One of the biggest challenges with low carb eating is getting rid of your crunchy snacks. You know like potato chips, pretzels etc. Having done this for a year and a half I hardly ever get those urges but in the beginning it was a WAY more difficult. When exploring my options for snack alternatives I discovered that pork skins were ideal for a Ketogenic lifestyle. PORK SKINS?!?!?! YUCK! #1 I didn’t eat pork #2 weren’t those bad for you? #3 THE SMELL! I told myself that I would rather be miserable. That was until I was in Central Market here in Dallas and stumbled across a display for “Artisan Pork Skins” having grown up in Houston, Texas, these were obviously not your Abuela’s Chicharrones (as we called them in Spanish). I picked up a bag of “Cracked Black Pepper” went home braced myself and was pleasantly surprised. The smell was not overwhelming at all, they were light, and had an AMAZING FLAVOR! This triggered my curiosity and found out there was a WHOLE UNIVERSE of pork skin options out there, I didn’t have to suffer from the ones that I got from my local gas station! I will caution you that these are meant to be an occasional SNACK! That being said yes, in excess pork skins just like anything else will do your body harm (come on there is a whole technique called "water torture"). However, making better brand and quality decisions provides for a more realistic frequent option. Not only only as snacks that but pork skins make excellent binders for burgers, breading for chicken fingers, and substitutes for croutons on salads.
Below are my top pick for Pork skins: All these can be found on Amazon and most specialty grocery stores.
Pork Clouds rinds are among the healthiest options available. They are kettle cooked using 100% natural Olive Oil. Besides the fact that they are cooked in GMO (Genetically modified organisms)-free olive oil, they are also flavored with natural rock salt. Made from pure pork skin, these rinds offer a crunchy snack that is healthier than most options.
They come in Classic Black Pepper and a unique Rosemary
4505 fried pork rinds are also a fantastic alternative made with 100% natural pork, hormone, antibiotic, and gluten free. A single serving of 14 grams contains 80 calories with zero net carbs.
They come in Classic Chili and Salt, Smokehouse BBQ, and Jalapeño Cheddar
Field Trip Crispy Cuts
Field Trip Crispy Cuts are among the few options that are gluten-free and non-GMO. The Field trip rinds are made from 100% natural ingredients without preservatives or any artificial flavors.
The interesting part is that the field trip pork rinds are fried in pork fat, which means that they are not associated with any other external oil.
They Come in Parmesan peppercorn, Island BBQ, and Sweet chipotle
Epic Pork Rinds
Epic’s claim to fame is that they use the entire animal rather than just the back or belly to make sure nothing goes to waste. They also pride themselves in using naturally raised, antibiotic-free pigs. These pork skins use simple seasonings combined with unique processing techniques. Rather than frying the pork rinds in their own fat, EPIC takes a new approach that creates a pork rind that contains 40% less fat per serving than the leading fried pork rinds. This process means you end up with a satisfying and tasty pork rind that is just a little bit healthier for you.
They come in Chili Lime, Crackling Maple Bacon, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, Sea Salt & Pepper
1 Salmon fillet
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Cloves of minced garlic
1 Teaspoon of butter
Himalayan sea salt
2 cranks of fresh black pepper
5 Strawberries diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (DO NOT SKIP THIS)
1 Tbsp. diced green onion
½ Lime squeezed for juice
salt and pepper to taste
COCONUT CAULIFLOWER RICE
1 cup of Cauliflower Rice
1 cup of Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons of unsweetened coconut flakes
2 packets of Equal- You can use another sweetener but there might be an unpleasant aftertaste.
FOR THE STRAWBERRY SALSA
Tip: Replace salmon with shrimp pan fried with fresh minced garlic and butter.
Much to many people’s disappointment “sushi” does not mean “raw fish” it literally means “vinegar rice.” Crushing words for someone who does not eat conventional rice! One day I had a horrible craving for sushi, and as mush as I love to cook I was not about to try my hand at it. I am typically able to find Keto alternatives to almost everything, but sushi was proving to be a little difficult. Sushi restaurants had also not quite caught up to a "rice-less option" Imagine the look on my waiters face when I would say "no rice." I must admit it is a lot better now with some restaurants offering cauliflower rice. I am just not paying them an extra $4. Back to my story... This day I visited a specialty grocery store for lunch, and literally out of the corner of my eye noticed a crab meat roll with cream cheese, and tuna wrapped in CUCUMBER...SWEET BABY JESUS! I’m pretty sure I let out a very audible scream! On top of that 6 large rolls were only $7!
After talking to the chef, he told me that he has special requests all the time, and he is constantly experimenting with new ways to accommodate customers who need a low carb option. Needless to say, I ate that roll with varying protein options for the next week! I then noticed he also made fresh spring rolls with shrimp, avocados, and just plain vegetables! I never thought to ask if this was possible because I assumed pre- made sushi was just for convenience, not actually trying to cater to a need. Boy was I wrong, and I’m glad I was! If you are keto and miss sushi visit your local grocery store and see what your sushi chef can do for you!
The pictures above are rolls that I have personally ordered and LOVE! Here is a list of places I know make keto friendly sushi rolls:
1 Tablespoon of Thai Kitchen’s green curry paste
1 Pound of fresh shrimp peeled and deveined
½ pound of fresh green beans with ends clipped (canned will not work)
3 Minced garlic cloves
½ Green bell pepper sliced (NO NOT DICE)
½ Red bell pepper sliced (DO NOT DICE)
1 can of regular coconut milk
½ Cup of heavy whipping cream
½ Cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of fish sauce (soy sauce if you don’t have any)
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
1 bunch of fresh basil (at least 7 leaves)
1 stalk of fresh lemongrass minced (or 4 drops of lemongrass essential oils)
½ Fresh lime
Tip: Feel free to add other vegetables to this dish such as mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini noodles, or eggplants . Use chicken, steak, or tofu as an alternative proteins.