Low-carb, ketogenic diets are generally quite filling. But hunger pangs and afternoon slumps still happen no matter how deep you are in ketosis or how well you plan your macros. Those just starting keto are also likely to go through a short period of unrelenting hunger and energy crashes. That’s where keto snacks come in handy.
Keto snacks include a wide choice of homemade meals and foods that are low-carb, high-fat, and easy to pack for grab-n-go. To make your search for keto snacks easier, below you'll find a list of the top 11 keto-friendly snacks, macros included. But before we head into that, let's talk a bit about what keto snacks are and the benefits of snacking.
A snack is defined as a small amount of food eaten between meals. A keto snack is then a small amount of keto-friendly food that you eat between ketogenic meals and that will keep you in ketosis. Keto snacks can be any food as long as it's low in carbohydrates. However, an ideal keto snack should also be high in fat and moderate in protein. Some keto snacks are only high in fat, a good example is fat bombs.
The keto diet is a very low-carb diet. It's also a high fat and moderate protein diet. On this diet, the most important thing is to keep your carbohydrate intake below 50g per day. There are many exceptions to this rule, but 50g is a safe average for most people.
With these facts in mind, snacks you can eat on a keto diet are those that have less than 5-10g of net carbs*. But why 5-10g? Because you'll ideally be eating 3 meals every day on a keto diet, and you need to spread the little amount of carbs you'll be equally among these meals. Using diet apps such as MyFitnessPal definitely helps keep track of your macros intake.
Net carbs are carbs your body can digest and use for energy. You can calculate the net carbs in food by subtracting its fiber (in grams) from its total carbs. For example, one small apple has 20.6g of total carbs and 3.6g of fiber. That means one medium apple has 17g net carbs (20.6g – 3.6g = 17g).
Many consider snacking to be a bad habit that leads to excess weight gain. But there's no conclusive evidence that snacking is worse than eating just three meals a day for your waistline . In fact, snacking on a keto diet can provide a host of benefits:
Reducing carb intake is not the only thing that's important on a keto diet. You also need to boost your fat intake to avoid feeling lethargic and developing health problems. Many keto beginners may find that they have trouble eating enough fat. Snacking helps ketoers eat enough fat on this diet.
Skipping meals and not eating during the day can lead to overeating later on. One study examined the effects of meal patterns of body weight, and the results show that meal skipping was linked to belly fat .
If you choose the right keto snacks, you'll boost your intake of important vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Going for nutrient-dense food is a good idea when it comes to snacking. These foods will support good overall health on your keto diet by preventing nutrient deficiencies.
These keto snacks are low in carbs, some are high in fat, and many are dense in nutrients. Some of these keto snacks are proven to boost energy levels instantly to beat mid-day hunger pangs and afternoon fatigue.
Hard-boiled eggs are nutritional powerhouses. And being a low-carb food, they definitely make for one of the best keto snacks. One large hard-boiled egg weighs around 50g. You'll get 6.3g of protein, 5.3g of fat, and almost no carbs from this serving size. You also get plenty of vitamins A, B12, folate, and riboflavin from this serving as well as 22% of the DV of selenium, an antioxidant vitamin.
However, eggs are mostly valued for their protein, which contains all 9 essential amino acids. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient . Proteins in egg will help you feel full for a long time, and its B vitamins will help boost your energy levels.
Nutrition info (1 large egg)
Calories: 77 kcal
Net Carbs: 0g
Macadamia, pecan, and Brazil nuts have one thing in common – they're high in fat. Macadamia nuts are 75% fat, pecan nuts are 72% fat, and Brazil nuts are 66% fat. They're highest in monounsaturated fats, which are known to be anti-inflammatory and good for heart health . They also contain polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fats.
Studies show that snacking on nuts helps prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes . Nuts are dense in vitamins and minerals, which helps boost energy levels. They're also rich in fiber and protein, both of which curb appetite. Brazil nuts stand out as a Selenium, with one kernel providing 137% of the DV for this trace mineral. Keep your intake of Brazil nuts to 1 kernel daily to avoid Selenium toxicity.
There are, however, many other keto nuts and seeds you can enjoy on a keto diet.
Nutrition info (Macadamia – 1oz)
Calories: 201 kcal
Net Carbs: 1.6g
Beef jerky is a highly popular keto diet snack. You can store beef jerky for months outside the fridge and enjoy it guilt free anytime you feel hunger strike. One piece weighing 20g provides an almost equal amount of fat and protein – great for boosting ketosis while curbing hunger. It's also rich in several vitamins, notably folate and other B vitamins. It's also a good source of sodium (18% DV) and zinc (11% DV). You need more sodium on a keto diet to curb the keto flu and zinc to support the immune system.
Nutrition info (1 large piece)
Calories: 82 kcal
Net Carbs: 0g
Baking cheese turns it into a crispy, delicious, and keto-friendly snack. You can find ready-made cheese chips sold in stores and online or you could make them yourself. Because cheese and cheese chips are dairy products, they're a good source of calcium. Calcium is a mineral and an electrolyte that you need for bone and muscle health.
Cheese chips are high in both fat and protein, which makes them great for boosting energy and reducing hunger. Most of the fat in cheese chips is saturated, which studies now show is not as bad as once thought .
Nutrition info (15 chips – 18g)
Calories: 100 kcal
Net Carbs: 0g
Greek yogurt is also known as strained yogurt. Making Greek yogurt involves straining it to remove whey. This results in a thick, creamy yogurt that's higher in fat and protein than regular yogurt. A serving of Greek yogurt (2/3 cup) will give you 11g of protein, which is 22% of the recommended DV for this important nutrient.
Greek-style yogurt is also a valuable source of calcium, potassium, and vitamin A. It does, however, contain carbohydrates in the form of milk sugar, namely lactose. However, the levels of carbs in Greek yogurt are fairly low.
Nutrition info (Greek yogurt - 2/3 cup)
Calories: 130 kcal
Net Carbs: 5g
Pickles are a low-carb snack that's also low in calories. A whole cup has only 2g net carbs, so feel free to snack on pickles as much as you like. Depending on how they're made, pickles may also contain gut-benefiting lactic acid bacteria. A study from 2003 found that lactic acid bacteria may help fight fatigue .
Additionally, pickles are a fairly good source of micronutrients, notably vitamin K and sodium. However, make sure to go for brined or kosher pickles and avoid bread and butter pickles as these contain sugar.
Nutrition info (Pickles – 1 cup)
Calories: 17 kcal
Net Carbs: 2g
Probably one of the world's best nutritional powerhouses, avocados are an ideal keto diet fruit. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein, they're sure to beat afternoon slumps like no other. Half an avocado will give you as much as 14g of fat. Avocados are also rich in B vitamins and vitamin C. Research shows both groups of vitamins are important for fighting fatigue and improved mental performance .
Being exceptionally high in fiber (27% DV) also means that avocados will help you feel full for longer. Simply slice half an avocado, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle some lemon juice to prevent it from oxidizing and you get a healthful snack.
Nutrition info (Avocado – 1/2)
Calories: 160 kcal
Net Carbs: 1.8g
These delicious nibs are great if you want to get all the benefits of chocolate but without the sugar. Cacao nibs are the central part of the cacao bean made by fermenting and roasting the beans. They contain all the health-benefiting antioxidants and nutrients of cacao, including flavonoids that studies found reduce fatigue and boost mental sharpness .
But best of all, cacao nibs are low in carbs and high in fat. They're also high in fiber and many minerals, including iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and selenium.
Nutrition info (Cacao nibs – 1oz)
Calories: 130 kcal
Net Carbs: 1g
Fatty fish such as sardines help keto dieters meet their daily requirements for omega-3 fatty acids. These anti-inflammatory fatty acids are essential for normal brain functioning. A diet low in omega-3s was found to cause chronic fatigue, among other things .
Sardines are also convenient for curbing midday hunger due to their high protein content. A can of sardines can also help beat fatigue thanks to its high vitamin D, E, and B complex content. Their mineral content is also impressive. And at 0g net carbs, no need to worry about being kicked out of ketosis.
Nutrition info (Sardines – 1 can)
Calories: 191 kcal
Net Carbs: 0g
Forget energy drinks and go for plain coffee to beat mid-day slumps. Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant proven to increase mental alertness. Caffeine levels peak half an hour to two hours after intake and can last for 3-6 hours. Coffee also contains powerful antioxidants and flavonoids, which help protect health.
Because coffee is low in carbs, it's completely ok to drink on keto as long as you don't add sugar to it. Sweeten your coffee with stevia or even better, make keto coffee by adding MCT oil and butter.
Nutrition info (Coffee – 1 cup)
Calories: 2.4 kcal
Net Carbs: 0g
Another crispy snack option to eat instead of potato chips is kale chips. They're essentially shredded and seasoned kale baked at a low temperature for around half an hour. Seasonings can include smoked paprika, olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, etc.
Kale chips are a tasty treat that is low in carbs yet high in fiber. A 100g of kale chips will give you 7.5g of net carbs, 7g of fat, and lots of vitamins K, A, C, B6, and the minerals potassium, calcium, iron, copper, and manganese. Since kale belongs to one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there, it can definitely help fight fatigue and keep you full until dinner time.
Nutrition info (Kale chips – 100g)
Calories: 102 kcal
Net Carbs: 7.5g
Snacking on a keto diet is generally ok and even beneficial. But there could be a couple of drawbacks related to keto snacking you need to be aware of:
Calories count even on keto. If you take in too many calories due to frequent snacking, chances are you'll struggle to lose weight on this diet or get stuck in a weight loss plateau. Make sure to monitor your calorie intake when snacking to avoid going overboard.
On the other hand, dieters could experience reduced appetite due to fat and protein-rich snacks. This can make them avoid eating full meals later in the day, which can be a bad thing when it comes to getting enough micronutrients on a daily.
While snacking is not bad in and of itself, some dieters may use snacking as an excuse to fuel their food addiction. Food addiction is real, and it is neurological and emotional in its nature. Make sure you are snacking because you're hungry and not because you're feeling down or bored.
Snacks are not a bad thing. In fact, they may even be necessary when you're on a diet such as keto. Snacks help you meet your macros while also curbing hunger pangs and giving you energy to keep you going for the rest of your day.
Consider adding these 11 keto snacks to your weekly meal plan and you'll fight those afternoon slumps even if you're just starting the keto diet. Our snack picks are all low in carbs and most are high in fat and some in protein. Not to mention that many of these snacks are dense in nutrients and rich in other healthful compounds.