Low-carb lunches are very tricky if you are not at home all day long, with both children away at nursery/school and good local shops nearby from which you can source your pernickety high-demand, low-carb, low-GI lunch “solution”.
BUT on the other hand if you are not at home all day with both children away at the thing and able to get food from the other thing then you are probably at werk and therefore you have 20 min to pop out to lunch and the Lord knows that the high street has cottoned on to the fact that around about noon every weekday there is a stampede of angry women who DO NOT WANT A SANDWICH BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE THEM SLEEPY AND THEN FAT.
If you are in such a fortunate position then the best high street lo-carb option that I’ve found is Pret’s Kimchee chicken and slaw thingy; you have to pick out the spring onion (scallions for my American readers) and dodge the few strands of noodles they put in the bottom of the bowl (why Pret, why? You don’t understand women at all.)
Alternatively, if you are the mum at home with the kids etc, your daily errands may take you within striking distance of a Pret, in which case you can buy this for yourself as a treat and eat it at 90mph in the 20 mins before you have to pick up no.2 from nursery at 1pm.
1 Pret’s Korean Chicken & Kimchi SuperBowl
2 Halloumi and chickpea salad
Make the chickpea salad by chopping up a lot of cucumber and baby tomatoes, parsley, coriander (if you have it) – fresh mint is particularly lovely with this, dried chilli flakes or fresh if you have it and put in a bowl. Empty over a can of rinsed chickpeas. Mix together 4 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp vinegar, the juice of half a lemon a big pinch of salt and four grinds of the pepper grinder and pour over the salad. Add a heaped teaspoon of capers. This keeps well in the fridge so don’t worry that you’ve made too much: you can have it the next day too or hand on to a grateful dieting flatmate or husband.
OMG BY THE WAY! I have discovered how to de-seed cucumbers! How have I not known this forever? You split the cucumber down the middle then take a teaspoon and just run it hard down the middle of the cucumber and it scrapes out all the seeds. You are all laughing at me now – you’ve all known this for ages.
Now slice the halloumi (buy the most expensive kind you can find) and fry it hot in a dry frying pan for about 3-5 minutes each side until brown. Do this last and do not leave the halloumi sitting about as it goes rubbery.
3 Prawn cocktail and avocado.
This is a handy quick recipe as you can keep several tubs of frozen freshwater prawns (from Waitrose) in your freezer and defrost them as necessary. You ALWAYS ought to have several avocados maturing around your kitchen as they are the low-carb dieter’s best friend.
You ought to make the cocktail sauce yourself as it will have less sugar in it if you make it from fresh.
2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tsp ketchup, juice 1/2 lemon, small pinch salt, tiny tiny pinch (just a few specks) cayenne pepper.
Mix with the prawns, arrange meaningfully alongside some sliced avocado.
4 Oatcakes, apple and cheese
This is a lunch for when you are very hungry, very short on time and not feeling completely uptight about the strict no-carb thing as there is sugar in the apple and oatcakes are carbs – though low-GI so more forgiving than many other lunch options. It’s quite self-explanatory – I favour gruyere for the cheese.
5 Poached egg and spinach
Be sure to drain both spinach and egg well before plating up as otherwise you’ll get a beastly pool of water on your plate as you eat. Yucky. Make sure you butter and season the spinach very well otherwise there’s no point and it will be depressing.