on July 25, 2019
What’s the secret to success on the keto diet? Snacks!
Well, okay, there are a lot of other factors, too, but experts say healthy snacking can be a determining factor in success for people following a diet plan to lose weight. To help you keep hunger at bay and minimize the temptation to cheat, we’ve done the very hard work of taste-testing to find the nine best snacks for the keto diet.
The word ‘snacking’ in a traditional sense has an indulgent feel, like you’re giving in to temptation. On the keto diet, however, snacking is actually a useful tool.
One of the keys to thriving on keto is making sure you’re getting enough calories; if you’re not, you may fall victim to the dreaded carb cravings, which can quickly derail even the most committed keto follower.
Snacking between meals will help you keep your energy levels high and resist the temptation to reach for a no-no food like a bag of chips. The right snacks can also help you rack up important servings of fat and protein to achieve your desired daily macros.
Something to be mindful of when it comes to snacking is whether you’re actually hungry or just bored. Is it a physical hunger pang you’re experiencing, or just a mental urge to eat? If your goal is to lose weight, experts suggest working to differentiate between physical hunger and the mental habit of reaching for a snack when you’re feeling bored. And, drink plenty of water, since thirst often masquerades as hunger.
Unfortunately, many traditional snack foods like granola bars, trail mix and even fruit are filled with sugar and carbs that will kick you out of ketosis. The best snacks for keto dieters are those that are low on carbs and rich in fat, protein or both.
Your best bet is to rely on whole foods (foods in their natural state without processing) or snacks you’ve made at home so you know exactly what’s in them. If you must eat a packaged snack, be sure to read the label carefully. Many snacks that are marketed as “healthy” are actually loaded with sugar.
With those considerations in mind, here are the Left-Coast-approved best keto snacks.
Eggs are a keto dieter’s best friend. One whole egg packs a healthy six grams of protein, with less than 80 calories and under one gram of carbs. Eggs are rich in important nutrients, including the B vitamins (B2, B12, and B5) which support healthy brain function and help maintain our energy levels. Eggs also contain all nine of the essential amino acids, which are required for vital bodily processes and can’t be produced by the body on its own.
Hard boiled eggs are great as a standalone snack, but you can also get creative with this versatile food. Drizzle it with hot sauce for a spicy midday pick-me-up or wrap it in a cold cut for an added serving of protein. Hard boiled eggs can be refrigerated for up to a week before eating, so they’re perfect for making ahead.
Who didn’t love dipping celery sticks in peanut butter as a kid? For a grown-up take on the classic recipe, give this nostalgic treat a low-carb twist by swapping the peanut butter for a more keto-friendly nut butter, like our keto nut butter.
Why not peanut butter, you ask? While it’s not off limits on the keto diet, it’s one of the worst offenders when it comes to hidden sugar. Commercially produced peanut butters are also known for ingredients like hydrogenated oils and trans fats, which can contribute to inflammation. Simply put, there are better options for keto dieters.
As for the veggies, celery is nut butter’s best friend. You’ll want to stay away from carrot sticks, which have a higher carb count.
One of the best parts of being on the keto diet? Cheese! Cheese is naturally low on carbs and high in fat and protein, which makes it an ideal keto snack. As an example, an ounce of cheddar cheese provides seven grams of protein and just one gram of carbs.
Another cheese bonus: there are so many ways to eat it. Grab a stick of mozzarella, munch on a stack of cheddar cubes or roll up a slice of baby swiss. While cheese is a great keto snack, be mindful of its calorie count; if you’re looking to lose weight, it’s best not to eat cheese at every meal.
Smoothies make an excellent keto snack for a number of reasons: they’re simple to make, handy to drink on the go, and make it easy to mix in added protein to help you reach your daily macros. And they’re yummy, too.
For a keto-friendly smoothie, practice this surefire formula: healthy fat + protein source + low-carb fruit + ice. It’s hard to go wrong, but for a starting point, find two of our favorite low-carb shake recipes here.
What are fat bombs? Sometimes sweet, sometimes savory, they’re the keto diet’s answer to prepackaged, carb-filled supermarket snacks, and they’re a superb way to curb cravings and satisfy your urge to munch.
Whipped up at home, fat bombs take the form of a dough-like ball and include some combination of a healthy fat, a binding ingredient like coconut flakes, and a sugar-free sweetener. They’re easy to customize based on your tastes and the recipe options are endless. For starters, try these chocolate cherry fat bombs (which are also vegan!) or this lemon macadamia version.
If you’re the type that typically craves sweet snacks, you should also check out our list of the best keto-friendly candies here!
The avocado might just be the keto diet’s most perfect food. This green superfood is naturally free of sodium, cholesterol and sugar, and it’s the only fruit (yep, it’s technically a fruit) that contains healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados are rich in the B vitamins as well as Vitamins K, C, E, potassium and folate.
The avocado’s versatility makes it a go-to for the home chef. Slice it up, top it with a dash of salt and eat it raw, mash it and use it as a mayo substitute in tuna and egg salads, or use it as a topping for salads and soups. It can even be used as a substitute for unhealthy fats in baked goods.
Not all carbs are bad carbs. While you want to keep carbohydrates to a minimum on the keto diet, a small amount of carbs can provide important nutrients and help keep your energy levels stable. One example of a snack with healthy carbs is Greek yogurt.
One serving of plain Greek yogurt provides a whopping 11 grams of protein. With about five grams of carbs in that same serving size, it’s safe to eat in moderation. To make your own parfait, top Grek yogurt with keto-friendly berries like blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, along with a dash of chopped walnuts or chia seeds. Since these items all contain a small number carbs, you’ll want to make sure this snack is in balance with what you’re eating the rest of the day.
A strong source of both healthy fats and protein, nuts can be a filling keto snack option. Nuts do contain carbs, so the key is choosing those that are on the low end of the net carb spectrum (net carbs is the total number of carbs minus fiber). Brazil nuts, pecans and macadamia nuts are all safe options. Brazil nuts and pecans contain about 4 grams of net carbs per serving and macadamia nuts contain about five grams.
Like any snack, this one’s best when eaten in moderation due to both its carb count and our propensity to overeat salty foods. So when it comes to nuts, don’t go nuts (sorry, we had to). To avoid overeating, portion them out into individual servings instead of snacking from the bag and opt for unsalted or lightly salted varieties.
Traditional sandwiches are mostly off the table on the keto diet due to the carbs in bread, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same sandwich toppings you know and love, sans carbs. Enter: the roll-up. Just as the name suggests, this snack involves stacking your favorite sandwich ingredients and rolling them up into a log that’s perfect for small bites.
Try thin-sliced ham and swiss cheese, salami and cream cheese, or turkey breast around a dill pickle.
By keeping a selection of these keto-friendly snacks at the ready, you’ll be well equipped to combat cravings and manage hunger for keto diet success.
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