Keto Snacks: 20 Recipes to Break Carb Cravings!
The ketogenic diet puts people back in control of their cravings and metabolism. Once you train your body to burn fat as a primary energy source, you no longer have to constantly worry about your next meal. Sometimes, we all just want a snack to munch on to cleanse the palate or to ward off any temporary cravings. I have had this urge every now and then which is why I’ve built up an arsenal of keto snacks that I turn to when I do.
The beautiful thing about keto snacks is that they allow you to satisfy your appetite, while helping maintain a fat burning state. Following my templates, you can also feel confident that you are putting health-building ingredients into your system.
Why Do We Snack?
Modern times are very different from those of our distant ancestors. For thousands of years, it was likely that we did not have access to whatever food we wanted, whenever we wanted it. Instead, our bodies were used to times of feasting and times of famine.
This is likely why we have the ability to move into ketosis and burn fat as a primary energy source. Fat provides much more energy over a longer amount of time. Ketosis also allows us to tap into stored body fat so that we can go longer amounts of time without food.
In today’s society, most people rarely ever reach a state of ketosis. Instead they are constantly eating high-sugar foods that strap them into the blood sugar roller coaster. Sugar is metabolized much more quickly than fat. This is why we must eat much more frequently when carbs are the main energy source.
This is what leads to needing to eat 3 square meals a day plus snacks in between. The need to snack every day is a sign that you are metabolically inefficient.
Inflammatory Eating Patterns
Most people turn towards sugary, salty, processed snacks that throw off blood sugar and encourage more snacking. As I mentioned above, this is because sugar is quickly metabolized. Once blood sugar spikes, insulin rapidly shuttles it into our cells or turns it into fat. This then leads to a rapid decline in blood sugar levels.
Once blood sugar drops below a certain threshold, your brain receives a signal that you are starving and to seek out food immediately. Over time, if you continue this cycle, cells will stop responding to insulin. This is when prediabetes develops. Unfortunately, the worse this response gets, the more you feel like you need to eat because your cells aren’t getting the fuel they need!
Turning to a ketogenic diet, can teach your body to burn fat instead of sugar. During this time you give your insulin receptors a break and they become re-sensitized and hunger typically is more controllable.
Causes of Carb Cravings
The most common cause of carb cravings I have already mentioned. If you are stuck on the blood sugar rollercoaster, you will most likely have carb cravings every day (maybe even multiple times a day).
The other two common causes are HPA Axis dysfunction (commonly referred to as adrenal fatigue) and emotional eating. Emotional eating can be a coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, depression, or a number of things. If you are turning to carb-heavy foods during these times though, you are likely causing yourself more issues.
Blood Sugar Imbalance
Blood sugar imbalances are rampant in our society. This reflects directly in the mortality rates tied to diabetes. Diabetes and other metabolic diseases are the leading causes of death around the world.
I believe the primary reason for this is simply that we are becoming increasingly reliant on carbs to “fill us up” at meals. I have a whole article on this here: The Destructive Sugar Impact on the Body
The pattern where blood sugar becomes rapidly elevated, followed by a decline below base levels, is often referred to as reactive hypoglycemia (1). People who experience this regularly often feel like they are constantly obsessing over food and that they are controlled by frequent urges to eat.
Bottom line, the more you rely on carbs for energy, the more frequently you will need to eat, and even crave them.
HPA Axis Dysfunction
The HPA axis explains a system in the body involving two glands in the brain (the hypothalamus and pituitary) and the adrenal glands. This axis is what regulates our response to stress and ultimately, our blood sugar.
When the HPA axis has become dysregulated by chronic stress, poor sleep, or a number of other factors, this can lead to sugar cravings. This is because oftentimes people will have multiple cortisol spikes during the day. Cortisol dumps stored sugar in the liver for immediate energy, leading to a crash and subsequent carb cravings.
Emotional stress can have a similar effect on blood sugar and cravings through the same mechanism explained just above.
Another aspect of emotional eating actually comes from how high-sugar foods activate our dopamine reward pathways ion the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is supposed to be produced when we accomplish a task. It is a built in feedback system that allows us to make good decisions and achieve success in our endeavors.
Unfortunately, there are certain substances that can highjack this reward system such as stimulants and sugar! This leads to both a physiological and emotional reliance on sugar.
Many people come to me with blood sugar issues. Not everyone has diabetes or even prediabetes. Almost everyone who comes to me with some level of health issues has blood sugar imbalances, and it reflects in their behaviors.
Luckily, reducing carb intake and training the body to burn fat as a primary energy source over carbs is powerful for getting people out of the carb addiction cycle. In the process, people tend to achieve much higher levels of energy and weight loss without the stress of tracking calories.
Studies back this up. Conventional “wisdom” told us that fats and cholesterol are bad and make us fat. What we know now though is that high-fat, low-carb diets outperform low-fat diets in things that matter like preventing diabetes, lowering heart disease risk, cancer prevention and aiding in weight loss (2, 3, 4).
Are We Designed to Snack?
Like I mentioned earlier, it appears that our bodies have adapted the ability to go long periods without food. This is why intermittent or even extended fasting is able to happen. When we fast, our body become more efficient at burning energy.
In fact, not only are we able to go long periods without food, there seems to be an extensive list of benefits to fasting as well. You can read more in-depth about those here: 5 healing Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
One of the most profound of these benefits is the upregulation of human growth hormone. Growth hormone stimulates cellular repair which effectively improves recovery from disease and offers anti-aging benefits. One study found that a 24 hour fasting window caused a 2000% and 1300% increase in growth hormone in men and women, respectively (5).
Top 20 Keto Snacks
Okay, so if your goal is maximum performance and lifespan, then snacking all the time might not be your best option. But sometimes, we just get hungry!
Well, there is a better way to snack. These keto snacks will help you satisfy your hunger, ward of cravings, and provide healthy fats to make ketones. Additionally, they won’t send your blood sugar to the moon and back.
**Note: Simply click the pictures below each recipe to go straight to the recipe page!
Coconut Chocolate Cream Cups
Chocolate and coconut is one of my favorite flavor combinations. When I’m looking for a quick and energizing snack, this one of my go-to keto snacks. They are sweet, simple to make, and energizing.
The shredded coconut, coconut butter, and coconut oil provide healthy fats and fiber. The cacao powder provide mood elevating and brain boosting PEAs that increase blood flow to the brain!
Homemade Keto Protein Bar
If you are looking for something a little more substantial, then high-fat protein bars can make excellent keto snacks. The amount of protein we need in a day is highly dependent on what our current goals are (read more about that here).
These keto protein bars are a simple combination of nut butter, coconut oil, and your protein of choice. Using a grass-fed, undenatured whey protein or bone broth protein are both great choices. Add in some cacao nibs and a dash of cinnamon for added flavor and health benefits.
Coconut Protein Cookies
Remember those oatmeal pie things? Back before I knew any better, I loved them! Well this recipe is kinda like that, but better! It starts with cookies made with coconut flakes, sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds), your protein of choice, and coconut oil. Add in some blood sugar friendly sweetener like stevia and you’re set.
To make these like oatmeal pies, simply make this coconut whipped cream recipe and use it to stick the cookies together! All keto snacks should be this good.
High-carb and processed snacks shoot up blood sugar and cause the formation of AGEs. AGEs are when sugar binds to protein, often in connective tissues containing collagen. It is this process that is largely responsible for things like aging of the skin, neuropathy, and macular degeneration.
Keto snacks that include collagen are a great way to have the exact opposite effect. The combination of healthy fats, antioxidants, and collagen in this recipe are excellent for keeping your youthful glow!
There are many reasons to consume plenty of turmeric on a ketogenic diet. It improves blood sugar, supports liver health, and drastically reduces inflammation throughout the body. In, fact I’ve written an entire article on using turmeric on a ketogenic diet.
Incorporating it into your keto snacks Is a simple way to get more! This recipe also features grass-fed beef gelatin which is rich in collagen to support the gut, skin, hair, nails, and joints!
Turmeric Keto Cookies
Cookies can also be great keto snacks to get more turmeric in your life. These have just 2 grams of net carbs, 7 grams of protein, and 22 grams of healthy fats per cookie.
Choose your nut butter of choice, add in coconut flakes, coconut oil, some turmeric bone broth protein powder, and you’ve got a superfood cookie. A snack that is anti-inflammatory, gut healing, and improves fat burning!
Not Nut Butter
Nut butter and veggies is such any easy and convenient snack to whip up. This recipe is a nut-free version of a nut butter that is higher in fat, lower in carbs, and even safe for those following an elimination diet.
All you need is coconut butter (or manna), coconut oil, and a good protein powder of your choice. Add in a dash of salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg for antioxidants and bolder flavor. A 1/4th cup serving has 30 grams of fat, 2 grams of net carbs, and 12 grams of protein! Sure to keep you full for hours with just a small amount.
Frozen Coconut Keto Snack Bars
This is one of those keto snacks that feels indulgent in the best way possible. It is like biting into a chunk of cookie dough, but without all the nasty stuff. You don’t even have to cook them!
Combine coconut flakes, coconut oil, cashew or macadamia nut butter, vanilla protein powder, and chocolate chips. After that, you just pop them in the freezer for 30 minutes and they’re ready to be snacked on! You can even use cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips to make it lower in carbs.
Homemade Keto Crackers
When you saw keto snacks, maybe you were thinking salty and crunchy. If so, then you’ve got to try these keto crackers. Made with sunflower and sesame seeds, they are simple and nutritious. You can also try making them with your favorite nuts and seeds like pumpkin, seeds, almonds, walnuts, or cashews.
You can even flavor them up however you like! My favorite combo is garlic, onion, and salt. Let me know what combos you come up with! They’re excellent with a slice of raw pastured cheese and a pickle, some grass-fed butter, or some guacamole!
Crunchy Garlic Keto Chips
These chips are another great salty and crunchy snack. The base for these consists of chia and flax seed powder which is great for omega-3 fats and fiber that benefits gut health. With each serving you get 14 grams of fiber, 11 grams of protein, and 17 grams of fat!
One of my favorite keto snacks is dipping these chips into a cashew artichoke dip which is super nutrient-dense and also a great source of fiber. They also go great with guacamole or avocado pesto!
Chocolate Chia Protein Bites
I am a fan of small keto snacks that are filling. The protein bites have 4 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and only 1 net carb per serving. They also have lots of fiber because they contain chia seeds as a binder.
They also only take 15 minutes to make! Healthy fats, fiber, and mood boosting cacao powder make these a super food. You can use a protein powder of your choice. I often make them with bone broth protein powder to support my gut and connective tissues.
Frozen Keto Almond Butter Cups
Frozen almond butter cups are a great summertime keto snack. They have healthy fats, antioxidants, fiber, and no sugar!
They’re also simple to make. After mixing together some almond butter, coconut oil, chocolate, stevia, and a pinch of salt, just dump the mix in an ice cube tray and place in the freezer. Super simple, super tasty.
Lemon Cinnamon Coconut Cream Cups
Lemon and cinnamon are excellent blood sugar stabilizers. Combined with coconut butter, coconut oil, and some grass-fed butter, these are great for warding off cravings.
To boost the nutritional value of these cream cups, I like to use lemon essential oil. The antioxidants in lemon oil help to improve capillary permeability to boost circulation throughout the body. These keto snacks are a simple and refreshing way to satisfy your hunger.
Chocolate Fudge Protein Squares
Fudge as a snack? Absolutely! This recipe can either be almost pure fat or become a tasty source of protein. Loaded with coconut fats and antioxidant-rich cacao.
Add in some butter for gut-healing butyrate and metabolism boosting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). The simple addition of chocolate bone broth protein makes the even more soothing to the gut and an excellent protein snack.
Raw Coconut Keto Bars
These are easy to make and are excellent for supporting ketone production. For the base, all you need is shredded coconut, coconut oil, and a nut butter of your choice.
Then feel free to jazz it up with whatever keto friendly sweeteners and flavors you like! My favorite combination is vanilla extract, vanilla stevia, and chocolate chips!
Coconut Keto Snowballs
If you love coconut like I do, then you will love these coconut balls. They are a simple combination of fiber-rich shredded coconut and MCT-rich coconut milk.
You can flavor them however you like but this recipe uses plain stevia, vanilla extract, and a bit of peppermint essential oil. If you are someone who deals with keto breath, these can be an excellent way to mitigate it throughout the day!
Turmeric Coconut Cream Cups
Turmeric coconut creams cups a delicious way to get more turmeric in your life. The combination of turmeric with the coconut tastes great and is super anti-inflammatory to the body.
The fact that this recipe also includes shredded coconut allows the turmeric and fiber content to exert major benefits on the microbiome. With the addition of some grass-fed butter, these become a gut healing superfood.
Chocolate Fat Bombs
The internet is chock full of fat bomb recipes. These are one of my favorites. Its just a simple combination of coconut butter, oil, and shreds – along with vanilla extract and cacao powder.
Each fat bomb contains 23 grams of fat which is excellent for quickly satisfying the appetite and supporting ketone formation. Chocolate stevia is optional.
Keto Chocolate Donuts
I was a bit surprised when I came across a ketogenic donut recipe.. and I’ll admit, a bit skeptical. These donuts are rich and chocolatey and flour-free!
Instead of flour, these donuts use almond butter, pastured eggs, and avocado as the base. Instead of a drier bready donut, these come out to be more soft and cakey. Try it out and see how you like it!
Chocolate Collagen Keto Granola
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come across who snack on granola every day thinking it is a healthy choice. Unfortunately, granola is usually made with inflammatory grains, sweeteners, and is definitely not keto friendly.
What puts this granola in the keto snacks category is that it is made with coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. With the addition of chocolate bone broth protein and some grass-fed butter, it becomes a much better alternative.
Ketogenic Lifestyle Program
If you are new to a ketogenic lifestyle or need a comprehensive ketogenic resource, I have created my own Navigating the Ketogenic Diet online course. It is a resource full of information that can be used for a lifetime.
It includes a grocery list, meal plan, and plenty of ketogenic friendly recipes like the keto side dishes listed here.
Additionally, you will find a library of videos and advanced tips to maximize the extensive benefits of embracing this lifestyle. Check it out by clicking on the picture below!
Sources for this Article include
1. UW Health: Nutritional Management of Low Blood Sugar without Diabetes (Postprandial Syndrome and Reactive Hypoglycemia) (LINK)
2. Raygan F, Bahmani F, Kouchaki E, et al. Comparative effects of carbohydrate versus fat restriction on metabolic profiles, biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in overweight patients with Type 2 diabetic and coronary heart disease: A randomized clinical trial. ARYA Atheroscler. 2016;12(6):266-273. PMID: 28607566
3. Steckhan N, Hohmann CD, Kessler C, Dobos G, Michalsen A, Cramer H. Effects of different dietary approaches on inflammatory markers in patients with metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition. 2016;32(3):338-48. PMID: 26706026
4. Miller VJ, Villamena FA, Volek JS. Nutritional Ketosis and Mitohormesis: Potential Implications for Mitochondrial Function and Human Health. J Nutr Metab. 2018;2018:5157645. PMID:29607218
5. Horne BD, May HT, Anderson JL, et al. Usefulness of routine periodic fasting to lower risk of coronary artery disease in patients undergoing coronary angiography. Am J Cardiol. 2008;102(7):814-819. PMID: 18805103