There are plenty of benefits to eating fewer carbs, but it’s hard to know what the best and worst low-carb snacks are. For starters, studies have proven that people following low-carb diets burn more fat than those eating low-fat diets. I know that sounds crazy, right? But it actually works. When you eat healthy fats (like those found in olive and fish oils), your body has an easier time burning excess fat stored in your body.
Because we’ve been conditioned to eat low-fat as opposed to low-carb, the change in diet can definitely be a struggle. Carbs provide us with fast energy, which is ready to be used quickly after being consumed. The major problem with carbs? If you’re not using them for energy, they turn to fat. That’s why you can eat a low-fat diet and still have high body fat.
Low-carb diets like the Ketogenic diet are becoming increasingly popular due to their health benefits. If you’re ready to try eating fewer carbohydrates but you’re not sure where to start, this quick list will help you understand the best and worst snacks for when you’re eating low carb.
The Best Low-Carb Snacks
Hummus is a delicious dip that can be flavored with savory or sweet spices. It’s packed with loads of protein thanks to its main, powerhouse ingredient: chickpeas. This well-balanced snack can help balance out blood sugar and cravings. Check out this list of hummus recipes for inspiration!
2. Cashew Butter
Any nut butter is a great source of healthy fats, but cashew butter is something a little different than run-of-the-mill peanut butter. Cashew butter is deliciously creamy and super versatile. Make an easy snack from your childhood with this clean eating nut butter and jelly sandwich!
Most berries are low in carbs and sugar, which is perfect when you’re looking for a sweet treat that’s also low in carbs. Berries are also full of antioxidants, and strawberries can be paired with plenty of flavors to create unique combinations. Try making this Mint Yogurt with Strawberries recipe for a morning pick-me-up!
4. Cottage Cheese
I’m going to be honest with you: I’m not a fan of cottage cheese (I just can’t get over the texture). But the health benefits it offers can’t be beat. So what do you do? Repurpose this food into something unique, especially if you’re like me when it comes to cottage cheese. Make these Skinny Cottage Cheese Pancakes for a low-carb treat!
Tofu gets a bad rep, and usually for legitimate reasons. Most people don’t know how to properly prepare tofu and it ends up being soggy and flavorless instead of living up to its full flavor potential. When prepared properly, tofu can make a tasty snack because it’s packed full of plant-based protein! Get the rundown on tofu with our DIY guide.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Also known as pepitas, pumpkin seeds are a great low-carb snack. They’re easy to eat on-the-go on their own, but they can also be used to top dishes with an extra healthy crunch. Plus, they’re heart healthy! Roasting them gives them more flavor, so check out these recipes to for some inspiration.
7. Red Grapefruit
Citrus is amazing for its fat-burning properties, but red grapefruit is the king. It might be a popular breakfast food, but you can also add citrus into salads for a fresh and tart flavor. Try this Purple Potato, Grapefruit, and Asparagus Salad for a light and healthy low-carb snack!
A plant-based protein like edamame is a quick and easy way to get fuel on the go. Fresh or roasted, flavored or plain, this little plant can do it all. It’s becoming much more common, which also means it’s easier to find at the grocery store. Check out these other amazing and delicious plant-based proteins for more low-carb ideas!
9. Greek Yogurt
Everyone eating healthy knows that Greek yogurt should be a staple ingredient in their diet. It’s supremely versatile on its own, or you can use it as an ingredient in a dish. It’s easy to pack a cup and eat it as a midmorning snack, but don’t be afraid to experiment with it. Make something different, like these Buckwheat Crepes with Fruit Filling.
Of course, everyone knows that avocado is a delicious superfood, but it’s always worth mentioning for any low-carb diet. Avocados have plenty of healthy fats and they’re another food that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. For a simple snack, nothing beats a classic: Avocado Toast.
The Worst Low Carb Snacks
Many people think it’s okay to drink juice because it’s made from fruit…so it must be healthy, right? Unfortunately, juice tends to be pretty high in carbs and added sugars. Get a jump-start on your day with the same flavor of juice but without all the added extras with one of these great smoothie recipes.
2. Gluten-Free Foods
If you have Celiac disease, ignore this one! But, if you think “gluten-free” means “carb-free,” you’re probably wrong. Gluten-free foods are still made with carbohydrates, and sometimes there are even added ingredients to help add a boost of flavor. Instead, opt for whole grains and complex carbs when you do decide to eat carbohydrates.
Eating the right kinds of fats is so important. Margarine is full of processed vegetable oils, making it one of the worst choices around. Olive oil is well-known as one of the best (and healthiest fats) out there, thanks to its prominence in the Mediterranean diet. Check out all of the benefits of olive oil here!
4. Sweetened Yogurt
Anything with added sugar is an automatic no-go for when you’re trying to eat healthy. It’s especially important to avoid added sugars when you’re on a low-carb diet. Not only do they add extra carbs, but they also add simple carbs, which are the worst kind to consume. Get that same sweet taste without all the junk in this Berry and Chia Yogurt Parfait.
While milk isn’t inherently bad, it’s also not the best choice for a low-carb diet. Sugars from the lactose add carbs to the milk, so try nut milks instead. These have become increasingly popular, just make sure to check the ingredients to make sure there aren’t any added sugars! Give nut milks a try with this Almond Protein Smoothie.
Most people know that starchy vegetables like white potatoes should be avoided when following a low-carb diet. What surprises people, though, is that corn is considered a starchy vegetable! There are a lot better choices when it comes to eating low-carb vegetables, so why not try broccoli instead?
7. Pre-Packaged Granola Bars
Granola is a great snack when you make it yourself. You’re able to dictate every ingredient, so you know exactly what goes into it. The problem with buying it at the store is that these bars full of added ingredients you don’t need in your diet. Try one of these 13 low-sugar granola recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth, instead.
A lot of cereals market themselves as being healthy, with tag-lines like “whole grains” and “added vitamins and minerals.” Unfortunately, these companies are boasting these statements without having any actual science behind them. You think you’re getting a healthy breakfast when you’re really not! Make one of these low-carb breakfast recipes instead.
9. Dried Fruits
While they’re fine in moderation, it’s easy to overindulge in dried fruits. This is another one of those foods that’s typically packed full of added sugar, so fresh is always better when it comes to fruits. A lot of low-carb dieters avoid fruit altogether. If that’s what you want to do, try one of these fruit infused water recipes for a sweet taste without all the carbs.
10. Sugar-Free Foods
Don’t be fooled by the allure of a sugar-free food. Companies love sneaking in crazy chemicals and other unhealthy ingredients to compensate for lost flavor from sugar. Always opt for whole, naturally low-sugar foods when you’re eating low-carb. We recommend making a filling dish that will keep your hunger at bay, instead.
It might seem overwhelming at first, but follow these guidelines for the best and worst low-carb snacks and you’ll be on your way to a low-carb diet in no time! Remember, SkinnyMs. has meal plans as well, so we’ll be here with you every step of the way. Stop making excuses and get started on your new lifestyle today!