Sweet, salty, crunchy, or creamy—these snacks will satisfy any craving and keep you on track.
What Makes a Snack Keto Diet-Friendly?
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The fat-friendly ketogenic diet is on ~fire~ right now, but it involves a lot of planning. And let's be honest: It's a lot to ask just to prep three meals a day, so you don't always have time to whip up an amazing batch of keto fat bombs for snacks. When hunger strikes during that dreaded afternoon slump, be ready with one of these healthy packaged keto snacks instead.
It's important to realize that simply eating keto snacks if you're not following the keto diet will not put you in a state of ketosis, says Pegah Jalali, M.S., C.D.N., a registered dietitian at Middleberg Nutrition in New York. And, although each of these snacks is keto-friendly, it's important to evaluate whether a snack falls into your specific diet and plan. (Related: The Keto Meal Plan for Beginners)
First, consider serving size. Then look at the total carbs and subtract the fiber from the total carbs to get the net carbs, says Jalali. It depends on your diet and goals, but "most individuals on keto diets can consume anywhere from 15 to 40 grams of net carbs per day," says Jalali. "For a snack, about 3 grams of net carbs or less is appropriate." Jalali recommends choosing a keto snack with at least 5 grams of fat or more per serving, but ideally 15 to 25 grams of fat.
Lastly, she advises avoiding sugar alcohols as much as possible. "Even though something might be low-carb enough to fit your keto diet, it might not be supportive of your goals," she says. "Even non-nutritive sweeteners can raise your blood sugar and affect your level of ketosis." (See: What Are Sugar Alcohols and Are They Healthy?)
Photo: Galileo30 / Shutterstock
SWEET: SmartSweets Gummy Bears
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High-carb sweets like Champagne gummy bears are definitely off-limits when following the keto diet—but that doesn't mean you have to skip candy entirely. Each pack of SmartSweets gummy bears (available in Sour or Fruity) is big on taste. (You might not even be able to tell they're not the real thing). They have only 3 grams of sugar and a whopping 28 grams of plant-based fiber, yet contain no sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, or gluten.
Fun fact: The company was founded by millennial Tara Bosch, who launched the company when she was just 21 years old. You go, girl.
Nutrition stats: 90 calories, 0g fat, 5–7g net carbs, 3g protein per bag
Buy it: $39.48 for 12 bags; smartsweets.com
Photo: Smart Sweets
SWEET: Quest Protein Cookies
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It goes without saying that any keto-friendly cookie isn't going to taste like one from Dean & DeLuca, but as long as you manage your expectations, you can still find one that's enjoyable.
Case in point: Quest Protein Cookies launched early this year. Unlike Quest bars, which can be ultra-chewy and get seriously stuck in your teeth, the cookies are soft-baked and also lower in calories than many other packaged protein cookies. While they do have a bit of a fake-sugar aftertaste (blame it on the sugar alcohols), popping them in the microwave for 10 seconds helps them rival a just-baked, real-thing treat.
Nutrition stats: 250 calories, 14g fat, 4–9g net carbs, 15g protein per cookie
Buy it: $1.99 each; vitaminshoppe.com
SWEET: Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bars
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You could have fooled us: Bulletproof's Collagen Protein Bars taste just about as good as the cookie flavors they're inspired by, including vanilla shortbread, mint chocolate chip, fudge brownie, chocolate chip cookie dough, and lemon cookie. The texture is crumbly and buttery, with no weird aftertaste (!). Made with organic cashew butter, the bars are grain- and gluten-free and have a ratio of 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carb. They're a little higher than Jalali's 3-gram carb recommendation for a snack, but if you can budget some wiggle room into your day for one of these bars, it'll be totally worth it.
Nutrition stats: 210 calories, 14g fat, 8g net carbs, 12g protein per bar
Buy it: $35 for 12 bars; bulletproof.com
SWEET: TCHO Cacao Nibs
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When you need chocolate but your favorite bar doesn't fit keto, a handful of these TCHO Cacao Nibs will do. Made from crushed roasted cacao beans, they provide an intense cocoa flavor with no sugar added—like bittersweet chocolate, but crunchier. Throw back a handful on their own or sprinkle them on top of a keto-approved smoothie to add texture. Nutrition facts are based on a serving size of 1 teaspoon, so be mindful when measuring.
Nutrition stats: 20 calories, 1.5g fat, 1g carb, 0g protein per 1-teaspoon serving
Buy it: $7 for 7.8-ounce cannister; tcho.com
SALTY: Pizza In a Bag
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As happy as you are with the results you're getting from keto, it's totally understandable if you're feeling down and out about not being able to indulge in late-night slices with your crew. While it's no substitute for a carby crust, Super Snack Time's keto-friendly Pizza in a Bag is an incredible stand-in for pizza. The smell alone will fool you into thinking you're biting into an oven-fresh slice, and the taste is so on-point it'll actually squash any lingering pizza cravings. It comes in three flavors, but the supreme variety is arguably the best. The only downside? A long ingredient list that includes wheat, soy, and dairy.
Nutrition stats: 100 calories, 8g fat, 2g carb, 4g protein per 1-ounce serving (two servings per bag)
Buy it: $15 for three, supersnacktime.com
Photo: Pizza in a Bag
SALTY: Chef's Cut Jerky
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High in protein and super low in carbs, jerky can be a keto dieter's go-to. Chef's Cut Jerky—which was started by and is still run by a chef—adds interest to the meaty snack with elevated flavors like buffalo, chipotle cracked pepper, Asian-style teriyaki, and sweet and spicy. All of the varieties are made with hand-cut meat (turkey, chicken, beef) and slow smoked, with no added nitrates.
Nutrition stats: 80 calories, 3g fat, 2g carb, 10g protein per 1-ounce serving
Buy it: $5 per 2.5-ounce bag; target.com
Photo: Chef's Cut Jerky
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Plain olives never looked so good as they do in this cute packaging from Oloves. Great for eating on their own or adding to a cheese plate, these pastel-colored, easy-open snack bags contain only juicy, natural green or black pitted olives and spices. Flavors like basil and garlic, chili and oregano, lemon and rosemary, and chili and garlic elevate the basic olive, and the bags are (surprisingly) liquid-free, making them easy to eat on the go. (See more health benefits of olives.)
Nutrition stats: 53 calories, 5.5g fat, 0.3g carb, 0.4g protein per 1.1-ounce bag
Buy it: $3; walmart.com
SALTY: Country Archer Meat Sticks
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Made with clean ingredients that are free of hormones, antibiotics, nitrates, preservatives, gluten and soy, Country Archer Meat Sticks are perfectly packaged for devouring on the go—and unlike a lot of jerky, they're soft and moist. Choose from original grass-fed beef, jalapeño beef, or rosemary turkey (which tastes like Thanksgiving!). You can buy them individually, but you'll want to stock up with a larger box.
Nutrition stats: 100 calories, 7g fat, 1g carb, 9g protein per 1-ounce stick
Buy it: $14 for eight; countryarcher.com
Photo: Country Archer
CREAMY: Koia Protein Drink
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No time to make a keto-friendly protein shake? No problem. Single-serving, almond milk–based Koia protein drinks are easy to toss into your bag and enjoy later. Flavors include Cacao Bean, Vanilla Bean, Coconut Almond, Cinnamon Horchata, and Cold Brew Coffee (a great substitute for an iced coffee). They're creamy without being too thick; free of dairy, soy, and gluten; and while they do have a slight protein taste, it's more energizing than off-putting. (Related: Low-Carb Keto Drinks That Will Keep You In Ketosis)
Nutrition stats: 190 calories, 7g fat, 6g net carbs, 18g protein per 12-ounce bottle
Buy it: $5 per bottle; amazon.com
CREAMY: FBOMB Nut Butter
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The flavor and texture of FBOMB Nut Butter packs are on point—perfectly creamy, a little salty and a hint of sweetness in each bite. The portable packs are easy to eat on the go (just knead, tear, and squeeze) and the Macadamia Pecan with Sea Salt combo is straight-up irresistible. Each 1-ounce pack has no added sugar and only two ingredients: nuts and sea salt. A fair warning: The fat content is hefty, so you'll feel full if you down one in a single sitting. (Considering saving for a post-workout snack.)
Nutrition stats: 202 calories, 21g fat, 1g net carbs, 2g protein per 1-ounce serving
Buy it: $25 for 10; dropanfbomb.com
CREAMY: Soom Tahini Packets
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Ever had straight tahini? It's time to start. The pretty, petite packaging of Soom Tahini packets will catch your eye, but the toasty flavor and ultrasmooth texture of this roasted sesame seed butter will really win you over. Best part: With just a small opening at the top, these single-serving squeeze packs are actually easy to eat on the go. (Raise your hand if you've made a mess of yourself with other nut butter packets. Same.) In addition to being keto-friendly, this tahini is rich in healthy linoleic and oleic fatty acids and is vegan, paleo, dairy-free, and gluten-free. (P.S. if you're not following keto, it's amazing on whole-wheat toast with honey or drizzled over apple slices.)
Nutrition stats: 190 calories, 17g fat, 1g net carbs, 7g protein per 2-tablespoon serving
Buy it: $11 for 6 packets; soomfoods.com
CREAMY: Good Culture Cottage Cheese
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Good Culture's single-serve cups are made with small-curd cottage cheese, making them better than the large-curd variety if you're a little iffy about the texture. They're made with grass-fed whole milk and mineral-rich Celtic sea salt and are free of additives and preservatives. The fruit flavors are especially delicious (peach and pineapple, yes please!) but unfortunately not keto-friendly, so opt for plain instead.
Nutrition stats: 150 calories, 6g fat, 4g carbs, 19g protein per 5.3-ounce cup
Buy it: $2; freshdirect.com
Photo: Good Culture
CRUNCHY: 4505 Chicharrones
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Approved for both paleo and keto diets, 4505 Chicharrones have zero carbs and are sustainably produced from humanely raised American hogs. Just launched in stores this month, these are some of the best fried pork rinds you'll ever taste (a far cry from the bar snack variety), with subtle flavor and supreme crunch. Flavors include classic, sea salt, barbecue, jalapeño, and chili and lime.
Nutrition stats: 80 calories, 5g fat, 0g carbs, 9g protein per 0.5-ounce serving
Buy it: $3 per 1-ounce bag; thrivemarket.com
Photo: 4505 Chicharrones
CRUNCHY: Moon Cheese
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If you haven't tried Moon Cheese, get your hands on a bag, stat. (You can even find them at Starbucks!). These crunchy, portable, poppable cheese bites are oh-so-addicting, and probably the best packaged keto snack of all. The only ingredient is cheese, yet they're non-perishable. Cheddar and gouda are great, but the pepper jack flavor has an epically spicy kick. Plan to share, or you'll devour the whole bag, which contains 4.5 servings. (This keto-friendly snack is not to be confused with moon milk, the pretty drink trend that might help you fall asleep.)
Nutrition stats: 70 calories, 5g fat, 0g carbs, 4g protein per 7-piece serving
Buy it: $4 per 2-ounce bag; target.com
Photo: Moon Cheese
CRUNCHY: Dang Lightly Salted Coconut Chips
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Toasted Thai coconut and sea salt are the only two ingredients in each package of Dang Lightly Salted Coconut Chips, which have a hint of sweetness while being free of gluten, dairy, soy, and GMOs. They're super crunchy and great to snack on straight from the bag—just watch portion size. (If you're not following keto, the brand also has some other great flavors, like caramel sea salt and chocolate.)
Nutrition stats: 180 calories, 15g fat, 5g net carbs, 2g protein per 1-ounce serving
Buy it: $10 for one or $39 for 12; amazon.com
CRUNCHY: Whisps Cheese Crisps
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Another snack that's made from 100 percent cheese: Whisps, which are an airy, crispy snack on their own, yet also delicious tossed into salads or soups. They're a great source of calcium and protein, completely gluten-free, and come in interesting flavors like bacon and barbecue, tomato and basil, and asiago and pepper jack. Again, remember portion control here as the bags contain multiple servings.
Nutrition stats: 150 calories, 11g fat, 1g carbs, 12g protein per serving
Buy it: $16 for four 2.12-ounce bags; whisps.com