The low-carb trend may seem as old school as fax machines, but eating naturally low-carb foods (I’m looking at you veggies and lean protein) will always be good for your health. Everyone needs some healthy utility players in the fridge that can make snacks and meals a little better.
Here’s a list of my of some of my favorite low-carb, nutrient-dense, tasty foods.
A third of an avocado has only 5 grams of carbs and, aside from being Instagram famous, it’s also known for being high in monounsaturated healthy fats, which helps lower bad cholesterol and is linked with burning belly fat.
Mash an avocado into hummus for the perfect hybrid dip for crudité, top an apple slice (yes this is delish!) or of course, there’s that whole toast thing.
A whole cup will cost you only 30 calories and contains just 6 grams of carbs, but has an impressive 3 grams of fiber and, like other cruciferous vegetables, is rich in cancer-fighting compounds called glucosinolates.
For an easy dinner side dish, lay broccoli out on a baking sheet and drizzle with avocado oil before roasting at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
3. Coconut oil
This jam packed with MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) cooking oil has zero grams of carbs. MCTs are a type of saturated fat that can help you increase your good cholesterol, reduce the bad and even help you burn fat. Because of its high cooking temp, you can use it for everything from baking to broiling to sautéing.
A full cup of aubergine (yes, that is the other name of this pretty purple veggie) contains less than 5 grams of carbs and contains nasunin, a compound that protects your brain cells from oxidation.
For eggplant newbies, here’s a healthy way to get your feet wet: sprinkle with salt, let stand for 10 minutes, blot with a paper towel to remove excess water, then, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 375°F for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Quite possibly the most convenient form of protein, a single egg has 0.6 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein. And, don’t go tossing that yolk, it’s packed with choline an important nutrient for brain health.
Keep hard-boiled eggs on hand and mash onto a slice of Ezekiel toast for an on-the-go breakfast or sprinkle with sea salt and cayenne for a simple snack.
At 13 grams of carbs per half, a grapefruit is also lower in sugar compared to other citrus fruits. One study showed there was a positive relationship between eating a half of a grapefruit before a meal and weight loss. Section half a grapefruit, sprinkle with cinnamon and a drop of honey and place under the broiler for three to four minutes for a perfect jam-packed nutrient dessert.
7. Greek yogurt
Each 6-ounce container has about 6 grams of carbs and a whole lot of protein, approximately 17 grams! Go for one that has no added sugar and add your fave nuts or seeds and berries for a calcium-packed breakfast.
8. Green beans
Green beans provide you with 7 grams of carbs per cup and are rich in vitamin K, which contributes to your bone health, healthy blood clotting and can help prevent heart disease. Mix 1 cup steamed beans with a teaspoon of pesto and top with a soft-boiled egg or grilled chicken for a super fast, nutrient-dense lunch.
Snacking on two tablespoons of olives will still have you consuming just under 1 gram of carbs and the antioxidant oleuropein, which is specific to olives and has been shown to lower cholesterol and prevent oxidative stress.
Add olives to Ezekiel toast and goat cheese for a savory breakfast, couple with veggies for a snack or toss onto your go-to romaine salad at dinner.
One ounce provides you with less than 5 grams of carbs and high amounts of biotin, an important vitamin B when it comes to metabolism, nerve and digestive health. Crumble them up before tossing them in a salad, couple a handful with a piece of fruit for a snack or add to your next veggie or tofu stir fry.
11. Pumpkin seeds
These super seeds have 15 grams of carbs per ounce and are loaded with magnesium, a mineral crucial to maintaining healthy blood pressure and to overall better digestive health. Add to your oatmeal or mix into guacamole to give it a crunch.
A handful of ten of these pretty berries have less than 2.5 grams of carbs. High in manganese, these fiber-filled gems also provide some serious benefits when it comes your bone health. Buy them frozen to always have on hand for smoothies, to top yogurt or drizzle a little dark chocolate over a cup for an extra sweet treat.
Salmon is a filling fish that provides you with zero carbs. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help you burn fat, make your skin glow and fight inflammation. Add salmon to eggs, top a high fiber cracker and a squeeze of lemon or grill with a pomegranate glaze.
A ½ cup of shrimp provides you with less than 1 gram of carbs. It’s also low in calories and high protein for all of you watching your waistline. Shellfish also contains zinc, an important mineral for helping your immune system fight off viruses. Stir fry shrimp with broccoli, snap peas, onion and shredded carrots for a fast, simple, healthy weeknight meal.
15. Sunflower seeds
Six grams of carbs per quarter cup, this seed is known for being high in selenium, a cancer-fighting mineral. Who needs trail mix to get these seeds in? Add them to your main course by sprinkling on roasted Brussels sprouts or sauteéd butternut squash.
One medium tomato has less than 5 grams of carbs. This perfect sandwich topper has 1.5 grams of fiber and is also rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which contributes to glowing skin and boosting your immune system.
Chop tomato, onion and mushrooms and add to an egg scramble or hollow out and fill with an almond farro salad for a vegan meal.
Get over 50 percent of your vitamin C needs in one medium-sized zucchini. These veggies have a high water content to help you stay hydrated and to keep you fuller longer. Slice thinly and layer with red sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese for a low carb way to get in your lasagna fix.