A strictly zero-carb diet is anything but easy-- carbs lurk everywhere in natural foods. Even healthy foods like fruits and vegetables contain hefty amounts of both sugars and complex carbohydrates. Going low-carb can be done simply by reading labels. Low carb would be less than 15 grams per serving. It is still possible to eat pasta, bread, dairy, and fruits and veggies when on a low-carb diet. The hard-core no-carb approach can be a challenge.
Almonds, peanuts, cashews and pistachios are no-carb options for a quick snack. Nuts are high in protein, contain essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and oils, and--like all high-fiber foods--help control overeating by creating a feeling of fullness. However, because of their high fat content, limit daily intake to about 1/4 cup. A 1-cup serving of almonds provides a diet-busting 550 calories and 47 grams of fat.
Pumpkin, squash, sunflower, and flax are good seed choices for a quick snack. Seeds contain less calories and fat than nuts and still provide essential amino acids, protein and healthy omega-3 fats. Seeds are a good source of magnesium and zinc. Moderation is still the word when consuming seeds, especially if weight loss is one of your goals.
Beef jerky or turkey jerky is another no-carb snack option. Both are very low in calories and high in protein. However, unlike most nuts and seeds, jerky is highly processed and often high in sodium and saturated fat. Turkey jerky contains less saturated fat than beef jerky as it comes from a leaner meat. Again, moderation is best.
Soybeans are a great source of fiber, protein, and folate and are low in cholesterol and sodium. When steamed, known as edamame, soybeans are even more nutrient-rich and lower in calories and fat. The USDA rates this food 4 out of 5 stars in terms of weight management and optimal health.
All cheese can make a good snack if you pay heed to serving size. Even one ounce of cheese can be high in calories and fat. Cottage cheese is low in calories (average 110 per 4-ounce serving) and is a great source of selenium and protein. Another cheese you can snack on is mozzarella, especially the handy string-cheese form. If you choose the part-skim variety, a serving provides a mere 150 calories, 0 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and approximately 36 grams of protein.
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