In fitness communities, snacks get a bad rap. But while some athletes view snacking between meals as a lack of discipline, we do not fall under that category. We think it’s far wiser and healthier to enjoy a balanced snack than to allow yourself to go hungry.
Snacks are convenient, give you fuel when you need it most, and prevent you from eating foods that leave you feeling tired and lethargic. You can easily toss healthy snacks into a gym bag, purse, or desk drawer for when hunger hits — particularly after a workout, during meetings, or while commuting.
Like any meal, it's important to choose high-quality ingredients when building a healthy low-carb snack. If you choose a non-perishable snack, avoid products with artificial sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives. If you're following a low-carb diet, look for snacks with fiber, protein, and some fat, like a small veggie tray and a couple boiled eggs
Below we share several healthy, low-carb snack ideas to keep you full, satisfied, and fueled for your workouts.
Most people don't think of guacamole as a healthy snack option because it often comes with a mound of chips and cheesy enchiladas.
But take away the tortilla chips, and you have a healthy, high-fat, low-carb snack. Avocados contain vitamins K, C, E, and B. A large Haas avocado packs about 40% of your daily fiber, 22 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, 3 grams of protein, and less than 13 grams of carbs.
To make your standard "chips and guac" into a low-carb snack, swap the bag of tortilla chips for sliced bell peppers and celery sticks. (Meal prep hack: Slice your veggies as soon as you get home from the store, and store them in airtight containers. That way, you can grab them as you sprint out the door.)
Customize your veggies and guacamole snack for any diet:
For an easy snack recipe, slice cucumbers into rounds, then smother with a layer of cream cheese and smoked salmon. Smoked salmon is an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids essential for proper cardiovascular function, joint integrity, mental acuity, and many other biological processes. It also contains about 16 grams of protein and virtually no carbs per 3-oz portion.
Here are a few recipe ideas to make this a low-carb snack that fits with your diet:
When all else fails, hard-boiled eggs are the easiest low-carb, high-protein snack you can find. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, fewer than 1 gram of carbs, and just 77 calories.
But when you have the time to meal prep, you can create a more substantial meal by making an egg salad wrap. Use butter lettuce instead of a wheat or corn wrap, and top with tomatoes, pickles, and other fixings (this recipe only takes 10 minutes to prepare).
Smoothies make for a great on-the-go, low-carb snack(just preferably not while you’re driving — remember, two hands on the wheel!).
You can easily alter smoothies to suit your tastes. Build your smoothie with a dose of healthy fats, low-carb veggies for fiber and vitamin C, and protein from a high-quality protein powder. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Seemingly high-carb snacks — like muffins, snack bars, and even pancakes — can be made with fewer carbs by simply swapping a few ingredients. By using low-carb flours like coconut or almond flour and a zero-net-carb sweetener like Stevia or monk fruit, you’ll have a sugar-free, low-carb snack.
If you're in a rush, a homemade trail mix or handful of nuts makes for an easy low-carb snack. However, if you have time to meal prep, try one of these low-carb recipes:
Meal prep hack: Individually wrap the bars and store them in the freezer for later use.
Snacks are portable and appropriately portioned meals that can tide you over between meetings or before or after your workout. Just like any other meal, you should put some thought behind your snack choices and choose ingredients that will fuel you up (rather than weigh you down).
If you're following a low-carb diet, shopping for ready-made snacks can be frustrating (especially when the cereal and chips aisle is mostly off-limits). Therefore, we recommend making homemade low-carb snacks.
Veggies, low-carb fruits, nuts and seeds, and hard-boiled eggs will go a long way toward tiding you over until your next meal. However, if you're constantly searching for new snack ideas, try prepping your own.Egg salad, guacamole with veggie sticks, mini "sandwiches" made with cucumber and smoked salmon, and high-protein smoothies are great snack options for any low-carb diet. When making a smoothie, always add a scoop of high-quality protein powder, like collagen or whey, to keep you fueled until your next meal.