Any weight loss diet that is going to be sustainable and effective must include snacks.
Because hunger will undermine even the strongest willpower.
Knowing you can have a snack can make all the difference between eating healthily or simply pigging out.
Hunger can really mess with your mind and while you might be able to tough it out until your next meal, you’ll probably overeat when you get there.
500 extra calories at your meal or a 200 calorie snack?
The answer is obvious; it’s simple math!
The problem is, many traditional snack foods are dreadfully unhealthy.
They’re loaded with sugar, fat, and salt, are highly processed, and encourage overeating.
I mean, who only eats 1-2 cookies?!
A good snack needs to be:
- Low in calories
- Low in carbs and added sugar
- Nutritionally beneficial i.e. high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and/or minerals
So, with those guidelines in mind, here are what we believe are the twelve best low carb snacks…!
Nuts are high in protein, loaded with healthy fats, and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals.
They are easily portable so you can take some with you wherever you go.
On the downside, they are quite calorie-dense so practice good portion control.
Weigh them out into one-ounce servings to prevent overeating.
The lowest carb nuts are macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds.
Cashews and chestnuts are high in carbs and should be avoided.
2. Sliced Apple and Peanut Butter
Fruit is often off limits when you are going low carb but apples are actually pretty carb-lite.
High in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals, it’s no wonder they say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Chop your apple into eight slices and serve with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter for a great-tasting and filling snack.
3. Cheese and Celery Sticks
Cheese is naturally low in carbs and so too is celery.
Together, this awesome pairing makes a really good snack.
Dice an ounce or two of hard cheese and eat with a couple of trimmed and washed celery sticks.
Season with salt and pepper as required.
Another low carb fruit, olives are packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber which makes them both good for you and filling too.
Ten medium-sized olives weigh in at about 60 calories and only 1.5 gram of carbs so you can treat yourself to this snack a few times a day without derailing your diet.
5. Cold Cuts
Precooked meat is virtually carb free no matter whether it’s chicken, beef, or ham.
The best types are those that are minimally processed so avoid things like luncheon meat and some cheap salamis and sausages which often contain added sugar and even grains and fillers.
High in protein and fat, cold cuts are filling.
6. Boiled Eggs
Hard boiled eggs are high in protein, high in healthy fats, packed with useful vitamins and minerals, and all but carb-free.
One typical egg contains 6 grams of protein and about 60 calories.
If possible, seek out organic, free-range eggs as they tend to be the healthiest and the tastiest.
A good egg has a dark yellow yolk.
Worried about cholesterol?
No need to be; if you are healthy, your body makes around 1500mg of cholesterol a day and if you eat high cholesterol foods, your body simply produces a little less keep things balanced.
Beef jerky, turkey jerky, buffalo jerky; all jerky is high in protein and should also be low or free from carbs.
Check the nutrition label though and look out for added sugar especially in maple-flavored jerky.
Some jerky is alarmingly high in salt, nitrates and other chemical nastiness which ironic when you consider that drying meat preserves it naturally so these additives are not even needed.
Try to find the most natural product you can or, alternatively, make your own.
You only need some beef, some seasoning and an oven. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/30795/t-birds-beef-jerky/
8. Guacamole and Carrot Sticks
Guacamole is mashed and seasoned avocado which is high in healthy monounsaturated fats.
Normally served with high carb corn chips, you can slash the calorie and carb content of this snack by substituting the chips with carrot sticks.
An ideal snack for when you are watching TV!
9. Baked Bacon
Baked bacon is like almost instant jerky!
Take a few rashers of bacon and place them on a non-stick baking tray or regular tray covered with baking parchment.
Place the tray in a cold oven and then turn it on to a high heat.
Leave it for 15-20 minutes, including the time it takes the oven to warm up, and then remove the bacon when it is done to the desired crispiness.
10. Zucchini Chips
Potato chips are high in carbs and not that healthy but you can make a great low carb alternative from zucchini.
Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit/110 degrees Celsius.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick foil, and spray with canola oil.
Cut zucchini into quarter-thick chips with a knife or a mandolin slicer.
Lay out slices on the prepared baking sheet, and spray tops lightly with additional cooking spray.
Sprinkle with the seasonings of your choice. Place in the preheated oven and bake 45-60 minutes or until chips are browned and crisped to your liking.
Eat within a couple hours of removing from the oven as they start to get chewy if left out for longer.
11. Sugar-Free Jello and Heavy Cream
Sweet cravings are almost unavoidable, so it’s nice to have a low-carb treat on hand for emergencies.
Sugar-free jello is sweetened using artificial additives which is not ideal but consumed occasionally in small amounts should be fine.
Make your sugar-free jello according to the manufacturer’s instructions and serve with a tablespoon of heavy cream for a decadent but carb-free treat.
12. Cottage Cheese
High in protein, cottage cheese contains only five grams of carbs per 100 gram serving.
Season with a little black pepper and paprika for a savory snack or mix in half a scoop of flavored protein powder for something a little more dessert-like.
Either way, cottage cheese is an excellent high protein, low carb, high calcium snack.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There is no reason at all that snacking should derail your diet.
In fact, the right snacks can help control hunger and cravings and make your weight loss efforts more successful.
Plan your snacks in advance for the day and make sure you always have healthy treats on hand.
That way, when hunger strikes, you won’t have to resort to candy, cookies, or any other high carb, fattening snacks.