Peanut Butter and Celery
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This classic childhood snack is both convenient and low carb. Two stalks of celery topped with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter has only 8 grams of carbohydrates (3 of which are fiber). It's perfectly sized and very portable; you can put them together in the morning, toss them in your bag, and they're ready whenever you are.
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One cup of 2 percent cottage cheese is an extremely filling 190 calories with just 8 grams of carbohydrates. You can top it with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to get an extra 5 grams of belly-filling fiber. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon for special antioxidants that improve your body's ability to handle carbohydrates.
In addition to being low carb, cottage cheese also contains probiotics, the healthy bacteria that help improve your digestion.
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Think of Greek yogurt as a creamier, carb-controlled version of regular yogurt. A 6 ounce serving of fat-free, plain Greek yogurt contains only 7 grams of carbohydrates. That's half as much as regular yogurt and a quarter of the carbohydrates you'd get from sweetened yogurts. Greek yogurt also contains twice as much protein, making it the perfect choice for those counting carbs and watching their waistline.
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Walnuts contain fewer carbs than almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and cashews. Plus, they have more antioxidant power than any other nut. Fourteen walnut halves (about 1 ounce) contains only 4 grams of carbohydrates, half of that coming from fiber. One ounce of walnuts also contains 10 percent of your daily intake of magnesium and 2 1/2 grams of healthy omega-3 fats. Walnuts are a great low-carb snack that can be proportioned ahead of time and left in your desk drawer for when you get hungry.
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String cheese is another childhood snack staple that's low carb and good for adults too. One part-skim string cheese stick contains less than 1 gram of carbohydrates and only 80 calories. They're small and pre-packaged, making them one of the easiest low-carb snacks around. Just reach into your refrigerator, grab one, and you are ready to head out the door.
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Toss two large handfuls of chopped and washed kale in a bowl with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. People say they are like potato chips—I'm not going to lie, they don't taste like Pringles, but they're addictive and really good. One cup of fresh chopped kale only contains 35 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrates, so feel free to have a few extra chips if you're hungry.
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This is a nutrient-packed, crunchy alternative to traditional party mix that saves you 7 grams of carbohydrates per 1/2 cup serving and has four times as much fiber. It keeps well in the refrigerator, but it's also good to eat on the go.
3 cup shelled edamame beans
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon curry powder
1 dash of salt and pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss edamame beans, olive oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper together in a bowl until the beans are thoroughly coated. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
Servings: 6 (1/2 cup)
Almond Apple Spice Muffins
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These low-carb, high-protein muffins use unsweetened apple sauce and almond meal to cut down on added sugars and excess carbs. They're extremely portable and convenient if you're on the go and deliver less than 10 grams of carbohydrates per muffin.
2 cups almond meal
5 scoops vanilla protein powder
4 whole eggs
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 stick butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon cloves
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in microwave (~30 seconds on low heat). Thoroughly mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use cup cake liners. Pour mix into muffin tins, make sure not to over fill (~3/4 full); this should make 12 muffins (2 muffin trays). Place one tray in the oven and cook for 12 minutes. Make sure not to overcook as the muffins will become very dry. Once cooked, remove from the oven and cook the second muffin tray.
Servings: 6 (2 muffins/serving)
Light Meal-Replacement Shakes
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Most meal replacement shakes contain 40 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbohydrates, and very little fat. Look for 'light' or 'for her' versions of these individually packaged shakes for fewer carbs and calories. For example, Lean Body for Her contains only 9 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and no artificial sweeteners. Many light meal-replacement shakes come in single serve packets, making them easy to store in your desk drawer to take with you on the go.