Everyone wants to eat less carbs. After all, if you can cut your carb intake, you might lose weight, and it can help your health in other areas as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, some low carb diets can even reduce your risk of developing other health conditions, such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Finding low carb snacks can seem like a chore or an unnecessary expense at first, with some specialty low carb snacks being a pain to prepare, a wallet drain or both. But there are some quick, easy and relatively inexpensive low carb items out there that you can include in your diet today.
Check out the following 10 low carb snacks that won’t take a chunk out of your time or your bank account.
1. Brew Some Tea
Tea is already famous for its health benefits, but did you know that regular brewed tea is carb-free too? You can go with either hot tea or iced tea here, but don’t pile on the sugar.
Instead, aim for natural flavorings and sugar substitutes to get a bit of flavor without adding any carbs. If you’re feeling up to it, you can substitute your usual coffee with tea, as tea also packs in that caffeine.
2. Enjoy Edamame
A half-cup serving of edamame has eight grams of carbs, but it also packs a protein punch of eight grams. For easy use, get a package of shelled edamame and warm it following the bag’s instructions.
Once it’s done and cooled, separate it into bags of half-cup servings so it’s ready to use, and freeze the bags so they last longer. You can eat edamame on its own, or add a quarter-cup to your favorite nut serving so you have a ready-made, low carb snack that’s full of protein.
If you’re freezing it, it will take a few hours to thaw, which is fine if you’re grabbing a bag in the morning for lunch or snack time later.
3. Jazz Up Your Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is both nutritious and low in carbs, with a three-quarter cup containing just 10 grams, but it can get a little boring on its own.
Add some sliced berries to give your cottage cheese a bit of a dessert kick. You can also use vanilla extract or cinnamon for even more sweetness and to add some variety to your personal menu.
4. Try A Turkey Roll-Up
The average slice of turkey only has about three grams of carbs, but over six grams of lean protein, and that protein can help you feel full for longer. To make a sandwich of sorts without the use of carb-adding bread, try having three turkey roll-ups for lunch.
Wrap a slice of turkey around a pickle slice and very thin tomato and avocado slices. The monounsaturated fat and lean protein combination will help you avoid that mid-day snack machine run, and the roll-ups only take a few minutes to prepare.
5. Sip A Kefir “Smoothie”
While not quite a traditional smoothie, the kefir smoothie comes pretty close in taste and texture and can supply you with five grams of protein, but only 10 grams of carbs. Kefir is very similar to yogurt but contains more active and live probiotics, which is the healthy bacterium that boosts your digestion and is also found in yogurt.
Just a 3.5-ounce serving of kefir has the same amount of protein as an egg of medium size. There are kefir smoothies available pre-made and bottled in many flavors, including blackberry and blueberry, so try to sample them so you can find your favorites.
6. Have Some Hummus
This blend of garbanzo beans and flavoring has become more and more popular in the last decade, and you can even find it in some restaurants. Two ounces of hummus packs four grams of protein and just nine grams of carbs, so it’s a great go-to when you want to feel full without adding carbs.
Portion out a larger container into two-ounce servings, or buy pre-portioned serving packs. Pair the hummus with vegetables such as celery and carrots to avoid adding the carbs associated with the traditional pita bread used.
The traditional type is plain, but you can find hummus in many flavors these days, including pine nut, garlic, lemon, red pepper and garden vegetable.
7. Add A Little Egg
Eggs got a bad rep for a long time with regard to cholesterol, but we’ve swung back to recognizing its many benefits. A hard-boiled egg is a fast and portable snack, and it’s packed with nutrients such as Vitamins B12, D, and A and with iron.
One egg has about six grams of protein but no carbs, and you can jazz them up by topping with your favorite spice, such as sea salt, pepper or paprika.
8. Pick Up Portable Cheese
While the stats vary by cheese type, many portable cheese-servings float around six grams of protein without any carbs. The pull and pull, stick or wheel versions are available in many stores in different varieties, including mozzarella and cheddar, so keep these cheese snacks on hand to help stave off cravings or to fill in a daily snack spot.
9. Grab 100-Calorie Nuts
Many 100-calorie nut packages, from pistachios to almonds and walnuts, pack around four grams of protein to just three of carbs. If the cost of these packs doesn’t work for you, you can make your own by bagging servings out of a larger container.
Make sure you bag the portions up ahead of time to make your day easier, so you’re not rushing around in the morning trying to get your snacks ready for the day.
10. Aim For The Ant Log
An ant log is celery sticks coated with peanut butter and decorated with raisins – hence the name. The main thing here is to use natural peanut butter, which just has peanuts and maybe some salt but no other added ingredients that could up the carb and sugar levels.
Two logs from just small stalks deliver nine grams of protein and only 10 carbs. The peanut butter is filling, with the raisins adding a hint of sweetness and texture.
A Little Prep Goes A Long Way
The enemy of any diet changes is often time. You’re running late for work and don’t have time to make a lunch or pack snacks, so you end up eating whatever is convenient, and those options are often of the unhealthy variety.
This is where a lot of people struggle when they try to cut carbs from their diet, but you can avoid this common pitfall by just thinking ahead.
Your best defense to this is to select low carb snacks that don’t take much work, like the ones outlined above, and prepare and package ahead of time as needed. By making up snacks in advance, you’ll have a better chance of sticking to your diet changes and can also ensure variety, so you don’t get tired of what you’re eating.