Low-carb diets are great for weight loss and losing belly fat in particular, but sticking to them for every meal and snack is . . . really hard. The trick is to find a few low-carb snack options that’ll keep you full between meals without getting in the way of your goals. But just because a snack is low-carb doesn’t mean it’s healthy; studies have shown that ultraprocessed foods can lead to weight gain, and there are a lot of them in the low-carb sphere. So which snacks will help you lose weight? We asked the experts, aka dietitians, what low-carb snacks they reach for and recommend when weight loss is the goal.
But before we begin, one thing to remember: “In regards to carbs, the focus should be on quality, not necessarily quantity,” said New York-based dietitian Rachel Fine of To the Pointe Nutrition. In other words, obsessing over the exact amount of carbs you’re eating won’t help you as much as focusing on what those carbs actually are, i.e. processed or all natural. “Carbs should come from plant-based, minimally processed, carbohydrate-containing foods,” Rachel said. As Shana Spence, MS, RDN, of The Nutrition Tea, told POPSUGAR, “Carbohydrates aren’t bad for us. Carbs are what our bodies and our brains run on for energy. The ones that people need to avoid are highly processed and saturated with sugar.”
“My favorite go-to low-carb snack is a handful of mixed nuts,” said Megan Casper, MS, RDN, of Nourished Bite Nutrition in LA. Nuts have some carbs, but they’re mostly from heart- and gut-healthy fiber, Megan explained. Meanwhile, the healthy fats and protein in them help keep you full for longer.
“Cottage cheese is a snack that’s low in calories and high in protein, making it a great go-to snack if you’re trying to lose weight,” Megan told POPSUGAR.
Maryann Walsh, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, loves kale chips as a healthy, savory, low-carb snack option. You can buy a few different varieties, but Maryann simply rips off the leaves, lays them on a sheet pan, and bakes for 10-15 minutes. “These are very low-carb and, while a bit flimsy, can also work for dipping!” she said.
Celery Sticks With Peanut Butter
Celery sticks and peanut butter are not only crunchy and creamy, but also nostalgic! “An old standby from childhood,” said Laura Yautz, a registered dietitian and owner of Being Nutritious in Pittsburgh. “The peanut butter has protein and healthy fat to help reduce cravings, and, along with the fiber in the celery, will keep you satisfied longer.”
“I love this option because it’s so simple and requires very little prep,” Laura told POPSUGAR. “A good source of protein, low in calories and fat, and no carbs. And as long as it stays cold, totally portable!”
As a variation on the traditional hard-boiled egg, Lisa Hugh, RD, LDN, recommended pickled eggs. She makes them by boiling an egg with vinegar and canned red beets. Beets have some carbs, but in small amounts, and while traditional recipes call for sugar, Lisa says it’s totally fine to leave them out. The vinegar gives your snack a strong, satisfying flavor.