The definitive guide to low-carb snacking

Who should eat low-carb?

I never ever recommend the same diet to every client I work with. We are all way too genetically and “environmentally” different. That is, no two people have the same nutritionally-significant gene mutations and no two people were raised with the same chemical exposures and stresses. Each person deserves a diet crafted specifically for them.

That said, there is a certain metabolic type that I look for when a woman with thyroid disease or autoimmunity comes to me, hopeless about weight loss. These people can be good candidates for a low-carbohydrate diet. A few things I always consider:

  • Could she be Leptin resistant? Leptin is a hormone that controls satiety. It is super common due to stress, other hormonal imbalances, low neurotransmitters, a history of obesity, a history of stress eating/over-eating/night eating, consistently eating a high carbohydrate diet to be Leptin resistant.
  • Could she have low GABA? GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps keep us relaxed and calm, and not have nightly sweet/starch/alcohol cravings. Low GABA can cause high stress hormones, but also the insatiable desire to eat sweets in the late afternoon or evenings.
  • Is low Serotonin causing her cravings? Another neurotransmitter, this can also affect your appetite.
  • Does she have signs of Candida Albicans overgrowth? This can be a cause and result of a high carbohydrate diet.
  • Does she feel better eating a high protein diet but struggles to maintain it? AKA: is she having carb cravings?
  • Does she feel better when she eats animal fats? This can indicate a carbohydrate intolerance or blood sugar swings that are controlled by fats.
  • Does she feel horrible when she skips meals or goes too long without eating? Does she need to eat frequently? This can also indicate blood sugar that is not well-controlled by carbohydrates.
  • Does she have a diagnosed thyroid disease?
  • Does she have adrenal fatigue or low or high cortisol?
  • Does she tend to gain weight in her mid-section?
  • Does she prefer sweet foods to salty foods? Or does she crave both?
  • Does she have significant weight she would like to lose? Has she had difficulty losing weight in the past?
  • Is there a Diabetes diagnosis or family history?
  • Does she feel fatigued shortly after eating carbohydrates?
  • Does she feel moody after eating carbohydrates?
  • Does she have estrogen or testosterone imbalances?
  • Does she use caffeine or other uppers in the late afternoon to stay awake?

All of these can lead me to believe this woman may not metabolically tolerate a high carbohydrate diet. And a low carbohydrate diet may be just what she needs to improve her hormone status as well as lose weight; Low carb, high fat, moderate protein. But because high carbohydrate foods are so readily available and easy to carry on-the-go, finding snack options may be difficult. So here are my low-carbohydrate snack ideas for thyroid weight loss. 

  • hard boiled eggs
  • nuts and seeds
  • coconut flakes/coconut chips
  • homemade jello. Use a good quality gelatin like Great Lakes or Vital Proteins. Use a low sugar fruit juice (dark cherry, cranberry or blueberry would be good) as the liquid and sole sweetener. Cut into squares or pour into a mold and keep in a container in the fridge for easy access. Bonus is that it’s high in protein without having to eat meat.
  • flax crackers. Mix equal parts flax meal and Parmesan cheese, a tablespoon of fat/oil, a pinch of salt, and any additional seasonings you want (I like to add an “everything bagel” seasoning to these). Add enough water to make a thick paste. Spread thin on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees until crispy and cooked through. Break into crackers and store in bag.
  • sourdough bread products. In general you’ll want to avoid bread on a low-carb diet but keep in mind that sourdough bread products are naturally lower carbohydrate because the bacteria consume the sugars in the grain. So find a gluten-free pancake or flat bread recipe and soak the flour overnight in yogurt or a sourdough starter to reduce the carb content. 
  • cheese
  • low glycemic fruits
  • coconut flour truffles
  • herbal teas
  • jerky
  • Paleo protein bars
  • chia pudding
  • pre-chopped vegetables: cucumber, bell peppers, jicama (small amount), cauliflower, asparagus, celery, green beans.
  • homemade sour cream or mayo-based salad dressing
  • yogurt or kefir. Eat alone, or add to low glycemic smoothies.
  • cottage cheese
  • homemade trail mix: dried fruits (blueberries, cherries, raisins , apple or banana chips — not too much, freeze dried cranberries or raspberries), coconut flakes, nuts or seeds, cacao nibs, chicharron (pork rinds), veggie chips/dehydrated vegetables
  • Veggie chips/dehydrated vegetables
  • Chicharron/pork rinds
  • Guacamole with veggies
  • black unsweetened coffee with cream
  • flavored unsweetened sparkling water
  • olives, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and other cured probiotic foods
  • lunch meats and cured meats
  • coconut flour wraps
  • bone broth
  • fresh pressed juices: Romaine, cucumber, celery, bitter greens (wheatgrass, parsley, mustard greens, etc), ginger, lemon, etc.
  • canned fish
  • baked egg cups
  • collard green wraps. It’s healthier than bread and actually has a nice flavor. Add tuna or egg salad, lunch meat, or spreads like cream cheese or guacamole, plus vegetables of your choice before rolling up. Prepare a dozen small wraps with fillings of your choice and store in fridge for quick snacking. 
  • nut or seed-based salad dressings
  • kombucha

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