You know a granola bar isn’t the most nutritious or weight-loss-friendly snack, but when you’re on the go, it’s a lot easier to eat than an egg white omelet. Can a busy schedule and a low-carb diet really co-exist? The answer is YES, especially when you take advantage of the many pre-packaged foods that deliver 10 grams or less of good carbs (like fiber instead of sugar) per serving, says Roberta Lee, integrative physician at the Centre for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Here are five super-convenient snacks you can grab on the go, plus three fast and easy low-carb recipes anyone can make—no cooking skills required.
Remember how your mum used to put cheese strips in your lunch box? The classic protein snack we once loved is still a great on-the-go option for both kids and adults. And good news: Light cheddar has 50 percent less fat, and delivers 15 percent your daily calcium needs. Keep a bag of eight hidden in your office fridge for a satisfying mid-morning snack or an afternoon pick-me-up.
Kefir smoothies aren't quite smoothies, but it's the best way to describe this diary drink that looks, tastes, even smells like one. Made of kefir, which is similar to yogurt but a richer source of live and active probiotics (you know, the healthy bacteria that can boost the immune system and aid digestion), these drinks shots have as much protein as three egg whites. They contain 30 percent of your daily calcium needs.
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For a quick, high-protein energy boost, try all-natural nut butter. These aren’t your typical old-fashioned spreads. The packs make perfect toppings for bananas or apples. Wait, we know what you're thinking: Isn't fruit high in carbs? Yes, some are thanks to their high sugar content, which is why the Atkins and South Beach diets completely eliminate fruit during phase one. But fruit can be an active person's best friend. Full of fiber (a.k.a. good carbs), apples make the perfect pre- or post-workout snack.
Related: The dangers of the Atkins Diet
Forget the portion police! Hummus can satisfy a savoury craving and keep you full until your next meal, especially when you use it as a dip for baby carrots. This snack has lots of hidden health benefits, just click on the link below for the special article on hummus.
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Green Tea is actually unsweetened and made with organic ingredients. In teas, like in traffic lights, green means “go.” One study found that people who drank three cups of green tea experienced a boost in their metabolism, burning up to 80 extra calories per day.
Related: The truth about green tea
Prefer to make your munchies from scratch? Good idea: You’ll know exactly what you're eating —no added sugars, preservatives, or other crazy ingredients you can't pronounce. Sharon Richter, a registered dietitian recommends turkey roll-ups as a simple snack you can prepare ahead of time and then stash in your bag for later. To make them her way, take three slices of turkey and wrap them around a pickle slice along with a very thin slice of avocado and tomato. The lean protein and monounsaturated fat combo will keep you feeling full longer and less tempted by the office vending machine.
Spicy roasted garbanzo beans
Richter recommends this heart-healthy, low-cholesterol chick-pea concoction to spice up any drab afternoon. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas, then pat dry with a towel. Toss beans with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of spice mix (2 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of ground coriander, ½ tsp chile powder, ½ tsp sweet paprika, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground allspice, ¼ tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, and a pinch of ground cloves) and a tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange the beans on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 40 to 50 minutes or until slightly browned. Store in a Ziplock bag so the beans are ready to go when you are.
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Edamame with Nuts
Warm a package of shelled edamame, following the instructions on the bag. When the beans are done and cooled, place ½ cup servings, which contain only 9 grams of carbs, into separate Ziplock bags (makes four and a half bags) and Richter suggests adding to each a quarter cup of your favourite lightly salted nuts—almonds, pistachios, cashews, or walnuts. Voila! You’ve just assembled your own pre-packaged snacks for the entire week. For an even easier recipe, just grab the frozen bag of soybeans on your way out the door. They'll be thawed by snack time.