes without mentioning cauliflower fried rice. You might think you’re sick of the dish, but adding kimchi (and some other herbs and flavors) takes this meal from bland to flavorful. “Plus, kimchi is a natural source of probiotics, the good-gut-guys,” says Martin. By adding in lots of other veggies (really whatever is in your fridge) and a fried egg on top for extra protein, you’ll have a delicious, filling dinner ready in under 30 minutes.
Boring turkey meatballs get an upgrade with pesto in this paleo turkey meatball dish. “These meatballs are loaded with protein and heart-healthy fats from almond flour and pesto. Plus, you can make them in bulk and store them in the freezer for the week ahead,” says Martin. Serve them over zoodles or with roasted vegetables for a great low-carb dinner option.
Swap out pasta for spiralized veggies to make a low-carb pasta dish for dinnertime. “Balanced with satiating protein and fat, you’ll enjoy a fresh pasta-like dish and still feel full,” says Kelly Jones, RD. “What’s great about this recipe is that you can swap out fresh vegetables based on the season,” she says. If you can’t find fresh asparagus, for example, roast brussels sprouts or broccolini instead.
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