The ketogenic, or keto, diet is a popular eating plan that limits carbohydrates and focuses on protein and healthful fats.
People who follow a keto diet try to limit their carb intake to 50 grams (g) per day.
The purpose of this restriction is to force the body to use ketones, which are acids formed in the liver, or fat to provide caloric needs.
This article explores the keto diet in more detail and lists some of the best keto-friendly snacks.
There are many different nut butters to choose from, including peanut, almond, and sesame.
Nut butters are high in fat and protein but low in carbs. This makes them a filling and nutritious option.
It is important to look for natural butters that do not contain added sugar. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)Trusted Source, 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter, with no added sugar, contain:
- 7 g of carbs
- 8 g of protein
- 16 g of fat
Olives provide a large amount of fat but minimal protein. Still, they are an excellent snack choice for many people following a keto diet.
However, since olives are also high in sodium, people who need to limit their sodium intake should exercise caution.
According to the USDA, a 3.5 ounce (oz) serving of olives provides:
- 14 g of fat
- 1.2 g of dietary fiber
- 900 milligrams of sodium
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in protein and healthful fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and low in carbs. For example, according to the USDA, a quarter cup of raw, whole almonds has 15 g of fat and 7 g of protein.
Some good nuts and seeds for people following a keto diet to snack on include:
- sunflower seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- chia seeds
It is best to look for unsalted nuts with no additional ingredients.
Avocados are full of healthful fat and dietary fiber. According to the USDA, a single green skinned avocado contains:
- 44.6 g of fat
- 6.08 g of protein
- 20.4 g fiber
Avocados are also a good source of vitamin C, which can help increase the body’s ability to absorb iron.
Hard-boiled eggs are a protein-rich snack, and they make a good topping for a salad.
Boiling or poaching eggs is a lower-fat cooking method. If a person needs more fat grams for the day, they can use butter or oils to fry or scramble them.
According to the USDA, one large egg contains 6.29 g of protein and 5.3 g of fat.
Full fat cheese can be a good source of protein and fat. For example, according to the USDA, a 1 inch cube of cheddar cheese contains 3.89 g of protein and 5.66 g of fat.
It also contains less than 1 g of carbs, which makes it an excellent choice as a keto-friendly snack.
However, people should note that low fat and fat-free cheeses may contain around 2 g of carbs per serving.
Green bell peppers
A person following a low carb or keto diet can eat green bell peppers in moderation. Though they are low in carbs compared with some other vegetables, they contain 4 g of carbs in a 3 oz serving.
Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers have similar nutritional values.
Chopped green bell peppers with a dip, such as unsweetened Greek yogurt, makes an excellent keto-friendly snack. However, it is important to note that half a cup of regular unsweetened Greek yogurt can contain 3–5 g of carbs.
Like green peppers, carrots are also acceptable in moderation when following a keto diet.
According to the USDA, a 3 oz serving of carrot sticks contains 7 g of carbs. Carrots also offer plenty of beta-carotene and other nutrients, making them a healthful addition to a keto diet.
Plain, full fat Greek yogurt
Plain, full-fat Greek yogurt provides protein and fat and is relatively low in carbs. According to the USDA, a 6 oz serving of Greek yogurt contains:
- 15.3 g of protein
- 8.5 g of fat
- 6.77 g of carbs
A person following a keto diet may wish to plan for the carbs if they wish to eat Greek yogurt as a snack.
Celery sticks are a low calorie, low carb food that a person can eat while following a keto diet.
According to the USDA, 110 g of celery — or about nine celery sticks — contains around 3 g of carbs.
Celery sticks are excellent choices for dipping in nut butters, such as unsweetened peanut or almond butter.
Raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries
Many people following a keto diet choose to limit the amount of fruit they eat, as fruit is high in carbs. However, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries provide fiber and antioxidants.
Still, they are not sugar-free, so people following a keto diet may wish to eat them in moderation.
According to the USDA, three-quarters of a cup of raspberries contains 17 g of carbs, 1 cup of strawberries contains 12 g of carbs, and 1 cup of blueberries contains 17 g of carbs.
Sliced cucumbers are another low carb vegetable option for people following a keto diet.
According to the USDA, 1 cup of sliced cucumbers contains around 2.57 g of carbs.
People can consume cucumbers alone as a snack, or they can add them to a salad. They are also a good option for dipping into low or no-carb dips.
What is the keto diet?
According to a 2020 article, someone following a typical keto diet gets:
- 5% of their total daily calories from carbs
- 60–75% of their total daily calories from fats
- 20–35% of their total daily calories from proteins
People following a keto diet may need to avoid grains, starchy vegetables, and most fruits.
In the short-term, following a keto diet may help a person lose weight and control their blood sugar levels.
However, according to a study that looked at the long-term effects of such low carb diets, people who favor animal-based fats and proteins have a higher mortality rate than those who primarily eat plant-based fats and proteins.
Following a keto diet may also cause some side effects, especially in the first few weeks. These include:
- brain fog, or reduced mental energy
- muscle cramps
- stomach discomfort
- increased hunger
- constipation, from a lack of fiber
- fatigue during exercise
- sleep disturbances
- a lack of nutrients, from reduced consumption of fruits and vegetables
To help combat hunger and fatigue, a person may wish to consume healthful snacks throughout their day.
People can choose from a wide range of nutritious, low carb snack options that fit into a keto diet.
However, it is important to speak to a doctor or registered dietitian before making any significant changes to the diet. This helps ensure that a person is getting enough essential nutrients.