Low-Carb Main Dish Recipes and Dinner Menu Ideas

Low-Carb Dinner Ideas

Low-Carb Dinner
Photo © Karen Struthers

Making low-carb dinners may seem challenging when you first start to change your diet, but once you get the hang of it it's really not hard. You probably are already making a few main dish recipes that are almost diet-ready.  Here are some tips for making easy and delicious low-carb dinners, with links to lots of low-carb main dish recipes.

Start With What You Know

Main dishes that are old standbys and are naturally low-carb or can easily adjusted are the best place to start.

Think about your favorite meals. In particular:

  • Look to your meals where the protein is fairly plainly cooked, such as grilled or pan-fried meats, broiled fish, etc. Include more vegetables instead of potatoes or rice, including substitutes such as "Cauli-Rice" or Mashed Cauliflower. If the plate seems puny, add a green salad with an olive oil-based dressing, or a soup. Also, don't be afraid of including more healthy fat than you are used to -- it will help satisfy you until the next meal.
  • Skillet meals consisting of meat and veggies are often naturally low-carb, or you can just leave out the starch or sweet sauce. Top Skillet Chicken Meals
  • Grilled foods are a great place to start (as long as you stay away from sugary BBQ sauces).  Grilled food is delicious without being fussy, and cleanup is easy!  For example, check out: Baby Back Ribs, Mexican Chicken, or Korean Beef. There are more recipes for low-carb grilled foods on this page: Low-Carb Summer Holidays

    De-Carb Your Favorites

    I firmly believe that to make low-carb eating into a way of life (instead of a "diet"), it's important to find low-carb versions of a lot of your favorite meals. In some cases, the adjustments needed can be surprisingly small. For example, Find out

    Make Friends with Eggs

    If you don't have much cooking experience, eggs are a wonderful place to start.  You can eat eggs for any meal! They are highly nutritious, and it's easy to incorporate any vegetables, cheeses, or meats you have in the fridge to make a different meal.

    Try a New Cuisine

    Some cuisines are naturally less carby than others. Examples to try:

    • Traditional Greek food is often less starchy and sugary than many others.  It has a focus on vegetables, protein, and olive oil.
    • When people think about France they usually think of bread, but traditional French food is only moderate in carbohydrates. In fact, recently the French have been decreasing their intake of fat and increasing their carbs, and getting fatter.
    • Many Asian dishes automatically become low-carb if you leave out the rice or noodles. Here's an easy Thai dish, for example.

      Hunt for New Favorites

      If you are on a specific diet plan, take a look at the cookbook(s) that go along with it, or other low-carb cookbooks. Checking a book out of the library can help you figure out if the author's tastes are similar to your own without investing in the book too soon. This is My Favorite Low-Carb Cookbook, especially for beginners.

      We have lots of low-carb main dish recipes on this site, and there are more ideas in my Low-Carb Menus.

      Low-Carb Chicken Recipes - Over twenty chicken recipes, for the stovetop, oven, grill, or crockpot.

      Low-Carb Fish and Seafood Recipes - Ten low-carb recipes with fish, shrimp, or scallops.

      Low-Carb Vegetarian Recipes - Check out the zucchini lasagna and other low-carb vegetarian main dishes.  (See Also: How to Be a Low-Carb Vegetarian)

      Low-Carb Beef Recipes - From how to make cheap steak taste good to brisket in a crock pot.

      Low-Carb Ground Beef Recipes - try these recipes make with ground beef:

      Make it a Meal

      What to have with your main protein food?  Check out;

      A Word From Verywell

      To avoid spending a lot of time cooking dinner at the end of a busy day, have your vegetables chopped up and ready to go, and any other preparation done.  That way, dinner can be prepared in just a few minutes and you're more likely to do it rather than order take-out food.

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