Low Carb snacks?
March 7, 2006 7:32 PM   Subscribe

DietFilter. I'm about to to re-start a low carb diet that I've had some success with in the past. However, circumstances have changed since the last time I tried it, namely, I'm away from home at work for most of the day. I'm finding it hard to find low carb foods I can eat as a snack during the day, which makes it hard to stick to this diet. Any suggestions?

Before we go any further, yes, I am well aware that alot of people think low carb diets are dangerous. While I appreciate the concern, please don't tell me that in any of your answers. I have tried this diet before, it worked and I didn't have any bad side effects, so I'm willing to try it again.

Now, back to the question.

The diet I'm on is a milkshake low carb diet. For those who are going "huh?", I'm meant to drink a milkshake in the morning, at lunch and for dinner which will give my body the vitamins and minerals it would otherwise get from eating food normally. In the mornings and afternoons, after work, it's easy for me to do this at home. But at work, we have no blender, and I'm sure my co-workers would balk at me using all the free milk work provides for my milkshakes, so I've resigned myself to going out and buying lunch.

But what to buy? I work in the city and in the middle of Brisbane's CBD, there's pretty much only fast food shops. Unhealthy, carb loaded fast food shops.

I'm a fussy eater too. A really fussy eater. I don't like alot of salads. About the only salad I like to eat is Ceasar Salad's and guess what? They have the carbs. I hate mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, onions, pickles, olives, oranges, mandarins and avacados, to name but a few things. I do like apples and bananas and pears and grapes, but I've been told that they have a high GI rating, which will slow down my progress on this diet. Which is a real bummer.

About the only thing I've found that I can buy is a handful of Cashews for lunch. They have a relatively low carb rating and I do like them. But cashews every day? That'd be pretty boring. Infact, it has been pretty boring. I want variety, but there's little of it about.

So what are some tasty snacks I can have for lunch while I'm at work that are low carb? Suggestions gratefully accepted.
posted by Effigy2000 to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Cheese in all its forms. Cheese sticks (string cheese), cheese cubes, cheese balls, etc.

How about Caesar w/o the croutons? I can't imagine what's high carb there.

Meat. Beef jerky, bacon (cold is good), cold cuts, Slim Jims, Pepperoni sticks.

Meat and cheese wraped in a lettuce leaf is a nice fake sandwich. Lots of mustard and mayo.
posted by tristeza at 7:45 PM on March 7, 2006

"How about Caesar w/o the croutons? I can't imagine what's high carb there."

The dressing is also pretty carb loaded. I like your suggestions though. The last one (meat and cheese wraped in a lettuce leaf ) sounds tasty but could be difficult to prepare while out on the prowl for lunch. I suppose I could bring it with me from home and have it in the lunch room. A packed lunch? Egad! :)
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:48 PM on March 7, 2006

Tuna fish... lots of tuna fish.
posted by logicpunk at 7:55 PM on March 7, 2006

How about low carb protein powders or other low carb products?

Or go to the deli section and buy a few slices of turkey or chicken. Gobble it down as is or wrap the slices in a lettuce leaf with a bit of mustard and/or salt, yum yum.

If you're eating cashews or other nuts, pause 10-15 minutes after the first (tiny) handful. They are very high in fat so it's easy to eat way more than you want before your "I'm full" signal has time to kick in.

A lot of successful diet plans suggest eating small amounts 5-6 times a day rather than 3 larger meals. Just make sure the same amount of food is spread out over more meals, rather than upping your consumption. And drink lots of water.
posted by mono blanco at 7:57 PM on March 7, 2006

Boiled eggs. I doubt you could buy them, but if you cook and peel them the night before, all you have to do is put them in a container and store in your office fridge.
posted by azuma at 9:18 PM on March 7, 2006

posted by knave at 9:27 PM on March 7, 2006

Hey, I'm in Brisvegas too!

You could try the Vietnamese cafe on Charlotte St (down from the entrance to Elizabeth Arcade, near the corner of Albert St) for lemongrass beef salad, or other meaty lo-carb goodness. Just ask for no noodles / rice. Go early, or grab a takeaway menu and order over the phone tho - it gets really really busy.

Or chicken breast from red rooster (Myer Centre and Wintergarden), or Oporto (Wintergarden). Ask for ΒΌ roast chicken with white meat.

Woolworths and Coles delis have roast chicken too. And dairy cases filled with cheesy dairy lo-carb stuff. Yoghurt, brie, whatever. And don't forget the nut aisle.

Or there are a stack of yoghurt places 'round Post Office Square (food court and in Adelaide St, near the corner of Edward St.)

That's the end of my lo-carb suggestions, but, by milkshake, d'you mean a slimfast shake or something similar?

People where I used to work (in Brisbane's CBD, natch) used to shake them up at work in cocktail shaker stylee things.

They'd bring their own milk supplies, or buy some at the 7-11 and store it in the work fridge with their name written on the carton in whiteboard marker. No-one minded and the powder and milk seemed to mix up fine in the shaker.

Or maybe blend up your mix at home, decant into a bottle, and pop it in the fridge when you get to work. Should be good to go if you stir / shake before drinking. I've done this with smoothies and it worked fine.
posted by t0astie at 9:29 PM on March 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

You get best answer, t0astie, but FYI, no yoghurt I've ever seen has been low carb. Which is a real shame, as I love yoghurt. It's often my weekend 'treat'.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:13 PM on March 7, 2006

With regard to pickiness, I used to be in your boat. I am 30 years old, and up until a few weeks ago I did not like fresh, uncooked tomatoes. I don't exactly wolf down buckets of them yet, but give me some nice Italian cherry tomatoes sprinkled with freshly ground pepper and olive oil and I am your friend.

According to the man who ate everything, it takes (if I remember correctly) 11 tries to like something you previously did not. It was probably not a number established scientifically, but rather a way of saying that taste is not necessarily genetic, or related to the shape of your tastebuds; it is generally learned.

I would recommend that you get a blender at work and buy your own milk. Doesn't your workplace have a refrigerator with some extra space?

If you can get that far, based on your preference for milk shakes, I recommend the Indian lassi. A basic fruit lassi consists of equal parts milk and yoghurt (which has the same carb content as low-fat milk), mixed together with some pieces of a fruit of your choice, and blended for a minute or two, long enough disintegrate the fruit; a lassi should be smooth and frothy and drunk immediately while most of the air bubbles remain.

As for which fruit, mango is the king of the lassis. I also recommend pineapple, which goes exceedingly well with half a teaspoon of cinnamon. While low-carb, you could also consider lower-carb fruits like passion fruit, prunes, plums and cranberries. You can rotate the different types of fruit and easily experiment. Lassis never get boring.
posted by gentle at 10:23 PM on March 7, 2006

Pork rinds! 90% of people think they are gross (At lunch I've caught myself actually hiding the bag from open view since I'm sick if hearing the squick outs) but I gos'ta have my chicharron.
posted by ernie at 10:24 PM on March 7, 2006

Effigy2000, yoghurt has about the same amount of carbs as milk -- even less depending on the type of milk.

That's not even the whole story. Because yoghurt is a fermented food product, the actual carbohydrates consumed is much lower, as explained here:
... Therefore, you can eat up to a half cup of plain yogurt, buttermilk, or kefir and only count 2 grams of carbohydrates (Dr. Goldberg has measured this in his own laboratory.) One cup will contain about 4 grams of carbohydrates. Daily consumption colonizes the intestine with these bacteria to handle small amounts of lactose in yogurt (or even sugar-free ice cream later.)
posted by gentle at 10:31 PM on March 7, 2006

Re city yoghurt - the various yoghurt temples in the city sell fresh un-sugared (I think) greek style yoghurt. They do ladle on fruit topping tho, so that might pile on the carbs.

Worth checking if they'll sell it without topping and if there's any sugar in the yoghurt mebbee?

And I'm pretty sure I've seen unsweetened Jalna yoghurt at Woolworths in the city. It's the one in the green top tub, I tink.

Good luck with the diet!
posted by t0astie at 10:38 PM on March 7, 2006

As for which fruit, mango is the king of the lassis. I also recommend pineapple, which goes exceedingly well with half a teaspoon of cinnamon. While low-carb, you could also consider lower-carb fruits like passion fruit, prunes, plums and cranberries. You can rotate the different types of fruit and easily experiment. Lassis never get boring.

Sounds a bit high in the GI. The lowest GI fruits are berries like strawberry and blueberries.
posted by ernie at 10:39 PM on March 7, 2006

My favorite snack is a thick slice of deli turkey, rolled around spinach leaves and a spring onion, dipped in ranch. If I need more calories I will add half a slice of bacon or some hard boiled egg. I think most caesar and ranch dressings are only about 2 carbs per tablespoon.

If I am out and want to grab something quick I go for the In & Out burger, protein style. It's wrapped in lettuce instead of on a bun. I think many fast food places have that option now (but skip the sugary catsup).

The support forum at LowCarber.org has great info, recipes and snack ideas. The people there can answer any questions and will gladly critique your meal plan if you ask. You know you want to try a Wiener Wink?

I am a little worried about your shake plan. Part of my own recovery from obesity is learning to make healthy food choices instead of shortcuts. What will you eat to maintain your new, healthy body after weight loss?

My e mail is in my profile if you would like to discuss more.
Good luck!

*waves to If I Had An Anus* I finally posted something and it's about being fat. Happy now?
posted by simbiotic at 11:22 PM on March 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

When yogurt is made, most of the lactose is digested by the culture. The sugars that are left (galactose, etc) are in the whey. So, plain yogurt can be low-carb, if you get rid of the whey, using a strainer. It makes a much thicker yoghurt, which you can thin down with water or cream. You end up with a delicious starter for a shake.
posted by mediaddict at 11:26 PM on March 7, 2006

Assuming that low carb means less starchy carbs like bread, pasta, rice:

As a near-Brisvegan, I totally recommend the CSIRO moderate carb diet that Rosemary Stanton hates so much. My husband is a bit of a fussy eater (can't eat tomatoes or fish), so this is what we do to cope with his lunches - Lean Cuisine (or equivalent) low-carb versions for microwaving, and there's a bunch of supermarket soups that are either low-carb or low-fat or both that you can whack in the microwave and they don't totally taste like roadkill. The advantage of the soups is that you can actually keep them in your desk drawer - no refrigeration required.

I got myself a fancy lunchbox with sections and I throw a bunch of mixed salad leaves (supermarkets do these great lettuce packs now) in one compartment, balsamic vinegar in the small dressing tub, and smoked salmon in the other compartment.

I'm pretty sure the Greek Yoghurt at the bottom of the Wintergarden is low fat. I love the Asian food place right near the buses under the Myer centre - their Tom Gung Yum is to die for.
posted by b33j at 11:56 PM on March 7, 2006

Caesar dressing is usually one of the lowest-carb dressings on the shelf. Typically, it'll have about a gram of carb per tablespoon. For dressing, that's damn good. (Though the carb content can definitely vary from brand to brand. As always, read the labels and practice heads-up nutrition.)
posted by Clay201 at 1:39 AM on March 8, 2006

Thanks for all your suggestions everyone. I'll definently have some ideas to try out over the next few days. I've never had lemongrass, and some co-workers said it's really nice, so I may give that a go when I'm ready. I almost certainly will just get some chicken for lunch tomorrow, though.

For the record, on the way home tonight I stopped by Coles (the supermarket for non-Aussies) and checked out the yoghurt. They all are pretty high in carbs. I'm trying to keep it no higher than 6 carbs a lunch, and most yoghurt, such as the Jalna t0astie suggested, had something like 12 carbs per 100g serve. The home brand strawberry I treat myself too on weekends has 14 per 100g serve.

Well I truly appreciate all your other suggestions, 12 to 14 carbs is a bit too high for me on this diet. I mean, that's higher than a slice of bread, on which I could have chicken or tuna or alot of other yummy low carb stuff you've suggested. And that is higher than skim milk, which I use for the shakes, which only has something like 4 carbs per serve, as I recall.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:12 AM on March 8, 2006

Another vote for hardboiled eggs.

I don't know what fast food you've got in Brisbane but in the States, McDonald's makes a grilled chicken club (toss the bun) that's pretty good. The Taco Salad from Taco Bell (don't eat the tortilla-bowl) will work. And Carl's Jr. has a "low carb" burger where the patty is wrapped in a lettuce leaf instead of a bun.
posted by zanni at 4:40 AM on March 8, 2006

Get a Caesar salad with chicken, without the dressing, and bring homemade vinaigrette in a bottle. If you don't put sugar in it: 0 carbs.

Also almonds are much lower carb than cashews and fill you right up.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:11 AM on March 8, 2006

Try baby carrots. Delicious, convenient (make sure they're prewashed and ready to eat). When the cookies on my table start tempting me, I grab a package of baby carrots.
posted by exhilaration at 8:45 AM on March 8, 2006

Mind you, now that I've actually read the article linked to by gentle in his answer, I'm much more inclined to eat yoghurt once more. But is there anything more authoratative to back up the claims in the article? Not that I'm suggesting lowcarbluxury.com would knowingly lie to its readers, but could they and the source they use actually be, y'know, wrong?
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:20 PM on March 8, 2006

Effigy, you could go and read the book (although I am not suggesting that it is an authorative source).

On the other hand, the book was based on the results from a study performed by the authors, and which is said to have been published; I can't be certain, but I think this is it: "Metabolic and Anthropometric Changes in Obese Subjects from an Unrestricted Calorie, High Monounsaturated Fat, Very Low Carbohydrate Diet", published in the Journal of Clinical Ligand Assay, a peer-reviewed journal. Being published in this journal does not necessarily guarantee that the paper itself was peer-reviewed (or competently peer-reviewed), of course, and I am not qualified to comment on the journal nor on the paper itself.
posted by gentle at 5:41 PM on March 8, 2006

Good enough for me! Yoghurt here I come! Thanks gentle.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:55 PM on March 8, 2006

Good luck! And please, if the yoghurt thing does not work out, let us know. Also, as mediaddict and others point out, Greek-style strained yoghurt has even less carb content; if you can't find premade Greek yoghurt, straining it yourself is easy to do. (You can make lassis with this, of course; just add more milk to compensate for the added viscosity.)
posted by gentle at 8:32 PM on March 8, 2006

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