With between 35 and 47 grams of carbs, a bagel is not a low-carb accompaniment to cream cheese.
A tablespoon of cream cheese contains less than 1 gram of carbohydrates, making it a good choice if you're following a low-carb diet. Unfortunately, many of the common pairings for cream cheese, such as bagels and English muffins, aren't low in carbs. If you enjoy the taste of cream cheese, there are plenty of other foods that you can eat with the food that are low in carbs. Keep in mind, however, that cream cheese isn't an impressive source of nutrients, so it should have a limited place in your diet.
Vegetables are a nutritious food to add to your diet, and most varieties are low in carbs, too. Spread cream cheese inside celery stalks, which contain about 1 gram of carbs per stalk, for a low-carb and low-calorie snack. Whip softened cream cheese with herbs and spices, such as rosemary, dill, chili pepper flakes or garlic powder, and serve the dip the fresh vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower florets and baby carrots, which contain less than 1 gram of carbs per carrot. Incorporate vegetables, such as artichoke hearts or minced onions, into the cream cheese dip as another way to boost the nutrition without adding large amounts of carbs.
Most varieties of fresh fruit are low in carbs and will add a bit of natural sweetness to the cream cheese. Smear a small amount of cream cheese on halved strawberries for a decadent snack. One strawberry contains less than 1 gram of carbs. Slice a peach, which contains 9 grams of carbs, in half horizontally, spread one half with cream cheese, sprinkle the cream cheese with unsweetened cocoa powder and top with the other peach half. The dressed-up peach is low in carbs and can serve as a more nutritious alternative to traditional desserts such as cake, cookies and ice cream. Whip cream cheese with 2 or 3 tablespoons of 100 percent fruit juice and use the mixture as a dip for apple slices or orange wedges.
Plain meat doesn't contain any carbs, and cream cheese pairs well with many varieties. Make a small incision in a skinless, boneless chicken breast, stuff the pocket with cream cheese and chopped tomatoes and bake the meat until it's cooked through. Slather a small amount of cream cheese on a grilled steak instead of the traditional butter. You'll enhance the flavor of the beef, but you'll also add a bit of calcium to your meal. Combine finely chopped cooked chicken or turkey to cream cheese, along with your favorite herbs and spices, and use the mixture as a tasty, and low-carb, dip for fresh vegetables.
A Few Tips
Just because cream cheese is low in carbs doesn't mean the food is nutritious. A 1-tablespoon serving of cream cheese contains 50 calories and 5 grams of fat, of which 3 grams are saturated. Eating too much saturated fat can increase your risk of heart disease. Swapping the regular cream cheese for a reduced-fat variety will cut the calorie count to 30 and the fat content to 2 grams, of which 1.4 grams are saturated. Fat-free cream cheese is another option, but it has a more noticeable taste difference than the reduced-fat version.