Many of the dinner options that you can prepare in minutes, like pasta and frozen pizzas, also happen to be some of the most carb loaded. While consuming carbohydrates can be an important component of a well-balanced diet, too many carbs can show around the waistline and have negative health effects.
Salads do not have to be light precursors to hearty main courses. Instead, you can spruce salads up with all kinds of delicious ingredients, making them as filling as your favorite plate of pasta. Salads are low in carbohydrates and require little to no cooking. One idea is to make a tuna salad, which you can create by mixing canned packed tuna with chopped scallions, tomatoes and creamy dressing. Keeping with the seafood theme, an alternative option is to make an avocado and shrimp salad. You can buy frozen, precooked shrimp and simply defrost them to keep the prep time to a minimum. A popular, seafood-free option is the chef's salad, which can include hard-boiled eggs, ham, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and cheese tossed with a creamy dressing. Keep hard-boiled eggs on hand for a quick source of low-carb protein.
Cooking a bunless burger dinner can be as easy as throwing some burger patties on the grill. Instead of serving the burgers on traditional, starchy buns, set the burgers on a bed of lettuce or steamed or stir-fried vegetables. Making the burgers from scratch will only take up a few moments of time and allows for infinite culinary creativity. Mix together a pound of ground beef and a packet of seasoning mix to make four quick and tasty quarter-pound burgers. Try making Asian-inspired burgers by mixing together ginger, wasabi and sesame oil with the ground beef. If you simply can't serve burgers without buns, try open-faced burger sandwiches: serve the burger and its condiments atop half a bun and eat with a knife and fork.
If your family demands a pasta dinner but you remain steadfast in limiting carbohydrates, try spaghetti squash or shiritaki noodles, which are made from a type of yam. Combine noodles, beef, bok choy cabbage, soy sauce, water and broth. An alternative is to cook the shiritaki noodles with some shrimp, white vinegar, ginger and sesame seeds.
On the Side
Continue your low-carb theme with your side dishes. Some quick side dishes include sauteed green chard with walnuts and pancetta; pan-seared tomatoes with cheese melted on top; and a cabbage and sweet potato coleslaw made with bottled coleslaw dressing. In comparison to regular potatoes, sweet potatoes have fewer carbohydrates.