Whether you’re an athlete or an individual following a particular diet, snacks can be a tough as far as choosing the best options. Most snacks you see out there today are loaded with harmful fillers and artificial ingredients that can cause many damaging side effects including decrease in gut health, increased inflammation and decreased digestive health. However, there are some great all natural snack options out there today including pork rinds and different varieties of nuts such as almonds and walnuts.
No matter what type of diet you may be following, chips are guaranteed to be off limits. Luckily, there are a few great low carb alternatives to snacks out there today — one of those options including pork rinds. While you’ll want to be conscious of the source of these deliciously fatty treats, they provide a rich source of animal fats one may not expect to get from a crispy, crunchy snack.
So, what are pork rinds anyways?
Pork rinds are actually pork skin that are chopped up and smoked before getting deep fried in lard. Make sure your pork rinds are sourced from sustainable farms that use no GMOs or added hormones. You’ll also want to make sure the pieces of pork skin are fried in real lard.
The frying of the pork skin in lard is what gives pork rinds their puffy, airy, crunchy texture that is sure to satiate any salty cravings.
What kind of benefits do pork rinds offer?
Are you thinking there may not be any nutritional value in traditional pork rinds? Think again.
Unlike other snack alternatives, pork rinds are much higher in protein than your average crunchy chip. In fact, only one ounce of pork rinds can offer over 15 grams of protein. This makes pork rinds the ideal snack for athletes who need that extra protein for recovery and for individuals following a keto diet who need a high protein, high fat source.
Protein Packed Nuts
Another key snack that can provide a ton of nutritional benefits includes different kinds of nuts. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pecans are the perfect food when you’re on the go and need a quick fix.
One quarter cup of almonds contains a total of 207 calories, including five grams of protein, two grams of net carbs, five grams of fiber and around 14 grams of healthy fats. Along with these killer macronutrients, almonds are rich in some key vitamins and minerals. These compounds including riboflavin, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and iron.
Almonds have several health benefits. They have been shown to improve heart health, support and improve cognitive health, improve skin health, improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels and help to maintain healthy weight loss.
Almonds are a key source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs help manage blood sugar and rapid increases of insulin spikes due to ingestion of certain carbohydrates. This makes almonds the perfect snack for individuals struggling with diabetes or insulin resistance.
However, almonds aren’t the only nutritional snack to go nuts over.
Walnuts provide a different texture and consistency than your average nut as well as being a nutritional powerhouse. A one ounce serving of walnuts has a total of of 187 calories including four grams of protein, two grams of net carbs, two grams of fiber and five grams of fat. Walnuts are also considered a nut abundant in key compounds, including manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, folate, thiamin and vitamin B6.
Both of these nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids — one of the top healthy fats for you to have in a well balanced diet. There are three main types of omega-3s out there today including ALA, EPA and DHA. ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid, is the most abundant omega-3 found in walnuts.
These omega-3s contribute to a number of different functions in the body and brain. Omega-3s have been shown to prevent depression, improve cognitive health, improve the aging of the brain, improve heart health, help improve growth and development as well as help maintain healthy weight loss.
Whether you’re an athlete, diabetic or any individual with an average lifestyle, choosing snacks high in healthy fats could have an extremely beneficial impact on your health and wellness. Feeling stressed as to what snacks to choose to lead you on the path of optimal health? Try these few low carb options listed above and start gaining the benefits today.
About The Author:
Steph is a writer, competitive weightlifter and nutritional consultant with a passion for health and wellness. She is the founder of The Athlete’s Kitchen, a website dedicated to providing its audience with articles, recipes and the latest nutritional information on their favorite foods. Find her on instagram @stephrlo or at https://www.TheAthletesKitchen.com