Americans once demonized fat. But recently, the nutrient is rising above its bad-for-you reputation. That’s just one reason the ketogenic diet is becoming popular again—eating all the fat you want sounds like a great thing, right?
But the keto diet also severely restricts the amount of carbohydrates you can eat. Anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of your daily calories come from fat, 5 to 10 percent come from carbs, and the remainder consists of protein—which can affect your body in more ways than one.
In fact, when you go keto, it’s typically recommended to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, or the equivalent of just two to three apples.
But a big factor that can help you stick to a keto plan? Feeling full. If you’re hungry throughout the day, you’ll likely overeat, which can lead to weight gain over time. Generally, you want to eat a few snacks per day in addition to your meals, depending on your hunger levels. There’s no set number, but aim to fuel your body every 4 to 5 hours.
Snacking on a keto diet can be tricky, though. So, here are nine snacks that fit the keto guidelines. Reach for them when you need something to hold you over until your next meal.
MINI BELL PEPPERS
Plus, you still need to eat enough good-for-you nutrients, and enjoying colorful mini bell peppers will help you do just that. “They’re refreshing, crisp, and convenient,” says sports dietitian Jenna Braddock, R.D., C.S.S.D. “Since the mini bell peppers are portable, you don’t need any prep.”
Three mini bell peppers offers just 5 grams of carbs, meaning nine of them would offer the same as most medium sized pieces of fruit. If you can’t stand eating them on your own, have them with some mashed avocado.
Related: 26 Recipes That Will Make You Love Vegetables
Kale keeps your carb intake in check, while offering a combo of fiber, antioxidants, and even some protein. These Rhythm Superfoods Spicy Jalapeno Kale Chips are a great option.
Want to make your own? Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and rinse off a batch of dinosaur kale. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spread your kale leaves and sprinkle them with a bit of salt and pepper (and a pinch of cayenne if you want some heat). Roast for about 5 to 10 minutes until they’re crispy.
Coolest Ranch Kale Chips:
The keto diet is high in fat, but you should focus on eating quality poly- and monounsaturated fats. Pistachios offer a power trio of plant protein, filling fiber, and healthy fats to keep you satisfied in between meals.
Pistachios pack 6 grams of filling protein per ounce, and offer the most nuts per serving (about 49 nuts) compared to other nuts, like 18 cashews or 28 peanuts for the same ounce. These nuts are perfectly fine to snack on as well, but pistachios will give you the most bang for you buck.
The reduced serving 100-calorie packs (like these from Wonderful Pistachios) are super convenient, since you can take them with you on the go.
Related: 8 Fatty Foods With Health Benefits
Beef jerky is an easy snack for any keto dieter, says Melissa Joy Dobbins, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E., a member of the beef expert bureau. Plus, “it packs about 10 to 15 grams of high-quality protein per 1 ounce serving and is also typically low in fat and carbohydrates, although that can vary by brand,” so be sure to read labels.
You typically want jerky that’s higher in protein and ideally less than 10 grams of carbs as possible. If you’re following the keto diet, getting the very few carbs you’re eating from vegetables and fruit is key, because they offer the most nutrients. (Here are some of our favorites.)
In addition to protein, beef offers iron and zinc, which are two very important minerals. Iron helps oxygen travel to your tissues and organs, while zinc helps support your immune system.
Related: How to Make Your Own Beef Jerky
CHOOSE THE RIGHT BAR
Finding a bar that’s low in carbs can be tough, but this Epic Venison Sea Salt Pepper Bar fits the bill and offers a good dose of protein.
When you’re looking for a keto-approved bar, aim for less than 10 grams of carbs, 15 to 30 grams of protein, and as much fat as you want, since that’s the majority of your diet.
Related: The Best Protein Bars For Men
HARD BOILED EGGS
Whole eggs are awesome. They offer high quality protein, vitamin E, and choline, which is essential for brain health, among others. Stick to roughly two or three whole eggs when you snack to keep your portions in check.
While boiling and peeling your eggs does take extra effort, you can easily prep a batch on Sunday to have them on hand for a few days. (Here’s the best way to simmer a hard-boiled egg and the best way to peel them.) Many stores offer pre-peeled hard boiled eggs, too, like these from Eggland’s Best.
Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Meal Prep
A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olives are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and minerals like selenium and zinc. Aim for one serving, or about five to 10 olives, for a solid snack.
These can also be found in portable packages (like these from Oloves) so you can easily throw them into your lunch bag.
Related: 8 “Unhealthy” Foods That Can Actually Be Good For You
DRY ROASTED SOYBEANS
With 7 grams of fat, 6 grams of fiber, and 13 grams of protein per 1/3 cup, roasted soybeans (salted because, well, they just taste better) should be a pantry staple.
Related: The 8 Best Foods For All-Day Energy
Cruciferous vegetables—like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage—offer fiber and many disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Pick up a head of cauliflower at the store, break it into about 1 cup’s worth of bite-size pieces, and enjoy with mashed avocado to bump your fat intake.
Chris Mohr Ph.D, R.D., is the owner of Mohr Results. He has Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in nutrition from The Pennsylvania State University and University of Massachusetts, respectively. He earned his Ph.D. in exercise physiology from the University of Pittsburgh and was formerly the consulting sports nutritionist for the Cincinnati Bengals and University of Massachusetts Athletic Program.