I learned this about myself after I tried making cauliflower tater tots one evening in college. They turned out to be a delicious and healthy way to indulge a craving without throwing me off my healthy eating game, but there's a reason I've only made them one time—the effort. And while sometimes I'm willing to put the work, most of the time, it's not worth it to me.
The good news? Not all low-carb dinners have to keep you in the kitchen for hours (with a mile-high stack of dishes, to boot). These seven recipes each have less than 20 grams of carbs each, and not one of them requires you to hollow out a squash or throw a head of broccoli into a food processor. (And trust me, my bar to consider something "easy" is pretty high.)
Just to be clear, carbohydrates aren't bad for you. Actually, your body needs them. But if you're looking for low-carb options for whatever reason, whether you're trying a new low-carb eating plan, or you just want to introduce more variety into your meals, these have you covered. And, as a bonus, each one has at least the R.D.-recommended 15 grams of protein to keep you going strong.
1. Jalapeno Shrimp Veggie Bake from Cotter Crunch
This spicy dish proves that low carb doesn't have to mean bland and boring. If you're feeling especially bold, keep the seeds in the jalapeños for extra kick. Get the recipe here.
Per one serving: 253 calories, 9 grams carbs, 17 grams protein
2. Broccoli Avocado Tuna Bowl from Eating Bird Food
Avocado, roasted sunflower seeds, broccoli, and tuna work together to create a satisfying mix of textures. Get the recipe here.
Per one serving: 423 calories, 15 grams carbs, 38 grams protein
3. Taco-Stuffed Peppers from The Seasoned Mom
Bell peppers are a colorful and lower-carb shell for your favorite taco fixings. Get the recipe here.
Per one serving: 260 calories, 19 grams carbs, 26 grams protein
4. Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Inquiring Chef
This light weeknight dinner is way faster (and healthier) than ordering takeout. Get the recipe here.
Per one serving: 330 calories, 9 grams carbs, 38 grams protein
5. One-Pan Lemon Thyme Chicken with Asparagus from Cafe Delites
Working with just one pan automatically makes any dinner recipe easier. Get the recipe here.
Per one serving: 321 calories, 3 grams carbs, 35 grams protein
6. Shrimp and Zucchini Stir-Fry with Miso Lime Sauce from Cookin' Canuck
This flavorful low-carb dinner proves that zucchini is just as good sliced as it is spiralized. Get the recipe here.
Per one serving: 208 calories, 10 grams carbs, 24 grams protein
7. Bacon and Cheese-Stuffed Rolled Chicken from Low Carb, So Simple
You can't go wrong with a five-ingredient recipe of chicken, cheese, bacon, and a couple of spices. It may not exactly qualify as a "light" dinner, but it is delicious and easy. Serve alongside a simple salad to add some greens. Get the recipe here.
Per one serving: 257 calories, 1 g carbs, 41 grams protein