Atkins low carb snack ideas

Written by anne hirsh
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Atkins low carb snack ideas
Cheese is a low-carb, filling snack. (cheese image by carol lynch from Fotolia.com)

The Atkins diet recommends that you a diet high in protein and very few carbohydrates to induce your body to burn fat. Later phases of the diet allow more carb consumption, but you will still want to limit your carbohydrate intake in every stage, especially when snacking, so you don't use up your daily carb allotment before you get to your meals. Check the portion sizes for your Atkins phase to ensure your snacks take up only a small percentage of your daily carb allotment.

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Phase One Snacks

Phase one allows you 12 to 15 grams of net carbs per day from vegetable sources, and the diet counts net carbs as carbohydrates that are not direct sources of dietary fibre. Meat and cheese are carb-free, but you don't want to overdo them between meals, and balancing them with vegetables is essential for health. For a high-powered protein and veggie snack, try crumbling three slices of cooked bacon and mixing it with an ounce of crumbled feta cheese and a tablespoon of minced chives. Wash and dry 1/2 cup of spinach, then wrap spoonfuls of the bacon mixture in spinach leaves and eat them as you would Asian-style lettuce wraps. This snack has 1.5 grams of net carbs; you can lower this to 0.3 by substituting a chopped, hard-boiled egg for the feta.

For a lower-protein, lighter snack with a lot of flavour, run 1/4 cup of jicama through a food processor, along with 1/2 tbsp sliced ginger root and 1/2 tbsp cilantro. Drain off the excess liquid and spread the remaining paste on 1/2 cup of sliced cucumbers. Your carb count will be 2.15 for the total amount, or less if you substitute spinach leaves for the cucumber.

Phase Two Snacks

Phase two allows you up to five more net carbs each week, so use these to your advantage while snacking. For a snack the slows your craving for sweets, chop three pecan halves up into fine pieces and mix them in with 1/4 cup of chopped fresh strawberries. Sprinkle the mixture with unsweetened cinnamon and for a 4.1-carb treat.

For a more filling snack, grind 12 almonds into a paste with a food processor, adding a bit of oil and a few grains of sea salt (non-iodised) for flavour. Spread the paste on a celery stalk for a snack with approximately 3 grams of net carbohydrates.

Don't forget to add protein to your snacks in carb-free forms, as well. Cheddar cheese squares topped with crumbled bacon are filling and sugarless, or you can substitute 56.7gr of mozzarella cheese for barely more than a single carb.

Phase Three Snacks

Phase three opens up a whole new world of snacking with the addition of legumes and specific whole grains to your diet. You can make your own hummus dip snack tray by processing garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender, then spread the hummus on sliced veggies or use it as a dip. The carb components vary according to the vegetables you choose, but limit yourself to just 1 tablespoon or two of the hummus, as each tablespoon has just under 3 grams of carbs.

Yams are also acceptable in phase three, so make yourself some oven-baked yam fries by deep frying or baking thin fingers of yam in your favourite oil and seasonings. Half a cooked yam has approximately 9.6 grams of carbs, so watch your portions carefully.

Now that you have some grains available, take advantage of them in your snacking. A quarter cup of cooked brown rice is 10.3 net carbs, but if you stir-fry it with egg, 1/4 cup bamboo shoots, 1/4 cup of cabbage and 1/4 cup of zucchini, then eat only half of the portion at a time, you'll have a hearty snack with protein, veggies and grains with just over 7 grams of carbs.

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