Americans once demonized fat. But recently, the nutrient is rising above its bad-for-you reputation. That’s just one reason the ketogenic diet is becoming popular again—eating all the fat you want sounds like a great thing, right?
But the keto diet also severely restricts the amount of carbohydrates you can eat. Anywhere from 60 to 80 per cent of your daily calories come from fat, 5 to 10 per cent come from carbs, and the remainder consists of protein—which can affect your body in more ways than one.
In fact, when you go keto, it’s typically recommended to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day or the equivalent of just two to three apples.
But a big factor that can help you stick to a keto diet? Feeling full. If you’re hungry throughout the day, you’ll likely overeat, which can lead to weight gain over time. Generally, you want to eat a few snacks per day in addition to your meals, depending on your hunger levels. There’s no set number but aim to fuel your body every 4 to 5 hours.
Snacking on a keto diet can be tricky, though. So, here are a few snacks that fit the keto guidelines. Reach for them when you need something to hold you over until your next meal.
MINI BELL PEPPERS
As a general rule of thumb, vegetables offer fewer carbs. So while fruit is great for you to snack on and can certainly fit into your plan, it’s trickier to eat lots of it on a keto diet.
Plus, you still need to eat enough good-for-you nutrients, and enjoying colourful mini bell peppers will help you do just that. “They’re refreshing, crisp, and convenient,” says sports dietitian Jenna Braddock, R.D., C.S.S.D. “Since the mini bell peppers are portable, you don’t need any prep.”
Three mini bell peppers offer just 5 grams of carbs, meaning nine of them for a snack would offer the same as most medium-sized pieces of fruit. If you can’t stand eating them on your own, have them with some mashed avocado.
Kale keeps your carb intake in check while offering a combo of fibre, antioxidants, and even some protein. Want to make your own snack? Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and rinse off a batch of dinosaur kale. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spread your kale leaves and sprinkle them with a bit of salt and pepper (and a pinch of cayenne if you want some heat). Roast for about 5 to 10 minutes until they’re crispy.
The keto diet is high in fat, but you should focus on eating quality poly- and monounsaturated fats. Pistachios offer a power trio of plant protein, filling fibre, and healthy fats to keep you satisfied in between meals.
Pistachios pack 6 grams of filling protein per 28 grams and offer the most nuts per serving (about 49 nuts) compared to other nuts, like 18 cashews or 28 peanuts for the same 28 grams. These nuts are perfectly fine to snack on as well, but pistachios will give you the most bang for your buck.
The reduced serving 100-calorie packs are super convenient since you can take them with you to snack on the go.
Finding a bar that’s in-line with the ketogenic diet guidelines can be tough. When you’re looking for a keto-approved bar, aim for less than 10 grams of carbs, 15 to 30 grams of protein, and as much fat as you want, since that’s the majority of your diet.
HARD BOILED EGGS
Whole eggs are awesome. They offer high-quality protein, vitamin E, and choline, which is essential for brain health, among others. Stick to roughly two or three whole eggs when you snack to keep your portions in check.
While boiling and peeling your eggs does take extra effort, you can easily prep a batch on Sunday to have them on hand for a few days. Many stores offer pre-peeled hard boiled eggs, too.
A staple of the Mediterranean diet,are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and minerals like selenium and zinc. Aim for one serving, or about five to 10 olives, for a solid keto snack.
These can also be found in portable packages so you can easily throw them into your lunch bag.
Cruciferous vegetables—like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage—offer fibre and many disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Pick up a head of cauliflower at the store, break it into about 1 cup’s worth of bite-size pieces, and enjoy with mashed avocado to bump your fat intake.
Beef jerky is an easy snack for any keto dieter, says Melissa Joy Dobbins, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E., a member of the beef expert bureau. Plus, “it packs about 10 to 15 grams of high-quality protein per 1 ounce serving and is also typically low in fat and carbohydrates, although that can vary by brand,” so be sure to read labels.
You typically want to snack on jerky that’s higher in protein and ideally less than 10 grams of carbs as possible. If you’re following the keto diet, getting the very few carbs you’re eating from vegetables and fruit is key, because they offer the most nutrients.
In addition to protein, beef offers iron and zinc, which are two very important minerals. Iron helps oxygen travel to your tissues and organs, while zinc helps support your immune system.
By Chris Mohr