When it comes to working out and building muscle, there are several different routes people can take. One of the most popular diets people follow is a low carb, high protein diet. A low-carb diet restricts sugary foods and starches, like pasta or bread, and instead puts emphasis on protein, natural fats, and vegetables.
There are two ways to follow a low carb diet. You can either try to eat foods that have a low number of total carbs, these are the carbs listed on nutritional labels as “carbohydrates,” or you can limit your number of net carbs, which is the total grams of carbs in a food minus the grams of fiber. For example, if a bag of edamame beans has 17 grams of total carbs and 10 grams of fiber, it has seven grams of net carbs. The reason people sometimes track net carbs as opposed to total carbs, is because they believe that fiber shouldn’t be counted as a regular carb since it does not affect blood sugar levels.
While you can certainly follow a low-carb diet with just whole foods, there are also plenty of products on the market that fit the low-carb bill and are high in protein to power your workout. Here are 15 to get you started!
BetterFoods Paleo Protein Pancakes
The idea of having a tall stack of fluffy pancakes doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of breakfast you would have on a low carb diet, that is unless you’re eating BetterFoods Paleo Protein Pancakes. These pancakes are made primarily from a blend of grain-free flours – coconut, tapioca, almond – a mixture of superfood protein powders – brown rice, pea protein, purple corn, green papaya juice, hemp – xylitol, and organic cacao nibs. One serving has 20 grams of protein, 29 grams of total carbs, and 16 grams of net carbs. Reviewers are saying that these pancakes are healthy, delicious, and super easy-to-make. You can get one 12-ounce bag for $9.50.
Explore Asian Edamame Spaghetti
Do you only eat edamame when you’re out for sushi at a Japanese restaurant? If this sounds like you, consider expanding your edamame horizons with Explore Asian Edamame Spaghetti. This pasta is made from just edamame and water, is gluten-free and kosher, and can be cooked just like regular pasta. It has 24 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, 21 grams of total carbs, and 10 grams of net carbs per serving. Reviewers point out that this product doesn’t taste exactly like pasta, but are a delicious, thick, and chewy noodle option similar to “al dente” Italian spaghetti. Some reviewers have added sauce and seasonings like garlic to this product, while others have claimed that it tastes just fine by itself with a dash of oil. To try it out for yourself, you can get a two-pound bag for $19.
Flatout ProteinUP Flatbread Wraps
When it comes to a low carb diet, you don’t have to avoid bread completely, you just have to choose them wisely. Flatout ProteinUp Flatbread Wraps, for example, are made primarily with water, whole wheat flour, oat fiber, vital wheat gluten, chickpeas, and flax seeds. Each wrap has 12 grams of protein, 18 grams of total carbs, and eight grams of net carbs. Most of the reviewers on Amazon are saying that these wraps taste great and are a great low carb bread option for those watching their carb intake. You can get two packs (10 wraps in total) for $11.50.
Simply Protein Chips
Simply Protein Chips are not your typical potato chip. These wheat-free and gluten-free chips still contain potato starch and flakes but are primarily made from pea protein crisps. Each bag contains 15 grams of pea protein, 11 grams of total carbs, and 10 grams of net carbs. Instead of salt, the company opts for a variety of spices to get the same savory flavors as chips without all of the sodium, and according to reviewers, it’s still delicious! You can get a pack of 12 bags for a little over $30.
Beyond Meat Feisty Crumbles
When people think of protein, one of the first foods that pop into their heads is meat. Well, Beyond Meat Feisty Crumbles takes the power of peas and transform them into a savory product that, according to reviews, tastes and feels just like ground beef! Each serving (1/2 cup) has 13 grams of protein, three grams of total carbs, and zero net carbs! It’s also gluten and soy free. Reviewers have been using this product in tacos, pasta sauce, chili, and Shepherd’s pie. You can get eight 11-ounce bags for about $46.
Doctor in the Kitchen Flackers
Doctor in the Kitchen Flackers are organic crackers that are made with flax seeds, apple cider vinegar, Bragg liquid aminos, rosemary, and sage. Just a serving of 12 flackers contains ten grams of protein, 16 grams of total carbs, and two grams of net carbs. They are dehydrated at low temperatures to ensure that all the nutrients, including the omega-3s and enzymes remain vitalized and stable. Reviewers are reporting that these crackers are deliciously nutty, crunchy, low-carb and healthy, and don’t stick to your teeth like some other flax crackers on the market tend to do. You can get one five-ounce box for about $5.50.
Hemp Heart Bites
If you know anything about hemp seeds, you know that they are nutritional wonders that are protein packed and filled with vitamins, minerals, and omegas, among other things. With Hemp Heart Bites, you can get all of the benefits of hemp seeds, in easy bite-sized form. One serving of these raw and paleo treats has 10 grams of protein, 15 grams of total carbs, and 12 grams of net carbs. Reviewers are reporting that these bite-sized treats are filling, a great snack for active days, and have “just enough sweetness and crunch.” You can get one four-ounce back for about $5.
Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame
In order to prepare edamame, green soybeans, still in the pod, are picked before they ripen. Once harvested, they can be steamed, boiled, seasoned, or roasted. Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame employs the latter method. Their edamame snack contains just two ingredients: non-GMO soybeans and sea salt. Just one serving of these beans (half of the 1.58-ounce bag) has 11 grams of protein, eight total carbs, and two grams of net carbs. Reviewers are reporting that this edamame snack is filling, flavorful (but not too salty), and is a great snack for people who want protein but are watching their carb intake. You can get 12 of these bags for about $12.25.
Kay’s Naturals Protein Pretzels
Traditional pretzels get a protein makeover with Kay’s Natural Protein Pretzels. These crunchy and gluten-free pretzel sticks are made primarily from soy protein isolate, corn starch, soy flour, and tapioca starch. Each 1.2-ounce bag has 12 grams of protein, 15 grams of total carbs, and 11 grams of net carbs. While a few reviewers have said that this original flavor variety doesn’t have a very strong flavor, they still mention that the nutrition of this snack is impressive. Reviewers have been enjoying these dipped in hummus or salsa to increase the flavor. You can get a pack of six 1.2-ounce bags for $7.
Explore Asian Soy Bean Spaghetti
Think soybeans are only good for making milk and tofu? Think again. Explore Asian Soybean Spaghetti is composed of organic golden soybean and water. Each two-ounce serving has 23 grams of protein, 17 grams of total carbs and six grams of net carbs. Reviewers are reporting that these noodles are hearty, “phenomenally high-protein,” and a “solid alternative for spaghetti.” One reviewer even said that these are better than traditional spaghetti noodles! You can get six seven-ounce packages for $25 if you want to try them out yourself.
D's Natural Fluffbutter
Nut butters are pretty impressive, nutritionally, as they are. Well, D’s Natural Fluffbutter takes peanut butter to the next level by infusing it with protein, specifically, rice and pea protein. For every two tablespoons of this gluten-free and soy-free nut butter, you get 11 grams of protein, seven grams of total carbs, and five grams of net carbs. Not bad for a product that is flavored as “Salted Caramel Sundae.” Reviewers are saying that this spread is deliciously healthy, lighter than regular peanut butter, the perfect balance of salty and sweet, and helps ward off sweet cravings. You can get one 10-ounce jar for $11.
Field Roast Grain Meat Frankfurters
Field Roast Grain Meat Frankfurters are hot dog sausage alternatives made primarily from filtered water, vital wheat gluten, and safflower oil, and are seasoned with tomato pasta, paprika, sea salt, onions, and garlic. Unlike regular hot dogs, these veggie sausages contain zero cholesterol. They pack in just as much protein as meat, though, with 21 grams of protein per serving, plus just six grams of total carbs and two grams of net carbs. According to Field Roast, you can either cook these on the grill, sauté them in a pan, or steam in the oven or microwave. Reviewers are raving about their umami flavor, hearty texture, and quick preparation. One reviewer even said these were the best veggie dogs they ever tried! To see if these franks live up to the hype, you can get one 16-ounce package for a little under $5.50.
Glenny's Easy Peasy Protein Chips
Glenny’s Easy Peasy Protein Chips are exactly what they sound like – an easy way to get protein into your day. These gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO chips have 12 grams of easily-digestible pea protein. Also, according to Glenny’s they have 40 percent less carbs than your typical chip. While many reviewers report that these chips are tasty and satisfying, others commented that they’re a bit too on the salty side and may cause bloating. If you want to try them out for yourself, you can get a 24 pack of 1.1-ounce bags for $27.
West Soy Cubed Seitan
Seitan, or wheat meat, is a protein-rich meat alternative for those leaving meat out of their diet. Check out Westsoy Cubed Seitan, for instance. This product is marinated in a bit of soy sauce, dusted with chickpea flour, and brushed with garlic, making it a seamless addition across many cuisines. Each serving (1/3 cup) contains 21 grams of protein. Reviewers are cooking with this seitan in several different ways, including curry spices, marinara sauce, or a medley of vegetables. It seems like the options are pretty limitless with this one. You can get 12 eight-ounce packages for a little over $50.
Raw Rev Glo Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Bars
Find yourself needing a protein boost while on the go? Consider stocking up on some Raw Rev Glo Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Bars. They are made with peanuts, pea protein, brown rice protein, chia seeds, hemp, coconut oil, and flax seeds. Each bar has 12 grams of protein, 17 grams of total carbs, and three grams of net carbs. With no added sugar, these bars only have a hint of sweetness. One amazon reviewer comments that eating one of these bars is like “eating natural peanut butter in raw form.” You can get 12 of these bars for $15.