When you are dieting, regular meals and snacks are important. Having a variety of well-chosen snacks on hand can help you stay on your plan when hunger or emotional cues have you heading for the kitchen. Include protein with every snack. Try some of these ideas to add healthy variety to your low carb diet.
Any type of meat or meat product that your low carb diet allows can be served as a snack. A slice of meat or turkey, spread with mayonnaise, mustard or cream cheese, then rolled up makes a convenient snack; you might try including vegetable or pickle slices inside, or use a piece of cheese instead and dip the roll in mustard. Wrap slices of cooked turkey or chicken breast with ranch dressing inside a lettuce leaf. A handful of cubed ham makes a quick snack. Pepperoni is another great snack, especially when slowly baked into crisp chips; as with all processed meats, watch for added sugars and other chemicals. Beef jerky is a classic low carb snack; choose jerky with little or no added sugars. Pork rinds can be served by themselves, with cheese or with dip; microwave pork rinds, freshly cooked, have a wonderful aroma and fresh taste and are well worth a try. Veteran low carbers even recommend pork rinds topped with a combination of artificial sweetener and cinnamon. Boiled shrimp are wonderful on their own or served cold with a low-sugar cocktail or tartar sauce. Eggs are a good source of protein; boiled eggs are convenient and portable, and deviled eggs are a wonderful high-protein snack. A plate of scrambled eggs topped with fresh herbs and cheese or vegetables make a delicious and hearty snack or light meal.
Vegetables and Fruit
The types of vegetables and fruits permitted varies by diet plan. Most low carb diets allow salads, which make wonderful snacks; watch out for hidden sugar and starch in salad dressings. Coleslaw made without sugar is a good vegetable snack as well as a low carb side dish. Vegetables can be served with a variety of different dips or cheeses. There are a number of vegetable relishes that can be served as a dip with snacks; look for pico de gallo and salsa recipes that are low in carbs. Stuffed mushrooms make a good savory snack. A small dish of berries topped with sugar-free whipped cream is a good snack or dessert after a low carb meal. If your plan allows apples, consider fresh apple slices topped with sugar-free peanut butter, or a baked apple with butter, cinnamon and artificial sweetener.
Many low carb plans include no-sugar yogurt. You can eat yogurt plain, with fresh fruit added or with a variety of sugar-free flavorings and toppings. Cheese is a popular and convenient low carb snack; string cheese is especially convenient because of its packaging and premeasured serving size. Cheese can be baked into crisps that can be eaten as is or with other foods. Whip heavy cream with artificial sweetener and spoon dollops onto a cookie sheet; place these in the freezer until firm, and you have a quick snack very much like ice cream. Sugar-free whipped topping can turn plain sugar-free gelatin into a more enjoyable snack.
Nuts and Seeds
Most low carb diets allow nuts and seeds in moderation. While a serving of nuts or seeds is a wonderful snack, think about nut butters as well. Cashew butter makes a wonderful topping for a variety of foods, like celery or even whole grain crackers if your plan allows them, or can serve as a dip for raw vegetables. Ground raw sunflower kernels can be baked into delicious low carb crackers. Almond milk can be used a beverage or to top whole grain cereal. Nut flours, such as almond meal, can be used to make a variety of foods.
Whether you can eat grain products or not depends on your diet plan. Look for whole grain products, high in fiber with no added sugars. Wasa high-fiber crackers are a good base for tuna or egg salad. Low carb breads can be used for sandwiches. Low carb tortillas are a good base for salads or can be used to make rolled snacks. If your diet plan permits popcorn, consider that as a snack, but watch the salt.
There are a number of processed low carb foods, including snack bars. Processed foods can bring variety to your low carb lifestyle, but not all of them are good choices. Read the label carefully, looking for carb sources such as maltodextrin and sugar alcohols, and as much as you can, choose “real” food over chemicals. Here are some processed foods you might want to try: sugar-free flavoring syrups, reduced carb grain products, sugar-free beverage mixes and mixers, sugar-free condiments and sugar-free candy.