By Melinda Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDCES

Two super-popular snacks, low in carbs and high in protein, are nuts and jerky… below are some tips to help you choose the right option!

Nuts are a great snack. They are packed with protein and healthy fats that keep you feeling full. However, they do carry a lot of calories, so you’ll want to watch the portion size. Nuts have very little carbohydrates, so they have 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. Note all nuts are not created equal in terms of calories. Measure out a serving that you feel is right for you – and enjoy!

100 Calories of Nuts:

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 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 – this includes beef, pork, salmon, turkey and even plant-based “meats”. 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 ~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. Also, try to drink some extra water.

Some jerky contains nitrates. As this additive is a preservative that has been linked with cancer, so choose ones that are nitrate-free.

Pull your portion out of the bag, and then reseal the rest away to avoid noshing through the whole bag at once.

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