Following a low carb diet can be a real challenge some days. For example, I love to go to the movies, but the popcorn is so tempting because I love that as well. Since I only allow myself one cheat meal a week, the idea of using that cheat on popcorn usually isn’t at the top of my list. Having some low carb snacks with me can help.
It is also hard to be out on the road. The world is not set up friendly for someone with high blood sugar trying to keep it under control. Everything is breaded, has bread, has sauces with sugar, etc. You can find a few quick things at the gas station, such as a beef stick or possibly some things in the refrigerator section. Some truck stops have fresh strawberries you can buy along with boiled eggs.
And what about going to anyone’s house ever? I find that even those who love me and want to support my way of eating just don’t get it. I have heard things like, “I made sure to have low carb food for you. You can eat oatmeal, right?” and “If you just have a small piece of cake, it won’t throw off your diet too bad.”
Here’s the thing. I don’t want to be rude. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but no. I can’t have those things. They make my blood sugar shoot up to damaging levels (anything above 140 by most studies). And, I simply won’t do it, even if it hurts your feelings. My best course of action in situations such as family gatherings and being out and about is to make sure I have plenty of snacks with me.
My snacks aren’t always induction friendly, if you are following Atkins, although some are. My low carb diet is basically “The Things that Don’t Raise Lori’s Blood Sugar Noticably”. I have tested, tracked, tested again to figure out the things I can safely eat. You should do the same. While strawberries are a great snack for me, they may not be a great snack for you. While grapes send my numbers soaring, they may not impact you in that way. Still, I think you can gain some ideas from those listed below.
I also bought a little insulated lunch tote from my friend Cindy O’Lone, who sells Thirty-One, a few years back. I will pack things like cheese or anything that doesn’t stand up well to heat inside that tote and take it with me. Because it is small and cute, if I’m going into a store, I can tuck it into my purse so it isn’t sitting outside in the hot car. If you don’t have an insulated tote, I highly recommend you invest in one.
So, here are my go-tos. They may not always be the very healthiest thing you can eat, but they are the lowest in carbs. Remember that my goal in a pinch is simply not to raise my blood sugar. When at home, or at a restaurant, I try to get in more veggies, fruits and healthier meats.
Snacks for the Road
- Slim Jims (I also have some grass fed beef sticks I ordered on Amazon that are amazing. They are expensive, but surely a bit healthier. All the ingredients are natural. However, if you are at a drug store or gas station, you can always find Slim Jims).
- Macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts have barely any carbs and ton of healthy fats. Yes, they are expensive, but you also can’t eat many at once because the fat in them fills you up. So, a small bag will last me all week on a road trip.
- Cheese individually wrapped (such as string cheese). I usually put this in a little cooler or insulated tote.
- Pre-cut strawberries. You can almost always buy these at a small grocery, such as Meijer or Kroger or take them with you. I’d put these in the tote as well.
- Hard boiled eggs. These are such a great go-to snack. You will need to keep them somewhat cool (don’t leave them in a hot car), but you can grab some Mayo packets the next time you’re eating out and squeeze a little mayo on them and some salt and pepper. Yum.
- Chicken slices. You can make a chicken breast at home, slice it up and take along the low carb dressing of your choice. You can buy dressing in packets (Hello Waldon Farms). Even better, Hillshire has some new chicken bites in the refrigerator section of the grocery (next to the Lunchables). My only gripe with these is that the dipping sauces are full of sugar. However, you certainly don’t have to use the dipping sauce. If you have a packet of something healthier, take that in your purse at all times anyway.
- Pepperoni Chips – Place slices of pepperoni on a paper towel and cover with another. Nuke in your microwave until crispy. These help satisfy that need to crunch (movies?) and are pretty tasty and salty. They also won’t go bad quickly, so you can throw a baggie of them in your purse.
- Cherry tomatoes
Snacks to Take to Parties
Have you ever been invited to a family gathering or event and worried because you had no idea what there might be to eat? There truly is a very simple solution to this dilemma. Take a dish for everyone to enjoy that you can snack on if there is nothing else. Also, if you don’t already carry a low carb bar or nuts with you, then you should start. They can save you until you can get away and get something low carb to eat.
Keep in mind that at cookouts, you can eat the hamburgers and hot dogs without a bun. The main issue is when you go somewhere and they only have a pasta. This is a low carber’s nightmare. Here are some things to take to parties:
- Meet and cheese tray
- Veggie tray
- Cheese and crackers (you don’t eat the crackers)
- Paleo crackers (I have an amazing recipe that uses one beaten egg, 1 cup of almond flour, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, black pepper and salt to taste). Lay the blog on parchment paper, put another piece on top and roll very thin. Cook at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes and break apart. You can also sprinkle some powdered ranch dressing mix, add cheese to the top or simply eat plain. Carry a baggy to the party with you and enjoy cheese with your own crackers or simply munch on the crackers by themselves.
- Bring a big salad
- Bring some chicken or shrimp to throw on the grill
- Low carb dessert (sugar free cheesecake anyone?)
You get the idea. Take along something you can eat and introduce others to your delicious low carb way of eating at the same time.
Snacks for Everyday
When you are low carbing, there will be times you aren’t even hungry. For me, my girls are both grown now and not always home and my husband might be working. I really don’t want to cook a full meal, but I also don’t want to eat out all the time. On top of that, there are limited dining choices in my small town and I’m trying to limit fast food, even carb friendly fast food.
With that in mind, I often fall back on these favorites.
- Cheese and Paleo crackers (see recipe above)
- Bacon and eggs
- Skillet pizza (good nonstick skillet, add a layer of shredded moz cheese to the bottom. Cook on medium heat until it starts to bubble. Add cheese or tomato sauce (watch the carbs in these). Toppings and another light layer of shredded cheese. Allow to cool a couple of minutes.
- Pizza crackers. 1/4 slice cheddar cheese, tomato slice, pepperoni. Bake on parchment in oven on 350 degrees F until cheese is browned.
- Joseph’s Bakery pita bread sandwich. I love to stuff half of one of these with turkey, avocado, Swiss, tomatoes, lettuce and drizzle with olive oil. Half of one has just a few carbs.
- Low Carb cookie. I love this recipe: http://pin.it/ZtQ-XqN. It has just a few ingredients. I use Splenda and almond flour. You can buy sugar free chocolate chips at Walmart. This recipe does have a few carbs, but if you are craving something sweet it is a great alternative.
- SF Jello with whipped cream
- Breakfast casserole. Occasionally, I will bake one in the oven without the hashbrown or bread base, let cool, cut into squares. Grab one when hungry.
- Fat bombs, such as my Bacon Ranch Fat Bombs or my Low Carb Raspberry Cheesecake Fat Bombs
- Tyson frozen cooked chicken breasts. You can nuke these, top with cheese and a tomato and nuke to melt cheese and have a pretty fast meal.
- Tyson refrigerated grilled chicken is great to warm and put in a salad.
- Fry some chickpeas in a skillet and season to taste (these are crunchy and yummy and satisfy that crunchy/salty craving)
As you can see, there are a ton of quick and simple things you can do to stay on track. I also love eggs at any time of day. Scrambled are my favorite way and add in cheese, ham, green peppers or whatever else makes sense. Eating low carb isn’t always easy, but with some planning and forethought you can stick to your diet plan and stay healthy and get trim.