There’s a zero percent chance you haven’t heard about the keto diet.
But what’s all the hype about?
In short, keto’s main appeal is rapid fat loss that doesn’t force dieters to sacrifice tasty foods including meats, cheeses and other snacks that are high in fats.
Beyond the weight loss benefits, many keto dieters cite additional benefits like greater mental focus, less of an appetite and better sleep.
This modern take on the low-carb diet requires the body to be in a fat-burning state known as “ketosis,” hence the keto namesake.
Here’s the catch though: to stay in ketosis, dieters must keep their carb intake at practically non-existent, residual levels (between 30g and 50g, although this is up for debate).
For reference, a single banana boasts approximately 27g of carbs while a PB&J sandwich comes in at upwards of 50g+ carbs. This singular aspect of the keto diet can make it incredibly difficult to adhere to as just a one snack here or there could you throw you out of ketosis.
The good news? The popularity of the diet has resulted in a flurry of keto-friendly snacks and recipes that help lower the stress of finding keto-conforming meals.
By knowing your options and understanding the myriad of snacks out there, you can avoid common barriers to staying consistently keto. Whether you’re totally new to keto or are simply looking for fresh, keto-friendly snacks to munch on, we invite you to check out what our list has to offer!
Grab-and-Go Keto-Friendly Snacks
Here at SnackNation, we’re all about healthy snacking and reinforcing positive habits.
It’s important to note that there’s a big difference between nutritious keto-friendly snacks and common keto fare that isn’t necessarily good for you (pork rinds, for example). Below we’ve highlighted some keto snacks that pack in some serious flavor and nutritional value.
Dried Meat Snacks
Although you might not traditionally think of meat as a snack food, jerky snacks and dried meats are among some of the most popular keto-friendly snacks around. Whether it’s beef, turkey, pork or something for the more adventurous like bison, chances are you can find a flavor of meat that suits your tastes and carb limit.
Portable and requiring no refrigeration or prep, dried meat snacks are perfect for the office snacking and keeping cravings at bay at a moment’s notice. Also, consider that the protein found in such meats can curb your appetite, and specifically cut down sugar cravings. This is especially important for first-time keto dieters who might have trouble feeling full when they first start the diet.
Greek yogurt was once seen as a sort of fad food but nonetheless, it has become an established keto staple.
Why? For starters, an average snack-sized container contains a whopping 17g of protein. A result, Greek yogurt is easily one of the most protein-dense, keto-friendly snacks you can find at just about any grocery store.
Another added bonus of Greek yogurt is its complex, tangy flavor profile. Word of warning, though: when comparing Greek yogurt brands, make sure that you opt for no-sugar or plain options which don’t contain any carbs.
- Cheese Snacks
Unlike the paleo diet, you can totally dig into dairy snacks if you’re following a keto protocol.
But if you’re turned off by the tangy notes of Greek yogurt, you might instead opt for a milder cheese snack that you can bring to work.
Some common cheeses you can find in snack-packs include cheddar, provolone and Colby among others. Despite popular belief, cheese is not inherently unhealthy. Like most dairies, if eaten in moderation, cheese is a great snack that provides protein with relatively low carb levels.
Oh, and let’s not forget cottage cheese, a keto-friendly snack that’s a favorite of athletes and bodybuilders. While the taste and texture may take some getting used to, the high protein content and added health benefits of probiotics make it a surprisingly nutritious option that complements a variety of meals.
So, it’s never a bad idea to have some cottage cheese on hand at home given as its a popular addition in many keto concoctions- like low carb pancakes!
A common theme among keto-friendly snacks and recipes is that they’re rather rich.
If you’re looking for something lighter, don’t forget about good ol’ fashioned, fresh vegetables! Raw veggies like spinach, celery, broccoli and cucumber require minimal prep and can be oddly filling due to their high water content.
Obviously, you can lightly cook or roast your veggies beforehand, but learning to enjoy them raw will make your keto journey much, much easier. A splash of vinegar or a pinch of garlic seasoning can go a long way without taking you out of ketosis.
If you’re itching for potato chips or other carb-y snacks like pretzels and popcorn, keto might send you into a bit of a mini-panic.
Don’t freak out! Seaweed and kale chips are both perfect replacements that satisfy your salt fix while slipping some more greens into your diet. For those still struggling with raw veggies, these keto-friendly snacks can ease you in and keep you satisfied.
Pecans and Almonds
Nuts and seeds are somewhat controversial in terms of keto compliance.
Although nuts and seeds are relatively low in carbs, they can quickly add up if you’re snacking without an awareness of serving size.
That said, pecans and almonds are considered among the best nuts for keto if you can practice self-control. For the sake of variety, it’s always nice to have more options in terms of savory, grab-and-go snacks and these nuts definitely deliver in that department.
The only true fruit on our list!
Avocados are a well-documented superfood brimming with healthy fats and flavor. Perfect as part of guacamole or on their own with a pinch of salt, it’s never a bad idea to keep a few around since they take up to a week to fully ripen.
Easy to make in bulk and eat on the go, hard-boiled eggs are also one of the cheapest sources of protein money can buy. They’re a triple-win in terms of keto-friendly snacks!
And despite the ongoing debate over eggs and healthy cholesterol, just remember that moderation is key and a few eggs a week is more than likely a-okay.
Common Keto Substitutions
Adhering to keto oftentimes requires some creativity in the kitchen.
For the sake of enjoying the familiar foods and flavors you love, it’s crucial to understand the common substitutions and ingredients in order to make your own keto-friendly snacks. Below are some notable examples.
Stevia (sub for sugar)
Stevia is a surprisingly tasty no-carb sweetener that’s actually popular among diabetics. Generally considered less controversial than aspartame and sucralose, the fact that stevia is extracted from a planet versus made in a lab might give you some piece of mind.
Many keto recipes require stevia in place of sugar. As a side note, just remember that a little bit of stevia goes a long way – be careful before dumping a whole tablespoon in your morning coffee!
Almond and coconut flour (for white or wheat flour)
Giving up bread is perhaps the hardest part of keto dieting and adjusting to a low-carb lifestyle in general.
Thankfully, low carb flours such as almond and coconut flour can act as seamless substitutes in your bread recipes. Although they might be slightly more expensive than traditional flour, the premium price is definitely worth it for those who can’t live without bread.
Lettuce (sub for sandwich bread or buns)
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Iceberg and butter lettuce are thick enough to contain contents of just about any sandwich or burger. Coupled with flavorful, keto friendly toppings and condiments, you might be surprised at how much you don’t miss bread.
Flax and chia (substitute ingredient in bread and baked goods)
Flax and chia seeds are both low in net carbs while packing some serious fiber and omega-3s. Not a pure substitute per se, they’re often used in keto-friendly baked goods to provide some much-needed texture.
Cauliflower (sub for rice)
This one might be surprising for some dieters but this substitution works well in a variety of different dishes.
For example, preparing stir-fried rice requires a number of spices and veggies, right? When you replace your rice with cauliflower, you can hardly tell the difference if your dish is hardy enough. You can make your own cauliflower “rice” by mashing it up fresh or purchasing pre-made frozen packages at big box stores like Trader Joe’s.
Quick and Easy Keto Recipes
Planning is absolutely key to succeeding on a keto diet.
After all, you never know what you’re getting at restaurants carb-wise and sometimes keto options from the store can be lacking. This means prepping keto-friendly snacks and meals at home is a matter of “when,” not “if.”
Don’t sweat it, though: you can whip up any combination of the recipes below even if you’re a total newbie in the kitchen.
Peanut Butter Protein Balls
This recipe from Diabetes Strong is a sweet, peanut treat that only requires a handful of ingredients and is less than 5g of carbs per serving. The fact that these protein balls are no-bake and can stay good in the fridge for days is a nice bonus for busy dieters.
No-Bread Italian Mini-Subs
Who said you can’t enjoy your favorite sandwich on keto? This inside-out spin on the Italian sub from Delish actually uses meat as bread. Oddly enough, this rich flavor combination stands well enough on its own without the carbs. Try it for yourself!
Roasted Radishes with Sea Salt and Sesame Seeds
If you usually shy away from veggies, why not try them roasted? This radish recipe from Kayln’s Kitchen could easily become a staple side dish to replace traditional potatoes in your home-cooked meals.
Five Cheese Pimento Cheese
If you’re a cheese lover, look no further than this pimento blend from Epicurious. This recipe only takes 15 minutes and can be enjoyed with veggies rather than crackers to keep it low-carb and filling.
Another one from Epicurious, cloud bread is a life-saver for keto dieters who can’t go on without their gluten goodness. The crazy thing, though? This recipe only requires three ingredients: eggs, plain yogurt and cream of tartar.
Easy Tomato Feta Soup
This soup from Cooking LSL is a simple “sit and forget” dish that tastes like something you’d score from a restaurant. Perfect for when you need to warm yourself up, this recipe proves that comfort food can be keto-friendly.
Key Tips for Keto Dieters
Keto is lauded for its ability to help dieters lose weight fast, and rightfully so.
That said, the diet can be challenging for newcomers to stick to for weeks or months at a time. To help ensure that you don’t fall off the wagon, here are some tips to send you off.
Beware the Keto Flu!
Don’t panic if you feel run down or otherwise ill when you start keto. Keto flu is completely normal and will pass as your body adapts to the diet. If your symptoms don’t improve or disappear after a week or two, you may very well have caught something unrelated to keto.
Remember: Keto isn’t an Excuse to Ignore Healthy Eating
Sure, bacon-wrapped cheese fried in butter might technically be keto-friendly, but that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy! Strive to eat as many veggies and fresh foods as possible. Doing so will not only make you feel good but also guarantee that you’re keeping your calories at a level that facilitates healthy weight loss.
Pay Keen Attention to Nutritional Labels
This might seem like a no-brainer, but keto requires you to really keep an eye out for hidden carbs. For example, many cooking ingredients (think: broth) or dressings contain hidden/added sugars that you might not think would be there.
What Keto-Friendly Snacks Are on Your List?
Planning is absolutely key to the keto diet. The more keto-friendly snacks you have handy, the easier it is to stick to the diet and not give in to high-carb cravings. Hopefully, this list provided some inspiration as you begin or continue your keto journey. Before you go, make sure to claim your free SnackNation sample box to check out the latest and greatest of what we have to offer!