Carbs can be complicated: They’re necessary for cell function at every level of your body, but too much of them can make you feel tired and bloated.
So what is a low-carb snack exactly? According to Amy Shapiro, RD, founder of Real Nutrition, a snack might be considered low-carb if it contains under eight grams of carbs. Though Valerie Goldberg, RD, points out that the definition of “low-carb” can vary from person to person, depending on their weight, diet, and goals.
While you shouldn’t cut carbs entirely unless under the advice of a physician, grabbing the occasional low-carb snack may help your energy levels, and enable you to hit other essential macronutrients like protein and fat, which help build muscle and promote satiety, respectively.
Here, your ultimate low-carb snack list:
Raspberries are tart, which is an indicator they aren’t sugar bombs. While they don’t have many carbs to begin with, their fiber content means you net even fewer carbs than indicated on food labels (some quick math: carbs minus fiber equals net carbs, the amount your body will actually absorb). Rich in phytochemicals, raspberries also have protective properties against certain cancers.
Per serving: 32 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 7 g carbs, 1 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 1 g protein
This versatile nut butter gets its protein, healthy fats, and fiber (without an excess of carbs) from nuts and seeds like cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, flax, chia, and hazelnuts. “These are on the top of my travel snack list, and they’re vegan- and vegetarian-friendly, too,” Shapiro says.
Per serving: 180 calories, 15 g fat (2 g saturated), 8 g carbs, 45 mg sodium, 1 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein
Broccoli florets have such a unique texture, that you feel like you’re eating something a lot more substantial than you actually are. Whether dipped in a Greek yogurt-based dressing or just eaten plain, broccoli is a low-carb way to sneak in a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, and calcium.
Per serving: 15 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 3 g carbs, 15 mg sodium, 1 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
For Shapiro, these pre-made hard-boiled eggs that come with a side of dipping sauce or crunchy seasoning are totally snack-friendly, and keep you satisfied without raising your blood sugar.
Per serving: 170 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated), 7 g carbs, 260 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 12 g protein
With tons of protein per serving and very few carbs, Greek yogurt will keep you full without raising your blood sugar, says Shapiro. “Best yet, these days you can find Greek yogurt at 7-11, Starbucks, or even in the airport,” she says. Goldberg recommends topping it with cinnamon for extra antioxidants.
Per serving: 146 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 8 g carbs, 5 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 20 g protein
Chomps is one of Shapiro’s favorite brands since they offer products in full and half portions. “The protein keeps you feeling satisfied and the salty taste is something different, as most travel snacks are sweet,” she says. Since jerky is low in fiber, she recommends pairing it with a low-carb veggie like celery, cucumber, or radishes.
Per serving: 100 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 0 g carbs, 290 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 9 g protein
With only a couple grams of sugar and plenty of protein and fiber, it’s no wonder Shapiro opts for this portable snack bar. “Peanut-based, this will satisfy any peanut lover’s craving while killing their hunger,” she says.
Per serving: 180 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated), 17 g carbs, 110 mg sodium, 2 g sugar, 14 g fiber, 15 g protein
A low-carb dieter’s saving grace, Shapiro says half an avocado drizzled with olive oil, lemon, and sea salt is a satisfying snack you can pack ahead or serve yourself at home.
“Full of fiber and heart-healthy fats, the sugars here are low, but the creamy texture and the fat content will help to keep you satisfied without many carbs at all,” she says. Patricia Bannan, RDN, author of Eat Right When Time is Tight, says avocados also support heart health and weight management.
Per serving: 114 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 6 g carbs, 5 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 1 g protein
If a hard-boiled egg isn’t your jam, Goldberg recommends filling scrambled eggs in a muffin tin and baking them for a portable, mess-free snack. Chopped veggies like spinach and artichoke are optional, but highly recommended.
Per serving: 78 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 2 g carbs, 165 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 9 g protein
Unlike red bell peppers that can overwhelm with their overly sweet taste (don’t @ me), green peppers offer a subtler earthiness. Luckily, that’s reflected in the carb count, which rings in at just four grams per serving.
Per serving: 18 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 4 g carbs, 3 mg sodium, 2 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein
Shapiro’s go-to low-carb snacks are clean, high in fat, and low in sugar. “These keep you full and have a naturally sweet flavor due to the coconut, so if you’re having a sweet craving, these can be your savior,” she says.
Per serving: 210 calories, 16 g fat (5 g saturated), 11 g carbs, 50 mg sodium, 1 g sugar, 6 g fiber, 9 g protein
When you’re pining for a crunchy and salty snack but pretzels are off the table, go for Shapiro’s recommendation. “Sea veggies are high in nutrients and super low in calories and carbs,” she says. “Just one package contains less than 40 calories and one gram of carbohydrates.” She notes that seaweed won’t exactly sustain you for hours unless you pair it with some healthy fats (like avocado) or lean protein (like tempeh), but they do the trick in the taste department.
Per serving: 25 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 g carbs, 60 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
For a refreshing, ultra-hydrating snack (that legit counts toward your recommended water intake!) look no further than watermelon. It’s particularly high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant responsible for heart health and sun protection. Unfortunately that SPF is still mandatory.
Per serving: 23 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 6 g carbs, 1 mg sodium, 4 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein
Made with cocoa butter, eggs, almond flour, and zero sugar (thanks, stevia!), these low-carb cookies won’t raise your blood sugar.
Per serving: 90 calories, 8 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 7 g carbs, 35 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
Shrimp is super low in calories so you can eat a large portion without hitting your carb limit, according to Shapiro. “I tell my clients to keep frozen shrimp in their freezer to make for easy meals or easy snacks. Just defrost under running water, cook them real quick, and dig in,” she says. She notes that they’re carb-free as long as you stay away from sugar-laden cocktail sauce. Opt instead for guacamole or hot sauce.
Per serving: 72 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 g carbs, 101 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 17 g protein
The best part about going low-carb is that cheese becomes one of your main food groups. “We live in Vermont so I love Cabot cheeses. They come in little squares so they’re easy for grab-and-go,” says Goldberg.
Per serving: 50 calories, 3.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 0 g carbs, 160 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 6 g protein
Cauliflower rice has become our de facto low-carb grain replacement, so it’s no surprise they taste great packed into flatbreads. Along with shredded cauliflower, this low-carb bread contains mozzarella and egg whites. Toss on some veggies or a spread of guac, and you’ve got a super-delicious snack.
Per serving: 50 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 4 g carbs, 110 mg sodium, 1 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein
Protein-rich pumpkin seeds are perfect for all-day snacking and topping on salads and veggie bowls. Since they’re untoasted and unsalted, you can jazz them up however you like. Metabolism-boosting cayenne is a total game-changer.
Per serving: 150 calories, 11 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 3 g carbs, 0 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 9 g protein
With an array of B vitamins, potassium, and essential omega-3 fats that most Americans lack in their diets, portable salmon is an excellent low-carb snack, according to Bannan. “Research shows EPA and DHA omega-3s in fatty fish like salmon are the most important types of omega-3s for overall wellness, including heart, brain, and eye health,” she says. Grab a pre-flavored pouch, or mix plain salmon with avocado, chopped veggies, and olive oil.
Per serving: 130 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 g carbs, 260 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 24 g protein
One of the highest-protein snack nuts, pistachios are an ideal low-carb snack, according to Bannan. “The better-for-you fats, plant protein, and fiber is a winning combination that may help you feel fuller longer,” she says. “Nearly 90 percent of the fats found in pistachios are the heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated types of fats.”
Per serving: 159 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated), 8 g carbs, 0 mg sodium, 2 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein
According to Bannan, soy foods are a good source of plant-based protein, iron, potassium, and vitamin B, and have protective properties against “bad” LDL cholesterol. Goldberg buys them in a pod and steams them with a pinch of salt on top. “It’s a great car snack when people want something crunchy,” she says.
Per serving: 94 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 7 g carbs, 5 mg sodium, 2 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 9 g protein
Not quite popcorn and not quite Cheetos, these egg white-based snacks curb all kinds of cravings thanks to protein and healthy fats from avocado oil.
Per serving: 130 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 13 g carbs, 250 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 6 g protein
When you hear grains, you may automatically think: carb-overload. That’s far from the case here, since these plant-based “chicken” fingers are coated with low-glycemic index grains like amaranth, oat bran, and millet for extra crunch.
Per serving: 140 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 12 g carbs, 340 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 11 g protein
If you’re looking for a low-carb, cost-effective snack, Bannan says plain hard-boiled eggs fit the bill. In addition to warding off hunger, eggs play a role in promoting muscle strength, brain function, and eye health. For added convenience, she recommends buying a bag of cooked hard-boiled eggs and snacking on them throughout the week.
Per serving: 78 calories, 5 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 1 g carbs, 62 mg sodium, 1 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 6 g protein
Made primarily of water, cucumbers help you stay satiated and add volume to your meal or snack. Be sure to keep the peel on for extra nutrients.
Per serving: 8 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 2 g carbs, 1 mg sodium, 1 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein
Made of coconut oil and potato starch, this low-carb vegan cheese alternative is eerily similar to the real thing.
Per serving: 60 calories, 5 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 4 g carbs, 170 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein
If you’re going low-carb, snacking on plain veggies can get real old, real fast. Enter this dairy-free ranch dip, made of almond milk, with only two grams of carbs and plenty of gut-friendly active cultures.
Per serving: 30 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 2 g carbs, 160 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
It’s no secret that eggs are an awesome low-carb go-to, but plant-based dieters can also get in on their delicious pillowy goodness. This vegan egg alternative is made of mung beans and golden turmeric for a satiating, heart-healthy snack.
Per serving: 70 calories, 5 g fat (0 g saturated), 1 g carbs, 170 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 5 g protein
It’s hard to come by a sweet snack that isn’t loaded with refined sugar. This clean-eating ice cream is made with four ingredients: water, banana, coconut cream, and honey. It’s basically a smoothie.
Per serving: 80 calories, 4 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 12 g carbs, 0 mg sodium, 11 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
Olives are a great option for increasing your healthy fat intake (and adhering to the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet), but keep portions in mind since their sodium content is on the higher side.
Per serving: 81 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 6 g carbs, 735 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein
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