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15 Low-Carb Snacks That Satisfy
The Truth About Carbs
First, let's get one thing clear: Carbs are not the ultimate enemy. Carbohydrates are our body's primary source of energy, and cutting them out completely is not the answer, says Carissa Bealert, RD, co-owner of Evolution Fitness Orlando. A healthy diet, meal, or snack, is all about balance. Aim to have a combo of carbs, protein, and healthy fats in everything you eat—midafternoon low-carb snacks included. "When you combine these three together, you can keep blood sugar stable, have a nice balanced snack, and prevent that hangry feeling," says Bealert.
That said, cutting back on carbs can help shed water-weight, debloat your middle, and prevent blood sugar spikes and subsequent crashes. A typical low-carb diet consists of about 60 to 100 grams per day for the average healthy-weight female, says Bealert, with one serving holding about 15 grams. Don't forget that carbs are found in much more than the obvious breads, crackers, and pastas—they hide in many fruits and veggies, too. We've rounded up some smart and satisfying snacks that allow you to cut carbs responsibly.
Walnuts are the winner in this low-carb category, with 14 of these heart-healthy nuts costing you just under 8 grams of carbs. If plain nuts don't seem satisfying, toss walnuts on top of this celery and apple salad with tangy mustard vinaigrette.
Get the recipe: Celery Salad with Apples, Walnuts & Mustard Vinaigrette
This anytime snack provides a healthy protein boost, especially compared to non-Greek varieties. Just be sure to read the nutrition label, as some yogurts can "look more like candy in a container," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, owner of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It.
Get the recipe: Greek Yogurt with Oranges & Mint
One large hard-boiled egg has less than one measly gram of carbs! "And make sure you eat the yolk!" says Bealert. "That's where all the vitamins are stored." Double up on the heart-healthy nutrition with this avocado and hard-boiled egg toast. Don't worry about the bread—whole-grain bread has complex carbs, which take longer to break down, helping ward of hunger much longer than easily digested simple carbohydrates.
Get the recipe: 3-Minute Avocado Toast with Hard-Boiled Eggs
Tales of a Kitchen
A celery stalk might sound pretty boring, but dipping it in a tablespoon or two of rich almond butter will make it a more satisfying snack. To keep carbs in check, choose a nut butter that contains no added sugar or salt, says Taub-Dix. Up your potassium with this open-face banana "sandwich," and be sure to choose a green banana. "As bananas ripen, the carbs change from starch to sugar," says Bealert.
Get the recipe: Almond Butter & Banana Open Sandwich
Red bell pepper works well with this familiar snack option. Bealert suggests using veggies where you'd ordinarily use a cracker. Another idea: Using hummus as a dressing or a spread, as with this grilled veggie Mediterranean wrap.
Get the recipe: Mediterranean Wrap
The Low-Carb Diet
On-the-Run Bars and Shakes
This is where reading the label really matters. If you're pressed for time (who isn't?) or need a quick pick-me-up while out and about, grab a nut bar or ready-to-drink low-carb protein shake, suggests Bealert. Watch out for added sugar and calories, and choose whole-food ingredients when available. If you have just a teeny bit more time, blend up one of these six low-carb smoothies like the Cinnamon Roll Smoothie.
Get the recipe: Cinnamon Roll Smoothie
Bealert suggests mixing canned or packaged tuna with Dijon mustard, diced celery, and hummus for a tasty twist on tuna salad. Enjoy with cucumber slices, which have high water content—doubling your anti-bloat effect. Looking for a little more zing? Try this spicy version, and eat it on a bed of spinach instead.
Get the recipe: Spicy Tuna Salad
"This is a great anytime snack," says Bealert. "Add berries for a low-sugar option that's high in antioxidants, too." Make this snack a little more interesting with this fluffy whipped version topped with melon.
Get the recipe: Honey-Whipped Cottage Cheese with Melon
Living Sweet Moments
Though sweet yellow corn is relatively high in carbs, its airy, popped "sister" is a smart "large-volume, low-carb snack," says Bealert. Instead of butter that's packed with saturated fat, try unique ways to add flavor—like this version with garlic, pepper, and pecorino Romano cheese. Yum!
Get the recipe: Super-Savory Popcorn
Cheese and Crackers
Yes, this can be considered a low-carb snack—when done the right way. Limit your portion, and choose an individually wrapped cheese such as Mini Babybel, suggests Taub-Dix. "The light version provides 6 grams of protein, only 50 calories, and zero grams of carbs." You could also try cottage cheese.
Get the recipe: Crackers with Cottage Cheese & Chives
Turkey & Cheese Wrap
First, make sure it's a low-carb wrap. (Read the nutrition label. Don't rely on package claims.) Then, Bealert suggests low-sodium deli meat. Keep it at one slice of cheese, and ta-da—a fat-protein-carb balanced snack that satisfies. We've got a portable lunch idea that even makes room for a side salad. Swap bread for the wrap, and nix the "fixings" to keep it low-carb friendly.
Get the recipe: Turkey Jack Sandwich with Red Grape Salad