When you’re on the go, grabbing a healthy snack to eat on the road, at the office or jet setting to another place, can seem impossible. From chips, to nuts, to candy, there are so many easy (and unhealthy) choices to grab off the shelf or in line at the grocery store.
We checked in with a registered dietitian to debunk myths about snacks that are “low carb”. Srisakthi Ramanathan, licensed dietitian/nutritionist from the South Asian Cardiovascular Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., shares healthy snack ideas, the amount of carbs you should aim to intake and the why behind a carb-controlled diet.
“When people use the term “low carb snack”, it’s a comparative term that means lower carb than what you usually eat. Instead, it’s more meaningful to use the term “carb-controlled snack” if you’re looking to reduce your carbohydrate intake,” Ramanathan says. This means your consumption is set to a particular number that you can aim for.
So what is the right amount of carbohydrates for a snack?
Ramanathan says to aim for 15-20 grams of total carbohydrates per snack. “You are allowed three snacks a day,” she adds.
The “total carb” count can be found on food labels or on any resource website such as the USDA food data base.
Ramanathan shares the following carb-controlled snack options that you can prep ahead of time or buy individual packages to easily take with you in your purse, bag or lunchbox.
- 6 celery strips [4” long] with 2 tbsp. of peanut butter
- ½ cup cottage cheese with ½ cup peaches
- ½ of a large apple with 5 walnuts
- ½ cup curried edamame
- 1½ cup kale chips
- String cheese with 4 crackers
- ¾ cup low-fat Greek yogurt
- 15 grapes with 10 almonds
“Following a carb-controlled diet is beneficial for individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes, and also those who are obese/overweight, have heart disease or those with a family history of these conditions,” Ramanathan says. “Try not to avoid carbs, as it is the brain’s main source of energy; they offer vitamins, minerals, fiber and vegetarian protein.”
Recommendations for carbohydrate goals will vary from person to person. Ramanathan recommends consulting with a registered dietitian to find out what your carb goal is and for other dietary recommendations.