The Best Homemade Keto Snacks
Maybe you like popcorn or candy for your snacks? Do you love potato or tortilla chips? These can all be very high carbohydrate snacks. Are there good replacement options for those on a keto diet? Remember that a ketogenic lifestyle requires consuming less carbohydrates, putting a limit on sugar intake, and watching out for artificial ingredients in your food. Many products on the store shelves vary greatly in fat, carbohydrate, protein, and sugar content. Even more so, the ingredients can widely differ, even if the macronutrient statistics are comparable. In this article, we will make recommendations regarding the best homemade keto snacks as a replacement for high carbohydrate snacks.
ketogenic diet protocol
How many of us believe that our body’s energy comes from carbohydrates? We would venture to guess that a good percentage align with this thinking. Have you considered other options for your body’s energy? It is possible for your body to use fat as energy, whether it is consumed or stored. This is the basis of a ketogenic diet. The goal with this plan is to reduce the carbohydrates in your diet. This is what your body is used to burning first when it needs energy. Without carbohydrates, your body will begin to burn fat for fuel. This process is known as ketosis which is a metabolic process in which your body uses fat for energy. The focus of the keto diet is to devise an eating plan that helps your body reach ketosis. It consists of very little carbohydrates, a little protein and focuses on healthy fats. If you are not restricting carb intake, even if you are eating a high amount of fats, your body will use the carbs as energy because it is the easiest for your body to convert and use. In lowering your carbohydrate intake, healthy fats will constitute approximately 60-80 percent of your daily calories.
Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the three macronutrients provided by the food you eat. Each one plays a part in providing fuel for your body. Not all carbohydrates provide the same nutritional value and therefore are not created equal. There are many nutrient-dense foods where unprocessed carbs occur naturally, including quinoa, rice, whole wheat, some vegetables, and legumes. Naturally unprocessed carbohydrates can also be found in milk and fruits, but they are simpler than those in the nutrient-dense foods. There are also processed foods that have refined carbohydrates in them. Examples of this are white flour and sugar. Following a keto diet, you should be looking for foods that are not only low in net carbohydrates but also avoid anything artificial. The ketogenic diet is unique in how it measures carbohydrates. This is important to pay attention to when calculating your daily macronutrients. It is more crucial to count carbohydrates than it is to count calories when following a keto diet.
We have all looked at labels to find the grams of carbohydrates in our food. The ketogenic diet does not work in the same way most diets or nutrition plans do. You will need to view at the intake of carbohydrates in a different way, by calculating net carbs. What are net carbs? These are considered carbohydrates that can be broken down by your body and absorbed into the bloodstream, also called digestible carbohydrates. Your body processes fiber differently so the calculation deducts them from the carbohydrates you are consuming. Let’s look at this calculation. Net carbs are found by subtracting the grams of the fiber from the total grams of carbs.
Total # of carbs – dietary fiber = net carbs
It is possible that you have never considered the connection between carb intake and fiber. Have you looked closely at this relationship before? If you are on a ketogenic diet, you will consider carbohydrates and fiber in a different manner than you are likely used to.
In looking at fiber from a ketogenic perspective, we see that keto dieters end up eating greater quantities of fiber. This occurs as taste buds are heightened when the sugar effects wear off. Vegetables are the major source of carbohydrates for the keto diet. The flavors from them become so satisfying, that they replace any desire for processed carbohydrates.
There are two types of fiber, soluble or insoluble. Insoluble is just that, it leaves your body unaffected because it does not dissolve. Your body also does not get any calories from this type of fiber, nor does it impact blood sugar or insulin levels. Soluble fiber can dissolve in your body and can help you feel full longer. This happens because soluble fiber slows down the movement of food in your body. In the colon, it is fermented into short-chain fatty acids by good bacteria. A healthy gut is partially because of these short-chain fatty acids. Eating foods high in fermentable (soluble) fiber is a great way to feed that bacteria. There are many health benefits from paying attention to the good bacteria in the gut. Some studies show that short-chain fatty acids can have a positive effect on diabetes, heart health, and weight loss. For diabetic or insulin resistant individuals, blood sugar levels can be improved short-chain fatty acids. They can also play a role in reducing inflammation and blocking cholesterol production and lowering the risk of heart disease. For all these reasons, getting a diverse amount of fiber that comes from fruits, vegetables and grains will promote a healthy lifestyle.
One issue with snacks, especially chips, popcorn, candy, etc. is that they are generally high in carbohydrates while containing very little fiber. As discussed above, this means that your carbohydrate consumption would exceed the recommendations for a keto diet. Let’s look at some of the most popular snack options:
Many brands of chips contain a lot of calories and carbohydrates, with very little protein and fiber. They often include ingredients such as vegetable oil, maltodextrin, artificial flavor, and dextrose. Vegetable oil should be avoided on a keto diet, it has gone through intense processing and includes trans fats. Maltodextrin is a food additive, in this case, made from corn, that is related to corn syrup solids. Dextrose is a simple sugar that is made from corn. It is like fructose and chemically matches glucose. Also, recall that you want to stay within 20-30 carbs per day on a keto diet. Many times, having just one serving of chips would be nearly the entire carb count for the day.
Popcorn is often thought of as a lower calorie snack. You can have a lot of popcorn without a lot of calories. The unfortunate fact about popcorn is that it is high in carbohydrates. Another issue with popcorn is the flavored versions. Think about caramel corn, there is a lot of added sugar and increased risk of consuming artificial ingredients. You will want to avoid this high carb snack if on a keto diet. There is a great alternative in kettle corn pecans! They are made with liquid stevia, coconut oil, and pink Himalayan salt to make a delicious sweet and salty snack, without the added sugar and calories. Stevia is a low-calorie sweetener that is a natural product. It is extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana. This plant is grown in Paraguay and Brazil. People there have sweetened food with the leaves from stevia plants for hundreds of years. The leaves of the stevia plant contain several sweet compounds. Two of them are stevioside and rebaudioside A (Reb-A). Some products contain one compound while other products may combine the two for the best flavor. Stevia comes in liquid, powder and granulated forms. In comparison to regular sugar, stevia extract is hundreds of times sweeter yet contains zero fats, zero carbohydrates, and zero calories.
Some people crave something sweet when it comes to snacking. They often turn to candy bars or chocolate treats (brownies, cookies, etc.) when this occurs. A recommended alternative is fat bombs. Double Chocolate Fudge Fat Bombs use butter, cream cheese, cocoa powder, erythritol, and Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips (no artificial sweeteners) for a rich and savory treat. Erythritol is a low-calorie sweetener made from sugar alcohol. It only has six percent of the calories that sugar has but still has 60 to 70 percent of the sweetness. This sweetener is one instance where sugar itself is sweeter. You will likely find that you will need to use a little bit more erythritol or blend it with another to get the sweetness of sugar. Sugar alcohols are found in nature, especially in fruits and vegetables. We do not have the enzymes needed to break down this sweetener, so it passes through the body undigested and is eliminated unaltered. It is low in calories, has a low glycemic index and is a great alternative to sugar.
Some swaps for best homemade keto snacks that you can easily do with your favorite recipes are to:
- replace sugar with Swerve
- use almond flour in place of regular all-purpose flour
- you can also swap out pork rinds for potato chips
Next, we will share a few of our favorite recipes that fit into a keto diet wonderfully!
Make your own Cheese Crisps or Kale Chips
This is one way to make certain that the ingredients are all natural and low in both carbohydrates and sugar. This makes them great options for the best homemade keto snacks.
Serving Size:6 crisps
Macros (per serving size): 139 calories, 11.4 grams fat, 0.4 grams carbohydrates, 8.6grams protein.
Here are some ideas using cheese crisps that you can enjoy on a keto diet:
- Dip them in salsa.
- Add sliced jalapeños to the top of cheese scoops before baking for a spicy snack.
- Serve with keto guacamole. Keto crispy kale chips are another option for a crunchy snack. They are easy to make with just a few ingredients, so it will surely fit into a keto diet! All you need is one bunch of kale, sea salt, garlic powder and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Tear the kale into chip-sized pieces, coat with olive oil, garlic powder and salt. Then lay out on a baking sheet, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, flip/toss the kale and then bake again for 7 to 10 minutes. This is a great choice for one of the best homemade keto snacks.
We want you to find a plan that is sustainable, produces results and helps you live a top-notch life. If you have other health concerns, it is important to discuss your diet and nutrition with your primary care physician. As noted earlier, finding healthy snack options may sound difficult because there are so many available to us today. These are great options for best homemade keto snacks when you want something crunchy and/or full of flavor.