Feeling those between meal hunger pangs? Snacking provides a mid-day break and helps to keep our energy levels up throughout the day. Unfortunately, most snack foods can be salty, sugary, fatty or high in carbohydrates.
This is where low carbohydrate snacks come in. While carbs are vital for the release of energy, too many can lead to weight gain. Consuming high levels of carbs throughout the day can also lead to lethargy as your body slows down to digest them.
Maintaining a healthy balance of carbs throughout one’s diet prevents unwanted weight gain, and maintains adequate energy levels. Low carb snacks may be predominantly protein based – proteins keep you full for longer; or they may be mostly fiber based, allowing you to fill your stomach without extra calories.
Healthy Bites for Energy and Weight Control
Along with a little boost of energy, there are other benefits to low carb snacks. Lately, experts recommend eating four to six small meals throughout the day rather than three larger ones. This keeps your blood sugar up and metabolism up, and prevents you from over-eating. Low carb snacks compliment this lighter more frequent meal plan.
The perfect low carb snacks should be easy to prepare, keep you full and provide you with energy. It should also be low in carbs, saturated fat, overall fat and generally healthy. And, of course, it should be delicious!
A Few Food Ideas
Low carb snack ideas range from a few vegetables to low carb sandwich wraps. Some people prefer raw food, as they believe that unprocessed, uncooked food is harder to digest and will keep you full longer. Some simple low carb, raw food snacks include the following:
- Baby tomatoes
- Baby carrots
- Broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
- Green beans
- Peas – either snow or sugar snap
- Bean sprouts
Other more filling, high protein low carb snack include:
- Cheddar cubes wrapped in smoked chicken or turkey breast slices
- Cherry tomatoes with Bocconcini balls
- Tzatziki dip with cucumber sticks. This refreshing yogurt dip adds a dash of protein to your vegetable snack.
- Hard-boiled eggs with a dash of salt, garlic salt or dill.
- Avocado and shrimp cocktail. Use a low-fat yogurt dressing rather than mayonnaise to reduce the saturated and overall fats of this snack.
- Caesar salad with chicken. Use a lemon juice, light or no dressing to keep your caesar salad extra healthy. Often most of the calories in a salad come from the dressing, so use sparingly.
- Peanut butter and celery sticks. Peanuts are full of fats, but they are the good unsaturated fats. Peanut butter itself has little or no essential omega 3 fats, so chose fortified varieties.
- Chia seedswith a protein supplement drink. Chia seeds are an Ancient Mayan food high in protein. When soaked they expand, so this higher water content keeps you full longer. When added to a protein based drink, such as soy or whey protein, they can provide a high-protein, low fat, low carb snack that’s easy to prepare and gives you energy boost.
Calories and Moderation
Some low carb snacks, such as raw vegetables, can kill the appetite without providing you with with many calories. They can be an excellent addition to a low-calorie diet, but it’s important to remember that you still need to consume calories while dieting to prevent your body from going into starvation mode.
Low carb snack snacks that are primarily protein based are more filling, however, hard boiled eggs and cheese based products are also high in fat. While your body needs fat while dieting, remember to consume these in moderation too.
Low carb snacks can be perfect for those who want to eat smaller, but more frequent meals. Other, more popular snacks can be sugary, salty and filled with carbs, leading to weight gain. Incorporating low carb snacks into one’s routine keeps one satisfied between meals with energy levels up. It’s a good idea to prepare your snacks ahead of time and store them in the fridge in a zip-lock bag. That makes it more likely that you will satisfy hunger pangs with healthy snacks rather than junk food.