Best Low Carb Snacks

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Mon Aug 28 2023.

Avocado and nuts.

Has your doctor asked you to start eating a low carb diet? Low carb meal plans limit foods with lots of carbohydrates and natural or added sugar, including desserts, starches (like potatoes), and whole grains. 

A low carb diet can help you lose weight and improve your health, but it can also affect your normal snacking routine. Thankfully, there are a variety of snack ideas that are delicious and in alignment with low carb guidelines. 

Who can benefit from a low carb diet?

Low carb diets are often prescribed to people with underlying health problems or those trying to lose weight.

“Low carb diets provide a therapeutic approach for metabolic issues, insulin resistance, or blood sugar dysregulation, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or metabolic syndrome,” said Dr. Nicole Maholy, DC, CNS, LDN, MS, a doctor of chiropractic, licensed dietitian nutritionist, and co-founder of DailyGlow. “Low carb diets are also frequently used for weight loss purposes.”

Low carb meal plans vary from person to person, but to successfully achieve your health and wellness goals, it’s essential to stay within your daily carb allotment. 

The Best Low Carb Snacks

Let’s take a closer look at healthy and delicious low carb snacks to help suppress your appetite between meals. 

1) Olives

Olives are a key ingredient in dirty martinis, but they also make an excellent low carb snack. In fact, they contain approximately 3 net carbs per-100 gram serving (about 10 olives). 

“Olives are high in healthy fats that keep blood sugar stable and are a staple of the Mediterranean diet –– one of the healthiest and most researched diets,” Dr. Maholy said. 

2) Grass-fed beef jerky

You might be on a low carb diet, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid protein. Enter grass-fed jerky. Consider that one large piece of jerky (about 20 grams) contains 2.2 grams of carbohydrates.

“Grass-fed jerky is high in protein, which keeps you satiated and keeps blood sugar stable,” said Dr. Maholy.

Carewell Tip

Jerky’s tasty, but make sure to eat it in moderation. Because it contains lots of sodium, you might gain weight if you go overboard. 

3) Raw vegetables

“Raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, and broccoli are complex carbohydrates high in fiber,” Dr. Maholy said. “Fiber prevents the blood sugar spikes common with simple carbohydrates. Pair raw veggies with guacamole for more fiber and healthy fats to keep your blood sugar and energy balanced.” 

One cup of raw vegetables has 5.4 grams of total carbs, 3.8 grams of net carbs, and 1.1 grams of protein.

4) Raw nuts

Most raw nuts contain few carbs, but there are several that dietitians recommend if you’re on a low carb diet –– macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, pecans, and almonds. 

“Raw nuts contain fiber, protein and healthy fats to keep you full and satisfied,” Dr. Maholy said. “They don’t cause the blood sugar spike and crash that comes with carb-heavy snacks like chips and pretzels.”

A small handful of almonds has 6 grams of carbohydrates, 164 calories, and 3.5 grams of fiber.

5)  Nut butter

If you have difficulty chewing, consider substituting raw nuts with nut butter. Though peanut butter is relatively low in carbs, it’s problematic for those with allergies. Almond butter and sesame butter (tahini), on the other hand, contain even fewer carbs and present fewer risks for those with food sensitivities. 

“Many stores sell individual packets of nut butter that are convenient for traveling,” said Dr. Maholy. “Pair it with vegetables or an apple for a balanced, tasty, and low carb snack.” 

Carb calculations: Two tablespoons of smooth or crunch peanut butter contains 7 grams of total carbs and 5 grams of net carbs. Whereas almond butter contains 3 grams of carbs per tablespoon serving.

6) Hard boiled eggs

Hard boiled eggs are an excellent source of lean protein and they’re also very low carb. In fact, a single hardboiled egg  contains just 0.5 grams of total carbs. 

Not a fan of that “eggy” flavor? Try drizzling a little olive oil on top with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. These seasonings take the taste to a whole new level.

7) Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are nutrient-dense and packed with vitamins like B1, B2, B3, and B5. They even contain vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and magnesium. And, a single serving (approximately one ounce) has 9 grams of protein and just 3 grams of carbohydrates.

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8) Avocado

Avocados are often recommended as part of keto-friendly and low carb diets. One whole avocado contains just two grams of carbohydrates!

“Avacado drizzled with salsa is a simple and tasty way to satisfy your hunger with healthy fats and fiber.” Dr. Maholy said. 

Snacks to Avoid if You’re on a Low Carb Diet

Now that you know which snacks to include in a low carb diet, let’s look at some of the foods to avoid.

“Snack foods, in particular, are often packed with carbs because they’re palatable (people enjoy them). They provide a quick source of energy, which is often accompanied by a spike in blood sugar levels,” Dr. Maholy said. 

“The problem with the quick source of energy is that if the snack doesn’t provide a source of healthy fats or protein to keep blood sugar stable, the surge in energy is often followed by a crash. So, you might feel energized at first, they these carb-heavy snacks leave you feeling sluggish and sleepy.”

High carb snacks include:

  • Bread

  • Pasta

  • Potatoes (and other starchy vegetables)

  • Grains, like rice and corn

  • Ice cream, candy, and cookies

  • Beer 

  • High carb fruits, like bananas, pineapples, and grapes

  • Dried fruit

Commonly Asked Questions

1) How many carbs can I eat?

The number of carbs you need to eat depends on your personalized nutrition needs. Your primary care physician or a registered dietitian or nutritionist can make recommendations that align with your health and goals. 

2) Do I need to count calories on a low-carb diet?

Low carb diets are different from other nutrition plans that aim to be low-calorie in that you don’t need to count calories. When followed properly, a low carb diet can help you control cravings and keep your blood sugar stable. What’s more, research shows that replacing unhealthy carbs with healthy carbs and lean proteins helps limit calories without causing you to feel hungry.

3) Is it OK to have a cheat meal if I’m on a low-carb diet?

If you’re on a low carb diet, It’s OK to have a cheat meal or snack occasionally, but you don’t want to overdo it. Eating junk food for several days in a row can cause your blood sugar to spike and throw off your weight loss progress. Always talk with your doctor or dietitian before making any drastic dietary changes.

Takeaways

Adapting to a low carb diet can be challenging at first, but there are plenty of delicious and healthy snacks to choose from. By incorporating the foods listed in this article, you can stay within your dietary limits and feel your best.

Do you need help choosing low carb snacks for yourself or a loved one? Our Care Specialists are here to assist! Call (800) 696-CARE or send an email to support@carewell.com. Our support team speaks English and Spanish and will be happy to help you make the right snacking decisions.

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.