Keto snacks – the best and the worst

Are you hungry on your keto diet, but it’s not meal-time? Then keto snacks can be the answer. Snacks can buy you some time, allowing you to delay meals to fit your busy schedule.

Snacking, however, should perhaps not happen every day.1 One of the best parts of eating keto is that hunger may be kept at bay for hours after meals.2 If you regularly need to snack, try adding more fat to your meals (here’s how).3

Check out some great keto snack options below, and common snacking mistakes to avoid.

Easy whole foods

Keto snacks
Take the edge off of your hunger with these tasty options. Almost no preparation required! Keto basics like cheese, avocados, olives and macadamia nuts keep healthy fats, front and center, and minimize carbs.4
 
The numbers below the snacks are the percent of digestible carbohydrates, i.e net carbs. So for example, a hundred grams of avocado (3½ ounces) contains 2 grams of net carbs.5
 
A slice of cheese, a few olives, some fatty cold cuts, or a few slices of bacon fit the bill for keto snacking. If you snack on nuts, choose the lowest-carb choices like macadamia nuts, pecans or Brazil nuts (be careful of cashews.) A hard-boiled egg is a great keto snack — try it with mayo, cream cheese, a keto dip, or butter.67

Keto snack recipes

Cook up some keto snacks at home to have tasty choices easily on hand. Below are some popular options. The green circle shows net carbs per serving.

Top 6

Veggies and dip

 
Keto snacks: vegetable sticks

 

Again, the numbers are net carbs (fiber excluded) in 100 grams (3.5 ounces.)

Vegetable sticks: Snack freely on the lowest carb vegetables.8 Carrots are a bit higher in carbs though, and can add up quickly towards the daily limit.9

Dip: What goes great with veggies? Cream cheese, sour cream or any yummy, high fat dipping sauce. Here are popular options:

Top 6


 

Berries and cream

Keto berry snacks

Berries: Modest amounts of fresh or frozen berries are okay from time-to-time but too many can take you out of ketosis. Best keto choices are raspberries and blackberries. Blueberries’ carbs can add up quickly. See our guide to keto fruits and berries

Heavy whipping cream: For a decadent treat with berries, put a dollop of whipped heavy cream (33 to 40% fat) on top, but don’t add any sugar or artificial sweeteners10 — let its natural sweetness shine through. Be careful though — it is so delicious that it is easy to eat more than you need, which could stall weight loss.

Here are a couple of recipes you may want to test:


Chocolate

Net carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces).

Keto chocolate snacks
Some are amazed that on a keto diet you can occasionally have a chocolate treat. Keep it to a small amount – probably one or two squares at most11 – of high-cocoa chocolate of 70% or higher. Avoid regular dark chocolate and milk chocolate as they have too many carbs.

One square of 85% chocolate has 2 net grams of carbs. A square of 70% chocolate has 3.5 net carbs. Shaving a square of 70% or 85% chocolate over whipped cream makes a little go a long way.

Other keto snacks

Keto snacks: pork rinds and beef jerky

Pork rinds: Also called cracklings, chicharrones, or pork crisps, these are a zero carb treat when you just have to have something salty and crunchy.12 Artisanal pork rinds — increasingly being made by keto entrepreneurs — are superior in taste to the commercial packaged product.

Beef jerky: Read the packages and choose the lowest net carbs, as many commercial brands have lots of sugar. Most brands typically have at least 9 grams of net carbs per 100 grams.13 Many people make their own. Here’s a recipe

Biltong: A South African dried, spiced meat, made usually of beef, venison or ostrich. It typically has no sugar and is just meat marinated for a number of days in salt, spices, and vinegar and then dried. You can make it at home. Here is a recipe

 

Chips

Note that recipes with yellow circles may need to be eaten in moderation if you want to stay in ketosis.

 

Cheese

 

 

Keto snacking mistakes

Common snacking mistakes on keto

 
Milk coffees: Cafe lattes and cappuccinos have lots of carbs in their milk sugars. A 16 oz (470 ml) latte has 18 grams of carbs. The same size skim milk latte has 19 grams. Drink coffee black or with a little milk or cream. Or, if you want more energy from fat, try these other hot keto drinks

Juice, regular sports drinks and vitamin waters: Full of sugar. Do not drink.14

Fruit: Nature’s candy.15 While berries are fine from time-to-time, you might want to avoid other higher carb fruits.16 A small banana has 20 grams of carbs. See our keto fruit guide

Cashews: The high carb nut. Choose lower carb options, see our keto nuts guide

 

 

Horrible choices

Keto snacks: horrible choices

Common snack foods like chips, nachos, donuts, candy and chocolate bars are all very bad for your health and your waistline.17 Do not eat them on a keto diet. But here is the great news: a keto diet can often reduce and sometimes even put an end to cravings for these foods.18

A word of warning: be very wary of “keto” or “low carb” versions of cakes, cookies, chocolate bars, candies, ice cream, and other sweets. They might maintain people’s cravings for a sugary taste, and can make you eat more than you need.19 They are often full of sugar alcohols – that can raise your blood sugar – and artificial sweeteners, whose health impacts are not yet known. Weight loss may also stall or slow. Learn more

 
 

Even more keto snack options

Quick bites

Sometimes you just want a little something to delay lunch or dinner. Consider a quick combination:

  • Slice of cheese with celery, cucumber, radish or wrapped in lettuce
  • Celery filled with cream cheese, natural peanut butter, brie or other soft cheese
  • Slice of cheese smeared with butter
  • Cucumber or lettuce spread with mayo
  • Parmesan crisps smeared with butter
  • Slice of salami and cheese, rolled together
  • Slice of bacon smeared with peanut butter
  • Spoonful of butter, ghee or coconut oil melted into coffee or tea
  • Cup of Bulletproof coffee or Keto hot chocolate

More recipes

Want some keto hors d’oeuvres? Trying to find something crunchy and tasty to serve friends coming over? Our many recipes for keto snacks will give you lots of yummy choices. Even friends who are not keto will want the recipe.

All keto snacks

 

 
 
 

Packaged snacks on the go

Maybe you are traveling. (If so, check out this awesome guide.) Maybe you need something in your desk for those nights where you are stuck at the office. Maybe you are carpooling to soccer practice when you should be eating dinner. Regardless, you need shelf-stable, keto-friendly calories.

Here is a list of packaged snack options that are keto-ish. Check the macros to see if they suit your personal regimen.

We’ve included links to some of these snacks solely for your convenience. Diet Doctor will not benefit from your purchases.20

So whether you snack on our Oven Baked Brie Cheese at home or a bag of pork rinds in the car, keep it keto and reinforce your healthy choices for a healthy lifestyle.

Finally, sometimes the best snack is a bite or two of yesterday’s dinner. With that in mind, for even more inspiration, please see all of our keto recipes.

 

 

More

Want more? Living keto goes beyond recipes. Enjoy our selection of guides to help you understand keto and keep it deliciously simple.

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide. We wanted to take this opportunity to mention that Diet Doctor takes no money from ads, industry, or product sales. Our revenues come from members who want to support our purpose of empowering people everywhere to dramatically improve their health.

We hope you will consider joining us as we pursue our mission of making low carb simple! This also gives you access to all our premium content – and there’s a free trial. Join here.

Visual guides

 

Meal plans

Get lots of weekly keto meal plans, complete with shopping lists and more, with our premium meal planner tool (free trial).
 
 

More

A ketogenic diet for beginners
Ketogenic diet foods – what to eat
Keto recipes
 

Challenge

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  1. There’s no good evidence that eating more often than three times a day (or snacking) has any benefits, and it may be bad for weight loss or metabolic issues:

    Diabetologia 2014: Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more effective than six smaller meals in a reduced-energy regimen for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised crossover study [moderate evidence]

    British Journal of Nutrition 2010: Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet [moderate evidence]

    Hepatology 2014: Hypercaloric diets with increased meal frequency, but not meal size, increase intrahepatic triglycerides: a randomized controlled trial [moderate evidence]

    PLOS One 2012: Effects of meal frequency on metabolic profiles and substrate partitioning in lean healthy males [moderate evidence]

    Obesity (Silver Spring) 2012: Effects of manipulating eating frequency during a behavioral weight loss intervention: a pilot randomized controlled trial [moderate evidence]

    British Journal of Nutrition 1997: Meal frequency and energy balance [overview article]

  2. Keto diets often reduce feelings of hunger:

    Obesity Reviews 2014: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis [strong evidence]

    Obesity 2007: The effects of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on mood, hunger, and other self-reported symptoms [moderate evidence]

  3. Eating enough fat is not the only thing that contributes to increased satiety on a keto diet. You may also want to make sure that you’re diet is based on nutritious whole keto foods and contains enough protein.

    Eating enough protein might sometimes be even more satisfying:

    Advances in Nutrition 2015: Controversies surrounding high-protein diet intake: Satiating effect and kidney and bone health [overview article]

  4. There’s no good reason to fear natural saturated fats, including from dairy:

    Open Heart 2016: Evidence from randomised controlled trials does not support current dietary fat guidelines: a systematic review and meta-analysis [strong evidence]

  5. Net carbs means that fiber is not counted.

  6. We hesitate slightly to recommend mayo. The reason is that most commercial brands are made with high omega-6 oils (like soybean, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, corn oils) and a high intake of omega-6 fats might not be healthy. Learn more

    A safer option might be to make your own mayo. Here’s how.

  7. Do you worry about saturated fats or cholesterol in eggs? There’s no good reason to do so. While still a bit controversial, repeated modern systematic reviews find no benefit from avoiding saturated fats, or replacing them with unsaturated fats:

    Here’s a study investigating if eating eggs for breakfast every day has any negative effects on cholesterol levels. They found none, but the egg-eating group reported greater satiety:

    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015: The effect of a high-egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) study-a 3-mo randomized controlled trial [moderate evidence]

  8. Vegetables are generally considered very healthy, possibly because of the vitamins and minerals they contain. However, the belief in the potential healthiness of eating vegetables is mainly based on weak observational data, so it’s hard to know for sure.

    British Medical Journal 2014: Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies [weak evidence for a modest positive effect of eating vegetables on heart health and longevity]

  9. We define a keto diet as having less than 20 grams of carbs per day:

    How low carb is keto?

    The fewer carbs, the more effective it appears to be for reaching ketosis, losing weight or reversing type 2 diabetes.

    This is mainly based on the consistent experience of experienced practitioners, and stories from people trying different levels of carb restriction [weak evidence].

    There is not yet any RCT that has actually tested two low-carb diets of varying strictness head-to-head. But RCTs of strict low-carb diets appear to generally show better results, compared to RCTs of less strict low-carb diets.

    RCTs of low-carb interventions for weight loss

  10. Even zero-calorie sweeteners may have some negative effects, including maintaining a preference for sweet tastes, and increased reward, potentially increasing the risk of overeating and even food addiction. This is mainly based on clinical experience [weak evidence].

    There is also one RCT study showing weight loss from avoiding artificial sweeteners:

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015: Effects on weight loss in adults of replacing diet beverages with water during a hypoenergetic diet: a randomized, 24-wk clinical trial [moderate evidence]

    For more, check out our guide to keto sweeteners or have a look at these further references:

  11. This is because more chocolate is likely to take you over the daily 20 grams carb limit on a keto diet. Whether you need to stay below to this limit is of course up to you, but it may be more effective for weight loss and health reasons.

  12. Like other salty, crunchy snacks (e.g. nuts) they are very rewarding to eat, and thus easy to overeat (eating not for hunger) which can slow down weight loss. It’s good to be aware of this.

  13. There are exceptions though, that are fairly low carb.

  14. American Journal of Public Health 2012: Reducing childhood obesity by eliminating 100% fruit juice [overview article]

    Note that zero-sugar sports drinks and vitamin waters may be OK to consume

  15. What fruits and vegetables looked like before

  16. The fewer carbs, the more effective it appears to be for reaching ketosis, losing weight or reversing type 2 diabetes.

    This is mainly based on the consistent experience of experienced practitioners, and stories from people trying different levels of carb restriction [weak evidence].

    There is not yet any RCT that has actually tested two low-carb diets of varying strictness head-to-head. But RCTs of strict low-carb diets appear to generally show better results, compared to RCTs of less strict low-carb diets.

    RCTs of low-carb interventions for weight loss

  17. Whether people go on a low-carb or a low-fat diet, they tend to lose weight as long as they minimize sugar and refined flours in their diet:

    JAMA 2018: Effect of low-fat vs low-carbohydrate diet on 12-month weight loss in overweight adults and the association with genotype pattern or insulin secretion [moderate evidence] (analysis)

    Here are more studies and overview articles showing a connection between sugar, excess weight and disease:

    JAMA Internal Medicine 2014: Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults [weak evidence]

    Nutrition & Metabolism 2005: Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia [overview article]

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007: Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease [overview article]

  18. This is likely mostly caused by avoiding the foods that can cause a food addiction, most of which are processed foods full of sugar and/or other refined carbohydrates.

    Just like with any other addiction, avoiding the cause is a necessary part of slowly reducing the addiction. A person who is addicted to alcohol normally can’t consume alcohol “in moderation” and be successful. The same thing is likely true for any addiction. [clinical experience, weak evidence]

    In the case of the keto diet, it may also be that the hunger-reducing effect can be helpful:

    Obesity Reviews 2014: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis [strong evidence]

  19. Even zero-calorie sweeteners may have some negative effects, including maintaining a preference for sweet tastes, and increased reward, potentially increasing the risk of overeating and even food addiction. This is mainly based on clinical experience [weak evidence].

    There is also one RCT study showing weight loss from avoiding artificial sweeteners:

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015: Effects on weight loss in adults of replacing diet beverages with water during a hypoenergetic diet: a randomized, 24-wk clinical trial [moderate evidence]

    For more, check out our guide to keto sweeteners or have a look at these further references:

  20. We don’t show ads, sell products or use any affiliate links. Learn more