In previous posts I’ve mentioned how important it is to always have healthy, low carb snacks available. This will help you avoid the starchy, sugary snacks that make up 99% of what you’ll find in snack machines at work or in the snack isle of the grocery or convenience store.
In this post, I’ve put together some of the best and simplest low carb snack ideas so you’re always prepared when hunger strikes.
Nuts, Seeds, and Creamy Butters
Without a doubt, some of the best low carb snacks are nuts and seeds. Although they do contain some carbs and will be limited if you’re on a very low carb diet such as Keto, you should be assured that the healthy dose of fat that you get with nuts and seeds will actually slow down the release of glucose into your bloodstream making it a fantastic appetizer when you can’t avoid starchy carbs in your meal, or when you would like to have a sweet dessert.
Any nuts will do, you can use them as a substitute for chips or other starchy, salty snacks:
- Peanuts (I know, not really a nut, a legume)
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Cheese and Dairy
When you’re on a low carb diet plan, you need to ensure you’re getting enough fat for your body to utilize for energy. Although you’ll want to ensure you get most of the additional fat from healthy plant based nuts, seeds and oils, you will also get to enjoy plenty of dairy products as well.
Note – You want to make sure you’re eating only FULL FAT dairy as low fat or skim versions have way too much sugar in them. Take a look at the difference between the Glycemic Loads of full and low fat vanilla ice cream as an example:
Vanilla High Fat Ice Cream (1/2 c) – 68
Vanilla Low Fat Ice Cream (1/2 c) – 114
Wow, what a difference! Oh, and you’ll enjoy the high fat version so much more – this kind of treat was never meant to be butchered to low fat anyway…what’s the point?
This works the same way with other dairy snacks, you’ll always go for the full fat choice. Sometimes you my have to search a little harder for them, though as there are so many versions of low fat yogurts and cream cheeses than full fat.
Always check for added sugar and avoid it, you can always sweeten by hand or use sugar subs instead.
- All kinds of full fat cheeses and cream cheese
- Sour Cream
- Yogurt (I prefer Fage brand since it’s Greek, it has less water and is thicker and more satisfying)
Chips and Popcorn
This is my particular area of weakness – or used to be before I went low carb. I can remember many nights when a craving for potato chips would send me to the pantry, only to trip over the empty bag when getting out of bed the next morning (party size).
And I was never satisfied with a handful or small bag, I had to grab the big bag, so I could eat to my hearts content. A funny thing happened about 2 days into my low carb life – I stopped having these cravings!
I did however read somewhere that popcorn was better since it has more fiber and it takes less of it to satisfy the carb craving, so I switched.
Instead of eating the entire bag, I either share it or break it up into serving sizes of no more than 2 cups each. This works like a charm, especially since eating it can turn into mindless mouth stuffing if not planned for and contained.
Here’s the Glycemic Load scoop on popcorn versus chips:
- Potato chips (1 small bag or 1 oz) – 62
- Corn chips (1 small bag or 1 oz) – 97
- Popcorn (2 cups) – 57
Now compare those to these other starchy snacks:
- Wheat Thins (4 small) – 136
- Pretzels (1 small bag or 1 oz) – 151
- Rye crisps (1 rectangle) – 125
Quite a difference. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be way more satisfied with 2 cups of popcorn than 4 tiny crackers. It totally tastes better, too. But, I can still have a small bag of Lay’s when I get a hankering’… I prefer munching on some cheese at the same time 🙂 See my fave here
Sweet Low Carb Snacks
Awe, I saved the best for last…although most of the sweets we’ll discuss will also fall in the desserts’ category, you can certainly have sweet snacks as long as you have the with fat and there are no starches in them:
- Peanut M&Ms; (1 snack size pkg or 3/4 oz) – 43
- White Chocolate (2-1″ squares or 2/3 oz) – 49
- Chocolate (2-1″ squares or 1 oz) – 68
- Snickers (2 oz bar) – 218
- Jelly beans (1/3 c or 1-1/2 oz) – 312
Notice that you can have a larger serving of dark chocolate than white (less sugar), and the extra sugar in Snickers (and other comparable candy bars) and jelly beans will totally cause blood sugar spikes since the Glycemic Load is so high.
Remember These Basic Truths and You’ll be Okay
Stick with no or low carb snacks for the most part – nuts, seeds, cheeses, olives and of course, veggies with creamy dips (which I forgot to mention above)
Enjoy occasional starchy snacks like popcorn, potato and corn chips as long as the portions still keep you under 100 on the Glycemic Load Chart.
Enjoy high fat dairy and keep your sweet tooth happy with reasonable amounts of dark chocolate, chocolaty nuts or Peanut M&Ms;
Sticking with these low carb snack ideas should go along way in helping you reach your weight loss goal successfully, without feeling deprived or having to resort to unhealthy starchy snacks.
I hope you found this post helpful. I’d love to hear from you! If you have a question or would like to leave a comment below, that would be awesome!
To Your Success,
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