Low–carb vegetarian meals are typically made up of meatless low-carb protein sources, some dairy products, and green vegetables. Other additions to a restricted carbohydrate diet plan might include baked goods made from nut flours and low-sugar fruits. Low-carb diets typically don’t restrict the consumption of fats and oils, so vegetarians have the option of using butter and various types of vegetable and nut oils in the preparation of their food. What the preparation of tasty and varied low-carb vegetarian meals requires, however, is a bit of advance planning and research. Some meat substitutes, for example, are made from high-carbohydrate grains, which means that a vegetarian will need to read product labels before purchasing these items. Reduced-carb baked goods can also be difficult to find in stores and bakeries, so a person on a low-carb vegetarian diet may want to bake and freeze a supply of low-carb breads, muffins, and other treats to have on hand.
The staple breakfast of many people on low-carbohydrate diets is bacon and eggs or some variation on this theme. A vegetarian has the option of locating a low-carbohydrate bacon substitute that can be served with eggs. Another option is making an omelet or crustless breakfast quiche from eggs, low-carbohydrate cheese, and low-carbohydrate vegetables. A third option is pancakes made from a low-carbohydrate flour, bake mix, or even shredded coconut, served with berries or a sugar-free syrup. If a person does not have time to prepare low-carb vegetarian meals from scratch in the morning, he might want to stock up on low-carb protein shakes or energy bars for a quick morning snack.
There are numerous options for lunchtime low-carb vegetarian meals, although people who work outside the home may find that they need to pack a lunch on most days so that they can get the nutrition and flavor they need from their midday meal. Lettuce leaves or low-carbohydrate flatbreads make great sandwich wraps. Vegetarians can use sliced meatless cold cuts, sticks or slices of hard cheese, or chopped eggs as fillings, along with mayonnaise and mustard as condiments. Other options for a tasty lunch include vegetarian soups that don’t contain added sugar or that aren’t thickened with starch and green salads topped with sugar-free salad dressing, cheese, and eggs.
Many people have more flexibility when it comes to preparing their dinner than their lunch, as they are not typically in a hurry to get out the door and to work. Evening low-carb vegetarian meals can run the gamut between quick and easy to elaborate. Typical dishes may include meat substitutes or vegetable-based casseroles and stir-fries. In place of starchy side dishes such as rice or potatoes, vegetarians can enjoy high-fiber shirataki noodles or cauliflower that has been cooked and then either grated fine so that it looks like rice or puréed with butter and cream into a mashed potato substitute.