It’s 3PM, you’re sitting at your work desk and suddenly, your stomach starts growling. Uh-oh. You forgot to pack a snack so your options for quelling the hungry beast are limited. What do you do? If you’re like most people, you probably head to the vending machine for a bag of chips or a candy bar. Or if you’re lucky enough to have a coffee shop nearby, perhaps you run out to grab yourself a peppermint mocha—caffeine plus sugar—a “brilliant” idea for curing hunger and the post-lunch slump.
Unfortunately, as yummy as these things all sound, they’re high in carbohydrates and sugar and offer no nutritional value. While indulging in these items once in awhile isn’t a big deal, you don’t want to turn to them regularly. To explain why that is, let’s briefly discuss carbs.
The Impact of Carbs on Our Bodies
While many people view carbs as “bad,” they do offer some important benefits. For one thing, they are our primary source of fuel. When you eat, your body breaks down the starches and sugars in food and absorbs them into the bloodstream. At this point, they become glucose, providing us with energy for everything from breathing to aerobic dancing.
There is also evidence that carbs—in the form of whole grains and dietary fiber—can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, prevent obesity, protect against Type 2 diabetes, and aid with digestive health.
So, why do carbs get such a bad rap? The primary reason is that people tend to eat carbs to excess. Unfortunately, this wreaks havoc on the body because few people are choosing to gorge on fiber-rich carb-laden fruits! Instead, they’re more likely to load up on potatoes, pasta, and white bread.
These foods cause blood sugar to rise rapidly. To deal with this, your body creates a lot of insulin which then lowers your blood sugar by sending the sugar to your cells for storage. Yet this excessive insulin affects your hormones, ultimately resulting in more secretion of acne-causing oil.
Worse still, acne isn’t the only way that carbs can affect your skin. Carbohydrates can also hasten the appearance of aging. In a process called glycation, sugar molecules bind with skin cells, causing wrinkling, sagging, dullness, and moisture loss. Eek!
For these reasons, it’s important to eat carbs in a balanced way. For instance, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you choose whole grains, fiber-rich fruits and veggies, and beans, while limiting added sugar.
Tasty Low-Carb Snacks
As we mentioned, peppermint mochas, candy bars, and potato chips aren’t the best choices for your skin. Instead, try some of the low-carb snacks on this list. Your skin will appear more glowing, and there’s a good chance you’ll become accustomed to hearing, “Wait—you’re how old? I would have thought that you were 10 years younger!”
1. Kale Chips
Kale chips make a great substitute for potato chips, and they’re far more appealing than you might imagine. Even the biggest vegetable hater could be converted to kale! To make the chips, rinse and dry kale before tearing it into chip-sized pieces. Then lightly coat the pieces with olive oil, add salt and garlic powder, and bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, flipping as needed.
2. Veggies with Hummus
This is a great choice if you’re seeking a “crunch” from your snack. Simply pair a quarter-cup of hummus with healthy veggies like carrots, broccoli, celery or cucumbers for a snack that’s low in carbohydrates and filling to boot!
This snack idea is super simple! Just leave a container of macadamia nuts or almonds at your office for a quick snack. The fats and fibers in the nuts will help you feel satisfied, and both of these types of nuts are great for people eating low carb diets. Macadamia nuts have 4 grams of carbs per ounce and almonds only have 6. Just make sure not to overdo it—nuts are high in calories. Limit yourself to no more than 2 ounces a day.
4. Apple with Cheese
Ah, the sweet crunchiness of an apple. Yum, creamy delicious cheese. Together, these make a perfect pairing. Select a small or medium-sized apple and eat it with string cheese or if you want to get all fancy, a wedge of Brie. Because the apple is rich in fiber, you’ll feel fuller than you would with one of those vending machine choices we mentioned earlier!
5. Hard-Boiled Eggs
With an egg, you can sneak in some additional protein and Vitamin D during your day. Consider packing hard-boiled eggs as a snack for work. They’re low in carbs, tasty, and you can easily jazz them up by wrapping them in prosciutto, turkey, or ham.
The Conclusion on Carbs
Obviously, carbs are part of a healthy diet. Just remember to eat them in moderation and to make smart choices, rather than loading up on chips and candy bars! There are plenty of yummy low-carb snacks to choose from and while they may not be quite as indulgent as a peppermint mocha, they’re far more nutritious and better for achieving youthful, beautiful skin.
What do you think about carbs? Do you try to eat a low-carb diet or do you pay little attention to carb count? Do you have a great low-carb snack item to share? Let us know in the comments. We love to hear your thoughts!