Low Carb Substitutions for High Carb Snacks

Low Carb Substitutions for High Carb Snacks

Video | Low Carb Potato Chip Swap | Low Carb Protein Bar Swap | Low Carb Breaded Snack Swap | Takeaway

If your goal is to lose weight on a low carb diet, snacking can get you in trouble unless you have a few tricks up your sleeve. In this post, I share three low carb substitutions to high carb snacks that are not only satisfying but also good for you!

Low Carb Snack Substitutions – At-A-Glance


  • Trade Potato Chips for Low Carb Salt and Vinegar Cucumber Chips (satisfy a salty craving)
  • Trade Protein Bars for Chicken Pecan Salad on Celery Boat (more protein; fewer carbs!)
  • Trade Breaded Snacks for Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers (get a spicy kick)

Low Carb Swaps for High Carb Snacks [Video]

In this video, you’ll learn…

  • Three low-carb recipes that can be used as substitutions for high-carb snacks!
  • Unhealthy ingredients to look out for when making these snacks!
  • Additional condiments to add to your snacks for an extra kick!

Potato Chips Swap: Low Carb Salt and Vinegar Cucumber Chips

A favorite snack food that does not work on a low carb diet – or any diet for that matter – is potato chips. Potato chips are tasty and have a satisfying crunch, but they have no redeeming qualities regarding health value. Because they have been manufactured to have just the right mix of fat, carbs, and salt, they are highly addictive, making you feel out of control when you are near them. 

Are Pork Rinds OK on a Low Carb Diet? 

Some low carb dieters have found pork rinds to be a satisfying alternative to potato chips because of their crunch and flavor. You can say that pork rinds are a step up from potato chips because they are high in protein and do not contain carbohydrates. I will occasionally use crushed pork rinds in a recipe as a substitution for high-carb breading, but they have limitations as a regular snack food. 

Even though they do not have the same addictive mix of ingredients as a potato chip, pork rinds can be easy to overeat when used as a snack. Also, they are processed foods that have been fried, most likely in unhealthy vegetable oils. These types of oils are commonly used in processed foods because they are inexpensive.

However, they do not hold up when exposed to the heat of processing. Just switching from being a regular potato chip snacker to being a regular pork rind snacker is not going to get you the overall positive results you’re looking for.  

Low Carb Salt and Vinegar Cucumber Chips

Low Carb Salt and Vinegar Cucumber Chips

Try making chips out of cucumber slices. While they do not have the same crunch as potato chips or pork rinds, they satisfy a salty food craving and are certainly a healthier option, being higher in nutrients and healthy fats. Cucumber chips are also self-limiting regarding portion size because you are not going to go to the store and buy a big bag of them. 

Cucumber chips are simply dehydrated cucumbers that have been seasoned. Dehydration is an easy task, but it takes time. The recipe below took about 5 minutes of prep time but 4 hours to crisp up in the oven. You’ll need to plan ahead for this snack, which is not a bad thing if weight loss is the goal for your low carb diet. 

Print The Recipe:

Low Carb Salt and Vinegar Cucumber Chips

courtesy of Dr. Becky Fitness

Course: Snack
Servings: 2
Calories: 84kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 large Cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt adjust the amount down if you do not desire a highly salty taste
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 175°F (80°C)
  • Leave the skin on the cucumber and slice it into 1/8 inch (3mm) thick slices. Try to keep the thickness consistent or use a mandoline slicer for uniform chips.
  • Place the chips in a single layer on a paper towel. Place another paper towel over the chips and press to remove some of the moisture.
  • Transfer the chips to a large bowl. Add the oil, salt, and vinegar and stir to coat the chips.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set a wire baking rack on the parchment paper so that the heat can circulate around the chips, allowing them to crisp. (If you do not have a baking rack, you can use a slotted broiler pan.)
  • Lay the chips on the baking rack in a single layer.
  • Place them in the oven for about 4 hours. Turn them over halfway through their cooking time. The chips will be done when they look dry, curled, transparent, and gently brown. They will crisp when removed from the heat.

Notes

The chips can also be made in a dehydrator.

Nutrition Facts
Low Carb Salt and Vinegar Cucumber Chips
Amount Per Serving (14 g once dehydrated)
Calories 84 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Carbohydrates 5.5g2%
Fiber 1.7g7%
Protein 1g2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

There are just four ingredients you’ll need to make these Low Carb Salt and Vinegar Chips: a large cucumber, avocado oil, salt, and apple cider vinegar. Preheat your oven to 175°F (80°C). Slice the cucumber into thin slices and pat them dry before combining them with the oil, salt, and vinegar. Once they are coated, you stick them in the oven until they are dry and gently brown. 

Admittedly making these homemade chips is more work than opening a bag of potato chips, but you’ll find these natural chips to be surprisingly satisfying, and the best thing is that they won’t derail your diet. 

Protein Bar Swap: Chicken Pecan Salad on Celery Boats

Protein Bar Swap: Chicken Pecan Salad on Celery Boats

Protein bars have a reputation for being healthy snacks. However, these packaged convenience foods rarely meet that standard, and the good-tasting ones are often nothing more than a glorified candy bar. For instance, I checked the nutrition facts on a box of protein bars at the grocery store. Each bar contained 12 grams of protein but also had 12 grams of added sugar with 19 total grams of carbohydrates. 

A healthy low carb substitution for a processed protein bar is chicken salad that you can scoop up with celery for an added crunch. A serving from the recipe below has more than 15 grams of protein and less than 4 carbs. 

If we compare that to the protein bar example, these homemade chicken salad celery boats are 3 grams higher in protein and save you more than 15 grams of carbs. Plus, there is no added sugar to drive your sweet tooth, making it hard to stop snacking once you start. 

Print The Recipe:

Chicken Pecan Salad Celery Boats

courtesy of Dr. Becky Fitness

Course: Snack
Servings: 5
Calories: 213kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Raw Pecan Halves
  • 1 medium slice (1/8-in. thick) Red Onion roughly chopped
  • 1 medium stalk Celery roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pound Pre-Cooked Chicken Breast roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise preferably made with avocado oil (i.e., Primal Kitchen)
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon Coarse Mustard (i.e., whole-grain or stone-ground mustard), subs. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 10 medium stalks Celery for serving

Instructions

  • For easy prep, buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
  • This recipe is best made using a food processor. If you do not have one, you can finely chop the ingredients and blend them.
  • Place the pecans, onion, and celery in a food processor and pulse a few times to roughly break them down. Add the chopped chicken and pulse again to roughly break down the chicken. Add the mayonnaise, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend the ingredients until mixed but slightly chunky.

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Pecan Salad Celery Boats
Amount Per Serving (157 g)
Calories 213 Calories from Fat 141
% Daily Value*
Fat 15.7g24%
Carbohydrates 3.9g1%
Fiber 2.1g9%
Protein 15.3g31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

I made this chicken salad with pecans, which are a good low-carb nut choice that kicks up the protein and healthy monounsaturated fats. While making something at home is not as convenient as opening up a box and tearing off a wrapper. This recipe is a great way to use up leftover chicken, and the effort to make it is minimal. All you need to do is dump the ingredients in a food processor. 

To make the recipe above, I put pecans, red onion, celery, pre-cooked chicken, mayo, parsley, lemon juice, and mustard in the food processor, pulsed them together, and served it on celery stalks. 

This low carb snack has everything you want in a snack. It has only 4 carbs, 2 of which are fiber. It is also packed with hunger-satisfying protein and healthy fats. There is just one place you can go wrong with this snack, which is with mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip.

Mayonnaise is made from oil, egg yolks, and vinegar. Miracle Whip consists of oil, high fructose corn syrup, and vinegar. High fructose corn syrup is a very unhealthy carbohydrate, so you are better off going with mayonnaise, and your best option is a brand of mayo made with avocado oil, such as Primal Kitchen brand.  

Breaded Snack Swap: Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers 

Breaded Snack Swap: Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers

Another high-carb trap you can get into with snacking is breaded items. Breaded snacks are often made with white flour and breadcrumbs and then fried in vegetable oils. So, they are high in carbs and unhealthy fats. 

While I am not going to say that these lightly breaded and baked Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers are as delicious as a deep-fried processed snack, they will keep you on your diet and provide a bit of a spicy kick, depending on how much hot sauce you add. 

You can make a lower carb breading by using lower carb ingredients. For this recipe, I mixed together almond flour, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. I used this breading to coat bite-sized pieces of cauliflower and stuck them in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes. When they were done, I added the sauce, which is a mixture of butter and hot sauce. 

Print The Recipe:

Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers

courtesy of Dr. Becky Fitness

Course: Snack
Servings: 5
Calories: 153kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Almond Flour substitute coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 medium head Cauliflower about 2 cups of florets
  • 4 tablespoons Butter melted
  • 2.5 tablespoons Hot Sauce I used Franks Red Hot Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set the breading aside.
  • Wash the head of cauliflower and cut it into bite-size pieces. The pieces should still be damp to help the breading stick.
  • Add the cauliflower pieces into the large bowl and stir until all the pieces are coated.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set a wire baking rack on the parchment paper so that the heat can circulate around the florets, allowing them to crisp. (If you do not have a baking rack, you can use a slotted broiler pan.)
  • Lay the florets on the baking rack in a single layer.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is golden brown.
  • Just before the poppers finish baking, mix together the melted butter and hot sauce. Coat the warm cauliflower poppers with the sauce and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers
Amount Per Serving (146 g)
Calories 153 Calories from Fat 114
% Daily Value*
Fat 12.7g20%
Carbohydrates 7.8g3%
Fiber 2.9g12%
Protein 4.4g9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Takeaway

If your goal is to lose weight on a low carb diet, it is best to minimize snacking. However, we all have moments when cravings pop up. With a little bit of effort, you can make low carb substitutions for high carb snacks. The salt and vinegar cucumber chips will help satisfy a salty craving. The chicken pecan salad on celery puts a stop to hunger and provides a satisfying crunch. And, the hot sauce in these cauliflower poppers gives you a spicy kick. 

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!

About the Author

Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.

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