Low Carb High Protein Snacks - 25 Tasty Options!
High Protein Foods
Let’s talk about low carb high protein snacks today. Are you into high protein foods? I am. I can’t eat many grams of carbs a day because I’m following a low carb diet. If you take away carbohydrates or greatly decrease them, that leaves you with foods high in protein or foods high in fat. To be honest, I don’t worry a whole lot about the fats in my diet. I mean, I try not to go crazy, but I’m much more concerned with the amount of carbs I consume. Obviously, that’s what a low carb diet is all about, and it’s the only way I can lose weight. I’ve tried lots of low calorie diets and low fat diets, and they just didn’t work for me. I think I know why, after reading some research on low carb diets. When a group of test subjects who followed a low carb diet were compared to a group following a low fat diet, more high protein foods and fewer carbs burned an average of 300 more calories per day, even though both groups were eating the same amount of calories. My low carb diet hasn’t just helped me to lose weight; it’s also reversed my type 2 diabetes, without drugs. Below, I’m sharing some ideas for low carb high protein snacks that I hope you’ll find useful.
High Protein Snacks
If you’re cutting carbs, you’ll need to incorporate some high protein snacks into your diet. They’ll keep your metabolism running, and they’ll also keep you satisfied for longer because protein takes more time to digest. You won’t get the sugar highs and crashes that you’d get from eating snacks high in carbs and sugars, either.
Keep in mind that “high protein” is a relative term. Some of my suggestions below have less than ten grams of protein, which might not sound like high protein snacks. When you compare them to traditional snacks like potato chips, cookies, pretzels, and snack cakes, however, you’ll see that my snacks are a lot higher in protein and much, much lower in carbohydrates.
You can turn any high protein foods into high protein snacks, of course. Some foods just seem “snackier” than others. A T-bone steak is high in protein and low in carbs, but not many people would consider it a snack food. On the other hand, sometimes you have to get creative with low carb diets and think outside the traditional food box. Go with whatever works for you.
Low Carb Snacks
Just like with high protein snacks, low carb snacks is a relative term. What is “low carb?” the highest carb count in the low carb snacks I’ve suggested is five grams. Really, that’s not many carbohydrates. For example, one brownie has around 45 grams of carbs, and a small serving of potato chips has 15 grams of carbs. Even worse, the calories in the brownie and chips are pretty much “empty calories,” so you’re not getting much nutritional value for your calorie expenditure. After downing such snacks, you’ll probably get a “sugar rush” or “carb rush,” but it will be short lived. You’ll be hungry again in just a short period of time. On the other hand, low carb snacks usually provide protein, fiber, and/or fat, all of which will keep you full and satisfied longer by helping to stabilize your blood sugar.
Once you get used to eating low carb snacks and meals, your taste for sugar and simple carbs will lessen over time. The first few days are tough, but it does get easier. Most people have to sort of “wean” themselves off of the chips, cookies, candy, and other high carb snacks that they’re used to eating. When your high protein and low carb snacks are tasty, and when you have a variety from which to choose, you’ll be a much happier camper. Discover the best low carb snacks for you!
Low Carb High Protein Snacks
It’s important to understand that all low carb snacks aren’t high in protein, nor are all high protein snacks low in carbs. For example, a bowl of raw low carb veggies is a healthy snack, but it’s not very filling because the protein isn’t there. On the other hand, chicken strips are high in protein, but they aren’t low in carbohydrates because of the flour in the batter. And when you use a sugary dipping sauce with the chicken strips, the carb and sugar count jumps even more.
From my experience with low carb diets, low carb high protein snacks are best. To be honest, I’m not really a big snacker, so I often use these snacks as meals, especially for breakfast and lunch. I’m usually not very hungry first thing in the morning, so a big breakfast isn’t usually appealing to me. I know, however, that I need to wake up my sleepy metabolism with some protein, so I usually grab quick and easy low carb high protein snacks to serve as breakfast.
High Protein Bars
Some people think high protein bars are the best low carb snacks. Are high protein bars the answer? In many cases, the answer is a resounding “no.” On the surface, high protein bars are a great concept. They’re supposedly ready-made, instant sources of high quality protein without a big carb count. The problem is that many of these bars are actually pretty high in carbs, which sort of defeats the purpose of low carb diets. You have to read the labels carefully. You’ll notice that some of these bars don’t count sugar alcohols as carbs.
You have to learn to read labels! Just because a product claims to be healthy doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. There are some high protein bars on the market that have as many carbs as a candy bar does. Don’t trust the large print; read the fine print, too. I’m not saying that there aren’t any high protein bars that have low carb counts. There are, but you might have to look hard to find them.
I’ll show you what I’m talking about. A Kit Kat bar has 10 grams of carbs, two Reese’s cups have 18 grams, and a Heath bar has 25. Remember – these are candy bars that don’t make any claims about being healthy or low in carbs. Compare those carb counts to some of the high protein bars on the market. An EAS Myoplex Lite Bar has 25 grams of carbs, a Premier Nutrition Premier Protein bar has 23 carb grams, and a 2 to 1 oatmeal protein bar packs 32 grams of carbs. See what I’m talking about?
Crackers and Cheese
Different types of crackers and different varieties of cheeses are classic high protein snacks. They can be low carb snacks, too, if you’re careful about the crackers you choose and if you eat just a few. Sometimes I think these are the best low carb snacks of all! Sometimes I make my own crackers, so if you want my low carb crackers recipe, just click! Lately, I’ve been eating Keebler Town House flatbread crisps. Four crackers have about five carb grams, and they’re really yummy. I’ve found three flavors of these crackers – sea salt and olive oil, roasted garlic, and Italian herb. I like them all, but I think the Italian herb is my favorite. I like to top the crackers with sliced cheddar cheese and top them with just a dab of Walden Farms fruit spread. The sweet tartness of the spread goes great with the savory cheese. The fruit spread has no carbs, calories, or fat, and it comes in strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, apricot, grape, orange marmalade, and apple butter. I don’t care much for the apple butter with cheese and crackers, but I love the raspberry, the strawberry, and the orange marmalade. Here’s the rundown on these low carb high protein snacks:
4 flatbread crisps – 5 carb grams, .5 protein grams
1 ounce cheddar cheese – 0 carbs, 7 grams protein
Walden Farms fruit spread – 0 carbs
Zero Calorie Fruit Spreads:
Many bodybuilders and other health-conscious people turn to protein shakes for snacks and light meals. Where does the protein come from? It can come from eggs, whey, milk, soy, and/or casein. As it is with most products, some protein shakes are better than others in terms of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. If you’re trying to follow a low carb diet, you need to avoid shakes that contain large amounts of carbs and sugars. Those are fine for endurance athletes who need the extra energy provided by carbs, but not for people who are trying to lose weight by restricting their carbohydrates. If you’re concerned about fat, you need to check the label for that, too.
You can easily make your own protein shakes with whey protein. It even comes in different flavors. Just add it to milk and shake or stir. You might also want to add crushed ice, peanut butter, raw eggs, egg substitute, nuts, yogurt, artificial sweetener, or fresh fruit. Most of the protein shake recipes you find instruct you to add the whey protein and other ingredients to skim milk. Skim milk is not a low carb food. It contains lactose, a form of sugar. Instead of using milk as the base, try using Hood low carb milk. Doing so will save you some carb grams.
Whey Protein Powder:
This shrimp cocktail packs ten grams of protein and just two grams of carbs. You can make a no-carb version by using Walden Farms cocktail sauce, instead, but I think my homemade sauce is much tastier, so I don’t mind spending two carbs on it. For a sweeter sauce, add more Splenda. For a hotter sauce, use more grated horseradish or add some Louisiana hot sauce, Texas Pete, Tabasco sauce, or some other brand of hot sauce.
8 large boiled shrimp – 0 carbs, 10 grams protein
2 tablespoons Heinz reduced sugar ketchup – 2 carb grams
2 teaspoons lime juice – 0 carbs
1 teaspoon Splenda – 0 carbs
1 teaspoon grated horseradish – 0 carbs
Directions: Peel shrimp, leaving on tails.
Combine remaining ingredients and add to small bowl or glass.
Hang shrimp from edge of container.
On the surface, jerky seems like it would be a great for high protein low carb snacks, doesn’t it? After all, it’s dried meat, right? Yes, it is, but it often includes added sugars, so some brands don’t make the best low carb snacks. You have to read the labels. It’s actually pretty difficult to find jerky that contains no carbs. Believe me – I’ve looked high and low. I found one the other day at an unlikely place – Walgreen’s. It’s bacon jerky, and I think it’s the best jerky I’ve ever eaten. It tastes like old fashioned country bacon, and it has zero carb grams. The name of this product is “Nice!” The exclamation point is theirs and not mine. The jerky is distributed by Walgreens, and it delivers 7 grams of protein per serving. This no-carb treat is like having fried bacon in your pantry! I use it salads, in scrambled eggs, and in sautéed spinach. I also use it for snacks.
I just about always keep a few boiled eggs in the fridge, peeled and ready to eat. When I’m feeling hungry, I can grab an egg and go. They also come in handy for recipes. We like egg salad, for example, and I make it with sugar-free sweet pickle relish. Sometimes I add crumbled bacon or bacon jerky, too. I also use boiled eggs in my shrimp salad and in my chicken salad.
Boiled eggs contain no carbs, and a large egg provides six grams of protein. They make great portable snacks and light breakfasts and lunches for people on the go. They’re inexpensive and keep for a fairly long time in the fridge, too, which qualifies them as one of the best low carb snacks.
Homemade chicken salad makes a great high protein snack that’s low in carbs. It’s also pretty filling, so you can make a meal of it. Be careful with chicken salad from stores, however, as it's often fairly high in carbs and sugars. Make your own. You can use leftover chicken, of course, but I don’t always have that on hand. Instead, I always keep some cans of cooked chicken breast in my pantry. As I mentioned above, I almost always have some boiled eggs in the fridge, too, so I can add them to my chicken salad. Mayonnaise contains no carbs, but it’s high in fat. For a salad that’s lower in fat, you can substitute Walden Farms fat-free, calorie-free mayo. I like to use sweet pickle relish in my chicken salad, and you can find several sugar-free versions that have no carbs. I like Mt. Olive brand. A tablespoon of their sweet relish has just one carb.
½ cup cooked chicken breast, diced or shredded – 0 carbs, 20 grams of protein
1 boiled egg, chopped – 0 carbs, 6 grams protein
2 tablespoons mayonnaise – 0 carbs
1 tablespoon sugar-free pickle relish – 1 carb
1 tablespoon chopped celery – 0 carbs
Salt, pepper, onion powder, and paprika, to taste
I absolutely love shrimp salad! As I’ve already explained above, shrimp is super low in carbs, and so are the other ingredients in the salad. I like to chop my shrimp for this salad, by the way. If you want a spicier version, add some cayenne!
¼ pound boiled shrimp – 0 carbs, 20 grams protein
1 boiled egg – 0 carbs, 6 protein grams
2 tablespoons mayonnaise – 0 carbs
1 tablespoon chopped celery – 0 carbs
1 teaspoon lemon juice – 0 carbs
1 teaspoon Splenda – 0 carbs
¼ teaspoon minced garlic – 0 carbs
Salt, pepper, and paprika, to taste
Nuts and Seeds
Several types of nuts and seeds are high in protein, low in carbs, and high in healthy fiber. It’s true that most are also high in fat, but the fat is mostly in the form of healthy fats. When it comes to low carb snacks and high protein snacks, however, all nuts and seeds are not created equal. Which are lowest in carbohydrates? Which ones make the best low carb snacks? I wondered about this, and I found a useful chart that was approved by a medical board, so I’m assuming the information is correct. According to the information, pecans are the lowest in net carbs, with just 1.2 grams per ounce. That sure did make this southern gal happy! I love pecans, and we have tons of them down here. Coming in a close second is Brazil nuts, at 1.3 carb grams. Chestnuts are the highest in carbs, at 10.5 grams, followed by cashews, at 8 net carbs per one ounce serving.
Some varieties of nuts can be tasty low carb high protein snacks, but they’re also high in calories, so don’t go crazy. Of course, roasted nuts are usually high in sodium, too, and getting too much sodium isn’t a good thing. For the best results with your low carb diet, enjoy nuts and seeds in moderation. It helps to choose the varieties that are lower in carbs, too.
Low Carb BBQ Sauce and sausage
These make super quick and easy low carb snacks, and they also provide some protein. I like to use the Hillshire Farms Lil’ Smokies because they’re already cooked when you buy them. All I have to do is place the links in a microwave-safe bowl, cover them in no carb or low carb BBQ sauce, and zap them in the microwave until they’re hot. By the way, I sometimes have this for breakfast.
5 Hillshire Farms Lil’ Smokies – 2 grams carbs, 7 grams protein
Walden Farms Low Carb BBQ Sauce – 0 carbs, 0 calories
Low Carb BBQ Sauce:
Low Carb Yogurt
Yogurt is usually high in protein and low in fat. So far, so good…BUT it can also be fairly high in carbs and sugars. Ot so with Dannon Light and Fit Carb & Sugar control yogurt. It’s diabetic friendly, and the little 4.4-ounce cups make great low carb snacks. A serving has just 3 grams of carbs, along with 5 grams of protein. It’s even low in fat, coming in at 1.5 grams per serving. Enjoying this flavorful yogurt is a good way to get calcium on low carb diets. In fact, that little cup of fruity yogurt supplies 15% of you daily calcium requirement. Oh, I almost forgot: this stuff has just 50 calories a serving, too. To make it even healthier, stir some flaxseed meal in for lots of fiber and heart-healthy fats.
Chocolate milk that’s low in carbs? Yes, it’s true. Hood Calorie Countdown chocolate dairy beverage has just 4 net grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber in an 8-ounce serving. It also has 6 grams of protein and 30% of the calcium, 30% of the vitamin D, 10% of the vitamin A, and 6% of the iron you need every day. this isn’t some thin, watery chocolate drink. It’s thick and rich, made with milk and cream. I’d drink this stuff even if I weren’t on a low carb diet! Give it a try to see for yourself. The only place I can find it is at Walmart, in the dairy section, and sometimes they run out. it has a long refrigerator life, so I buy several cartons at a time.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
½ pound ground beef – 0 carbs, 36 grams protein
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal – 0 net carbs
Seasonings, to taste
1/3 cup Walden Farms pancake syrup – 0 carbs, 0 calories
1 tablespoon soy sauce – 1 carb gram
2 teaspoons lime juice – 0 carbs
1 teaspoon vinegar
Onion powder, to taste
Ground ginger, to taste
Cayenne or chili powder, to taste
Directions: Combine ground beef, flaxseed meal, and your preferred seasonings. Form into small balls and cook over medium heat in a nonstick skillet.
While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce. Combine syrup, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, onion powder, ground ginger, and cayenne in a small mixing bowl.
When meatballs are done, drain briefly on paper towels and add to bowl of sauce.
Toss to coat meatballs and serve with toothpicks.
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast – 0 carbs, 27 protein grams
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Splenda
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt to taste
Directions: Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Drizzle a pan with oil and heat over medium. Add chicken and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
Combine lime juice, butter, Splenda, and chili powder. Taste for salt. Heat in microwave until butter melts. Place cooked chicken in lime butter and toss to coat.
Low Carb Peanut Butter
Yep, Skippy now has a low carb peanut butter. It’s called “Carb Options” and has three grams of carbs per serving, along with two grams of dietary fiber and seven grams of protein. A serving, by the way, is two tablespoons. I realize that you’d probably want something to spread the peanut butter on – although my mom usually ate it all by itself. She really loved peanut butter. It’s pretty good on celery stalks, and celery has practically no carbs at all. Of course, you can also spread the nutty taste on low carb bread or low carb crackers, but remember to include those carb grams in your total count. Walden Farms makes a peanut spread that’s carb, fat, and calorie free, but it’s also free of protein, so you can’t use it for high protein snacks. Also, to be honest, I don’t care for their peanut spread. The Skippy version is much better and is definitely worth the three grams of carbohydrates.
Low Carb Peanut Butter:
Low Carb Wraps
Low carb wraps are great for snacks, for breakfast, and for lunch. To make low carb snacks, use low carb tortillas. I often use the Xtreme Wellness brand, and a large tortilla has just 5 net grams of carbs, along with twelve healthy grams of fiber. They come in different flavors, too. La Tortilla Factory's low carb tortillas have even less carbs - 3 grams per serving. Just spread the tortilla with mayonnaise, mustard, low carb BBQ sauce, or a combination of mayo and cream cheese. For sort of a honey mustard taste, combine prepared mustard with a little mayo and Splenda. Add your favorite meats, like sliced turkey, ham, or roast beef. If you want to add some crunch to your low carb wraps, include raw low carb vegetables like spinach, cucumbers, or bell pepper strips. Once everything is in place, start on one side of the tortilla and roll everything up. For a firmer wrap, store rolled-up wrap in fridge for an hour or so, wrapped in plastic food wrap or foil.
Low Carb Tortillas:
Low Carb Sandwich
Sometimes nothing seems to satisfy my cravings like a sandwich. Of course, the problem here is the bread. Traditional white sandwich bread is high in carbs, so you probably want to avoid that if you’re on a low carb diet. Sometimes I make my own low carb bread and use it for sandwiches. For my low carb bread recipe, click the link.
The best low carb bread I’ve found in the stores is Nature’s Own double fiber sliced bread. It’s tasty, and it has just eight net grams of carbs per slice, along with five grams of fiber and three grams of protein. I usually make an open-face sandwich and toast it in the oven until the cheese melts.
1 slice Nature’s Own double fiber wheat bread – 8 net carbs, 3 grams protein
2 slices provolone cheese – 0 carbs, 10 grams protein
3 slices turkey or ham – 0 carbs, 12 grams protein
Mayonnaise and/or mustard
Directions: Toast bread in toaster. Spread with mayo or mustard. Place one slice of cheese on toast and add meat. Top with remaining slice of cheese. Bake at 450 degrees until cheese melts.
A microwave omelette is super filling and satisfying, and it’s packed with 24 grams of protein. If you have one of these for breakfast, you won’t get hungry before lunch time rolls around! If you’re concerned with fat and cholesterol, use a product like Egg Beaters instead of regular eggs. This is quick and easy because you don’t have to drag out a frying pan, stand over a stove, or clean a dirty pan. My microwave omelette recipe takes just three minutes to cook, too! Mine always turn out perfect, but remember that every microwave is a little different, so you might need to adjust the cooking time. Once your omelt is done, you might like to douse it with hot sauce. That’s how hubby liked his!
3 eggs – 0 carbs, 18 grams protein
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter – 0 carbs
¼ cup grated cheddar – 0 carbs, 6 grams protein
Rate my quick and easy omelet recipe!
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, the water, and the salt and pepper.
- Melt butter in a glass pie plate.
- Add eggs and microwave for 2 minutes.
- Add cheese on half the omelet and fold over carefully. I use a metal pie server for this.
- Return omelet to microwave and cook for about one minute longer.
- Slide omelet onto serving plate.
Cream Cheese and Veggies
Okay, these low carb high protein snacks are probably going to sound a little strange to you, but I enjoy them sometimes. They include the vitamins and antioxidants of fresh veggies, the calcium and protein of cream cheese, and the numerous benefits of pumpkin seeds. To learn more about pumpkin seeds, also called “pepitas,” click the link. With this quick and easy snack, you get creamy, salty, and crunchy all in one bite! I most often use yellow summer squash here, but feel free to use any low carb vegetables. Just slice the veggies thin so that the protein can be the main attraction.
½ cup sliced yellow squash – 1.5 grams net carbs
2 ounces soft cream cheese – 1.6 carb grams, 4 grams protein
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds – 2 net carb grams, 5 grams protein
Directions: Slice the veggies thin. Mix cream cheese with onion powder and black pepper and spread on veggie slices. Press pumpkin seeds into cream cheese.
Cottage Cheese and Fruit Spread
I’m not too keen on cottage cheese, but I know a lot of people on low carb diets use it in high protein snacks. I’ve found that if I add some fruity flavor, the cottage cheese tastes better. I use Walden Farms fruit spreads. In my opinion, the blueberry and strawberry are best with cottage cheese. Sometimes I add a little cinnamon or ground ginger, too.
½ cup cottage cheese – 5 grams carbs, 14 grams protein
Walden Farms fruit spread – 0 carbs, 0 calories
Fried Chicken Wings
Everybody loves chicken wings! And guess what –they have no carbs at all. At least, they don’t have any carbs when they’re cooked and served “naked.” When you batter and fry them and toss then in sugary sauce, however, the carbs can really add up. Leave off the breading or batter and coat the wings in your favorite seasonings and bake the wings in the oven. Do you like fried wings better? If so, then fry them! Just don’t add a batter or a flour dredging. You can season the fried wings before or after cooking, or you can do both. For a more traditional hot wings recipe that’s low in carbs, fry the wings until they’re crispy. Drain them on wire racks. Make a sauce of melted butter, onion powder, garlic powder, and vinegar-based hot sauce. Sometimes I also add a little Splenda. Use the sauce for coating the hot wings. Yum!
Wrapped Asparagus Spears
12-16 cooked or canned asparagus spears – 2 net carbs, 2 grams protein
4 slices provolone cheese – 0 carbs, 20 grams protein
4 slices sandwich ham or turkey (rectangles) – 0 carbs, 16 grams protein
Directions: Make four “bundles” with the asparagus spears. The asparagus goes on the cheese, and the cheese goes on top of the sliced meat. Roll up the meat and secure the seam under the bundles. I like to dip these in homemade carb-free sweet mustard.
½ cup sliced cucumber – 1 gram net carbs
2 ounces cream cheese – 1.6 carbs, 4 protein grams
2 teaspoons mayonnaise – 0 carbs
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ - 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
10 boiled shrimp – 0 carbs, about 20 grams protein
Directions: Slice cucumber thin. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, paprika, and garlic salt. Spread on cucumber slices. Top with peeled, deveined boiled shrimp.
Low Carb Nachos
1 low carb tortilla - 4 or 5 net carbs, depending on brand
¼ pound ground beef – 0 carbs, 18 grams protein
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ cup grated cheddar – 0 carbs, 6 grams protein
1 tablespoon sour cream – 1 carb
Pickled jalapeno rings
Directions: Cut the tortilla into triangles and bake or fry until crisp.
Combine the ground beef with the onion powder, garlic salt, cayenne, and chili powder.
Place the crisp tortilla chips on a glass pie plate and add the beef and the grated cheese. Microwave until cheese melts.
Top with sour cream and jalapeno rings.
Low Carb Stuffed Mushrooms
This stuffed mushroom recipe is simple yet delicious. Mushrooms are very low in carbs, and the provolone used here is carb free. I used about 2 tablespoons of crumbled feta for eight mushroom caps, which contained just .5 gram of carbs and 2.5 grams of protein. I used two slices of provolone, which added 10 grams of protein and no carbs.
These are easy to make. Just remove the stems from eight mushrooms and rinse and dry. Place caps in a baking dish and sprinkle with garlic salt. Stuff caps with crumbled feta. Add about ¼ cup water to dish and bake at 350 until mushrooms are almost tender. Top caps with provolone and return to oven for provolone to melt.
Low Carb Dreamsicles
You’d never know you were eating low carb high protein snacks with these. Honestly - these things are awesome! They have that wonderful sweet orange-vanilla frozen treat flavor that you remember from childhood. The foundation for these freezer pops is Hood low carb milk. A cup has just three grams of carbs, along with five grams of protein. To make these really high protein snacks, mix some protein powder in with the other ingredients. You don’t need a “recipe” for this. Just add ½ teaspoon vanilla to a cup of Hood 2% milk. Stir in Splenda and calorie-free orange syrup to taste. I like the Torani sugar-free syrups. Stir in the protein powder, if you like. For a richer, creamier texture, add some heavy cream. Pour the mixture into popsicle containers and freeze until hard. Run the frozen pop molds under warm water for a couple of seconds to loosen the dreamsicles. After you take one out for yourself, hide the rest behind the frozen spinach! Seriously – you might not want to share. Low carb diets are a lot easier to stick to when you can have low carb high protein snacks like this!