On-the-Go Snacking: Strategies for Work Days, Road Trips, and Keeping Carbs at Bay

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Catherine Newman

Catherine shares her favorite low-carb, high-protein snacks that you can buy at a convenience store, make at home, or keep in your pantry

If you’re reducing the carbs you eat, then you already understand why snacks are so uniquely challenging. Because, for so many of us, snacking has always been about the chips and the muffins, the cookies and crackers and donuts. Or at least, it used to be. But we’re changing our ways so that a sudden pang of hunger doesn’t mean we end up crashing just when we need our energy and stable blood sugar the most. High-protein, low-carb snacks. It’s got a holy grail kind of feeling to it, I know. But we’re on it.

Our advice here is divided into three components, all of them focused on savory snacks that have less than 10 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Click to jump to a section:

  • How to snack on the road and/or from a convenience store, because stopping to refill your tank doesn’t mean you can’t get a reasonable bite to eat.
  • Our recommendations for snacks to stock up on – plan-ahead stuff you can buy at the store or order online and tuck into your desk drawer, briefcase, or glove compartment for daily, occasional, or emergency snacking situations.
  • Our own Zucchini Chip recipe for at-home cravings. You didn’t know you needed a zucchini chip recipe? Ah! You were wrong.
  • More recipes for make-at-home snacks.
  • For airport/airplane snacking after the pandemic, please see Adam Brown’s article.

We typically recommend whole foods versus processed foods, but we’re not doing that here. Or not exclusively, because many packaged snacks have been processed. But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Just do your best to get some nutrients into your body, and to minimize your carb load. You’ll feel so much better – we’re almost sure of it.

On-the-Road Snacking

Ideally, if we’ve got to be in the car for a while, we would all plan ahead and pack up deviled eggs and cut-up veggies. But so often we don’t, and we’re pulling into the snackmart hungry and scanning the aisles for our best bets. Plus, with many of us trying to minimize time in grocery stores during COVID-19, here are three parts of the store to focus on:

  1. Snacks

    Image source: Catherine Newman

    The refrigerated case. Specifically, the cheese sticks and discs, and the shrink-wrapped hardboiled eggs—all high-protein, no-carb options. You might think you don’t want a shrink-wrapped hardboiled egg, but I’m here to tell you that if you keep salt and a bottle of hot sauce in your car, it’s really a pretty good snack.

  2. Snacks

    Image source: Catherine Newman

    The jerky/sausage aisle or endcap. Is jerky an ideal food? Well, not exactly – I mean, it’s processed and salty, and the meat might strike you as sketchy. But also? It tends to be very high in protein and very low in carbs, making it a very good choice in a pinch. Read the ingredients to make sure there’s no (or barely any) added sugar. This photo is from a run-of-the-mill middle-of-nowhere gas station, and it shows three of my favorite processed meat items: Duke’s Shorty Sausages (these come in a bunch of flavors, and offer 7 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of carbs per serving), Tillamook Zero Sugar Beef Jerky (14 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbs per serving), and Vermont Smoke & Cure meat sticks (these also come in many flavors, and have 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbs per 1-ounce stick).

  3. The place where the nuts and seeds are, which might be kind of spread out around the candy. Look for products with no added sugar: sunflower seeds in and out of the shell, peanuts, smokehouse almonds, and pumpkin seeds are all good options. These tend to be high in protein and relatively low in carbs, plus they give you the crunchy-salty-filling trifecta you might be looking for in a snack.

If you’re thirsty, grab a bottle of water, unsweetened iced tea, or unsweetened flavored seltzer from the fridge!

Plan-Ahead Snacking

Once you’re planning ahead, snacking gets a lot easier, and you might already have plenty of good, snackable, packable food at home: nuts and seeds; cheese sticks; cut-up veggies and dip; cottage cheese; hard-boiled eggs; avocados; pickles, olives, and the like. Invest in some reusable small containers, and consider prepackaging what you’ll need for the week.

But I also like to have more grab-and-go style snacks on hand, with a few especially delicious items in the mix so that I don’t succumb to the temptation of the vending machine Cheez-Its. These are all low-carb, some are high-protein, and most of them are fairly expensive. I try to think about these a little differently to offset my concern about the cost: unlike most junk food, these are actually made from whole, high-quality ingredients. In other words, they’re more like food than like snacks, which makes them worth investing in (at least for me). All of these snacks have the added advantage of being gluten free.

Trader Joe’s Norwegian Crispbread

Snacks

Image source: Catherine Newman

These have answered my cracker-lover’s prayer. They seem a little. . . seedy at first. A little excessively wholesome. But the more I eat these, the more I love them: they’re nutty-tasting and crunchy, and one cracker slathered with mustard and piled with cheese makes a pretty perfect mid-afternoon meal (my daughter spreads hers with peanut butter).

Per serving: 4 grams protein; 3 grams fiber; 6 grams carbs

$4.29 per (7.55-ounce) package at Trader Joe’s

Whisps

Snacks

Image source: Catherine Newman

We’re pretty much crazy about all the single-ingredient cheese crisps out there (can you guess the single ingredient?) but these are our current favorite. They are SO CHEESY! They’re like the part that leaks out of a grilled cheese sandwich and crisps on the grill. And we can’t keep them in the house, whatever flavor we get, because everybody loves them so much. Other brands we like include Moon Cheese and Just the Cheese.

Per serving: 6 grams protein; 0 grams fiber; 1 gram carbs

$15 for 12 (.63-ounce) packages on Amazon

Epic Pork Rinds

Snacks

Image source: Catherine Newman

I grew up seeing pork rinds in the bodegas of my childhood, but I’d never tried them until recently. And they’re really good—or at least these are. They’re like popcorn, but if popcorn were meat flavored and crunchier than anything you had ever bitten into in your life. Not crumbly-crunchy, but hard-crunchy, which is strange and nice. They’re also very filling. We like the Pink Himalayan + Sea Salt flavor, which have a happy two ingredients: antibiotic-free pork and salt. (Or three ingredients, if you count the two types of salt.)

Per serving: 11 grams protein; 0 grams fiber; 0 grams carbs

$4-4.50 per (2.5-ounce) bag at Whole Foods or epicprovisions.com

Flock Chicken Chips

Snacks

Image source: Catherine Newman

These are basically the pork rinds of the chicken world. If you’re a person who volunteers to carve a roast chicken so that you can pull off its crispy skin and stuff it into your mouth before anyone else even knows it existed, then this is the snack for you. The chicken flavor is shockingly fresh and good. Be warned, though, that these are almost eerily filling. They come in different flavors, but we’ve only tried the original ones.

Per serving: 14 grams protein; 0 grams fiber; 0 grams carbs

$24 for 8 (1-ounce) bags from flockfoods.com

Roasted Seaweed Snacks

Snacks

Image source: Catherine Newman

These are those papery little sheets of seaweed that are a little fishy, a little salty, and strangely satisfying, if you like seaweed. Seaweed has lots of micronutrients (it’s especially rich in minerals) but it doesn’t have a lot of protein, so these won’t satisfy actual hunger. But if you’re just feeling a little snacky, seaweed snacks can really hit the spot. Our favorite flavors include the Seasnax lime flavor and the gimMe Organic sesame or teriyaki.

Per serving: 1 gram protein, 0 grams fiber; 1 gram carbs

Around $1 to $2 per (.35 ounce) package at many stores and online

And! The recipe.

Zucchini Chips

Image source: Catherine Newman

Nobody ever says this about zucchini, but bigger is actually better here, since these are like Shrinky Dinks in the oven. You can season them however you like once they’re baked: a sprinkle of curry powder, a shake of cheese powder, a dash of smoked paprika. But we love them plain, too. There’s something about the shrinking process that concentrates all of their sweetness. Maybe you didn’t even know that zucchini had any sweetness to begin with! Now you will.

View the recipe.

More make-at-home snack recipes:

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her book “How to Be A Person” was published in 2020. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Top 20 Healthy and Affordable Walmart Food Finds

Walmart, America’s most popular retail chain, has been increasing its options of healthy foods, with plenty of plant-based, vegan, paleo, gluten-free, and keto-friendly options at affordable prices. They also have a private-label organic line, Great Value Organic, which offers quality tasting organic products that are more affordable than its brand name competitors.

Here is a list of healthy and affordable Walmart finds that not only taste great but won’t break the bank.

1. Walmart’s Great Value Organic Frozen Fruit Line

I love fresh fruit but I don’t eat it quick enough and usually wind up having to throw most out. With Walmart’s own line of frozen fruit, I can buy affordable frozen fruit in bulk. Fruit is a great source of fiber and antioxidants and I love adding them to a protein smoothie or mixing into my favorite Greek yogurt.  You can’t go wrong with the $8.47  price tag for 32 ounces, especially because none will go to waste.

2. Great Value Pesto Spirals

These tasty frozen pesto spirals made from zucchini and carrot noodles are only 5 grams of carbs per ¾ cup serving and low-calorie too. They can be used as a simple side dish or turned into a restaurant-quality cuisine. Try adding grilled chicken or shrimp, and your favorite sauce! They are only $2.98 per a 12-ounce package and the options are unlimited!

3. CauliPower Baked Chicken Tenders

This is one of my favorite finds because it is something that my whole family can enjoy. These baked chicken fingers are gluten-free, coated in cauliflower and only 10 grams net carbs per serving (about two chicken fingers). My kids love it as is and I like to get creative with it and turn it into salads and entrees with healthy spices and sauce. It is affordable to feed the whole family with a price of $5.98 for a 16 oz package.

4. Jimmy Dean’s Delights Broccoli and Cheese Egg’wich

This high-protein, low-carb breakfast option is made with egg frittata flavored with broccoli as the “wich” with chicken sausage and cheese layered in between. This great on-the-go meal is packed with 14 grams of protein and only 8 grams of carb, making this a perfect, low-carb choice to start your day.

5. Pb2 Peanut Butter Powder

This is an item I was reluctant to try for quite some time. Once I tried it, I wish I had sooner since there are so many ways to use this product. You can either mix with water or almond milk to use like peanut butter (I enjoy it with a few Bake Believe chocolate chips) or simply add the powder to any desserts or shakes for an added punch of peanut butter flavor. With only 5 grams of carb, 45 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving, this is definitely an item worth considering. It costs $8.47 for a 16-ounce jar and will last you for quite some time.

6. Deebee’s Organics Superfruit Freezie

This product is such a great find. I first became familiar with these ice pops at a friend’s house and all the children devoured them. The mom specifically purchases these because they are free from the top 8 allergens, including peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, fish and shellfish, soy and wheat, making this a safe choice for her 7-year-old daughter who has multiple allergies. They have no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives and come in at only 7 grams of sugar per ice pop, making this the perfect treat when your kid is already operating on a sugar high. Each box comes with three delicious flavors–Strawberry Lemon, Mango Orange and Blueberry Pomegranate and costs 3.98 for 10 bars making it an affordable dessert when having guests.

7. Bake Believe Keto-Friendly Chocolate Chips

I reviewed this product last year and have been buying it ever since. Unlike their competitors, their price is affordable and it tastes great too. This is still a best-kept secret so make sure to scoop these up if your store has them in stock. With only 60 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 1 gram net carb per serving you can indulge without worrying about your nutrition goals or your blood sugar. Bake Believe chocolate chips cost just a fraction of the other brands, with a price tag of only $3.98 for a 9-ounce bag, making this one of my favorites on this list!

8. Badia Organic Chia, Flax and Hemp Seeds

This variety of seeds is a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iron. They come in a handy container that you can put right into your fridge or freezer to give it the longest shelf life. The chia seeds are extremely affordable at $19.44 for an enormous 5.5 lb container that will last you a long time and won’t spoil.

9. Great Value Coconut and Almond Flour

I love baking my own low-carb alternatives to some of my favorite desserts but it is very expensive to do so. In a regular retail grocery store, almond flour can cost around $10 dollars for a 1-lb bag. For two pounds, Great Value’s organic coconut and almond flour are considerably less than my normal go-to brands with a price of $4.98 for coconut and $12.98 for almond flour.

10. Whisps Cheese Crisps

This gluten-free and keto-friendly snack comes in individual portions, perfect for back to school, for both you and your children. With only 1 gram carb, 110 calories and 6 grams of protein, this is a great choice that will not spike your blood sugars. At Walmart this product costs $3.47, the lowest of anywhere I’ve ever purchased. I will be sure to pick some up on my next visit!

11. Kale

For just $1, you can get a 1-lb bag of frozen kale — plenty of health benefits and the cooking options are limitless. This one is a no brainer to add to your shopping cart.

12. Great Value Deluxe Mixed Nuts

As with many other items, Great Value boasts some of the lowest prices for nuts that I’ve ever seen. This one is a particular favorite of mine; make sure to get the lightly-salted version. A large container weighing 15.25 ounces will only cost you $7.98! Store the nuts in the fridge for longest shelf life.

13. Great Value Oils

The selection of oils at Walmart is impressive and there is no doubt you’ll find what you are looking for. I prefer to use avocado oil for my grilling due to its ability to withstand high heat. And I use a lot of coconut oil when I’m baking. Both of these oils cost less than in my local grocery store, with coconut oil costing $4.62 for 14 ounces and avocado oil $ 7.47 for a 25.5-ounce bottle.

14. Fairlife Chocolate Milk

With 50% less sugar than regular chocolate milk and 9 essential nutrients, Fairlife chocolate milk is what I give my kids to make sure they are getting a healthy source of vitamins and minerals. It is also packed with protein coming in at 13 grams per cup. I personally use Fairlife to treat my low blood sugar. It has just enough sugar to raise my sugar and some fat and protein to keep it stable. It also happens to be delicious! At Walmart, you can find Fairlife for $3.18 for 52 fluid ounces.

15. Good Food Made Simple Egg White Patties

I think my mouth dropped to the floor when I found this gem. These patties are already cooked and can become a part of your favorite breakfast sandwich or wrap, or eaten on their own, with some bacon and avocado on the side!  This is an easy and protein-packed food to put on your shopping list and only costs $3.98 for 6 patties!

16. CauliPOWER Margherita Pizza

It can be difficult to find a store-bought, plant-based pizza option without it costing a small fortune. These delicious cauliflower-based, gluten-free pizzas have 30% less sugar than other leading pizza brands and only cost $6.48 for a personal pie.

17. LaCroix Sparkling Water

LaCroix sparkling water is a delicious alternative to high-sugar soda and a nice change of pace from plain water. With no calories, sugar or sodium, you can feel good about keeping this stocked in your fridge. LaCroix comes in an assortment of flavors and can also be great as a mixer with your favorite adult beverage. And you can’t beat the price of $11.99 for 24 cans.

18. Oscar Meyer P3 Chicken, Monterey, and Cashews Portable Protein Pack

This is an incredible option for those who are carb-conscious and looking to get in some protein, too. Each individually-sized pack comes with seasoned rotisserie chicken, cashew pieces and Monterey Jack cheese. It contains 12 grams of protein, making it very macro-friendly. If your children like it, this is a great and affordable option to bring to school at just $1.50 each.

19. Great Value Pasta Sauce

This sauce has a full serving of veggies and contains only 9 grams net of carb in each ½ cup serving. There are also other options, like Marinara sauce, that are even lower in carbohydrate and equally as delicious! This sauce is also gluten-free and contains no saturated or trans fat. It’s taste rivals that of its brand name competitors but its price of just $0.88 cents cannot be beaten!

20. Green Giant Riced Vegetables Cauliflower Risotto Medley

Green Giant used to just mean soggy string beans or corn niblets in a can. Now you have an assortment of vegetables turned into “rice” with a fraction of the calories and carbs. The Cauliflower Risotto Medley tastes rich and creamy but only has 20 calories and 4 grams carb per serving. This is a favorite of mine and is very affordable coming in at just $2.48 for a 10-oz bag.

Walmart is a one-stop-shop for many of us and saves us from running a ton of errands. Now, with Walmart offering all of these delicious and affordable options, we can save time and money while also looking after our own and our family’s health!

Have you found any delicious, healthy and affordable foods at Walmart? Share and comment below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

10 Ways to Make Grocery Shopping Quick and Healthy

The COVID-19 pandemic has left us all in fear, especially those who are elderly or have pre-existing conditions. Knowing that we fit this demographic adds an extra layer of stress to this difficult time.  We are all doing our best to social distance and stay at home as often as possible.

Heading to the grocery store is, unfortunately, something most of us will have to do and for a lot of us, that causes anxiety. If you are lucky enough to have a friend, spouse or caregiver go for you then consider yourself very lucky. The rest of us will have to take the proper precautions (do not touch your face and sanitize your hands before getting back in car) and brave the storm.

It is more important than ever to make our grocery trips as quick and efficient as possible. This means paying attention to the price, the inventory and making the best (and quickest) decisions for both our family and our own health.

Here are 10 ways to make grocery shopping quick and healthy:

1. Prepare Ahead of Time

Before you think about heading to the grocery store, make sure you make a list. Try to list them in order of how you navigate the store so this way you don’t miss anything the first time around. Also, make sure to check the store’s weekly circular, gather your current coupons and plan out your menu for the week, being as creative as you can, using those items.

2. Look High and Low

Supermarkets use a great deal of consumer psychology and marketing tactics to get you to purchase the items they want. Stores intentionally place foods that are higher in price, processed and sugar-laden at eye level. Make sure you don’t fall victim to their ploys!

3. Shop the Perimeter

Grocery stores follow the same layout and place their produce, meats and freezer foods on the periphery of the store. If you dedicate most of your time shopping here, you are likely to end up with healthy choices, such as fruits and vegetables, an assortment of protein, and dairy products that have plenty of low-carb options. The center aisles tend to contain more of the processed foods so just go down the aisles you need and stick to your list.

4. Check Those Labels

Right now, it may be hard to find some of your favorite foods. Before deciding on bringing home a new item, you may want to take a look at the nutritional label. Here is what you should focus on. First, confirm the serving size before reading on. You want to make sure you know if the information pertains to one serving or the entire amount. Next, make sure there is an adequate amount of protein and fiber and not too much sugar. And finally, check the ingredients and focus on buying products with the shortest list possible. Those are usually the most natural and healthiest for you. Additionally, try to refrain from buying food high in added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to obesity and diabetes.

5. Give the Freezer Section a Chance

Right now our focus is buying food that can last a while. Frozen fruit and vegetables, depending on type, can last up to up to a year and be a side dish to any meal. They can also be turned into a delicious protein smoothie that even your children might like. The freezer section also boasts new options like cauliflower crusted pizza and protein waffles.

6. Invest in Produce that Lasts

I am pretty particular when it comes to buying produce and so are my kids. Make sure to grab a few ripe bananas along with some green ones so they are ready when you are. You can also do the same with avocados, tomatoes, and other unripe produce. Also, invest your money in fruits and vegetables that have a longer shelf life like potatoes, garlic, onions, and apples to name a few!

7. Choose Plain Versus Flavored Whenever Possible

There is a great assortment of products these days that it is often difficult to find something plain. When searching for yogurts, opt for the Greek full-fat and non-flavored options. You can easily add your own sweetener, fruit or nuts (or why not some dark chocolate) to make it a more appetizing. Also, when shopping for nuts, milk, and bread, keep it basic. This will help you avoid unnecessary sugar and calories.

8. Go Off-Peak

The best way to get in and out of the grocery store is going at non-peak hours. Check your local grocery store and see what time they open in the morning, this may be different than their usual operating hours. Some grocery stores open as early as 7 a.m. and allow seniors and people with preexisting conditions to shop before the crowds. Not only will you feel safer, but you will have the chance to get all the fresh foods that haven’t been laying out all day.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

9. Consider Self-Checkout

I only recommend this to the pros! If you are comfortable with handling self-checkout on your own, this is a great way to avoid additional contact with others and avoid long lines. However, if this is something you haven’t done before, it can work against you if you need to call for assistance.

10. Look into Curbside and Delivery Options

Many large chain stores like Target and Walmart are offering call-ahead ordering and pickup. Many of these stores are also doing curbside. Also, check your local privately-owned grocers who are sure to be extra accommodating to their clients. This way is by far the safest if you have the luxury of such a service and can afford any additional costs.

Also, please remember to be extra gracious to the grocery store staff. Being on the front lines is something I am sure none of them ever expected, yet they show up every day so that we have food to put on our tables. A smile goes a long way right now and can help all of our mental well-being. These employees are putting themselves at risk for the greater good and for that we should all be very thankful!

Do you have any tips to make grocery shopping as quick and healthy as possible? Share and comment below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Search

+