Image courtesy eating bird food.
Snacking can help you maintain energy, mental focus, and stable blood sugar levels. But if you’re not prepared when hunger strikes, you may reach for a packaged snack made with refined grains, added sugars, and seed oils that contain inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids—all of which can be problematic for metabolic health.
Making your own snacks can also ensure that what you nosh on is rich in nutrients to fuel your body. This article will show you how.
First, we’ll share tips on how to create a nutritional snack from scratch, as well as what to look for in packaged snacks to get the most metabolic health benefits. Then we’ll share 16 low-carb recipes—from sweet to salty—to conquer hunger between meals.
Build a Better Snack
Here is your blueprint to making wholesome and nutritious snacks.
Include a mix of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. These nutrients promote satiety and slow digestion, which in turn prevents blood sugar from spiking. This could look like pairing plain protein-packed Greek yogurt with a handful of nuts or fiber-rich flaxseed crackers with hummus.
Fill up on fruit and vegetables. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults consume 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily, but only 12 percent of Americans meet this recommendation for fruit, and only 10 percent for vegetables. Consuming these at snack (and meal) time will increase your intake of inflammation-fighting antioxidants like beta-carotene from carrots and anthocyanins from blueberries, thus protecting your metabolic health and lowering your risk for chronic disease..
Package your favorites. You’re more likely to eat a healthy snack if it’s readily available, says Jill Weisenberger, Virginia-based MS, RDN, CDCES, CHWC, FAND, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide, Second Edition. So snack prep. Put individual servings of homemade snacks and travel-friendly options like cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, and radishes in to-go containers. Then, whether you’re at home or heading out, they’ll be just as easy to grab as chips from the pantry, Weisenberger says.
Check the label. There will be times when packaged snacks are your only option. When this happens, read the nutrition label and choose a product with no added sugars, up to four grams of net carbs max, and a mix of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Low-Carb Snacks to Support Metabolic Health
These between-meal bites are free of processed ingredients and contain nutrients to keep blood sugar steady and hunger satisfied.
Sweet Low-Carb Snacks
The following recipes use an array of ingredients with natural sweetness—including spices like cinnamon and vanilla, dried berries, and natural sweeteners like Stevia or monk fruit—to satisfy your sweet tooth without spiking blood sugar.
This crunchy trail mix-inspired snack features walnuts, pecans, almonds, sesame seeds, and chia seeds—all of which are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Cinnamon adds flavor, though you can also use a natural sweetener like monk fruit if you like.
Simply mix eight ingredients, and you have energy balls that are like peanut butter-chocolate chip cookie dough. Thanks to protein powder, each has 7 grams of protein. Choose a sugar-free protein powder that’s beneficial for metabolic health.
Almond flour, which has twice as much protein as white flour, is the base for these cookies that taste like traditional recipes. Sweeten them with stevia or powdered erythritol, a generally well-tolerated sugar alcohol.
A perfect treat for at-home snacking, this bark can incorporate a mix of low-sugar fruits that contain an abundance of antioxidants and fiber—like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries—for the most satiety and flavor.
Savory Low-Carb Snacks
In addition to containing 2.5 grams of protein and less than 3 grams of carbs per serving, these seed crackers are a blank canvas. Experiment with flavors like anti-inflammatory spice turmeric, which adds a vibrant color and delicious, earthy flavor that pairs well with all kinds of healthy dips.
These simple crackers truly require only four things: almond flour, salt, water and flaxseed, so they’re easy to whip up in the moment. The almond flour keeps the carb count low, while the flaxseed ups the protein.
You likely know how good zucchini noodles can be. Now try this swap for potato skins. This recipe makes a great app for parties or an excellent solo snack, and provides almost 7 grams of protein and less than 2 grams of carbs per serving.
Kale is rich in vitamins A, C, K, folate, fiber, carotenoids, and manganese. One cup contains about 70 to 90 percent of your daily vitamin K, which we need for healthy bones and blood clotting. These spicy, smoky baked chips are a delicious way to eat more of this leafy green.
Refrigerated Low-Carb Snacks
If you have access to a refrigerator at your office or work from home most days, consider keeping these snacks on hand.
These bite-sized egg cups pack in the veggies and the healthy fats with goat cheese and avocado. Everything-bagel seasoning gives it a classic breakfast flavor kick
Spinach smoothies don’t have to taste like salad. This one is balanced out with vanilla protein powder, creamy avocado, coconut milk, and peanut butter, so it’s rich and rich in protein and fiber. Choose a protein powder with no added sugars and minimal additives.
Guac goes with everything from flaxseed crackers and raw vegetables to zucchini noodles and nori. Sour cream makes this recipe extra creamy, but you can omit it if you don’t eat dairy or make your own vegan sour cream. Then, add jalapenos to create as much or little heat as you like.
Store-bought hummus can contain refined oils and other ingredients that harm metabolic health. Making your own only requires a food processor or high-speed blender. This version substitutes cauliflower for the traditional chickpeas to keep the carb count low without drastically altering the classic flavor.
Grab-and-Go Low-Carb Snacks
These are ideal for throwing in your purse or gym bag, so you can eat before you become hangry.
Think of this like a healthy Chex mix. Almonds, macadamias, pecans, and pepitas provide the crunch (and healthy fats, fiber, and protein), while paprika and garlic ensure every bite bursts with flavor. Add the homemade cheese “puffs” as a bonus, if you have time.
Store-bought protein bars often contain various added sugars, other refined carbs, and artificial flavors. These take just five minutes to whip up and require only four ingredients—almond butter, protein powder, and sugar-free maple syrup (which you can make yourself) and chocolate chips. Depending on your protein powder, you’re looking at about 20 grams of protein per bar.
Egg whites add a bit of protein and create an extra-crunchy coating for these nuts. The monk fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves add just the right amount of sweetness—and a hint of pie.
Like other packaged food, beef jerky is often high in added sugars and artificial ingredients. Instead, make your own with coconut aminos, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and crushed red pepper. It takes a few hours (since it bakes at a low temp), but it’s worth it.