If you're on the keto diet, you're likely increasing your intake of fats and reducing carbohydrates. Supposedly, this can shape your metabolism to help you burn more fat for energy, as opposed to flooding your system with glycogen, which comes from sugar and carbohydrates.
How does it work? "Ketogenic diets consist of having 75% or more of the calories come from fat. That keeps the glycemic response at a minimum, and therefore keeps you from producing flushes of insulin, which in turn decreases the low blood sugar effect, and helps you burn stored fat," explains Dr. M Daniela Torchia, PhD, MPH, RD.
A tip? Go for organic, when possible, she says. "It is difficult to maintain, but if you do, try to eat organic sourced fats, to avoid the chemical and synthetic hormones potentially stored in animal fats," she says. "Coconut oils are nut oils are good sources of non-animal fats, but if you do animal ketogenic diets, try to use organic," for better protection against GMOs and hormones, she says.
Here are five easy snacks to eat when going keto:
"If you eat dairy, ½ cup organic cottage cheese is made of milk protein, helps you feel full, and is low in sugar, and so, you avoid the sugar high and crash," she says. As protein takes longer to break down in the gut, you should feel fuller longer, and you'll be better able to avoid those afternoon munchies or cravings. To add some fiber, toss in some nuts, tomatoes, or berries, she says.
Along similar lines, Greek yogurt offers calcium, protein, and probiotics to improve digestion and keep hunger pangs at bay. Try 6-8 oz. of plain yogurt with 10 almonds for a snack, she says. You'll want to avoid sugary brands and toppings, as they aren't keto-friendly and they'll add unwanted calories, fats, and sugars.
Apple with Nut Butter
An apple has high fiber, a medium level glycemic-index, and enough carbs to make you feel like you had a treat while still staying within keto requirements. "Put some unsweetened cashew or nut butter (1-2 TBSP) on the green apple, so you can feel fuller longer," she says. Or, you can make a banana nut butter roll-up, instead.
Eggs are also rich in protein and other nutrients, like choline in the yolk to improve cognitive health, so it's a perfect afternoon snack or topping for a salad or burger. Eggs will keep your stomach settled and help you maintain the ketogenic diet, she says. Make hard boiled eggs to keep at the office, or add a fried egg to a turkey or veggie burger. And, if you're curious, here are a few other ways to cook eggs at home.
Nuts are high in healthy, unsaturated fats, making them great for the keto lifestyle, she says. As it's always better to load up on healthy fats, over trans or saturated, nuts are a wise choice for an add-on in yogurt or as a topper for fruit. You can always make a homemade trail mix of nuts and seeds, too, she says. Beyond fats, they also have lots of protein to keep you full, along with other valuable nutrients, such as magnesium and fiber.