Low-Carb, High-Energy Snack Ideas

Blog, Food

by Melinda D. Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDE

Two super-popular snacks that are low in carbs and high in protein are nuts and jerky… get our tips for choosing the right option for you!

100 Calories of Nuts:

Nuts are a great snack. They are packed with protein and healthy fats that keep you feeling full. However, they also carry a lot of calories, so you need to watch the portion size. Nuts have very little carbohydrate so they have very little effect on blood glucose.  They are also rich in nutrients such as vitamin E and magnesium. Use this handy chart as a guide to check portion sizes and note that all nuts are not created equal in terms of calories.Measure out a serving that is right for you – and enjoy!  

14 Almonds 17 Peanuts 5 Macadamias
10 Hazelnuts 10 Cashews 29 Pistachios
13 Walnuts 10 Pecans 3 Brazil nuts
1 oz (28 grams) Cals – Carb-Pro-Fat    Fiber (gms)
Almonds 161    6-6-14                  3.5
Peanuts 176     5-4-17                 3
Pistachios 156      8-6-12.5             3
Walnuts 182      4-4-18                2
Cashews 155      9-5-12               1
Pecans 193     4 -3-20               2.5
Macadamia 200      4-2-21           2.5
Brazil nuts 182      3-4-18           2
Hazelnuts 176       6-6-9             3.5

Jerky:  Okay or Not?

Have you noticed that there are dozens of kinds of jerky in markets? There are many varieties of this snack and they can be found everywhere… but is it healthy? Jerky, while traditionally made from lean, trimmed beef that has been cut into strips and dried to prevent spoilage, is now available in many forms including beef, pork, salmon, turkey and even plant-based.Jerky can be an easy-to-grab, low carb, high protein snack, but there are a few things you should know to make sure you are choosing the best-for-you option. 

  • A one ounce serving (about the size of a credit card) is about 100 calories. Each one ounce serving has about 9 grams of protein.
  • Look at the ingredient list and choose a jerky that is made of all natural, whole food based ingredients with a minimum of additives.
  • Some manufacturers add sugar for taste. Check the label to avoid the extra carbs.
  • Most jerky is high in sodium.Check the labels to find options that are MSG-free or a little lower in salt.
  • Some jerky contains nitrates. As this additive (a preservative) has been linked with cancer, choose ones that are nitrate-free.
  • Since jerky is usually very high in sodium, drink some extra water.
  • Pull your portion out of the bag and then seal the rest away to avoid noshing through the whole bag at once.

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