Many people complain that there are no chips or crackers on a low-carb diet. They miss crunchy snack foods like pretzels and popcorn that are common on low fat/high carb diets. Here’s some good news: there are plenty of low-carb snacks that are crunchy that you can add to a low-carb or paleo diet to satisfy your need for snap and stay on the program.
1. Veggies are great for adding low carb snap to your meals
- Carrot Sticks
- Romaine lettuce boats
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cabbage shreds/wraps
- Snow peas pods
- Brussels sprout chips
- Cucumber slices
- Zucchini chips
- Water chestnuts
- Bamboo shoots
- Kale chips
Organic, in-season veggies make great low-carb snacks and will have fewer potentially fat-promoting pesticides and fertilizers. Shopping at your local farmer’s market will save you money, and local produce will have more vitamins and minerals than food shipped from far away.
2. Don’t forget the dip!
3. Most nuts and seeds are naturally low carb snacks
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Almond flour for breading
- Toasted unsweetened coconut
- Flax seed crackers or try this great cracker recipe.
But don’t go nuts on the nuts (and seeds):
Nuts are banned on Atkins Induction, for good reasons. It is easy to overeat these salty little treats, which are high in easily forgotten calories. Too, nuts are high in phytic acid, which can block mineral absorption and interfere with protein assimilation. When protein and minerals are not being absorbed, cravings will spike. Some people soak nuts to reduce the phytates, but most people are not willing to go through the effort. Too, some find nuts hard to digest, especially when they have not been soaked. Another consideration is that nuts and seeds are full of polyunsaturated oils that can oxidize when heated, causing free radical damage in the body. Eat nuts in moderation, as a treat, but be careful of portion sizes, and remember that commercially roasted nuts have been heated to high temperatures.
4. Crunchy meats:
Pork rinds seem like a low carb staple, but I am not a fan. Many commercial pork rinds are cooked in inflammatory, omega-6 vegetable oils such as corn, canola, or soybean that can contribute to heart disease, autoimmunity and premature skin aging. You can make your own at home following this healthier pork rind recipe.
Meet your Meat
Most meats are naturally low carb. Choose the best quality meat that you can afford, and try to avoid pesticides and antibiotics, which may promote obesity. Seek out a local farmer who raises animals on their natural diets and allows them to get lots of sunshine and fresh air. The healthier the animals we consume, the more progress we will make toward our own health goals.
5. Fermented vegetables:
- Unpasteurized raw sauerkraut
- Unpasteurized Kim-chee
- Probiotic pickles such as Bubbies brand
Fermented veggies make great low-carb snacks and provide probiotics that many people with weight problems lack. These probiotics help us to control sugar cravings, improve bowel regularity, and strengthen digestive enzymes.
6. Primal dairy lovers:
- Raw and /or organic Parmesan cheese crackers or cheddar crackers
- Pasteurized conventional dairy is a dead food that may be contaminated with hormones, pesticides and genetically modified organisms that have never been proven safe. Raw milk usually comes from healthy grass fed cows. It provides vitamin K for strong bones and vitamin A and D for healthy skin and robust immune system.
Higher carb paleo snack options include:
7. Caitlin’s Bonus: Chocolate
Chocolate can be a great healthy and crunchy low-carb snack if you choose the right kind. Read my article about the angelic and devilish sides of this treat here. Always look for organic and low sugar Lindt Dark Chocolates or Alter Eco for a great crunch. Watch for common allergens like soy lethicin and soybean oil that can slow down thyroid function and lower metabolism.
Try this recipe at home from our CarbSmart friend Vanessa for Dark Chocolate Mini Coconut Cups.
When planning low-carb snacks, focus on quality and nutrient density to reduce cravings and increase weight loss. If we eat rancid oils, pesticides and hormones when snacking it will ultimately affect our long-term success and health markers.
- Are Nut Based Baked Goods Healthy? From MarksDailyApple.com
- Know Your Fats From WestonAPrice.org
- Many Dangers of Excess PUFA Consumption From PaleoDietLifestyle.com
What are some of your favorite healthy low-carb snacks? How do you add a healthy crunch to your low-carb diet or paleo diet?