When I started the keto diet six months ago, my biggest challenge was giving up my favorite snack: cheesy crackers. Oh, how I loved a crispy, crunchy, savory cracker.
On a keto diet, the goal is to decrease your carb intake (buh-bye Cheez-Its) and increase your fat consumption. “Reducing carbs puts you in a metabolic state called ketosis, where your body burns fat (instead of carbs and sugar) for energy,” says Jes Ernst, R.D.N., a keto-focused dietitian based in Cincinnati. “Burning fat creates ketones, which your body uses for fuel.”
Once you’re in fat-burning mode (a.k.a., ketosis), you actually shouldn’t feel the need to snack. “If you’re eating enough fat at every meal, you should feel satiated,” Ernst explains.
It’s true: On a keto diet, I find that I can go much longer between meals without getting hangry. But that doesn’t mean I’m okay with living a snack-free lifestyle. I love snacking (ideally on something crunchy) and don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon. Thankfully, Denise Potter, R.D.N., a dietitian who specializes in the keto diet, says that’s totally okay. “Some people need snacks on the keto diet,” she says.
How to build a satisfying snack on the keto diet
✔️ Mind your macros: “The key is thinking in terms of ratios when choosing a snack,” says Potter. You want the snack to be comprised of 70 to 80% fat and 20 to 30% protein and net carbs (the total amount of carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols) combined. For example, an ideal keto snack is 1/2 avocado because it has 15g fat, 2g protein, and 2g net carbs. That’s a ratio of 15:4 (about 79% fat to 21% protein and net carbs).
Unless you’re using keto to treat a medical condition (like epilepsy or migraines), there’s no need to get too caught up in the numbers—all you have to remember is to keep the fat content high and carbs low (protein levels can vary).
✔️ Aim for whole foods: Both Ernst and Potter are proponents of choosing fresh keto snacks (like cheese and nuts) over packaged goods whenever possible. “On a keto diet, you want to consume less processed food overall,” says Potter. Processed foods tend to contain added sugar and starch—no-no’s on the keto diet since you’re trying to keep your carb intake low.
✔️ Scan the labels: Of course, when you’re on-the-go, it may not be possible to eat fresh snacks so packaged goods can come in handy. Before buying, check the label to make sure it has simple, pronounceable ingredients and little to no added sugars, starches, or sugar alcohols (such as xylitol and maltitol), Potter says. In other words, avoid falling for “keto-friendly” or “low-carb” marketing claims and read the label.
Ready to start snacking? Ahead, the best keto snacks (both fresh and pre-packaged) to keep your stomach full and your taste buds happy.
Pack of 3
Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps
When my need for something cheesy and crunchy strikes, I reach for these addictive cheese crisps. Made from just one ingredient (real cheddar cheese), they taste like a crunchy slice of sharp cheddar. They don’t have any weird additives, and one package packs 9 g fat and only 1 g carbs. Potter suggests crumbling them over a salad.
A handful of nuts is the perfect snack—as long as you know which ones to reach for. “Macademia nuts are the best because they’re super high in fat,” says Potter. Other high-fat, low-carb options include pecans, Brazil nuts, and walnuts. Avoid cashews, which are high in carbs, Potter notes.
Go Raw Organic Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds
Ernst recommends seeds as a low-carb keto snack, and I couldn’t agree more. I love these pumpkin seeds, which have just the right amount of salt. A few handfuls provide 14 g of filling fat and only 1 g of net carbs.
Hard-boiled eggs are a simple and satisfying snack. To amp up the keto benefits, you’ll want to add some fat to it, suggests Potter. Think: A slather of mayonnaise or slice of cheese. Another tasty, high-fat option would be to whip up some deviled eggs.
Pack of 24
Chomps Grass-Fed Beef Jerky Sticks
Meat gets the green-light on a keto diet. These tasty beef jerky sticks make it easy to get your fat and protein fix on-the-go. Made from 100% grass-fed beef, there are zero questionable ingredients—and 0g carbs (a win-win!).
Strawberry ginger fat bomb
If you’ve been researching keto snacks, you’ve likely come across fat bombs, which are low-carb sweet treats that are usually made with coconut oil, coconut butter, cream cheese, avocado, and/or nut butter. They’re a great way to get a lot of fat, but beware of which recipes you try. “Some of them are barely keto,” Potter says. She suggests keto bomb recipes from the Charlie Foundation, like this delicious strawberry ginger fat bomb.
Hu Dark Chocolate Gems
Yes, you can have chocolate on the keto diet! The key is making sure it’s dark chocolate—at least 70% cacao—and limiting your intake to a few small pieces. I’m obsessed with this chocolate from Hu Kitchen, which is made from just three simple ingredients (cacao, unrefined coconut sugar, and cocoa butter) and has only 5g net carbs per tablespoon.
Avocados are a great source of fat—half of one contains about 15g fat, most of which is healthy unsaturated fat. Keep it simple with just a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lemon. Or, whip it into guacamole and eat it with your favorite low-carb veggies, suggests Ernst.
Alouette Garlic & Herb Spreadable Cheese
“A fat-based dip with raw vegetables is a great keto snack,” says Ernst. This savory cheese spread is super satisfying (thanks to 9g fat per serving) and is delicious with low-carb vegetables like celery, cucumber, and peppers. One serving (3 tbsp) has just 2g carbs.
Olives are an ideal keto snack since they’re mostly made up of fat, specifically healthy monounsaturated fat. Don’t be afraid to reach for them on the charcuterie board at your next party—just don’t go overboard since they can be salty.
Good Bites Coconut Brownie Bites
If you’re a fan of coconut and chocolate, you’ll love these delectable brownie bites. They’re super rich and have the texture you want from a brownie. Best of all, they’re made from six simple ingredients and have only 3.5g carbs per serving.
Epic Provisions Pork Rinds
“Salty and crunchy, these are a great substitute for chips,” says Ernst. Made with pork raised without antibiotics, one serving has 0g, 2.4g fat, and 11g protein. “They can be addicting so I always recommend measuring them on a scale or putting them in a small snack size bag so you don’t end up eating too much,” notes Ernst.
Good news for cheese lovers: You can enjoy your favorite snack on the keto diet. With just 1g of carbs and 6g of fat, string cheese (made from mozzarella) is an excellent, grab-n-go option. Other good low-carb cheese options include brie, cheddar, Swiss, and provolone.
Flackers Flax Seed Crackers
Made from just three simple ingredients (flaxseeds, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt), these crackers have a great crunch and just 1g net carbs per serving (10 crackers). Ernst likes them for their high fiber content—9 g per serving.
Whether you’re looking for a healthy keto breakfast or afternoon snack, cottage cheese is a winner. Choose full-fat cottage cheese, which contains just 6g carbs per serving (1/2 cup) and 12g protein. Potter suggests upping the fat content by adding MCT oil. For a little sweetness, toss a few low-carb berries on top.
Love Good Fats Bars
For an on-the-go option, Potter is a fan of these bars, which are packed with fat (14g) and protein (10g). No matter the flavor, each bar has just 5g net carbs and comes in tasty flavors like mint chocolate and coconut chocolate chip.
Keto banana muffins
Keto snacks can get expensive. A smart solution? Make a batch of keto banana bread muffins. Potter recommends this recipe from the Charlie Foundation for its high fat content. “Make them once a week and store in your freezer so you can warm them up whenever you need a snack,” Potter suggests.
“These are a nice, low-carb snack for when you’re on the go,” says Ernst. “It has a good cheddar flavor and a satisfying crunch.” Each serving has 14g fat, 11g protein, and 1g net carbs.
When you’re following a keto diet, you have to be mindful of what kind of fruit you eat. Some are packed with carbs (looking at you, apples and bananas!). The best low-carb option is berries, specifically raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Blueberries are okay in moderation.
FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butter
“These nut butter squeeze pouches are great for travel,” says Potter, who loves the macademia pecan flavor. Made from nothing but macademia nuts and sea salt, you don’t have to worry about any funny ingredients. Each pouch is loaded with 22g of fat to keep you satiated for hours.
Tangy, salty, and crunchy, pickles are an ideal snack. And with less than 1g of net carbs per spear, you can munch on more than one. (Just don’t eat the whole jar since they pack a lot of sodium!).
Inno Foods Coconut Keto Clusters
Potter says her clients love these crunchy treats, which are made with lightly sweetened coconut, pecans, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. With just 4g net carbs, you can throw them in yogurt or eat them straight out of the bag!
Ranch dressing with vegetables
Who doesn’t love ranch dressing? Luckily, your favorite salad topper is keto-friendly with just 3g carbs per serving (2 tbsp). “When I don’t have a ton of time, I’ll make a simple salad with ranch dressing on top,” says Potter. You can also use it as a dip for crudite. When shopping, check the label and choose a low-sugar option.
Julian Bakery Vanilla Cinnamon Cluster Pro Granola
Granola doesn’t have to be a no-no on the keto diet. Ernst recommends this brand because it has “great fiber content and simple ingredients like nuts and seeds.” You’ll stay on track with just 2g of net carbs per serving.
Uprising Superfood Chips
Looking for a crunchy, low-carb cracker that doesn’t taste like cardboard? Ernst is a fan of these superfood chips from Uprising, which have a satisfying, crunchy texture and the perfect amount of salt. They’re made from simple, clean ingredients and have 2g of net carbs per serving (about 16 chips).
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