The Bes t Keto Snacks
Summary: The best keto snacks are often the easiest. From beef jerky to vegan seaweed snacks, you have plenty of low carb keto snacks to choose from. Many stores and online retailers offer easy keto snacks to go. These include low-carb snack bars and others high-fat keto snack options. Experts are still debating the benefits of snacking. But if they help you limit your meal sizes, snacks may be helpful.
· Nuts, jerky, cut-up vegetables, and packaged keto bars are all delicious keto snack options
· If you make your own snacks at home, you have plenty of keto-friendly foods on your menu
· There’s no rule that says you have to restrict your snacking to “snack foods”
· It’s still unclear whether snacking is healthy
Snacking is synonymous with chips, crackers, and other bite-sized baked goods.
But these traditional snack foods are major sources of carbohydrates. Their hefty supply of net carbs makes them (mostly) off limits to people on keto diets.
The good news is that there are plenty of portable, keto-friendly snack foods that can help satisfy your between-meal cravings. These easy keto snacks range from prepackaged stuff you can buy at a store to homemade keto snacks.
Keep reading for a complete keto-snacks list, as well as keto snack recipes and other helpful snacking info.
Healthy keto snacks and snack foods
Some traditional snack foods nicely fit with keto eating plans. Some are fat bombs--the kind of healthy fats you want--while others are also a good source of nutrients.
Many stores sell these foods packaged for easy on-the-go snacking. You can also buy them and assemble your own snack kits.
These keto snack foods include (Kossoff, 2020; Durkalec-Michalski, 2019):
· Nuts such as cashews, pecans, and almonds
· Nut butters such as peanut butter or almond butter
· Packaged cheese snacks such as string cheese or Babybel cheese
· Pork rinds
· Beef jerky or cured meats such as salami
· Avocado or guacamole
· Whole or sliced vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, black olives, and mushrooms
· Tinned fish such as mackerel or sardines
· Canned tuna
· Leafy greens such as arugula and spinach
· Baked goods made with keto-friendly alternatives like almond flour or flax seed
· Seaweed snacks
Of course, there’s no rule that you have to limit your snacking to “snack foods.” Especially if you’re meal prepping ahead of time, or you have access to a fridge and kitchen, you have options.
Other snackable keto foods include (Kossoff, 2020; Durkalec-Michalski, 2019):
· Beef, pork, chicken, and other meats
· Eggs (hard-boiled eggs or otherwise)
· Bacon and sausage
· Cheeses such as parmesan mozzarella
· Full-fat, unsweetened dairy products such as cream cheese
· Very dark chocolate (look for sugar-free or products made with the sweetener Stevia)
Reading through that list should give you plenty of ideas. And as a rule of thumb, snacks or meals you make at home from whole ingredients are often healthier. That’s because they tend to be unprocessed and free of preservatives (Wolfson, 2014).
But if you just want easy keto snacks to buy, pretty much every major supermarket chain or online retailer now stocks low-carb keto snack bars and other foods formulated for people on keto plans.
If you’re shopping online for keto snacks and keto snack bars, just search for terms such as “keto snacks walmart,” “keto snacks amazon,” or “keto snacks costco.” You’ll have no trouble finding options.
Keto snack recipes and ideas
If you’re looking for DIY inspiration, consider these sorts of easy keto snacks (Durkalec-Michalski, 2019; Hall, 2021) or keto recipes.
· Sliced or whole veggies with dips made of mayonnaise or yogurt (or both). Flavor your dip with salt, curry powder, garlic, and other seasonings. (Most spices are acceptable for people on keto plans.)
· Scrambled eggs or omelets with cheddar cheese and vegetables, cooked with butter or coconut oil
· Zucchini pasta with meat or cheese sauce
· Kale or veggie chips
If you’re packing up sliced vegetables or fruit ahead of time, keep in mind that lemon juice is a natural preservative. A little drizzle will keep your cut-up produce from browning (Klimek-Szczykutowicz, 2020).
Snack foods that aren’t low-carb or keto friendly
You probably know all about the high-carb foods that are off limits. But if you need a refresher, be sure to avoid these keto villains (Durkalec-Michalski, 2019):
· Cereal products
· Bread, bagels, and most baked goods
· Chips, crackers, and other crispy treats
· Bananas and starchy fruits
· Potatoes and other starchy vegetables
· Foods with added sugar, such as fruity yogurts
· Gatorade and many other workout bars or drinks
A quick rundown of the keto diet
Like a car, the human body needs fuel. Normally, that fuel is glucose. Glucose is a type of energy your body makes from the carbohydrates in food. If you don’t eat carbs, your body has to find other sources of energy (Masood, 2020).
One of those alternative energy sources are ketone bodies. Your body can make these from fatty foods in your diet, or by breaking down its own fat and fatty acids (Masood, 2020).
When your body swaps out glucose for ketone bodies as its primary source of energy, you’ve entered “ketosis” or a “ketogenic state.” This is the goal of the keto diet, and it’s this switch that research has linked with many health benefits (Masood, 2020).
To make this switch, you to restrict your daily intake of carbs. Most keto diets recommend that you get just 5% or 10% of your total calories from carbs. Fatty foods should make up the bulk of your calories—roughly 55% to 60% of your total diet. High-protein foods comprise the rest (Masood, 2020).
The possible benefit of a keto diet
Keto diets may help you lose weight. After just 12 weeks of keto, men lost an average of 40 pounds, while women lost 24 pounds. That’s according to a recent study in the journal Nutrition Research. That study also identified improvements in cognitive performance (Mohorko, 2019).
That study is not an outlier. Many others—including work on very-low-carb diets like keto—have also found weight-loss benefits (Ludwig, 2021). That said, the weight-loss research on keto is not definitive. Not all use exactly the same foods or diet approaches, which makes their results iffy. (Trimboli, 2020).
Moving past weight loss, there’s evidence that ketogenic diets may lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease (Masood, 2020). They may also protect your brain from age-related diseases like dementia (Ludwig, 2021).
Is snacking healthy?
Even if you’re sticking to keto-friendly foods, the evidence on the health effects of snacking is mixed.
Some research has found that, so long as your snack foods are healthy, eating a small snack between meals could be beneficial. Especially if snacking helps you eat less at mealtimes, it could be a healthy habit (Marangoni, 2019).
On the other hand, some research—much of it on fasting diets—argues that eating too often is unwise, even if you’re eating healthy foods. Your body isn’t designed to be breaking down food molecules all day long. And so sticking to two or three daily meals, and skipping snacks, may be optimal (Paoli, 2019).
Right now, the jury’s still out on snacking.
Is there a bad time of day to snack?
Assuming the research eventually lands in favor of snacking, there may still be times when you should avoid it.
Some research has found that eating in the hour or two before bed may promote weight gain, heart trouble, and other health risks. But again, the evidence for or against nighttime snacking is mixed (Kinsey, 2015).
While experts sort out the risks and benefits of snacking—and of keto diets—your best bet is to stick to healthy foods that fit in your eating program. And if you’re on a keto diet, you have lots of easy, healthy options.