Snacking on a keto diet is a bit different from snacking on other diets. Popular diet snacks like carrot sticks, popcorn, apples, and grapes are certainly healthy, but they aren’t keto-friendly snacks.
Keto snacks need to be either no-carb or very low-carb in order to keep the body in a fat-burning state of ketosis. So, most fruits, sweet vegetables, and grains are out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t healthfully snack on a keto diet.
Snacking on a Keto Diet
Snacking on a keto diet might actually be easier because low-carb snacks are often more satiating than conventional ones. The high-fat, moderate-protein macronutrient profiles of keto foods can leave you without the hunger pangs that soon follow a container of carrot sticks.
But snacking on keto can present a separate set of challenges.
The first is finding a quick snack that does not have sugar in it. The second is keeping your calories in check.
Because keto foods are high in fat, they are generally calorically dense. Too much snacking can make daily calorie targets difficult to maintain, a problem somewhat offset by the satiety effects of most keto-friendly foods.
There are a number of snack options that can suit a keto-friendly diet, ranging from low-carb, high-fiber veggies to nuts and meat. You can even make your own fat-bombs to satisfy cravings for stuff like chocolate, cake, and ice cream.
8 Keto Snacks to Curb Hunger Pangs
Generally speaking, keto dieters will notice all the go-to snacks are high-fat, high-protein, and very low-carb. Snacks like seeds and nuts, for example, have a little bit of carbohydrate, but not anywhere close to kicking you out of ketosis; they are recognized as high-fat snacks.
Moving beyond ready-to-eat whole foods, there are also ways to mimic sugary treats like pudding and cakes.
1. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is an easily accessible keto-friendly snack. You can get it at virtually every gas station, corner store, health food store, or online. It’s high in protein, very low in carbs, yet also low in fat.
Even though it may not have the fat you’re looking for, it’s very low-calorie and easily lends itself to a ketogenic diet. Not all beef jerky is created equal, however, so reading the labels is important.
Some flavors and brands include high levels of added sugars and other additives, so you’ll want to select a brand that’s as low as possible in each. The best bet is to stick to smoked or peppered flavors, not sweetened ones.
A beef jerky with a gram or three per serving of carbohydrates is safe. Some brands have no sugar or additives.
Beef jerky isn’t a substantial source of most vitamins and minerals. It does have plenty of sodium, though, so if you’ve got heart problems, you may want to avoid it.
The nutritional information for a serving of Keto Carne original beef jerky (1 oz/28 g) is:
|Iron||1.8 mg (10% DV)|
|Sodium||490 mg (20% DV)|
This might not be a nutrient-dense or traditionally “healthy” snack, but the biggest benefits are its high protein content to help promote lean mass and its relatively high serving of iron, which is essential for the formation of hemoglobin to carry oxygen from your lungs to your cells.
2. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are a keto staple and, truthfully, part of any healthy diet. Known as “nature’s multivitamin” because of their high and diverse nutrient content, eggs can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
Hard-boiled eggs present a versatile approach to eggs because they are easily packed and carried for snacks, used as appetizers, or added to salads. You can simply throw a couple in a container, season to your liking, and dip them in mayonnaise for a satisfying keto snack anywhere, anytime.
One egg is also packed full of nutrients, and research has suggested that eating up to six per day is safe and won’t have any negative effects on cholesterol levels. (But check with your doctor on that first.)
The nutrition value for one large egg (50 g) is:
|Vitamin D||1 mcg (6% DV)|
|Vitamin A||80 mcg (8% DV)|
|Riboflavin||0.2 mg (15% DV)|
|Niacin||1.4 mg (8% DV)|
|Vitamin B12||0.5 mcg (20% DV)|
|Biotin||11 mcg (35% DV)|
|Iodine||28 mcg (20% DV)|
|Selenium||15 mcg (25% DV)|
|Choline||150 mg (25% DV)|
And that profile only tells part of the story. Eggs are one of the only food sources of vitamin D, a nutrient many Americans are deficient in.
The substantial choline serving helps support liver health, metabolism, the central nervous system, and DNA synthesis. Simply put, the multivitamin moniker is well-deserved.
3. Kale Chips
Listen, it’s just you and me here, so let’s be honest: raw kale tastes horrible. But when it’s baked into a chip? Different story.
Kale chips are nutrient-dense, low-calorie keto snacks that are a great partner for a night on the sofa. Rich in vitamins K, A, and C, as well as a good source of manganese, copper, iron and calcium, kale chips are also low-calorie and provide about three grams of fiber per cup.
One cup of raw kale is only 36 calories, but the exact calorie counts can differ among store-bought varieties. Check the nutrition facts if you’re buying them at a store.
You can make your own kale chips by separating the leaves from the stem, tossing them in some olive oil—also keto-friendly, nutrient-dense, and a terrific source of healthy fats—and baking for about 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Here are the nutrition facts for one cup of raw kale:
|Vitamin A||1032 IU (206% DV)|
|Vitamin C||80.4 mg (134% DV)|
|Vitamin K||547 mcg (684% DV)|
|Calcium||90.5 mg (9% DV)|
|Iron||1.1 mg (6% DV)|
|Manganese||0.5 mg (26% DV)|
|Potassium||299 mg (9% DV)|
|Copper||0.2 mg (10% DV)|
Of course, you can add seasonings to your kale chips like dill, salt, pepper, or whatever you like.
4. Olives and Nuts
A perfect keto-friendly snack combo is olives and nuts—I prefer almonds. The two go together perfectly and are staples in a heart-healthy diet. You could even stuff green olives with almonds if you were so inclined. Both are rich sources of healthy fats and a host of other nutrients.
Olives are an abundant source of antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and liver damage, and reduce blood pressure.
Being mainstays of the Mediterranean, these interesting, high-fat fruits are healthy on their own or when combined with almonds.
Here is some nutritional information per 100 g of olives:
|Vitamin E||3.8 mg (19% DV)|
|Copper||0.1 mg (6% DV)|
|Calcium||52 mg (5% DV)|
Almonds can add the perfect splash of protein to a serving of olives, or they can be enjoyed on their own. A serving provides a nice hit of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and a number of vitamins and minerals.
This is the profile for a one-ounce serving of almonds:
|Vitamin E||7.3 mg (37% DV)|
|Riboflavin||0.3 mg (17% DV)|
|Magnesium||75 mg (19% DV)|
|Phosphorus||136 mg (14% DV)|
|Copper||0.3 mg (14% DV)|
|Manganese||0.6 mg (32% DV)|
Watch out for both of these foods when it comes to serving sizes. They are both high in fat, so seemingly small servings can add big calories in a hurry.
It should also be noted that the carbohydrate content in these foods is offset by fiber. Fiber, which is non-digestible and therefore will not kick you out of ketosis, makes up the majority of carb content in almonds and olives.
5. Protein Powder and Nut Butter Pudding
Plainly speaking, sometimes you just need a snack that tastes that like a snack. A go-to among keto dieters is “protein” pudding, sometimes called sludge. To make it, all you need is a scoop of protein powder and a couple of tablespoons of nut butter, some raw nuts, and some low-carb fruits like berries.
The best type of protein powder to use is a whey isolate. Just put a scoop into a bowl and mix with about a quarter cup of water and a tablespoon or two of nut butter. After some stirring, you’ll have yourself a keto-friendly, low-carb snack that has the taste and consistency of your favorite pudding.
The snack is a quick and easy way to add some protein to your day, with a scoop of whey isolate usually offering between 24 and 27 grams of protein. A natural nut butter supplies roughly seven grams of fat per tablespoon and can help contribute to other daily nutrient totals.
Two tablespoons of peanut butter, for example, has:
|Magnesium||57 mg (14-18% DV)|
|Phosphorus||107 mg (15% DV)|
|Zinc||0.85 mg (7.7-10.6% DV)|
|Niacin||4.21 mg (25% DV)|
|Vitamin B6||0.17 g (14% DV)|
The protein in this snack can help build and retain muscle mass, while the nutrients in peanut butter can contribute to daily nutrient totals that:
- Help with sleep and relaxation
- Build healthy bones and cells; help cells produce energy
- Aid immunity, protein synthesis, and DNA formation
- Improve digestion and nerve function
- Promote heart and immune system health
Adding blueberries to the mixture can add some antioxidants, and adding frozen berries can make it a feel a little more like ice cream.
6. Sunflower Seeds
Another easily accessible keto snack you can grab on the go are sunflower seeds. Available in bulk stores, corner stores, and grocery stores, sunflower seeds can be the perfect snack when you just feel like chewing on something.
Sunflower seeds are very nutritious and a great source of healthy fats, plant compounds, vitamins, and minerals that may help reduce the risk of common health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Two of the most prominent nutrients in sunflower seeds are vitamin E and selenium. These are antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of chronic disease by battling free radicals, maintaining cell integrity, and reducing inflammation.
Sunflower seeds are also rich in flavanols and phenolic acids, which can help relax veins to improve blood flow and overall heart health. Studies have shown that sunflower seeds may:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce cholesterol
- Limit the chance of a heart attack or cardiovascular-related death
- Reduce fasting blood sugar levels
- Limit the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels
One quarter cup (one ounce) of dry roasted sunflower seeds kernels contains:
|Vitamin E||9.3 mg (47% DV)|
|Niacin||2.3 mg (12% DV)|
|Vitamin B6||0.4 mg (19% DV)|
|Folate||63.6 mcg (16$ DV)|
|Pantothenic Acid||2 mg (20% DV)|
|Iron||1.5 mg (8% DV)|
|Magnesium||91 mg (23% DV)|
|Zinc||1.4 mg (10% DV)|
|Copper||0.5 mg (25%)|
|Manganese||0.5 mg (27% DV)|
|Selenium||14.8 mcg (21% DV)|
7. String Cheese
Cheese is another quick, portable keto-friendly snack. Although virtually any cheese will work, string cheese might be the easiest. Of course, some string cheese is often super-processed, so you don’t want to go too heavy on it. Be sure to read labels.
If you really like cheese, you can head to a specialty cheese store or farmers market to get less-processed varieties of cheese curds. Because they are relatively high in protein and fat, cheese curds or string cheese can help you quickly fill up—and stay full—while maintaining a state of ketosis. These high-calcium snacks can contribute to bone and heart health (when consumed in moderation).
8. Fat Bombs
Healthy, nutrient-dense snacks are great, but sometimes a person just needs a break from stressing over calories. This is a keto snack that works as a dessert and can fit into a diet, while also keeping you in ketosis. You may go over your daily calories, but doing so once a week, here and there, will probably do far more good than harm.
For this one, we won’t worry about the vitamin and mineral breakdown. Just know that it’s tasty and keto-friendly.
Here’s the recipe for some keto cheesecake fat bombs:
Serves: 12 Time: 4 hours
Nutritional value per serving:
Fat: 32 g
Carbs: 1 g
Protein: 3 g
For the base layer:
- 1/4 cup salt-free butter (melted)
- 3/4 cup cream cheese
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1tbsp erythritol
For the top layer:
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 2 tsp erythritol
- Pour the melted butter and cream cheese into a medium-sized mixing bowl, and combine with electric mixer.
- Add in the coconut oil, vanilla, and erythritol. Mix until well-combined.
- Using a silicone mini cupcake tray, divide the base layer evenly into 12 cups. The mixture should fill roughly three-fourths of each cup.
- Flatten the top for smooth finish and transfer to a freezer for 20 minutes, until semi-frozen.
- Combine the top layer portion of coconut oil, cocoa powder, and erythritol in a bowl. Mix well. Pour the blend over the semi-frozen base and freeze for four hours.
Keto-Friendly Snacks Present Plenty of Options
When it comes to keto, most foods are fair game as long as they are low-carbohydrate. Refined sugars are no-goes, as are other grains and high-sugar items. Even certain fruits are off the table. But like any other diet, keto is not a license to pile-drive butter-dipped bacon down your throat.
For your efforts to result in weight loss, you need to maintain a caloric deficit, and, hopefully, an interest in eating a nutritious diet. Using the low-carb snacks outlined above, you can get plenty of healthy nutrition and keep your appetite satisfied in a keto-friendly way.
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