The term “keto snacks” is a testament of how much our diets have changed over time. Our meal patterns have definitely evolved over the years. We have gone from fasting and feasting like our ancestors, to a more traditional “three square meals” approach, all the way to eating six or more meals a day.
The media has done a great job promoting meal frequency as a beneficiary to health. Eating six small meals a day may be the result of a carbohydrate-rich diet that sends blood sugars on a rollercoaster ride leaving people hungry only a few hours after a meal. This is rarely the issue on a ketogenic diet. During ketosis, blood sugar levels remain stable and your body is running on ketones rather than sugar (carbohydrates).
However, some people just enjoy snacking, whether it is to satisfy cravings for sweet or salty foods, boost nutrient intake, pass the time, deal with unsettling emotions, or for various other reasons.
With our modern day lifestyles, it is very unlikely that we will be at home to prepare a snack straight from the refrigerator. Instead, we are typically on-the-go, forced to bring something with us from home, stop at a store, or even find something from a gas station.
So, what are your best options? Here are some of my recommended on-the-go keto snacks.
While technically a fruit, the avocado is actually a keto-friendly food.
Avocados are rich sources of potassium, vitamin K, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. In smaller amounts, you can also find a majority of the B vitamins – except vitamin B12, vitamin phosphorus, manganese, and copper.
Interestingly, while people may shy away from avocadoes because of their carb content, 17 grams for the average avocado, the actual net carbohydrates (after counting grams of fiber) is only 4 grams because of the astounding 13 grams of fiber that they contain.
The average avocado contains a whopping 29 grams of fat and 320 calories, so you will have to watch your serving size if you are watching your waistline. Instead of a whole avocado, you could easily eat half and save the other half for later for a keto snack.
Simply slice an avocado, add a bit of salt, and keto snack away.
Available in almost any grocery store or gas station, string cheese is something you can easily carry along with you for a great keto snack. They are a great source of fat and protein that can keep you satisfied in between meals.
Cheese is also a good source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium and phosphorus.
String cheese is not only an easy food to carry, but it is also pre-portioned to make sure you don’t go overboard. An added bonus is that it is a fun food to eat! You can simply just peel away the layers as you eat the stick.
Missing your potato chips on a keto diet? Pork rinds are a great substitute as a salty, crunchy snack.
Pork rinds get a bad rap because they are just fried pig skins. But for keto dieters, they are a good source of fat and protein. A 1-ounce serving contains zero carbohydrates, 17 grams of protein, and 9 g fat.
Little do many know that pork rinds contain high amounts of the monounsaturated oleic acid, which happens to be the same fatty acid that is found in olive oil.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Once upon a time, the egg was vilified by nutrition critics because of their high cholesterol and saturated fat content. However, eggs are receiving a revival nowadays because of shifts in science and the recognition of their nutritional prowess.
Because the egg contains the complete range of amino acids, it is actually the highest quality food source of protein being referenced as the ‘gold standard’ used in evaluating the protein quality in all other foods.
Besides the protein in eggs, they are the richest food sources of choline found in our diet.
In the U.S., an average diet provides about 300 milligrams of choline per day, which is less than the recommended amount for an adult woman (425 milligrams) or an adult man (550 milligrams). Since one egg provides over 100 milligrams of choline and only 75-80 calories, it provides far more choline for far less calories than most other choline-rich foods.
But, the benefits don’t stop there. Eggs also contain a wide number of vitamins and minerals such as selenium, biotin, a host of B vitamins, as well as Vitamin’s A, D, E, and K. There is so much nutrition packed in this egg-credible snack food! You can pack the eggs in a cooler or find pre-boiled eggs at the grocery store or gas station, making them an easy snack to eat at any time.
Nuts and Seeds
Most nuts and seeds are great for ketogenic dieting because they are generally low in carbohydrates, high in fat, and are a great source of nutrition – just be wary about the kinds of nuts you are eating.
An ounce of nuts or seeds provides anywhere from 10 to 20 grams of fat in just a bite-sized handful. As an added benefit, the majority of the fats in nuts and seeds are of the heart-healthy, cholesterol improving, unsaturated variety.
Furthermore, different nuts have varying amounts of vitamins and minerals including several B group vitamins (including folate), vitamin E, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium. Most nuts also contain antioxidant minerals (selenium, manganese and copper), plus other phytochemicals such as antioxidant compounds (flavonoids and resveratrol) and plant sterols.
It is easy to over-eat on nuts though, so portion control is key. But, sticking to a handful or two once or twice per day should not push you over your calorie goals and can actually help add calories for someone who is struggling to add or maintain weight. Some solid choices are Brazilian and Macadamia nuts.
- Quest Keto Snacks: From crackers, snaps, all the way to peanut butter cups, Quest Keto has an awesome array of tasty and nutritious snacks to satisfy both your sweet and salty cravings.
- Pickles: Pickles are a great minimal carb snack to satisfy the salty and crunchy cravings you may get. They are a great source of sodium and electrolytes that can help you stay out of the “keto flu” zone. Watch out for added sugar when choosing your pickles!
- Sugar Free Jell-O Packs: Need something sweet to snack on? While they do contain some artificial sweeteners, these hardly contain any calories, and can provide some filling added food volume.
- Beef Jerky: Nothing better than a nice chunk of meat to boost your protein intake. Make sure you will look out for any added sugars used to add flavor.
Whether or not you want (or need) to snack is up to you. The good news is that there are some great ketogenic snacks that can be purchased or brought along to satisfy any cravings you are getting.
- Snacking on keto friendly foods may be a beneficial way to curb cravings and also help in the early keto-adaptation process.
- Make sure to check labels for added sugars.
- Keto snack options often contain beneficial vitamins and minerals.
- Snack smart! Choose the calories you eat wisely – although they are delicious, keto snacks can often be calorically dense!