Making the switch to the keto diet isn’t always easy – especially if you’re coming from a lifestyle that is high in sugar and other forms of processed carbs.
Cutting out these foods that play havoc with your blood sugar is a great way to improve your health, but if you’re going cold turkey you might feel those familiar cravings. Fortunately, a low-carbohydrate, high-fat, keto diet has fantastic snack options.
Today we’re going to take you through some advice on what to do when you get snack cravings that you just can’t ignore. We’re going to take you through the basics of the keto diet, how to figure out the best keto snacks, easy fixes, and 5 of our favorite recipes for delicious, low-carb snack foods.
BASICS OF KETO
It all starts with keto – to get a good understanding of how to snack effectively, you need a better understanding of the keto diet and why you’re going to limit carbs in the first place.
To start with, they’re hyper-palatable and far too common in our diets. Carbs aren’t inherently bad for you, but we’ve gotten into the habit of consuming copious amounts and it’s wrecking our metabolic health. Over-eating a diet that is high in low-quality carbs is a disaster for blood sugar, diabetes risk, and long-term health.
Keto and other low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets are all about cutting the carbs and adapting to a high-fat lifestyle. While fats have been given a bad rap in the media, they’re actually not going to make you fat. The fat you eat and the fat you carry on your body aren’t the same things!
LCHF diets use low-carb alternatives to allow you to enjoy your diet without worrying too much about taste – it’s not all broccoli and carrots. Foods like nut butter, coconuts, and high-quality meat are back on the menu!
Types of Fat
One thing we want to focus on today is about how you balance fats in your keto diet – from snacks to the rest of your intake. We often see keto dieters going off the rails with any amount of any type of fat but fats aren’t all made equal.
While bacon slathered in butter might be a snack that moistens your mouth, it defeats the point of the keto diet. You should be aiming to keep a good balance of healthy unsaturated and saturated fats. Going whole-hog on the bacon isn’t the best way to improve your health and physique.
So when we talk about keto snacks, we’re going to be focusing on getting a good balance of fats. Poly-unsaturated fats are fantastic for heart health, many mono-unsaturated fats are amazing for brain health, and there are some fantastic saturated fats like MCTs that contribute to metabolism and other areas of your health.
Keep this in mind when you’re looking for snacks: you don’t need to be 100% strict all the time, but being low carb isn’t enough to be healthy. You want to look for keto snacks that rely on healthy fats!
WHAT MAKES A GOOD KETO SNACK?
This is the easy part: a great keto snack is rich in healthy fats, provides fantastic energy, and it’s delicious. This is the lesson we’ve taken for the snacks we’re going to discuss today – they’re focused on a balance of luxury and nutritional quality. If the only thing we cared about was nutrition, snacks would be broccoli stems and flax seeds, but that’s not why we snack.
Beyond taste, we need to look at the macros you want to see and how they affect your snack choices.
You want proteins – they’re the second pillar of keto after healthy fats. They’re also the building blocks of muscles and countless other important tissues in the body. You’ll find these in high-quality fish and meat products, as well as eggs and other forms of high-quality dairy.
These are easy to find in savory foods, but we’ve included a high-protein, sweet snack option today so that you don’t have to pick and choose based on protein content alone. If everything you snack on is building muscle, you get the freedom to eat what you want.
Carbs are restricted on the keto diet, but they do play a key role in your wellbeing. The non-digestible carbohydrate known as the fiber is a key factor here.
This is a substance in food that is crucial for proper metabolic and digestive health – especially when you’re eating large quantities of animal products. Since we’re not carnivores, we have to keep fiber intake high to keep our guts healthy.
While you are obviously going to restrict sugars and starches, fiber is key. You can find it in many of the veggies you should be eating on a daily basis, as well as nuts, seeds and many other plant foods. The sweet snacks on this list are actually fantastic for fiber intake, but make sure to balance your daily intake against your snack choices.
Too little fiber and you’re going to feel some serious repercussions in the digestive system!
We’ve already mentioned fats, but the snacks we’re going to discuss today revolve around high quality fats. Get the best ingredients you can: well-farmed meats and dairy, wholefoods, high-quality plant foods, and other great sources.
We focus on nut butters, lean meats, nuts, seeds, various cheeses, and basic veggies.
1. TURKEY CHEESE CHILLI THINGS
These are about as simple as it gets: turkey, cheese, chilli. An easy combination that results in some delicious food with great nutritional info.
They’re individual portions, so you can repeat these steps as many times as you want for the amount you desire. We’re just going to look at how to create one – from there you’ve got the power to snack as lightly or heavily as you want!
Ingredients and Directions
Lean turkey mince (7% fat or lower)
Cheese of your choice (we recommend a cheddar or something smokier)
Chilli – finely chopped
These are nice and easy. Take your turkey mince and season to taste with paprika, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and even crushed chilli flakes.
Take a cookie cutter and cut out circles of turkey mince, making sure its laid flat on your surface. From there, take a single cube of cheese and a sprinkling of finely chopped chilli – you can also use a red-orange capsicum if you aren’t a huge fan of spicy foods.
Wrap the turkey around the top of the cheese and pepper, closing entirely until you have a (slightly-flattened) ball. Try and keep the shape as even as possible and make sure there are no gaps in the coverage.
Repeat as many times as you’d like, before placing on a lightly-oiled baking tray and cooking at around 375 degrees. Cook until the turkey is mildly browned on the outside – approximately 10-15 minutes.
2. PEANUT BUTTER DARK CHOCOLATE COOKIES
These are a classic approach to peanut butter cookies with our own twist. They provide a great sweet snack without the concentrated sugar intake you expect from a normal cookie.
Be sure to use a natural, low-sugar peanut butter for this recipe – the carbs can add up quickly if you’re using a “normal” alternative.
Ingredients and Directions
¾ cup peanut butter
¼ cup Superfat almond-macadamia butter
6 servings stevia or other non-sugar sweetener
A whole egg
The process from here is easy:
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
Roll the resulting dough into individual balls (roughly the same size)
Place them onto a lined baking tray and squish each of them down with a thumb or cooking utensil
Bake at around 350-375 degrees for 10-15 minutes
You want to let these stand for a while after cooking. Not only will they be exceptionally hot – and will lose their texture if you move them too soon – but you’ll want to let them cool before storage. We definitely recommend making these by the batch so that you have them in advance next time!
3. HALLOUMI, SALMON AND CREAM CHEESE BITES
These are another incredibly easy-to-make snack that only has 3 key ingredients. You can probably guess what they’re going to be!
Salmon is great for Omega-3 fatty acids, the most important dietary fats to spend time on. They’ll improve brain health and protect you against mood disorders. The taste of salmon blends great with the cream cheese, and halloumi provides an additional salty kick.
Ingredients and Directions
1 standard block of halloumi – cut to 0.5” strips
Oak smoked salmon
This is another recipe where you can repeat to your heart’s content, as each bite is an individual piece.
It’s really this simple: Fry up the halloumi until both sides are slightly charred, spread a layer of cream cheese over the top, and finish with ribbons of smoked salmon. You won’t find any carbs in this recipe, but it still provides a beautiful snack with the same salty, savoury taste of crackers.
4. HOMEMADE KETO PROTEIN BAR (COCOA, NUTS/SEEDS MIX, CHOC PROTEIN POWDER, HAZELNUT BUTTER/SUPERFAT, COCONUT FLOUR)
This one is nice and easy: a protein power bar that you don’t have to cook, and the cooking process is as simple as mixing it together then leaving it alone.
These are based on a similar oat-based protein bar concept but adapted to take on a keto twist. They require a bit more refrigeration to make sure they’re set, but the result is a creamy and delicious protein bar without the ridiculous carb content.
Ingredients and Directions
5 scoops Protein powder – chocolate flavour
¼ cup Cocoa powder
½ cup hazelnut butter
1 cup Nuts and seeds – the smaller the better
¼ cup SuperFat Cacao
¼ cup Coconut flour
Optional: ground flax seed
Optional: melted 80%+ dark chocolate with butter
All you have to do is mix the ingredients together in a bowl until it achieves a thicker, more solid consistency. If you’re struggling, there are two options to change the consistency. If it’s too loose, add ground flax seed. If it’s too thick, add a combination of melted 80% dark chocolate and butter to the mixture.
The goal is something that approximates chocolate cement.
Once you’ve achieved this, simply spread it into a tray and place in the refrigerator. You may need to refrigerate these for several hours – or even overnight depending on the final consistency. When they’re done, allow them to defrost slightly before cutting into even strips. These can be taken with you as an easy alternative to commercial, high-sugar protein bars.
5. SAUSAGE KALE BITES
These are a great way to start the day and one of the best comfort foods that you can get your hands on. They use 5 simple ingredients, work with a variety of seasonings, and they’re exceptionally low in carbs.
Using Kale and eggs as the basis for these foods, you’re ensuring plenty of high-quality micronutrients from potassium to choline and beyond. We recommend baking these bites in a tray, cutting them up into 2”x2” sections and snacking on them when necessary.
They’re not the healthiest fats in the world, so be sure to balance them out with your daily intake, but the addition of high-quality veg is a great way to keep your digestive and metabolic systems nice and healthy.
Ingredients and Directions
1 cup kale – finely chopped
1 onion - chopped
1lb smoked sausage meat
½ cup cubed goats cheese
4-6 whole eggs
Optional: spinach – finely chopped
Optional: chorizo or other spiced meats
Optional: any form of a chopped mushroom
Season the sausage meat to taste and fry until it’s cooked throughout then allow to stand and cool briefly. When the sausage is cooked, add the other dry ingredients (except the cheese) to the pan and allow them all to cook together. The onions should be browned and the sausage should be mildly browned on the outside.
Once these are cooked, remove them from the heat and scoop evenly into any form of baking-friendly container. You can put them onto a simple baking tray, or you can spoon them into a muffin tray in small portions. This is just a matter of how you want to serve them.
Whisk the eggs together until they have a smooth consistency, then pour them over the sausage meat. Stir them together to make sure there’s no pooling and to make sure the mixture binds together on the tray. Add a cube or two of goats cheese and stir again.
At this point, you can top them with grated cheese (a cheddar or something smokier) if you want.
From here, place them in the oven to bake. If you did individual portions in a muffin tray, you’ll want to cook them for about 15-20 minutes, while a larger bake may take 25-30. The simplest way to be sure is to wait 20 minutes, then check back every 3-4 minutes depending on how it looks.
You can leave these to cool and cut them up or simply remove them from the tray – depending on how you decided to portion them up.
If you’re looking to stay healthy and enjoy your diet, keto can be a great choice. It is an easy way of changing your diet habits and kicking your bad relationship with sugary foods. This is even easier when you’ve got a series of snacks and high-quality fat-based foods to get you through the early cravings.
Work on these recipes to find what suits your tastes and needs, and in time you can adapt them to produce even better versions that you love. To start with, however, they’re a much better choice than the stuff you’ll find in shops – they provide great nutritional values, amazing taste, and a chance to snack without the sugar.
These aren’t just snacks – they’re tools to kick those junk-food cravings and make your diet stick!
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