Photo Credit: Anne Swoboda, flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic
Have you ever noticed that when you’re on a diet, everyone around you seems to be eating more than they did before? That’s because you’ve suddenly become more aware of what others are doing, and now you feel left out.
One of the major selling points for using a controlled-carbohydrate diet is your ability to enjoy a wide variety of low-carb snacks at any time of the day or night. They are also the perfect choice if you happen to be a diabetic or have been diagnosed with PCOS. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, snacks are an excellent way to curb your hunger and give you a boost of energy throughout the day. It's also a great opportunity to work in another serving of healthy vegetables.
If you're hungry, you don’t have to sit around watching others eat. That’s the quickest way to fail.
Low-Carb Snack Foods Eliminate Deprivation
One of the largest downfalls to dieting is hunger or cravings, so when you begin a low-carb diet, you don’t want to allow yourself to get hungry. You want to incorporate low-carb snack foods into your menu. Initially, going more than six hours without eating is not recommended by those following the Atkins Diet because you need to give your body ample encouragement to make the switch from predominantly burning glucose to burning fatty acids instead. Although you need to stay realistic about portion sizes and overall daily calories, these 16 terrific low-carb and no-carb snacks will give you the mental boost you need to stay on plan.
16. Raw Vegetable PlatterCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanmac/3142117577/
Photo Credit: ShanMac, flickr.com, CC BY-ND 2.0
Celery and carrot sticks are traditional, low-calorie diet foods. They contain a lot of fiber that can help keep you full. The problem isn’t their nutritional value. They are just flat out boring! Instead of limiting yourself to carrots or celery, think about the wide variety of raw vegetables offered on a platter for the holidays. Slices of summer squash, halved mushrooms, chunks of cauliflower and broccoli, colorful sweet pepper slices and cherry tomatoes dipped in Ranch Dressing, or a homemade spicy jalapeno-bacon dip will leave you feeling satisfied rather than deprived.
15. Stuffed CeleryCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/66620509/
Photo Credit: Liz West, flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
Stuffing celery with peanut butter or a processed pimento cheese spread is traditional, but for a great new taste sensation, stuff your celery stalk with full-fat cream cheese and then top it off with a hefty dollop of sugar-free peanut butter.
14. Cheese Crackers with SalsaCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scaredykat/3213786739/
Photo Credit: Krista, flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
Crackers on a low-carb or diabetic diet? Certainly! For a terrific low-carb snack recipe, take a couple of slices of real, honest-to-goodness American Cheese (not those plastic-wrapped cheese-food products, but the type that comes unwrapped) and cut each slice into 9 equal squares. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of a paper plate. Arrange the cheese squares about 1/2-inch apart and stick the plate in the microwave for 1 minute. You’ll get crunchy, tasty crackers that are terrific dipped into your favorite salsa or dip.
13. Protein Shakes and Smoothies
Although protein shakes make a fast breakfast or lunch when you’re on the go, they make a nice, filling snack for dieters and diabetics as well. To keep them from getting boring, experiment with different types of liquids and flavorings. Try combining dark cocoa powder, cinnamon, and sugar substitute with diet Dr. Pepper, almond milk, or coconut milk. Use orange or pineapple extract with heavy cream or cottage cheese.
12. Homemade Beef JerkyCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrea_nguyen/5666455730/
Photo Credit: Andrea Nguyen, flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
If you’ve never invested in an American Harvest dehydrator, or a similar model that allows you to control the temperature setting, you’re missing out on the best homemade jerky you will ever eat. Most ready-made jerky comes with added sugars and chemicals that can interfere with fat loss or blood glucose levels. When you take the time to marinate your own lean beef in a sugar-free teriyaki sauce and then dry it yourself, you get a lot of flavor that’s worth the effort.
11. Cottage Cheese Mixed With BerriesCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theresac/6443787823/
Photo Credit: Theresa Carpenter, flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0
When you’re busy, but hungry, stirring a few frozen blueberries or chopped up strawberries into a scoop of cottage cheese makes a fast-and-easy low-carb snack. This makes a simple, light breakfast treat as well.
10. Salad with Something SpecialCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookbookman/6175756923/
Photo Credit: Cookbookman, flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
When funds are tight, low-carb snacks need to be extra special to fill the place of more traditional comfort foods. Although grabbing a small bowl of leftover salad is inexpensive, when you add something special to that bowl, you get an added taste sensation. Crumbles of blue cheese, leftover bacon pieces, dehydrated cranberries, or chopped pecans will turn that traditional lettuce or chicken salad into something special.
9. Deviled EggsCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nyc_xmas/4560193800/
Photo Credit: Jose and Roxanne, Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
Boiling up a dozen eggs for the week can give you an easy snack when it’s too late at night to fix something more involved, but if you turn those eggs into a platter of deviled eggs the day you boil them, they will already be fixed and ready to eat when you are. For an added flavor punch, add bacon bits, chopped olives, pecans, or minced jalapeno.
8. Ham and Cheese RollsCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nataliemaynor/4201768242/
Photo Credit: Natalie Maynor, flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
There are several ways to make these special low-carb treats. My favorite way to make them is to spread full-fat cream cheese down one end of a slice of baked or boiled lunchmeat style ham, top with a cheddar cheese stick and roll them up. Some people like to spread the ham with mustard and then roll a dill pickle inside instead of cheese.
7. Mock Root Beer Float
While diet sodas made with sugar substitutes can wreck your diet if you’re corn sensitive or have adverse blood sugar reactions to fake sugars, I didn't know about my corn intolerance when I lost most of my weight. One of the best snacks that helped to curb both my cravings and deprivation was to take diet Root Beer and combine it with a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream.
6. Lettuce WrapsCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmiehomeschoolmom/6926606971/
Photo Credit: Jimmie, flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
Bacon is one of my favorite foods, so a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich was the sandwich I missed most when doing low carb. Although, Dr. Atkins original Revolution Rolls make a good substitute for bread or hamburger buns, lettuce wraps are easier. Simply smear a trail of mayonnaise down the center of a leaf of Romaine, and top with cooked bacon and sliced tomatoes. Fold it in half like a taco, and you get all of the taste of a terrific BLT without the carbs.
5. Chocolate MousseCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scaredykat/374978188/
Photo Credit: Krista, flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
A little higher in carbohydrates than other snacks, a yummy chocolate mousse helps to drive away the feelings of deprivation. Simply whip up a package of instant chocolate pudding mix substituting heavy cream or coconut milk for the cow’s milk. For an extra-special flavor, use half heavy cream and half almond milk.
4. Cheesecake MuffinsCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vialbost/5215308936/
Photo Credit: Frederique Voisin-Demery, flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
Even with a sugar substitute, cheesecake packs a large calorie wallop, but when you place the filling inside paper-lined muffin cups without the graham-cracker crust, you get a lot more portion control. For a more festive look, you can top the muffins with a dollop of sugar-free jam.
3. Chicken Vegetable Soup
When the weather turns chilly, nothing hits the spot better than a steaming cup of hot soup. Making your own is extremely easy and versatile. Simply boil up the chicken pieces for a couple of hours, fish out the meat, and allow the broth to sit in the refrigerator overnight. The excess fat will rise to the top, which you can then scoop off and throw out. Return the broth to the stove. Chop up the chicken and throw it into the broth along with a large variety of chopped vegetables. A package of frozen stir-fry vegetables works extremely well, especially if you season the broth with lots of garlic and minced fresh ginger.
2. Chicken Legs or Wings
When you cook up some chicken legs or wings for dinner or a weekend lunch, cook up extra, so you’ll have leftovers. Leftover barbecue chicken legs, hot wings, teriyaki chicken breast strips or pieces of a well-seasoned roast chicken make nice low-carb snacks.
1. Hot Poppers: Stuffed Jalapeno PeppersCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimbrickett/2653474183/
Photo Credit: Jim Brickett, flickr.com, CC BY-ND 2.0
This is my absolute favorite low-carb snack! You simply slice a fresh jalapeno carefully down one side, scoop out the seeds and vein with a spoon, fill the cavity with full-fat cream cheese, and then wrap the whole pepper in a strip of bacon. Secure it with a toothpick, so you’ll be able to turn them over as you bake or broil them until cooked through and crispy.
Additional Low-Carb Snacks
When you begin a low-carb diet, one of the first things that happens is you learn to stop eating according to some pre-made design. There is no such thing as breakfast foods, lunch meals, or dinner meats. You simply eat foods that allow you to stay on plan. The same thing goes for no-carb or low-carb snacks.Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/152439224/
Photo Credit: Alpha, flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0
Although pork rinds, pepperoni slices, and string cheese sticks make terrific snacks, take advantage of whatever foods you like. Slices of avocado, hard boiled eggs dipped in a sweetened mustard sauce, low-carb yogurt, tuna mixed with mayonnaise and pickles, fresh ripe strawberries topped with homemade whipped cream, a low-carb pizza, or Carb Smart ice cream bars all make great snack foods, but so do leftovers such as Eggplant Lasagne.
If it’s cold, have a bowl of chili made with black soybeans. If it’s hot, have a nice bowl of frozen blueberries, a handful of mixed nuts, or a low-carb muffin. There isn’t a list of specific low-carb snack foods you need to follow. Preparing for a low-carb lifestyle is about making your diet your own.