This content originally appeared on Everyday Health. Republished with permission.
By Moira Lawler
Medically Reviewed by Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES
The main proposed benefit of the keto diet is weight loss, though there is some research showing it may help with certain health conditions, per the UNM School of Medicine. The weight loss comes in part because the fat you’re taking in is filling, which can lead you to eat fewer calories overall, says Abby Langer, RD, the founder of Abby Langer Nutrition, who is based in Toronto.
As a result of those satiating fats required by the ketogenic diet, you may find you’re not desiring snacks as much as you usually do. “I find people who strictly follow the ketogenic diet are not as hungry throughout their day, so their need to snack decreases,” says Dina Griffin, RDN, the owner and founder of the Nutrition Mechanic in Boulder, Colorado. “Because there’s a high proportion of fat in their daily diet, they report a high level of satiety and don’t want to eat again.”
But when the snack cravings strike (and if you’re a snacker, you know they eventually will), it’s best to have a plan in place. That’s especially true if your favorite munchies are cereal bars, chips, or any commonly high-carb packaged foods, as these aren’t keto compliant.
Your game plan: Keep a bunch of easy snacks in the back of your mind so you’re prepared when hunger hits. Simplicity is key here, because when you’re hungry you won’t have the time or patience to run to the store and fix something. That’s why we’ve made this list of 10 keto-friendly snacks you likely already have in your kitchen.
1 — Macadamia Nuts
Stomach growling? Reach for a handful of macadamia nuts, which have the highest amount of fat in the nut family, according to previous research. They also contain less than 4 grams (g) of carbs per ounce, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Nutrition aside, they’re snacking all-stars because they’re easy to bring with you and don’t need to be refrigerated. Keep a stash wherever you spend your day — in the car, at your desk, or in the pantry at home.
2 — Pecans
The runner-up for the most keto-friendly nut goes to … pecans. They rival macadamia nuts in fat and protein content, research notes, and they’re a good source of magnesium, which helps regulate muscle and nerve function, supports bone health, and aids in the management of blood sugar levels, according to the National Institutes of Health. Eat a few straight from the bag or toss them into a homemade trail mix.
3 — Beef Jerky
Fat? Protein? Low in carbs? Beef jerky checks the boxes, per the USDA — plus it’s another convenient option you can easily bring along with you when you’re on the go. Be sure to skim the ingredient list on the package before you buy, because many options have a high amount of added sugars, and sugars mean carbs.
4 — Half an Avocado
Avocados offer healthy monounsaturated fats, per the USDA, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing your bad cholesterol levels, according to the American Heart Association. You probably already add slices of avocado to your salads and omelets, but have you tried this fruit solo? Langer suggests taking half an avocado, drizzling it with olive oil and a bit of lemon juice, and sprinkling sea salt on top. Then dig right in.
5 — Smoothie With Coconut
You can blend almond butter, unsweetened almond milk, greens (spinach, kale, or another favorite), and protein powder into a smoothie for a filling snack. Griffin suggests adding shredded unsweetened coconut to your smoothie for a good source of fat, a notion that nutrition facts from the USDA support.
6 — Meat-and-Cheese Roll Ups
Got deli meat? Then this one should be a cinch. Langer suggests taking a slice of turkey breast with a slice of cheese, adding lettuce, and squeezing mustard right down the middle for an easy, tasty, and ultra-low-carb snack, as USDA data supports.
7 — Olives
For a snack that needs zero preparation, reach for the olive jar, Griffin suggests. Olives are rich in fat, specifically healthy monounsaturated fat, according to a review in the December 2020 Journal of Nutritional Science. Plus, they’re loaded with antioxidants thanks to vitamin E, are low in calories, and are nearly devoid of carbs. Keep in mind that olives can contain a lot of sodium, though.
8 — String Cheese
Cheddar cheese, bleu cheese, feta, mozzarella — many types of cheese are fair game on the keto diet. For an easy-to-snack-on version that you can bring along to work or while you’re running errands, go for string cheese or wedges. Just be sure to choose full-fat varieties, because fat is the key to the keto diet.
9 — Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are a standout snack because they have one of the lowest energy-to-nutrient-density ratios of any food, according to previous research. They’re rich in good fats (so long as you don’t skip the yolk!) and a solid source of high-quality protein: One large egg has about 72 calories, 6 g protein, 5 g fat, and 0.4 g carbs, per the USDA. Keep several hard-boiled eggs in your fridge, so you can easily grab one when you’re in need of a nutritious snack.