The good news is, due to the popularity of the keto diet, there are plenty of keto-friendly snacks available to help you stay on track. And more and more retailers are carrying them in order to cater to customer needs. Sweet, savory or crunchy… all types of snacks and treats are available so no matter what you’re craving, you’ll be able to find something to satisfy your taste buds.
In this article, we’ll go over what the keto diet is, the health benefits of the keto diet, and the best keto snacks available so you’ll always have a low-carb snack on hand!
What is the Keto Diet?The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate-protein diet. A standard keto diet is 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbs. Most people on keto eat 20-50 grams of carbs per day in order to achieve or maintain a state of ketosis. Counting carbs is helpful when starting out because hidden carbs are everywhere and it’s easy to go over if you’re not tracking them. Over time, you’ll get a good idea of how many carbs are in the foods you eat, and tracking becomes easier or unnecessary.
How Does the Keto Diet Work?The body primarily uses glucose as the fuel for metabolic activities. Glucose is derived from carbohydrates in starchy vegetables, grains, legumes, and sugary foods. When your carb intake is too low, the body sources glucose from your liver and muscles. When all glucose stores are depleted (typically in 3-4 days depending on your diet, age, and level of activity), the body goes into a state called ketosis. This is when the body transitions to fat as an energy source. The stored fat is converted to ketones and is used as the primary fuel for the body.
In other words, the keto diet turns your body from a carb-burning machine to a fat-burning machine. This is why it is so popular among people who want to lose weight.
What are the Benefits of the Keto Diet?The keto diet is associated with many health benefits, including:
- Effective weight loss: When your body enters ketosis, it starts burning fat for fuel. Being in fat-burning mode can help support weight loss . Given the high-fat nature of the diet, people on keto report feeling full and satiated instead of feeling hungry, which is typical of low-calorie diets. Keto can help suppress your appetite so you eat less without feeling deprived .
- Improved cholesterol: Eating a ketogenic diet has been linked to lower “bad” cholesterol and higher “good” cholesterol. The higher your levels of HDL (good cholesterol), the lower your risk of heart disease .
- Enhanced blood sugar regulation: The keto diet is associated with reducing blood sugar and insulin resistance. This can have positive impacts on those with type 2 diabetes .
- Improved cognitive function: When you’re in ketosis, you have more ketones in your body, which helps fuel your brain, improving mental clarity and memory. Because of its benefits to the brain, the keto diet is being studied for its potential beneficial impacts on neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s .
What Healthy Keto Snacks Can You Find at the Grocery Store?It can be challenging to get through the day without needing a snack or two between meals. And having a snack can also help you hit your fat macros for the day (keto newbies may find it hard to get 75% of their daily calories from fat when starting out). Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite healthy keto snacks that your local grocery store will most likely have:
OlivesWhen it comes to keto snacking, you can’t go wrong with olives. Olives are plant-based and are a great source of healthy fats. Olives contain monounsaturated fats, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
While many other fruits are ruled out due to their high carb content, olives fit the keto diet due to their small amount of carbs. For this reason, they make a perfect on-the-go keto snack. They can be consumed on their own or eaten with keto-friendly salads, pizzas, or dips.
Avocados are another fruit that’s keto-friendly. They are high in healthy fats and low in saturated fats, making it a heart-healthy option. Studies have shown that avocados can help with high blood pressure due to the potassium they contain . Other nutrients found in avocados are magnesium, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Avocados are also a good source of fiber, which supports healthy digestion. They are delicious on their own, as well as in the form of guacamole, or as a salad topping.
Nuts and SeedsNuts and seeds are another perfect snacking option for keto dieters. They’re low in carbs and high in healthy fats. The best keto options are: macadamia nuts, almonds, pecans, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Cashews, pistachios, and chestnuts are higher in carbs and should be consumed in moderation. Nuts can be enjoyed on their own as a keto snack. Seeds are great when added to full-fat yogurt and smoothies.
Hard-Boiled EggsHard-boiled eggs are a superfood snack. They are a great source of vitamins B and E, plus minerals, such as magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc . In addition to being low carb, they’re a great source of protein and healthy fats. Hard-boiled eggs can be made ahead of time and enjoyed throughout the week as an on-the-go breakfast or snack. They can also be purchased ready-to-eat from the grocery store.
SardinesSardines contain omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce the risk of heart disease. They’re also a great source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D, as well as minerals including niacin, iron, and potassium. Calcium is also another great reason to eat sardines . If you’re on a dairy-free diet, sardines can be an excellent way to boost your calcium intake.
You can enjoy sardines straight out of the can or add them to your favorite keto salad.
Cheese crisps are keto if they’re made with 100% cheese (make sure to check the nutrition facts!). They are 0% carbs with a healthy dose of satiating fat. We love cheese crisps because they can be enjoyed just about anywhere and just a handful is enough to keep you satisfied until your next meal. Keep a few bags stashed at your desk or in your gym bag so you always have a low-carb fat-fueled snack within arm’s reach. They’re delicious straight from the bag or as “croutons” on your salad. They’re also delicious dipped in guacamole or as a topping to a hot bowl of chili.
Kale ChipsSkip the potato chips and reach for kale chips instead. Kale is a nutrient-dense vegetable that’s rich in vitamins A, K, C, and B6. It also contains manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, and magnesium [*]. These low-carb crispy chips are loaded with antioxidants, which have anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties .
Kale chips can be enjoyed straight from the bag or with a low-carb dip.
Nut butters are an amazing keto snack as long as you make sure there is no added sugar in the ingredient list. You can get just about any type of nut butter nowadays: almond butter, cashew butter, and our favorite -- macadamia nut butter. They’re low in carbs and high in healthy fats. You can get many of them in portable single-serve packets in addition to the jar form. They’re delicious on their own or added to full-fat yogurts and smoothies. Many people also enjoy them drizzled on keto brownies and keto cookies.
Seaweed SheetsSeaweed sheets don’t have much protein or fat, but they’re low in carbs so they’re considered a keto-friendly snack. Seaweed is a good source of iodine and tyrosine, an amino acid that supports thyroid health . It’s also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, E, and K, plus riboflavin, thiamin, manganese, and copper .
PepperoniYou can enjoy pepperoni slices whenever you're craving something salty and savory. They contain 0% carbs so are perfect for your keto diet plan. Enjoy them plain or as a salad mix-in. If you prefer them crispy, pop them in the oven and make pepperoni chips! Pepperoni “chips” are perfect for your favorite keto dips, such as guacamole or spinach dip.
Cheese SticksFull-fat cheese sticks are an excellent source of calcium, fat, and protein with virtually no carbs. They’re also super portable and easy to eat on-the-go. Look for whole milk cheese sticks and string cheese, instead of part-skim, which are lower in fat.
Meat sticks are a portable and convenient keto snack. Just be aware of the ingredients because some of them have added sugars and additives. Most beef and turkey sticks are low-fat, while pork sticks are higher in fat and closer to the keto macros we’re seeking.
Beef JerkyBeef jerky is a low-carb, protein-rich snack that comes in a variety of flavors. You can also get turkey and pork jerky, and even fish or bison jerky. Most of the jerky options are low in fat and high in protein so pair it with something that’s high fat to round out your macros. Keep an eye on the ingredients -- some jerky products contain sugar or honey, which can knock you out of ketosis.
Pork rinds are making a comeback due to the keto diet. They are pork skins that are deep fried to an airy, crunchy texture. They are a good alternative to a bag of potato chips and popcorn because they contain zero carbs and are a great source of protein.
When shopping for pork rinds, make sure there’s no added sugar. Pork rinds now come in a variety of flavors, from original and barbecue to cheddar and salt & vinegar.