One of the most difficult parts of assuming a ketogenic diet is finding healthy snacks that don’t kick you out of ketosis. In this article, I’ll share with you the best keto snacks that I rely on when I don’t have access to a full meal.
My wife and I started a paleo diet — or a Paleolithic lifestyle, I should say — in March of 2015. While I’ve always leaned towards low-carb and high-fat eating, it wasn’t until early 2019 that I fully embraced a Paleolithic keto diet.
Why ketogenic paleo and not just keto? Because I realized that I could eat paleo-friendly foods that are high in carbs (think sweet potatoes, tapioca starch and maple syrup) but I could also eat keto-friendly foods that are inflammatory (think vegetable oils or dairy).
I wanted to get the best of both worlds, and I’m convinced that the ketogenic paleo diet, paired with intermittent fasting, best reflects the dietary habits our ancestors had for millions of years. In other words, it’s the dietary lifestyle that our bodies have thrived on throughout human evolution.
As you can probably imagine, following what most people would consider such a strict diet doesn’t make it easy to find compatible snacks. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to write this article — to share keto-friendly snack ideas that are truly healthy and don’t contain any inflammatory ingredients.
Speaking of snacking…
Should You Snack?
For a long time, the popular advice was that you should consume food on a regular basis to keep your blood sugar levels consistent and to prevent those ups and downs. That often meant having three meals a day and snacks in between.
However, from both an evolutionary and metabolic perspective, that’s the absolute worst thing you can do to your body. If you eat constantly, you overtax your digestive system and your pancreas.
Plus, depending on what you eat, your body continuously releases insulin to lower your blood sugar. As long as there’s sufficient space available, your body stores that sugar as glycogen in your liver and skeletal muscle tissue. But once those stores are saturated, the extra glycogen is stored as fat.
That’s right: consuming carbs is what makes you fat — not the dietary fat you eat. But you probably already knew that if you came to my blog searching for “keto snacks.”
But the question remains: should you snack — even when you’re on a low-carb high-fat diet, such as keto?
After all, if your snack consists of fat (and maybe protein) your blood sugar shouldn’t spike, right?
Correct! But that doesn’t mean you should be eating all day — even if you’re on a keto diet.
If you started keto to improve your overall health or to lose weight, I highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the concept of intermittent fasting. It has many scientifically-proven benefits, and it’s absolutely free.
The good news is that even with intermittent fasting, there are plenty of opportunities for snacks. I leverage snacks as healthy dessert alternatives or to replace a meal when I’m traveling.
Occasionally, I also snack between meals during my eating window. For example, if I fast for 16 hours and have two meals during my eight-hour eating window, I might have a snack in-between those meals. I also occasionally snack right before or after a workout (depending on what time I work out).
The bottom line is that while there’s a place for snacks, I encourage you to approach snacking methodically and in a way that supports rather than hampers your healthy lifestyle.
Top 13 Keto Snacks
Healthy keto snacks that are low in carbs and high in fat (such as nuts, nut butter
We use snacks while traveling, or when we’re out with the kids and don’t have access to other healthy food sources.
So here are my favorite keto snacks, with recommendations for individual brands. If you’re interested in learning what other keto products or keto supplements I use every day, check out the two previous links.
1. Nut Butters
You can find me occasionally on the couch after dinner, spooning nut butter out of a jar to increase my daily fat intake.
Keep in mind that nuts have varying degrees of carbs. For example, macadamia nuts and almonds are relatively low in carbs, while cashews have more carbs. So I recommend sticking with macadamia and almond nut butters.
One serving contains a whopping 270 calories, including 27 grams of fat. So you can almost replace a small meal with just one pouch.
- Convenient packaging.
- Paleo and keto certified.
- High in fats, good amount of protein, and low in net carbs.
Made from macadamia, almond and coconut butter — along with functional ingredients like coconut, MCT oil, probiotics, plant protein
While I always have a pouch of SuperFat in my backpack for traveling, I frequently have the macadamia and almond nut butter mix as a healthy dessert alternative. The kids love it too!
Note: All of the flavors (Nitro Coffee + MCT, Protein, Cacao Coconut, MCT + Probiotic), except for Macadamia + Almond, contain sugar alcohols (erythritol). I try to avoid sugar alcohols when possible because they tend to upset my stomach. See this article for more information.
At home, we use jars of nut butter from Georgia Grinders or Costco. The latter offers only almond butter, while Georgia Grinders has a wide variety of different flavors.
- All natural and non-GMO.
- Excellent variety.
- Hand-crafted in Georgia.
Georgia Grinders strives to create extraordinary nut butter from simple, all-natural ingredients.
Sourcing the highest quality, natural and non-GMO ingredients, Georgia Grinders’ premium nut butter is handcrafted in small batches to ensure quality, freshness
I’m a huge fan of Georgia Grinders because I live in Georgia and always try to buy from local companies that offer quality products.
Georgia Grinders also offers peanut butter. But since peanuts are legumes (not actually nuts) and contain cancer-causing substances such as aflatoxin and antinutrients, I’d stay away from them.
2. Keto Protein Bars
Who doesn’t like a good protein bar? I love them, but I’ve found it difficult to find low-carb protein bars that don’t contain unhealthy ingredients, such as sugar alcohols or other artificial sweeteners.
While there’s an abundance of paleo-friendly protein bars on the market, they usually have too much sugar (from honey, fruits or maple syrup) to be compatible with my ketogenic lifestyle.
- Made with grass-fed collagen.
- Contains MCT oil.
- 11 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar.
- Free of dairy and soy.
Perfect Keto spent a year developing the formula for a perfect, great-tasting, keto-friendly bar with high-quality ingredients that don’t cause unnecessary spikes to your blood sugar.
What I like about these keto bars is their amount of protein, which results in a more balanced macronutrient profile. Other keto snacks are often pure fat from coconut oil.
Out of all the available flavors (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Salted Caramel, Lemon Poppyseed, and Almond Butter Brownie), I like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough best because I have a
- Gluten-free and grain-free.
- Contains cage-free eggs.
- 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of sugar.
- Free of dairy and soy.
While Primal Kitchen has a great lineup of collagen protein bars, only a few of them are keto-friendly, including the coconut lime and almond spice flavors.
Between the two keto-friendly options, I like the tropical Coconut Lime protein bars the best. Each delicious bar provides fat and protein from cage-free eggs, coconut oil, nuts
Their paleo-compatible and keto-friendly protein bars contain 2 grams of sugar and 8 grams of protein.
3. Clarified Butter (Ghee) Packets
Ghee is clarified butter, and it’s a popular ingredient in many Indian dishes.
Unlike traditional dairy, ghee doesn’t contain any inflammatory milk proteins, milk sugar (lactose), or any other impurities. It’s the pure fat of the milk (which is why ghee is also allowed on the paleo diet).
We’ve been using ghee for frying and baking because it has a buttery taste that many people like and are familiar with, including our family.
Costco sells large containers of ghee, and we typically use it for cooking. However, for traveling, I love the single-serving ghee packets from 4th & Heart.
- Portable, spreadable, and shelf-stable on-the-go packs. No refrigeration required!
- Grass-fed ghee butter from pasture-raised and hormone-free New Zealand cows (no antibiotics).
- Great addition to any diet: paleo, gluten-free, ayurvedic, Whole 30, FODMAP.
The good thing about this ghee butter is that I don’t have to worry about refrigeration, which makes it an ideal travel snack. To enjoy it, I often squeeze one of those packets directly into my mouth. Alternatively, I might spread it on a meat bar, such as the ones from Wild Zora.
The second advantage of this keto snack is that it comes in different flavors. So even if plain ghee is not your thing, I’m sure you’ll find a flavor you like.
4. Coconut Butter Cups (Keto Fat Bomb)
Many traditional keto products use either MCT oil or coconut milk as their primary source of fat. While that’s a perfectly fine way to increase the saturated fat content of a product, keep in mind that too much of medium-chain triglycerides can have a laxative effect.
Almost all keto newbies — myself included — tend to over-consume MCTs and then wonder why their stomach gets upset. Now that I’ve been on keto for several months, I’ve drastically dialed down my intake of coconut fat/milk/butter. I’ve also stopped drinking bulletproof coffee (which is coffee enhanced with MCT oil).
I appreciate the benefits of MCT oil as an excellent source of energy, and especially of caprylic acid (C8) — one of the MCTs. But I’ve realized that there are other sources of fat with similar benefits that don’t upset my stomach. Two examples are extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oil.
That said, I’m a sucker for the chocolate covered Keto Cups from Eating Evolved, and I occasionally enjoy one or two after lunch or dinner. I don’t bring them on trips because the chocolate tends to melt when the product is exposed to anything above room temperature.
- Has only four simple ingredients.
- High in fat and low in net carbs.
- Sweetened with monk fruit extract.
Each cup has 100% cacao on the outside and lightly-sweetened coconut butter with added MCT oil on the inside. Evolved uses the highest-quality ingredients to help you achieve peak performance.
Keto Cups were the first snack I had after I started the keto diet, and I absolutely love them. Note that some customers have complained that the product arrived smushed when ordered from Amazon. If that’s a concern, you can also pick them up at Whole Foods.
5. Canned Fish
Most of us don’t eat enough seafood, despite its numerous health benefits. For example, fish protein is incredibly easy to digest due to its lack of collagen, and many types of fish contain Omega 3 and other essential fatty acids.
To increase my fish intake, I regularly eat wild-caught canned sardines, anchovies, tuna and salmon. When I do, I always try to get responsibly-caught fish in extra virgin olive oil. That way, I not only get first-class protein but also fat.
My favorite brand for packaged fish is Wild Planet Foods. I’m particularly fond of their albacore wild tuna pouches. I throw a couple pouches in my backpack or suitcase any time I go on a trip.
- Sustainably-caught (pole-and-line).
- Excellent source of protein.
- High in fat, including Omega 3s.
Each pouch has 290 calories, 23 grams of mostly unsaturated fat, 10 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbs. Better yet, you also get a whopping 1,100mg EPA and DHA Omega 3.
Snacking doesn’t get any healthier than that!
6. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a staple food on the Paleolithic diet and are equally popular on keto. That’s because most nuts and seeds offer high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein, and are lower in carbs.
However, keep in mind that not all nuts are created equal as far as their carb content is concerned. For example, cashews are comparatively high in carbs and, thus, you should avoid them (or only consume them in moderation).
Besides the classic keto-friendly nuts, such as macadamia nuts, almonds and Brazil nuts, I wanted to introduce you to nuts and seeds you might not be familiar with, such as pili nuts or Sacha Inchi seeds…
Earth’s perfect keto nut, the sprouted pili nut*, contains 93% fat content with a mix of healthy saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
I had never heard of pili nuts until I attended the Paleo f(x) convention. I tried products from several vendors that use this type of nut in their products and loved the flavor. If you have never tried pili nuts — either raw, roasted, or in a nut butter — I highly recommend you do so.
Sacha Inchi seeds are native to the Amazon region and are packed with polyunsaturated fat, including alpha linolenic acid (Omega 3).
Much like pili nuts, I learned about these seeds at Paleo f(x), where I had a chance to try them from a company called Starseed. Besides the roasted seeds, Starseed also offers seed
7. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Olive oil is no different — it’s liquid, high-quality calories. I admit that I don’t often drink extra-virgin olive oil at home. However, I do drink olive oil when traveling.
My three-year-old son, on the other hand, loves to have 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil after a meal!
The reasons I do this are convenience (I don’t spill my oil and make a mess — e.g., aboard an airplane) and because I don’t want to waste that liquid gold. That’s why I carry single-serving pouches of Kasandrinos EVOO in my backpack whenever I leave home. I squeeze one or two of them directly into my mouth as a snack or when I’m in a pinch.
I know that olive oil has a distinctive taste that not everybody appreciates. However, I love it and Kasandrinos tastes delicious. Plus, it’s packed with healthy calories that keep me satisfied.
- 100% single-source USDA-certified organic extra virgin.
- Sustainably sourced, EU kosher certified, non-GMO, paleo and PGI certified.
- Made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
While we use Kasandrinos at home for cooking and salad dressings, I love the convenience of those pouches. If you’ve never considered olive oil to be
8. Grass-Fed Beef Snacks
There’s a reason why beef jerky is such a popular snack. Unfortunately, most of the jerky you can find at the grocery store is highly-processed junk food. Fortunately, there are a few vendors out there that focus on food quality without sacrificing taste.
When shopping for any meat snacks, I recommend picking products from grass-fed sources that don’t contain any artificial flavors or sweeteners, or other questionable ingredients.
Besides the classic meat bars and jerky, I recently discovered EPIC’s beef and beef liver jerky*.
- Packed with nutrients like no other snack.
- Made with grass-fed beef and beef liver.
- Only 2 grams of carbs per serving.
Organ meat has been a staple food that has fueled human evolution for millions of years. Unfortunately, these days, most of us don’t eat organ meat. EPIC offers a delicious alternative to classic liver dishes in the form of liver bites.
Learn more about why you should eat organ meat.
You probably already know that eggs are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. I eat eggs almost daily. Here are three snack ideas using eggs:
- Hard-boiled eggs (requires some prep work)
- Deviled eggs (requires more prep work)
- Raw (no prep work required)
One way to enjoy eggs as a snack is to boil and refrigerate them. That way, you have hard-boiled eggs ready-to-eat whenever you’re hungry.
I recommend boiling a larger batch of eggs. That way, you can snack on them throughout the week without having to spend extra time in the kitchen. If you don’t have an egg cooker, simply put all the eggs in a pot with cold water, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for 6-7 minutes. Then immediately transfer the eggs into a container with ice water and let them cool down.
If boiled eggs with salt are too plain for you, consider turning them into deviled eggs by removing the yolk from the eggs and mixing it with mayonnaise, salt, chili powder and mustard. Using a spoon, put the egg-yolk mix back into your egg-white shells and enjoy!
Sometimes, I decorate my deviled eggs with red pepper flakes to make them look pretty.
As you might have heard, some of the vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients in food are heat-sensitive and heating the food destroys them. Plus, cooking takes time — something you might not be willing to invest for a quick snack.
That’s why I encourage you to try drinking raw egg yolks from a trusted source. We buy pastured, organic and non-GMO eggs from Vital Farms*, and I drink two raw eggs almost every day.
Think about it — this raw egg snack takes less than a minute to prepare and it’s loaded with nutrients, such as fat (including important cholesterol), vitamins and minerals.
The primary downside of consuming raw eggs is that your body can’t absorb the protein in the egg white as well as from cooked eggs. That’s why I recommend drinking only the yolk and saving the egg white for later when you can cook it.
Plus, there’s always a risk of salmonella infection, albeit a very low one. And some people (including my wife) can’t stomach drinking raw eggs. I get that… but in reality, raw eggs don’t taste bad at all. It’s the texture you might have to get used to.
10. Pork Rinds
Pork rinds are our favorite alternative to potato chips and other salty snacks. Just make sure you buy a product that doesn’t have any funky ingredients, such as sugar or rice flour.
We recently discovered pork rinds from 4505 Meats at Costco and have been indulging in chicharrones as a healthy snack alternative ever since. If you’re not a Costco member, you can also find the brand on Amazon*.
11. Keto Shakes
If you don’t have time to read those two articles, one easy way to whip up a keto smoothie is to mix coconut milk or heavy cream with cocoa powder, ice cubes and a few drops of stevia (optional) in a high-speed blender. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and enjoy the perfect snack.
12. Keto-Friendly Fruits
My favorite fruit is the avocado because it’s delicious and doesn’t have the same amount of sugar as most traditional fruits.
That’s why I encourage you to have an avocado topped with real salt. It’s delicious, packed with nutrients and incredibly satiating due to its high fat content.
If you have some extra time, add chopped onions, pepper and lime juice to make guacamole. Alternatively, Costco sells packs of organic guacamole that we buy every week.
If you were looking for snack ideas with “real” fruits, I’ve got you covered there as well. Just keep in mind that most fruits have a lot of sugar and are thus not super keto-friendly. Plus, the nutrients in fruits are difficult for your body to absorb.
Berries, and particularly blackberries and raspberries, are some of the most keto-friendly fruits because they have lower amounts of sugar than others. As a snack for the kids, we often use berries topped with nut butter, chia seeds and coconut flakes for a sweet yet low-carb treat.
13. Dark Chocolate
I love the taste of dark chocolate. By dark, I mean chocolate that has 90% or more cocoa.
Chocolate is packed with micronutrients such as antioxidants and minerals, and it’s relatively low in net-carbs due to its high fiber content.
However, keep in mind that cocoa is a natural source of caffeine, so don’t overindulge later in the afternoon or before bedtime. Doing so may disrupt your sleep.
Keto Diet Snacks to Avoid
While there are plenty of healthy and low-carb snacks you can enjoy, the list of unhealthy and highly-processed junk food is much longer. So I won’t be able to list every single snack or snack type you should stay away from. As a rule of thumb, if you can find it on a shelf in your grocery store — meaning that it’s processed and contains preservatives — be careful.
On a high level, that means staying away from any snacks that contain:
- Added sugar — regardless of whether that sugar is from processed sources or real fruits.
- Artificial sweeteners — see here for a list of sweeteners you might find on food labels.
- Starchy vegetables (potato chips, rice flour, tapioca flour, etc.)
- Grains (popcorn, quinoa, etc.) — check out this article on why grains are bad for you.
- Vegetable oils (canola, safflower oil, etc.) — these are industrial oils produced with high heat or chemicals that contain highly-inflammatory and damaged fatty acids with a poor Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio.
Unfortunately, most low-carb foods on the market are junk food, and even some of the “keto friendly” products out there contain unhealthy and inflammatory ingredients. That’s the primary reason why I gravitate towards foods that are both keto and paleo friendly.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve been in nutritional ketosis for a while, you shouldn’t be experiencing any major cravings. My guess is that you’ve either eaten carbs in the recent past or your body isn’t fully fat-adapted yet.
So, my recommendation is to eat something that’s high in fat and doesn’t have any carbohydrates. Think fatty fish, pastured meat, or a shot of your favorite oil.
Life is much easier if you don’t have a sweet tooth. The good news is that if you remain on keto, your sweet tooth is likely going to go away. Cravings like the one you’re experiencing are likely caused by the bacterial makeup in your gut.
If you have more carb-eating microorganisms, based on your old dietary habits, you’re likely to crave carbs. Once your gut flora changes, based on the food you eat, your sweet tooth should go away. Until then, you might consider using natural sweeteners such as stevia or monk fruit extract to sweeten your snacks.
Yes, coconut flour is relatively keto friendly. On average, 25 grams of coconut flour has 15 grams of carbs. However, most of that is fiber, leaving you with only 4 grams of net carbs.
Bone broth is a nutrient-dense food that we enjoy a lot. While it’s packed with protein and has zero net carbs, it doesn’t have any fat. To turn it into a keto snack, I recommend adding oil to it.
Making crackers keto friendly usually means relying on a dairy source, such as parmesan cheese. We used to buy parmesan cheese crackers at Costco, and you can also find products like Primal Thin Crackers* on Amazon.
The problem with dairy — and, in particular, casein (milk protein) — is that it’s highly inflammatory and thus I recommend you stay away from it. As a result, I don’t usually eat crackers.
Losing weight is a byproduct of a healthy dietary lifestyle, quality sleep, and exercise. High-fat snacks can certainly play a part in that, but they won’t play a significant role in your efforts.
The list above is certainly not complete. Other keto snacks you might consider are kale chips, sunflower seeds, olives, cacao nibs and pumpkin seeds.
Best Keto Snacks for a Low-Carb Diet
Finding healthy snacks that support your keto lifestyle can be challenging. While there are plenty of low-carb diet snacks on the market, most of them are over-processed junk food that you should avoid.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to learn how to read a food label. Most people only glance at the macros (protein, fat and carbs) and ignore the actual ingredient list, including the “other ingredients.” Often, that’s where manufacturers hide the stuff they don’t want you to notice.
My goal with this article was to point out snack categories that are generally keto friendly, and to recommend individual brands and products that meet my high standards for food quality.
Take that as an inspiration to discover your own keto snacks and then share with me what you’ve found by leaving a comment below.
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