While carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient and energy source for most people, there are a handful of health benefits that may be associated with eating a low-carb diet for some people. The keto diet has become popular among certain populations for its potential to help with weight management and other health conditions.
Some research shows that eating low-carb can be positive for weight loss and conditions like type 2 diabetes. Studies have also shown potentially positive benefits of low-carb diets for type 2 diabetes management. However, as carbohydrates are present in many different dietary staples, it can sometimes be challenging to find low-carb snacking options.
That’s why we’ve compiled a helpful list with some of our favorite low-carb snacks you can pick up on your next trip to the grocery store that can help you keep your diet varied and full of healthy nutrients.
What is a Low-Carb Snack?
There are a few food groups that don’t contain any carbs, like some animal proteins (meat, fish, and poultry) and many types of oils. Unsweetened drinks like coffee and tea and many common condiments such as vinegar, liquid aminos, and hot sauces are also carbohydrate-free.
According to the Mayo Clinic, limiting carb intake to anywhere between 20-57 grams per day is typically considered a low-carb diet. There is some nuance to this however, and some dietitians classify anything less than 130 grams per day as low-carb. In any case, identifying some lower carb snacks that are higher in protein or fat can be helpful if your goal is to stick to a low-carb diet.
Let’s look at a few convenient low-carb snacks to keep you satiated throughout the day.
11 Low-Carb Snacks You’ll Love
Everyone’s dietary needs are different, and everything from meal frequency to the size of each meal will be determined by your individual needs. So it’s always best to work with a dietitian or nutritionist to see what works best for you.
In the meantime, here are 11 low-carb snacks to consider:
Carbs per Serving (Two tablespoons): 2.6 grams
Guacamole is a tasty and nutritious snack that almost everyone loves to enjoy and is also high in fiber. Making your guacamole from scratch with avocados, lime juice, salt, and pepper is the best way to ensure that it doesn’t contain any extra carbohydrates.
You can swap out tortilla chips for cheese crisps, pork rinds, or another low-carb dipper to enjoy your guacamole with a crunch.
Healthy fats from the avocado are also beneficial for heart health and may even help lower LDL cholesterol. However, more research is still needed to determine how strong the association is.
2) Hard-Boiled Eggs
Carbs per Serving (One egg): 0.4 grams
Eggs are an excellent nutrient-dense snack, as they are packed full of vitamins and are a great source of high-quality protein. One large egg has 0.4 grams of carbohydrates and more than six grams of protein.
According to some studies, adding eggs to your diet may also be linked to a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Hard-boiled eggs are convenient to store for meal prep or as an on-the-go snack, and you can add them to everything from salads to wraps.
They are also a better option for anyone that’s trying to boost protein in their diet (for weight loss or other health goals).
3) Veggies with Hummus
Hummus is a tasty dip that can be paired with anything from carrots to bell peppers and is an excellent appetizer for any occasion. Traditional hummus, typically made up of chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and spices, is low in carbs and pairs nicely with vegetables to add extra nutrients to your diet.
4) Beef Jerky
Carbs per Serving (28 grams): 3.1 grams
If you’re looking for an easy, high-protein snack, beef jerky is an excellent option, with about nine grams of protein per serving.
Beef jerky is also an excellent source of vitamin B12, iron, and folate and makes for a perfect snack that you can conveniently throw in your bag. When shopping for beef jerky, opt for a brand with no synthetic nitrites, lower sodium content, and low or no added sugar. Bonus points if you go for a grass-fed variety!
5) Zucchini Chips
Carbs per Serving (100 grams): 2.7 grams
If you’re someone who loves snacking on potato chips and looking for a healthier, low-carb option, baking sliced zucchini with olive oil and spices can be a fun way to make a delicious, healthy, homemade snack.
Kale chips are another popular variation, and they are even easier to prepare as they don’t require chopping.
6) Chia Pudding
Carbs per Serving (3 tablespoons chia seeds, 1 cup almond milk ): 15.3 grams and 8.1 grams
Chia seeds are highly nutritious and full of fiber, omega-3, and protein, and make for a great low-carb topping to all sorts of snacks.
By soaking chia seeds in almond milk (or other varieties), you’ll be left with a tasty and filling low-carb pudding that makes for the perfect mid-afternoon snack.
Carbs per Serving (18 grams): 9.2 grams
Nuts are full of healthy fats and are low in carbs when consumed according to their recommended serving size.
Tossing some pumpkin seeds, pecans, and cashews together to make homemade trail mix can be a healthy, filling snack.
Unlike store-bought or pre-packaged trail mixes, making trail mix from scratch can help you avoid added sugars and other carbs from dried fruits and candy sources.
Carbs per Serving (78 grams): 6.9 grams
Edamame beans are a type of soybean popular in Japanese cuisine, but they also make for a convenient, healthy snack.
Though edamame beans are a form of legume, their high fiber content helps balance their carbs. Edamame is also a great source of plant-based protein.
9) Greek Yogurt
Carbs per Serving (170 grams): 6.1 grams
Plain Greek yogurt is an excellent high-protein, low-calorie snack. An important consideration is that many flavored varieties of Greek yogurt can contain added sugars and carbs, so we recommend sticking to an unflavored option and topping it with a few blueberries or a handful of nuts to give it some extra flavor.
10) Tuna Salad
Homemade tuna salad made of canned tuna, celery, and good quality mayonnaise made from olive oil can be a filling and nutritious snack. It's also a great gluten-free snack or lunch option to put inside lettuce wraps.
To boost this dish, try adding capers, red onion, or nuts for extra flavor!
11) Dark Chocolate
Carbs per Serving (28 grams): 17 grams
Dark chocolate is an excellent option if you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth. One ounce of good quality dark chocolate contains about 10 grams of net carbs balanced out by the fiber found in the chocolate.
Dark chocolate also has several health benefits, as it’s full of antioxidants and may even help with things like cardiovascular health and blood pressure.
Consume dark chocolate and other sweets in moderation, and watch out for your portion size to be mindful of your carbohydrate intake.
Who Can Benefit From Following a Low-Carb Diet?
There is no one-size-fits-all diet for everyone, and it’s important to note that your individual health needs may not allow you to cut out all carbohydrates from your diet.
You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet.
However, research has shown potential health benefits for individuals with diabetes as many low carb foods won’t lead to spikes in glucose levels. Weight loss is another potential benefit, though it can depend on various other lifestyle and health factors, and things like physical activity and stress reduction are also essential to focus on.
When Can a Low-carb Snack Be Bad for You?
Low-carb diets are not for everyone, and it’s important to remember that some foods low in carbohydrates can be unhealthy for other reasons. Things like refined oils, diet sodas, and low-carb frozen meals are low in carbs but may be high in trans fats and artificial sweeteners.
Some research suggests that following a long-term low-carb diet may be linked to increased mortality and instead supports limiting refined carbs and added sugars in your diet.
5 Low-Carb Snack Recipes Our Dietitians Love
If you still need some inspiration, here are some low-carb recipes recommended by dietitians if you’re looking for nutritious snack ideas.
1) Homemade Cheese Crisps from Wholesome Yum
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded)
- 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
Why We Love It
This low-carb recipe is easy to make and requires just three ingredients. Homemade cheese crisps can be a great replacement for chips, and you can add any spice variation you like to add some extra flavor.
Try these out with your favorite dip and see just how simple they are to prepare!
2) Deviled Eggs by Joy Filled Eats
- 12 eggs large
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 4 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
- 3 tablespoons fresh chives minced
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
Why We Love It
Deviled eggs from a recipe like this are a fun way to make your eggs tastier and can even be a great party snack to share with friends.
Eggs are a great source of protein and other vitamins and can help keep you satiated during the day, especially when consumed around lunchtime. You can also easily cut this recipe in half for a smaller serving.
3) Keto Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps by Healthy Fitness Meals
- 2 cans tuna (drained and flaked) 5-6 oz each
- 1/4 small red onion finely chopped
- 4-5 radishes finely chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped dill weed
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Why We Love It
This recipe is full of flavor and lots of extra protein, as it substitutes mayonnaise for Greek yogurt and adds eggs for an extra boost of healthy nutrients.
There are many variations of tuna salad, and you can easily customize yours based on the ingredients you have on hand to make a filling, nutritious snack, or even a full meal.
4) Sweet and Salty Keto Trail Mix by the Bettered Blondie
- 1 cup cashews, raw
- 1 cup pecans, raw
- 1 cup sliced or whole almonds raw
- 1.5 cups coconut flakes unsweetened, raw
- 1 tablespoon sweetener (like Swerve or monk fruit)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips
Why We Love It
This trail mix recipe is easy to throw together quickly, and you can make a big batch to save for snacks throughout the week. Trail mix is full of healthy fats and is a satiating snack you can take on the go. Remember to be mindful of portion sizes if you’re watching your calorie intake.
5) Keto Yogurt Bark by Low Carb Inspirations
- 1 cup of your favorite keto yogurt (or plain Greek yogurt)
- 3 to 5 drops of liquid stevia (optional)
- 1/2 cup diced berries strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Why We Love It
If you’re looking for a cold and refreshing treat in the summertime, this recipe is a creative way to satisfy your sweet tooth and get some extra protein by using Greek yogurt. There’s lots of room for customizing this recipe to your liking, and it’s a fun treat for kids too!
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