Chips, cookies, ice cream, candy bars, crackers, and microwave popcorn are some of America’s most popular snack foods. But they're often packed with fats and carbs, with little nutritional value.
What are your options if you are looking for a smart low-carb snack?
You could choose foods that are higher in fiber and/or important nutrients, feature carbohydrates with lower glycemic indexes, are balanced with some protein, and contain some of the more heart-healthy fats.
That’s exactly what the following 10 low-carb snacks are all about.
1. Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups
Cut one part-skim mozzarella cheese stick in half lengthwise. Roll about 1 ounce of sliced roasted turkey breast around half of a part skim mozzarella cheese stick and repeat with the remaining cheese and turkey to make a total of two roll-ups.
Each serving contains: 3.5 grams carbohydrate, 0.3 gram fiber, 144 calories, 17 grams protein, 6.6 grams fat, 3.8 grams saturated fat
2. Side Salad Topped with a Hard-Boiled Egg or Avocado
Top a typical side salad with a hard-boiled egg or 1/4 chopped avocado, drizzle with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar or 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette.
Each serving (with egg) contains: 3 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 146 calories, 11 grams protein, 10 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat
Each serving (with avocado) contains: 6 grams carbohydrate, 4.4 grams fiber, 120 calories, 4 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat
3. Large Artichoke
Cut artichoke in half (from the stem to the tip) and cut out the inedible thistle part of the center of the artichoke. Place in microwave-safe, covered container with 1/2 cup water and cook on high until tender throughout (about 6 minutes for one artichoke or 10 minutes for two). Enjoy with lemon juice or 2 teaspoons of canola oil or olive oil mayonnaise.
Each serving (with lemon juice) contains: 17 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fiber, 76 calories, 5.5 grams protein, .2 gram fat, .01 gram saturated fat
Each serving (with mayonnaise) contains: 17 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fiber, 106 calories, 5.5 grams protein, 3 grams fat, 0.1 gram saturated fat
4. Avocado and Shrimp Cocktail
Toss 2 ounces of cooked thawed shrimp with 1/4 avocado (chopped) and a tablespoon of cocktail sauce.
Each serving contains: 8.5 grams carbohydrate, 3.4 grams fiber, 161 calories, 13 grams protein, 7.6 grams fat, 1.2 grams saturated fat
5. Typical fast-food Caesar salad with grilled chicken (no dressing)
Each serving contains: 12 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 220 calories, 30 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat
6. Peanut Butter & Celery Sticks Serve 3 celery stalks with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter.
Each serving contains: 8.5 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 208 calories, 7 grams protein, 16 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat
7. A Handful of Nuts
A handful, depending on the size of the hand, can be the ideal snack portion: a quarter cup. You can keep roasted, unsalted mixed nuts on hand or choose any variation of nuts.
Each serving (1/4 cup roasted almonds) contains: 6.7 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 205 calories, 9.5 grams protein, 18 grams fat, 1.4 grams saturated fat
8. Edamame Bowl
A super-convenient way to enjoy high protein soybeans as a snack is to put 3/4 cup of frozen, shelled edamame into a microwave-safe bowl and micro-cook them for a few minutes or until nice and hot. Sprinkle with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, if desired.
Each serving contains: 8 grams carbohydrate, 4.3 grams fiber, 97 calories, 9 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat
9. Carrot Sticks and Hummus
Cut one large carrot into sticks or coins and serve with 1/4-cup hummus.
Each serving contains: 15.8 grams carbohydrate, 5.8 grams fiber, 133 calories, 6 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 0.9 grams saturated fat
10. Soy Latte (iced or hot)
Blend a cup of light soymilk with a shot or two (1/8 to 1/4 cup) of espresso or triple-strength coffee (decaf if you're sensitive to caffeine). Serve over or blend with 3/4 cup crushed ice for an iced soy latte.
Each serving contains: 8.5 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 73 calories, 6 grams protein, 1.9 grams fat, 0 gram saturated fat
Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, writes the Healthy Recipe Doctor blog for WebMD and is the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.