There are plenty of reasons individuals may choose to follow a low – or even reduced carb – diet. While it can be relatively easy to choose low carb meals, it can be more difficult to know what snacks fit the bill when fruit, yogurt, biscuits and snack bars are off the menu.
So, if you are on a low carb diet, here are some of the best, nutrient rich snack options that contain minimal to insignificant amounts of carbs.
While corn is definitely off the menu if you are focusing on low carb food, popped corn on the other hand is relatively low in carbs with just 4g per 2 cups of air popped popcorn. In addition, it contains protein and fibre, and even if you are trying to keep your carbs below 20-30g per day, you could get away with a handful of popcorn each day to fend off the munchies.
2. Cottage cheese
One of the key nutrients that takes a beating on many a low carb diet is calcium, as key sources of calcium such as milk and yoghurt are often ditched in favour of coconut or almond milk. With just 1g of carb per tablespoon plus plenty of protein, you can easily enjoy a couple of tablespoons each day with chopped veggies or low carb bread for a low carb, nutrient hit.
3. Biltong (dried meat)
Popular in South Africa, dried flavoured meat is a protein rich snack option that clocks in with just 3g of carbs per 50g serving along with a massive 29g of protein. Just be mindful that dried meat is also exceptionally high in salt, with a serve containing almost your upper daily recommended intake of sodium, which may also cause fluid retention.
Fruit is strictly avoided on a low carb diet, but if you consider the fact an entire cup of strawberries contains just 6g of carbs (and some of this will be dietary fibre), including some berries into your diet makes sense from a nutritional perspective. Stick to ½ to 1 cup and your overall carb intake should remain low whilst giving your body an antioxidant and fibre boost.
Nuts are a nutritionally rich snack for all of us. With minimal amounts of carbohydrates, you could easily include a 30g serve of any type of nuts once a day for a boost of good fat and protein for as little as 1g of carbs per serve. Keep in mind though that nuts are energy dense so just 20-30 per day will help to keep your overall calorie intake controlled.
6. Boiled egg
With 5-8g of protein per serve and minimal carbohydrates, a boiled egg is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can find.
7. Veggie Chips
Vegetables including cucumber, carrot and celery can be added into a low carb diet freely, but if you are looking for a little more flavour you could make your own kale or zucchini chips. Simply slice thinly, and bake with olive oil and a little salt for a tasty, low carb, vegetable-based snack.
Susie Burrell is a nutritionist. Follow her on Twitter: @SusieBDiet