Keto tends to discourage snacking. Not as in “If you’re keto, you’re not allowed to snack!” More like “If you’re keto, you probably won’t feel the need to snack as much.”
Still, hunger strikes. Situations arise where you need a little something to nourish you in the moment without having to cook a meal. This isn’t a problem. But you do need to be prepared—or else risk derailing your efforts.
A snack must be instantly available or take no more than a minute or two of preparation. A snack shouldn’t be something that makes you groan or use more than one or two bowls or pieces of kitchen equipment to prepare. It should be an afterthought.
What are my favorite keto-friendly snacks? I’ve got 14.
1. Coconut Butter
As I mentioned in last week’s “Day in the Life of Keto” video, my go-to keto-friendly snack is a tablespoonful of Artisana coconut butter. It’s sweet, without having much sugar. It’s creamy, without having any dairy (if you care about that sort of thing). It’s full of fiber, which some people have trouble finding on a keto diet. And it’s right there, waiting, ready without any real preparation.
2. Brad’s “Stu Can’t Stop Chocolate Bark”
Stu is my writing partner—and buddy Brad Kearns’ dog. Stu can’t stop barking once he gets going. “Stu Can’t Stop Bark” is Brad’s edible, polyphenol-rich homage to Stu.
Take a pound of 80%+ chocolate and break it up into pieces. Add half to a double boiler or glass bowl set above a boiling pot.
As chocolate melts, add 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. Stir to combine.
Add two cups of chopped macadamias or other nuts to a large mixing bowl along with the rest of the chocolate.
When chocolate/oil mixture is completely melted, pour it into the mixing bowl. Stir until everything is melted and evenly distributed. Really coat those nuts.
Spread half the mixture evenly into a 15 x 10 inch glass baking pan. Drizzle three tablespoons of almond butter across the top. Optional: sprinkle coconut flakes or coconut butter across the top.
Spread the rest of the mixture across the top. Sprinkle sea salt. Optional: sprinkle coconut flakes or coconut butter across the top.
Refrigerate until solidified. Remove from pan, cut into squares with large chef’s knife. Keep refrigerated or frozen until ready to eat (immediately).
Do not give Stu, or any other dog, Stu Can’t Stop Bark. They can’t process the theobromine in the dark chocolate. To a dog, chocolate bark is way worse than a bite. To a human, it’s pure fuel.
3. Avocado Mashed With Sardine
This one takes a small amount of preparation (about a minute). You could make it ahead of time and leave it in the fridge, but the risk of a browning avocado is too great for me to bear. What’s a minute anyway? We all have plenty of those laying around.
First, grab a can of sardines. Wild Planet in EVOO is my preferred type. Open it up, dump it in a bowl. I don’t always include all the can oil. Sometimes my dog Shanti gets it, sometimes I keep it. There will be plenty of fat either way.
Either is a great snack by itself. Together, they become more powerful than you can imagine. Mac nuts are inherently sweet, especially once you’ve removed sugar from your diet and increased your appreciation of subtle flavor. Because the yogurt is so thick, the mac nuts are suspended throughout the entirety rather than pool at the bottom as happens with runnier yogurt. Every spoonful nets you yogurt and mac nut.
5. Keto Coconut Cheesecake Bites
Go read the post, make the recipe, and report back. Better than expected, right?
6. Three Raw Egg Yolks
More than a snack, this is a quick cognitive pick-me-up. Egg yolks are loaded with brain-boosting nutrients like choline. Many of the nutrients in the egg yolk are encased in phospholipids, making them highly bioavailable and potent—similar to liposomal supplements. The vitamin D in eggs is “stronger” than the vitamin D in supplements, for example. The omega-3s in pastured or omega-3-enhanced eggs are more potent than those in fish oil.
But you can also toast your own quite easily. 325° F oven, baking sheet, single layer, dash of salt, 10-12 minutes or until desired brownness. If you like the results, play around with some additional spices. Turmeric with black pepper. Curry powder. Cayenne. Cumin and garlic powder.
8. Boiled Eggs
For my money, the egg is the perfect keto food. Nice protein—fat ratio, excellent micronutrient profile (especially if you go with pastured eggs). They boil nicely, too.
Hard-boiled eggs store well for days in the fridge. You can chop them up, mix with mayo and mustard, and have delicious egg salad in under a minute. You can eat them straight up with bit of salt and pepper. You can devil them.
Soft-boiled eggs don’t store as well in the fridge, especially if you make the yolks as runny as I like, but they’ll last for at least a few days. And let’s be honest: soft-boiled eggs never last long. They’re too good. My personal favorite way to eat a soft-boiled egg is to toss it in salt, turmeric, and black pepper. Another good way is to make marinated kombu and tamari soft-boiled eggs.
9. Smoked Oysters
Crown Prince smoked oysters are a hidden gem in the grocery aisle. You get a big dose of zinc and iron. All you have to do is pop open the can, grab a fork (these get messy, so don’t use your fingers), and get to snacking.
10. Nori-Wrapped Tuna Salad
First, make tuna salad. I always go basic here. Primal Kitchen Mayo, tuna. I do drain the tuna, either drinking the juice or, again, giving it to Shanti. Leaving the liquid in with the tuna and mayo gives it a wet texture I don’t prefer.
I’ll keep a big container of that made ahead of time. Then I just spoon it into nori, fold together, and cram into mouth.
You get a nice dose of omega-3s, selenium, and protein from the tuna, along with iodine from the seaweed.
11. Cold Leg Of Lamb With Sharp Cheddar
This isn’t a constant presence in my snack arsenal. I don’t always have a cooked leg of lamb sitting in my fridge. But when we do make leg of lamb, I make sure to save at least half of it for leftovers the rest of the week. Cold roast lamb is way better than cold roast beef. The two don’t even compare.
It’s medium rare, always. I eat it with a wedge of sharp cheddar, always.
12. Cold Chicken Leg
My old lunchtime standby when I didn’t have time to throw together a Big Ass Salad, the cold chicken leg is made for quick snacking. It comes with a handle. It has excellent texture—there’s something about the chilled fattiness of the thigh that makes it incredibly tender. I’ll keep a sack of cooked chicken legs (always whole, drumstick and thigh) in the fridge for easy access.
I love fresh roasted chicken, right out of the oven, and my favorite piece to eat is the thigh. But there’s something special about the cold chicken leg. A cold breast I could take or leave.
13. Crudités With Dip
Crudités are just sliced or whole raw vegetables served with dip. A traditional crudités platter comes with vinaigrette, and that’s a good option, but you have others.
There are millions of combinations. Possible vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, onions. Almost anything works.
FODMAP-sensitive folks might want to be careful with some of the raw vegetables. Choose wisely. Don’t eat a plate of raw broccoli if cooked broccoli gives you stomach issues.
14. Roasted Veggies
Every once in awhile, I’ll cut up a big mix of veggies (drawing on the list mentioned in the crudités section above), toss them in avocado oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them at 425° until I see what I like. I’m going for char, for browning, for caramelization. Some of them get eaten right away. The rest go into a glass container and into the fridge for snacks.
Those are my 14 favorite keto-friendly snacks. What are yours?
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.