For years, the ketogenic (or “keto”) diet has been growing in popularity. The low-carb, high-fat diet is intended to create a state of ketosis, where the body utilizes fat instead of sugar for energy. It’s centered around fat, meat, eggs, dairy, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some types of fruit.
The keto diet emphasizes meals over snacking, and although quick, low-carb meals have become more common in grocery stores, it can be hard to find keto-friendly snacks to keep energy levels high between meals. This is especially true since snack foods are typically loaded with sugar and refined carbs. Just one can of Coca-Cola and a pack of M&Ms would put most keto dieters over their daily limit for carbohydrate intake.
So what snacks are available on a keto diet, and what should you pick up on your next trip to the grocery store if you want to keep your body burning fat instead of carbs?
1. Jerky (Turkey, beef, or other)
Beef jerky is a keto classic because it is one of the only keto-friendly foods that can be found in nearly any convenience store or supermarket. Instead of going for the sugary, sausage-type jerky, opt for the dry stuff, and try to avoid added preservatives. Turkey jerky is also growing in popularity and is a great keto option.
Cheese is a naturally low-carb and satisfying food and is thus a great keto snack choice. Laughing Cow cheese is easily found in most stores, and string cheese is another high-protein, low-carb option to enjoy.
3. Seeds and nuts
Among the healthiest keto snacks are nuts and seeds. Walnuts contain heart-healthy alpha linoleic acid (ALA), while almonds are packed with vitamin E to boost skin health. All nuts are naturally high-fat and low-carb. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids for brain and heart health. Just don’t overdo it on pistachios, cashews, or peanuts, as these common nuts can have a lot of carbs.
4. Dark chocolate and other high-cocoa snacks
While store-bought commercial chocolate typically contains a ton of refined sugar, this is due to added ingredients, not the product’s natural cocoa content. The main ingredient in high-purity dark chocolate is cocoa butter, which is mostly fat and contains tons of antioxidants, including health-promoting flavonoids that reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Chocolate also naturally contains caffeine to keep you energized between meals.
While not technically a food, unsweetened coffee is a low carb, health-promoting ketogenic drink which can curb your appetite until your next meal. The caffeine naturally found in coffee can blunt hunger and increase focus, allowing you to be productive instead of focusing on the desire to eat. Coffee can be enhanced with stevia, a calorie-free natural sugar substitute, or with fats like coconut oil or full-fat dairy.
6. Low-carb vegetables with hummus or guacamole
While vegetables don’t typically contain much fat, they usually don’t contain carbs, either. Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, celery, and carrots contain consist mostly water, fiber, and vitamins. Hummus is a delicious pairing with veggies, and most hummus brands are relatively low-carb (the majority of the carbs found in quality hummus coming from fiber). Guacamole can be another great choice if it’s not sweetened with additives.
7. Keto meal replacement bars
More people are adopting the keto diet, and the market is responding: recent years have seen an explosion in low-carb meal replacement options for people following keto and paleo diets. While a typical meal replacement bar contains a combination of sugar, sugar alcohols, and high-sugar dried fruits, keto bars contain ingredients like meat, dairy, eggs, low-glycemic fruits, nuts, and seeds. Sometimes these are only available in health stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but keep an eye out for them at your local grocery store, too!
When you start the keto diet, it can seem like the world is working against you. This is especially true for on-the-go people who need convenient snacking options. But armed with this information, you’ll now be able to find quick keto snacks that keep you powered throughout your day until you can cook a proper, healthy me