When you hear the word “snacking”, you will probably think of it as an unhealthy habit of eating high-carb finger-food between meals. That is oversimplification: it matters what you’re snacking, when, and most importantly, WHY you are doing it. Theoretically, if the snack fits your macros and you’re hungry, there’s no need to restrict it. But if you want to snack out of boredom, or because you’re stressed or you want to “relax”, then that’s not a good reason and you should not reach for food. This need comes from negative emotions, and food will not help you; in fact, it might make you feel even worse! Instead of snacking when you’re feeling down, talk to a friend, go for a walk, read a book, the newspaper, or make a cup of coffee or tea. Here at Lowcarb Online we have put together this guide to help.
It’s okay to snack, even on keto
On the other hand, snacks can be very useful when you’re on a healthy diet, and keto is no exception. You may really be hungry at some point of day and this point is different for everybody; some people may feel hungry in the morning and some really need a healthy snack in the evening. There is a myth that the food you eat at night turns into body fat while you sleep; that is not true at all! As long as the snack fits into your daily macros and deficiency, you will not gain weight no matter when you eat it. The only reason you may want to stay away from food at night is if you’re commonly affected by acid reflux or heartburn: this can intensify if you eat in the evening, and if your stomach is full, it can cause insomnia for some people.
Do you prefer big meals or snacks?
Some people feel the best when they have one or two big meals a day. On keto, this is even more popular than on other diets (due to intermittent fasting being exceptionally effective on keto), but some people prefer to have many small meals during the day – and that is also okay. Your eating habits might change once you start doing keto; three full meals might have been your go-to strategy, but during keto you might not really feel as hungry anymore, and you may switch to two meals and just a snack instead of a full-fledged third meal.
You can both snack AND lose weight on keto
Classic high-carb snacks will probably have more calories and carbs than your entire meals, so stay away from them during keto (and always, really) and replace them with whole foods. They will be much more satisfying and satiating, and you actually have many options you can choose from: protein snacks such as an egg or some low-carb deli meat, fatty snacks like avocado or cheese, or a small bunch of fiber-rich veggies like chopped cucumber or a tomato salad. Drinks can be a snack, too, so opt for coffee, unsweetened tea and sparkling or carbonized water. This is just the beginning: here’s a big list of keto-friendly snacks with some combination ideas!
Keto-Friendly Snack List: Protein-high and Dairy Snacks
Reaching for an egg is always a perfect idea for keto: boil one and bring with you wherever you think you might need a snack. Deli meat is okay if your options are limited; go for low-carb ones without any added sugars. Cheese, on the other hand, is a great option. You can go for hard cheese, which is low in carbs but high in calories, so make sure to track it and add the value to your daily macros calculation, or unsweetened and unflavored cottage cheese that will provide protein for you while being low in carbs. Other dairy snacks you can have include Greek unsweetened yogurt (which will be an even better option if it contains probiotic cultures, optionally with some fresh strawberries and stevia) and low-carb dips you make yourself. These dips can be mayo, guacamole, or any other homemade keto-friendly dip; there are many recipes available online.
Keto-Friendly Snack List: Natural, healthy fatty snacks
Pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, brazil nuts… Nuts can always be your go-to when you need a small snack with a nice keto-friendly fat boost: don’t forget to track them, as they can turn out pretty caloric if you eat too many. An avocado is another keto-friendly choice: rich in healthy fats and very satiating, making it a perfect snack as well as a perfect keto product. Opt for olives if you crave something fatty and salty, and add a slice of salmon for extra omega-3 fatty acids between your meals. Pork rinds can also be an option, but don’t eat too many; they’re high in calories. Finally, as a sweet fatty option, go for fat bombs you prepared and stored in your fridge to be using during the week!
Keto-Friendly Snack List: Sweets, Fiber & more
When talking about sweets, nobody should forget about chocolate: as a keto snack, you can have a piece of very dark chocolate with at least 85% of cocoa content. Cherry tomatoes are also a nice sweet treat, so take a few if you’re looking for a healthy sweet snack. Other veggies are also a good choice, as they’ll provide you with fiber while also being satiating: cucumbers and celery are low in calories and can be eaten together with low-carb dips, while pickles with no added sugar are nice keto-friendly finger-food. Last but not least, pick a couple of whole sardines in order to boost your calcium intake and help your mid-day hunger at the same time.
Snacking is a healthy habit when done right
It’s important that you change the way you view snacking; when the snacks you pick are goods snacks that fit into your macros, then the snacking itself becomes a good, healthy habit. Only eat snacks when you really are hungry, though, not just bored or stressed. Snacks on keto can provide you with needed macro and micro nutrients, while being satiating and satisfying your hunger until your next meal – there is no need to avoid them!