Look no further for simple low-carb, high-fat snacks that’ll keep your body in ketosis.
The main proposed benefit of the keto diet is losing weight, though there is some research showing it may help with certain health conditions. The weight loss comes because the body burns fat and because the fat you’re taking in is filling, which can lead you to eat fewer calories overall, says Abby Langer, RD, founder of Abby Langer Nutrition, who is based in Toronto, Canada.
As a result of those satiating fats required by the ketogenic diet, you may find you’re not craving snacks as much as you usually do. “I find people who follow the ketogenic diet, they’re just not as hungry, so their snack frequency comes down,” says Dina Griffin, RDN, with eNRG Performance in Littleton, Colorado. “There’s just so much fat in their diet, so they say, ‘I don’t want to eat again,’ or ‘I can’t, I’m just not hungry.’”
But when the snack cravings strike (and if you’re a snacker, you know they eventually will), it’s best to have a plan in place. Especially because your favorite snacks, such as cereal bars, chips, or any of the packaged foods in your office vending machine, won’t cut it when following the keto diet.
Your game plan: Keep a bunch of easy snacks in the back of your mind so you’re prepared when hunger hits. Simplicity is key here, because when you’re hungry you won’t have the time or patience to run to the store and fix something up. That’s why we’ve focused this list of 10 keto-friendly snacks on ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.
1. Macadamia Nuts
Stomach growling? Reach for a handful of macadamia nuts, which have the highest amount of fat and lowest amount of carbs in the nut family, according to previous research in the journal Nutrients. Nutrition aside, they’re snacking all-stars because they’re easy to bring with you and don’t need to be refrigerated. Keep a stash wherever you spend your day — in the car, at your desk, or in the pantry at home.
The runner-up for the most keto-friendly nut goes to … pecans. They rival macadamia nuts in fat and protein content, and they’re also a good source of magnesium, which helps support your immune system and bone health, and reduces inflammation. Eat a few straight from the bag or toss them into a homemade trail mix.
3. Beef Jerky
Fat? Protein? Low carbs? Beef jerky checks the boxes — plus it’s another convenient option you can easily bring along with you. But be sure to skim the ingredient list on the package before you buy, since many options have a high amount of added sugars, which is bad because sugars mean carbs.
4. Half of an Avocado
Avocados are excellent sources of monounsaturated fats, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing your bad cholesterol levels, according to the American Heart Association. You probably already add slices of avocado to your salads and omelets, but have you tried ‘em solo? Langer suggests taking half of an avocado, drizzling it with olive oil and a bit of lemon juice, and sprinkling sea salt on top. Then dig right in.
5. Smoothie Topped With Coconut Flakes
You can blend almond butter, unsweetened almond milk, greens (spinach, kale, or your favorite), and protein powder into a smoothie for a filling snack. Griffin suggests sprinkling coconut flakes on top for a little crunch. They’re a good source of fat, though most is the bad kind (saturated fat), so be careful not to overdo it.
6. Meat-and-Cheese Rollups
Got deli meat? Then this one should be a cinch. Langer suggests taking a slice of turkey breast with a slice of cheese, wrapping lettuce around it, and squeezing mustard right down the middle for an easy, tasty, and ultra-low-carb snack
Meat is fair game when you’re following the keto diet, which is why Griffin is a fan of putting together a plate of charcuterie when you’re in the mood for a snack. This doesn’t need to be one of those fancy displays you’d find at a restaurant — you can keep it simple and arrange whatever cured meats you have on hand. (Psst: This one makes a great party appetizer, too!)
For a snack that needs zero preparation, reach for the olive jar, Griffin suggests. Olives are mostly made up of fat, specifically healthy monounsaturated fat, Berkley Wellness points out. Plus, as research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry notes, they’re loaded with antioxidants, and are low in calories and carbs. Keep in mind that olives can contain a lot of sodium, though — sometimes as much as 42 milligrams in one olive, according to Berkley Wellness.
9. String Cheese
Cheddar cheese, bleu cheese, feta, mozzarella — all types of cheese are fair game on the keto diet. For an easy-to-snack-on version that you can bring along to work or while you’re running errands, go for string cheese or wedges. Just be sure to choose full-fat varieties because fat is the key to the keto diet.
10. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are a standout snack because they have one of the lowest energy-to-nutrient-density ratios of any food, as is noted in an article published in August 2016 in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. They’re rich in good fats (so long as you don’t skip the yolk!) and a solid source of high-quality protein: Each egg has 5 grams (g) of fat, 6 g of protein, and 0 g of carbohydrates, according to the Egg Nutrition Center. Plus, they’re inexpensive — about 20 cents per egg, the center says. Keep several hard-boiled eggs in your fridge, so you can easily grab one when you’re in need of a nutritious snack.