Good morning, friends! Today we have a very special guest post by a friend of mine, Miss Tara from Media Remedial! I met Tara at my first FitBloggin’, and we were both shyly twirling our hair and looking around for a kindred spirit that was heavy on media criticism and also loved cats. (Ok, maybe we weren’t twirling our hair, but it sounds cute, so you know.) We found each other and now I’m proud to have Tara as a friend. Given that I’m a week in to my lower carb eating per my PCOS diet, I asked Tara to share her favorite low-carb snacks. She’s lost a ton of weight on a low carb plan, and after reading her post, I have to say… I’m hungry! Enjoy!
Hello, Double Chin Diary readers!
My name is Tara, and Alyssa asked me to write a guest post on one of my favorite topics: LOW CARB SNACKING! I’ve been a low carb dieter (sometimes the lifestyle; often the desperation) for awhile now, and snacking is one of the tougher things as a low carber. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I slip into full-on carb-eating if snacks aren’t handy when I need them. Oh, and I want to say in advance: I haven’t been paid in money or goods by any of the companies listed. These are really the things I consume.
Before we get started on the usual suspects, always be ready for hunger emergencies: I keep individual packs of peanuts around the house and in my car trunk. I’m allergic to tree nuts and seeds, but those would work, too–just make sure to eat them occasionally. You don’t want years-old peanuts. I usually have a chocolate chip cookie dough Atkins bar in my purse, too. It is usually smooshed, but it’s good when I need it!
Now, these are some of the snacks I eat on an occasional basis (most still have carbs, so too much of a good snack is simply too much):
- The aforementioned peanuts
- CarbMaster yogurts (made by Kroger, but look for similar items in other stores)
- Kale chips (there’s a huge variety of brands)
- Flax Snax (eat like a chip or use like a mini cracker or melba toast)
- Deli slices of meat (wrap up the cheese and deli meat together–with some dijon mustard)
- Jerky (many varieties, but check the carbs; too much teriyaki can ruin a great snack)
- Celery with peanut butter (Simply Jif seems to be on the lower carb end)
- Cucumbers as chips or crackers–load ’em up with cheese, spinach dips, veggies, etc.
- Low carb wraps/tortillas (I like Tumaro’s, but I’ve heard that some people like the Tortilla Factory) with peanut butter and sugar free jelly
- Dill pickles
- Sugar Free Oregon Chai with Hood Calorie Countdown (or some lower carb milk product like soy or almond)
- Keep a bag of spinach around, and it’s easy to toss some spinach and a low carb dressing onto a plate for a quick salad with barely any prep. I also use pre-cut onions, mushrooms, and peppers when I make omelets, and those pre-cut things are easy to toss onto the spinach for that little salad, too!
- Smoked salmon (you can even buy it wrapped up with cream cheese–check the fish area at your local grocery store
- Breyers CarbSmart ice cream bars
- Hard-boiled eggs – eat them plain with a good herb mix, deviled eggs, or the slacker approach: Pick up some ready-made guacamole from Chipotle, the produce section, etc. and put guacamole in the egg white section–the opposite of deviled eggs: Holy Guacamole eggs!
- CRACKERS. Crackers made entirely of cheese! Pick up Kitchen Table Bakers crackers at Fresh Foods, or visit their website to find out more places where they’re sold (I see them often).
If there’s a sushi section at a grocery store near you, check their case or ask if there’s someone making it fresh: I recently found some spicy tuna rolls with no rice–just tuna and avocado–wrapped up with cucumber slices! It was pricey but for an occasional high-end treat, this can be awesome if you’re a sushi fan.
A snack of cheesy avocados reflects the amount of cooking I usually do, and the results are worth the effort:
- Split and pit an avocado (I use the most awesome OXO tool), put it on a foil-wrapped tray of some sort, and spray (I use an olive oil cooking spray) or brush olive oil on both halves.
- Generously sprinkle a great herb mixture over them. I use one I got at a farmer’s market. It contains lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano basil, sage, lemongrass, and sea salt. Look for a good mix like that. But watch the sodium! Most cheese is already fairly salty.
- Heap the avocado hole with cheese cubes or crumbles (pick a cheese; any cheese). Maybe add some more herbs (or not), and pop them in the oven on broil.
- Stick around, and in a few minutes, you’ll hear the cheese sizzling. Pull the tray out and take a cheese slice that you can tear to fit and layer it over the whole avocado. More herbs? Why not?
- And back in the oven they go. Keep an eye and ear on them, but very shortly, after the cheese gets a little melty (but not runny), they’re done!
- Pull them out, grab a fork and knife, and enjoy. You can cut to the avocado skin, and then you get a magical bite of avocado, herbs, and cheese. SO GOOD.
Something I’ve found helpful: I don’t always keep a log of my meals, which tend to be fairly consistent, but I always keep track of my snacks (and new meals) to see how they affect my weight loss. If I see the weight steady just as I’ve started with a new snack or more of a snack, I cut back.
One more emergency/on the road tip: If I’m desperate for a snack when I’m out and about, I go to McDonald’s. And it ain’t for salad (though that’s a fine meal option). I usually get a double cheeseburger or a McDouble (the former has two slices of cheese; the latter only has one) with no bun and no ketchup. Done. It’s about $1, and they get that special order all the time. Sometimes, I’ll just get a cheeseburger, but if I’m desperate enough for the drive-thru, extra protein/fat is probably a good idea. Usually, they’ll add lettuce to it so you can pick it up, and it comes in a handy bowl. I admit, sometimes I just use the lettuce as my bun. It happens.
Something I don’t recommend: I LOVE sugar free candy, but even if it doesn’t mess with my digestive system (the sweeteners often will) I find that it usually messes with the scale. I do much better, weight loss-wise, if I skip these entirely.
I hope these snack ideas have been helpful. I am such a slacker and don’t REALLY cook, but I admire the folks who do. If you want more snack ideas and recipes, a woman named Vicki seems to run a great Pinterest page. I found it after I wrote this piece, but it already has me drooling over these new ideas to try when I’m feeling a little ambitious. Happy snacking!
You can find me (Tara Scherner de la Fuente) over at Media Remedial. It’s my business website (I’m a freelancer with a few different hats), and if you click on my blogs link, you’ll have access to my Health blog, where I talk about weight loss, body stuff, and fitness. I also tweet: @MediaRemedial