Easy Low Carb Snacks

When trying to reduce the carb count in your diet, some things are obvious.  Eliminate sugary drinks like soda and sweet tea, avoid cake and ice cream unless you know what’s in it.  Figuring out which staples in your diet are high in carbs is a whole different story.  

Bread is a household staple for most people, but it’s also a high carb food.  A single slice of white bread has 14 grams of carbs.  Whole wheat bread is even worse at 17 grams of carbs per slice.  Don’t think that tortilla you prefer is going to work either.  1 10 inch tortilla has 36 grams of carbs.  It might not seem much, but you rarely eat one slice of bread.  It takes two to make a sandwich and you might eat two sandwiches.  That is 56 grams of carbs in just the bread let alone what you might put on the sandwich.  That’s a lot if you are wanting to reduce your intake.  

I love pasta. It can be eaten as a side dish or the main course.  It is versatile and fairly cheap, but when trying to reduce carbs, I avoid it.  One cup of cooked pasta contains about 43 grams of carbs and that doesn’t include sauce or any other additions to the pot.  Thankfully, these days you can spiralize veggies to make noodles to get your pasta fix.

Chips and crackers are often high in carbs as well and with little nutritional value you need to be careful how much you eat.  

Low fat often means added sugars and higher carbs so make sure when you pick up something you think is healthier, it actually is.

Milk is great and has many nutrients, but about 1 cup has 12-14 grams of carbs so be careful with your intake.  Nut milks are a great alternative as they usually contain about 1 gram per cup. 

I often tout the benefits of fruits in my column, but if you want to reduce carbs, you may want to be careful which ones you eat.  A small apple or 1 cup of cherries or blueberries contain about 21 grams of carbs while a single banana has 27 grams.   

High starch vegetables have a higher carb content. Some starch can be soaked out of the vegetables and cooking can remove even more, but it is still best to reduce your intake.  Try to limit your intake to a half cup or a full cup but no more.  Potatoes are the worst high starch food and can actually cause spikes in blood sugar levels when eating even a little bit.  Corn, chickpeas, lentils, beans of all types, parsnips, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams are all high starch vegetables.  

Remember, these are just suggestions for reducing your carb intake.  I am not saying to avoid them all.  Also, leave out as many processed foods as possible.  Talk to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.  Make your grocery list and leave out the breads and pastas this week.  Then meet me in the kitchen for delicious snacks to keep you from reaching for junk food between meals.

Avocado Chips

1 large ripe avocado

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

½ tsp. lemon juice

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. taco seasoning or other seasoning of your choice

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In medium bowl, mash avocado until smooth. Stir in Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Season with pepper.  Place heaping teaspoon-size scoops of mixture on baking sheet, leaving about 3” apart between each scoop. Flatten each scoop to 3" wide across with back of spoon or measuring cup. Bake until crisp and golden, about 30 minutes, then let cool completely. Serve at room temperature.  So good!

Recipe adapted from delish.com.

 

Jalapeño Popper Fat Bombs

3.5oz cream cheese at room temperature

¼ cup unsalted sweet cream butter 

4 slices no sugar bacon 

¼ cup grated Cheddar cheese 

2 jalapeño peppers

In bowl, mash together cream cheese and butter, or process in food processor until smooth.  Preheat oven to 325°F.  Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a rimmed sheet to contain bacon fat, you’ll need it for the bombs, too.  Lay bacon slices flat on parchment, leaving enough space between so they don’t overlap.  Place sheet in preheated oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until crispy. The exact amount of cooking time depends on thickness of bacon slices.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, crumble bacon into bowl and set aside.  To cream cheese and butter mixture, add cheddar cheese, jalapeños and bacon grease. Mix well to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until set.  Roll mixture into size desired and place them on a parchment-lined plate. If serving immediately, roll them in crumbled bacon until well coated. If serving later, refrigerate without bacon coating in airtight container for up to 1 week. Roll fat bombs in freshly cooked or reheated bacon crumbs just before serving.

Recipe adapted from lowcarbyum.com.

 

Pickle Wraps

4 slices deli meat

4 pickle spears-I like Claussen Kosher dill spears.  You can find them in the refrigerated section at Walmart.

Cream cheese of choice-I like garden vegetable variety

Pepper

Lay out slices of deli meat flat on plate.  Spread cream cheese on each piece.  I like to completely cover the meat.  Sprinkle pepper to taste over cream cheese.  The pickles are juicy so it helps to pat them dry first.  Sometimes, I stack two pieces of lunchmeat on top of each other and then add the pickle.  Lay pickle spear on meat and roll meat over spear from one side to the other. I eat them whole, but you could slice them for bite size snack pieces for taking on the go.  Enjoy!

 

Taco Bites

1lb ground turkey

1 medium onion, diced

6 eggs

Mexican blend shredded cheese

Silicone muffin liners-these are a life saver when it comes to clean up with these.  

Toppings of choice-try salsa, sour cream or guacamole

In large skillet over medium heat, sauté beef until cooked through, breaking up clumps as it cooks. Drain off any grease.  Add taco seasoning and stir to combine.  Add up to ¼ cup water if needed. Remove from heat.  Preheat oven to 350°F and line a mini muffin pan with silicone liners. (You can also use melted butter if you don’t have liners.  Make sure it is well coated or the eggs will stick pretty badly.) This recipe makes about 32 mini muffins so you may need to work in batches if you don’t have more than one mini muffin pan.  If you want larger cups, use a regular muffin tin.  You will get 6-12 depending on how full you fill cups and how much hamburger meat ends up in each cup.  In large bowl, whisk eggs. Add taco meat and ½ cup shredded cheese. Whisk thoroughly to combine.  Meat is heavier than egg so you need to make sure it is well whisked or whisk every so often as you fill cups or you may end up with half the meat still in the bowl.  Fill muffin cups to about ¾ full and sprinkle with the more shredded cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and firm to the touch. Remove and let cool 10 minutes. Use a thin flexible spatula to run around the edge of the muffins to release if you used butter.  If you used a liner, they will easily pop out.  Serve with your favorite taco toppings if desired.

 

Note: these can be modified in so many ways.  I have used deli meat as a base for the egg and added mushroom and bell pepper to the cup.  I have used turkey breakfast sausage as the base and added green onion to the egg also.  They are all YUM!