Snacks are an integral part of a ketogenic diet, and support us when we need it most: between meals (to kick hanger to the curb), when simply craving something satisfying, or when on the go or as a means to hitting those all-important macros. Yes, snacks are the unsung heroes.
Many people commonly experience a reduced sense of hunger when consuming a high-fat snack, as fat is satiating. This means you feel fuller for longer because fewer insulin spikes are telling your body it needs fuel, but that doesn’t mean everyone feels full all the time.
Let’s take a look at some delicious low carb snacks for those days when you’re feeling peckish, are on the run, or you’re off to the gym. These are perfect examples of when it’s best to listen to your hunger signals and eat if you feel the need.
Types of Low Carb Snacks
No prep low carb snacks: these snacks are perfect for people on the go as they don’t require any prep, simply eat and move on with the day. You’ll be amazed at how many natural low carb snacks come in their own wrapper.
The following list is from ranked most (1) caloric snacks to least (10):
- Macadamia - (3.9g carbs per 10-12 pieces)
- Crazy Richard’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter - 7g carbs per serving
- Brazil nuts - (6g per 10 pieces)
- Green olives - (3g carbs per 100g)
- Cold cuts, salami, pastrami, and so on - (<1g per serving)
- Avocado - (6g carbs per half a cup)
- Cheese - <1g carbs per serving
- Eggs - (0.6g carb per boiled egg)
Tip: be mindful of portion control when eating nuts, as these nutrient-dense superfoods and add up in carbs and calories quickly. However, just a small handful is satiating and can help you go the distance at the gym.
Vegetable low carb snacks: just like any nutritional plan, eating vegetables is always a great idea. However, not all vegetables are low-carb. As a rule, look for green vegetables and avoid bright colors (as these are signals for animals seeking out high fructose snacks).
Here are some low carb snacks perfect for game day:
- Celery and ranch dressing - (1.2g carbs per 100g celery)
- Cucumber and tzatziki dressing - (1.6g carbs per 100g cucumber)
- Green red and yellow peppers with cream cheese (6g carbs per red pepper)
- Carrots with lemon juice - (6g carbs per 100g carrots)
Tip: crunchy, raw vegetables are extremely satisfying and can replace the desire for chips and other junk food. Plus, they contain lots of water, which naturally makes you feel full.
Fruity, low carb snacks: if you have sweet cravings, you should aim to avoid artificial sugars and flavoring and go to the source with these low carb fruits. Just be sure to use heavy whipping cream to avoid hidden carbs.
These fruits are best, but use moderation:
- Blueberries (10g carbs per 68g)
- Raspberries (6g carbs per 50g)
- Strawberries (3.8g per 50g)
- Blackberries (5.1g carbs per 50g)
Chocolate low carb snacks: while you might be thinking you have to give up chocolate, it is possible to treat yourself on a low carb diet. Chocolate is not an inherently low carb snack, but one or two small squares of dark cocoa can scratch the itch.
These chocolate brands are preferred on a low carb diet:
- Choc Zero (high-fiber chocolate)
- Lily's stevia-sweetened chocolate
- Keto Cups (stevia-sweetened)
- Green & Black’s Organic 85% Cacao Bar (high-fiber chocolate)
Portable low carb snacks: for the days when you just need to grab and go, these snacks are the ideal travel buddy. Cheese, jerky, and other protein sources offer slow-release energy and will help you get to the next meal time.
Stock these in the pantry for easy access:
- Pork rinds - <1g net carbs
- Jerky (read the label as carbs can vary)
- Nui cookies - 2g net carbs
- Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cubes - 0g carbs
- Horizon Organic Mozzarella Sticks - <1g carbs per serving
- Emerald 100 Calorie Pack Almonds & Walnuts - 3g carbs per serving
Low carb snacks to avoid: finally, it’s easy to think you’re getting a good deal on a snack only to find out it’s laden with hidden carbs and sugar.
Avoid these low carb snacks to maintain ketosis:
- Cafe lattes and other sugar-sweetened coffees
- Cashew nuts (are high in carbs and not technically a nut)
- Vitamin water (look for zero calorie zero sugar alternatives)
- Fruit juice
- High-carb fruits such as grapes or bananas
DIY Low Carb Snack: Low Carb Avocado Crisps
Time: 20 mins
1 1/2 ripe Hass avocados
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup finely grated hard cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
Mix everything well.
Place teaspoon-sized dollops onto a parchment-lined baking tray, flatten into thin disks.
Bake for 15-17 minutes at 180C.
The crisps should turn a golden color.
Remove from the oven and allow them to cool and crisp up.
For a Mexican twist, add a dash of cumin and some chili powder.
As always, refined sugar and processed foods are banned on a low-carb diet. To make these snacks, manufacturers add all kinds of fillers for flavor and shelf-life. Many of these will knock you out of ketosis as you will no longer be consuming a low carb diet.