When you're trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or just boost your overall nutrition routine, snacking is important.
Snacking not only helps you get nutrients you might not score at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it can help keep you fuelled and prevent blood sugar and insulin swings throughout the day, says Dietitian Jessica Cording, a New York-based dietitian. The result: You feel more prepared to tackle whatever comes you way—from work deadlines to high-intensity workouts, she says. What's more, by eating small nutrient-packed snacks between meals, you're less likely to head into those meals ravenous and ready to overeat, says registered dietitian nutritionist Beth Warren, author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl.
The thing is, when you're on a keto diet, finding snacks—especially on-the-go ones—can be pretty darn challenging. After all, when you follow a keto diet, you generally want to make sure your overall diet consists of 60 to 75 percent fat, 15 to 30 percent protein, and only 5 to 10 percent carbs, Warren says. And naturally, that applies to your snacks as well. That means cereal bars, pretzels, yogurt with honey, heck, potentially even some fruit, is out for you.
Errrr, so what can you snack on when following a keto diet? Frankly, it’s kind of a pain to think up ideas. That's why we've done the hard work for you. Here, nutritionists share easy grab-n-go keto diet snacks that will help you snack smart—and hit your macro goals—on a keto diet.
Fat balls might look a lot like energy balls, but they're actually high in fat from nut butters and seeds and low in sugars like honey. The result: They are both energising and super filling. “They're a helpful source of healthy fats and they contain some protein, which is good for keeping you fuelled,” Cording says. Plus, they're are incredibly easy to make and eat on-the-go.
This one is easy enough to do: Just keep a bunch in your fridge at home or work and grab one when you’re ready to nosh. String cheese has a nice mix of protein and fat, which can definitely help you fill up and stay full, Cording says.
Just like string cheese, a hard-boiled egg provides some protein and fat, while also being pretty low-cal, Warren says. Eat a couple for a snack or pair one with something else on this list.
Walnuts are high in fat, have a moderate amount of protein, and are low-carb, making them a solid snack for keto fans, Warren says. Plus, they’re heart-healthy. Stick to a serving size of one handful—otherwise the calories can add up fast.
Yes, steak—or, to be more specific—steak bites, can totally be an awesome keto diet snack, Warren says. Here's how to make them: chop up sirloin steak, season with soy sauce, Worcester sauce, and garlic, and sauté. Then, put them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them.
These little seeds are an awesome source of healthy fat and fibre, along with a little punch of protein, Cording says. They’re also super easy to eat on the go—just stash them in your bag and whip them out when you’re hungry.
PARMESAN ZUCCHINI TOTS
Zucchini is a great vegetable for keto fans because it’s low in carbs but has a lot of volume, Cording says. Try them out: shred 2 zucchinis (discard extra moisture), mix with 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, and seasoning of choice to taste. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Ta da!
Avocados are packed with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, along with plenty of other minerals like fibre and potassium—and they’re keto-friendly, too. “Avocados are one of my favourite keto diet snacks,” Cording says. She recommends eating one half of an avocado when it's snack time. Or, if you don’t want to have to deal with stashing half of an avocado in your fridge, Cording recommends looking out for “gator eggs,” they are tiny avocados that each count as a single serving.
SANDWICH ON A STICK
Missing sandwiches? Try serving them on a stick. Spear a small piece of ham or chicken, a little cube of cheese, and some tomato or bell pepper, and you've got a bite-sized “sandwich.” “This can give you some protein and fat with very few carbs,” Cording says. One or two toothpicks should tide you over between meals. They also make a cute appetizer to serve at keto-friendly parties.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.