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Much like Al Roker, I have been a big fan of the wildly popular ketogenic diet. I've had vacations and cheat days here and there since I started incorporating more keto snacks and drinks into my diet. For the most part, though, I've stuck to it and it's paid off.
Because of my success — and my love of all things keto — friends who try the diet often ask me what I ate. The answer, for the most part, is meat, vegetables, dairy and other high-protein, low-carb whole foods. But like everyone, sometimes you need an indulgent snack to keep you going.
Throughout my experience with the ketogenic diet, I've scoured store shelves and Amazon recommendations for low-carb alternatives to foods I miss (think chocolate and potato chips) and easy-to-find pantry items to make my keto days run more smoothly.
For the friends (and readers) who want to know about those items, I've compiled this list of 27 products that frequently get added to my shopping cart.
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Bestselling keto snacks
Craving cookies? These keto-friendly mini cookies are delicious and make a perfect snack when you need an afternoon pick-me-up or are seriously missing baked goods.
When you're having a movie night at home or you're desperately craving sugar before you get the kids in bed, these stevia-sweetened gummy bears, sweet fish and sour buddies really hit the spot.
Following a keto diet not only makes you thirsty, but it's also important to drink plenty of water any time you're trying to get healthier. True Lemon is my secret weapon for chugging half my body weight in ounces of water every day. The grapefruit is my favorite flavor, but with this sampler pack, you can try them all and find your own favorite.
Savory keto snacks
Curd nerds can't get enough of these airy, crunchy cheese crisps made with one single ingredient: cheese! Whether you choose to crumble them over a salad or eat it as a cracker, these gluten-free, high-protein snacks add a huge punch of flavor to any meal you savor.
Savor big barbecue flavors without having the meat sweats afterward. Made with zero sugar or carbs, Tillamook's smoky, peppery beef jerky satiates any hunger craving while you're on the go.
While out for Mexican food with a fellow keto-eating friend, she pulled bags of these chips out for us to dip in queso. I was instantly in love. Chili lime Quest chips are my favorite flavor, but they also come in nacho and ranch. In addition to dipping them in all of the things, I like to top them with tuna or chicken salad for lunch.
While pork rinds may be an acquired taste for some, having them in your keto arsenal for scooping up dips or crushing and using to bread fried foods is a game changer. These spicy dill pork rinds have a unique flavor and taste amazing.
If you're looking for a savory snack you can take on the go, these prepackaged olives are delicious and easy to throw in your bag.
If you’re a pasta lover, run, do not walk, to buy this low-carb shirataki mushroom pasta from Nasoya. It’s so delicious, my not-low-carb husband prefers to eat it with me on spaghetti night, but I rarely share with him.
While not technically a snack, these mini waffle makers from Dash are perfect for creating an essential keto snack — the chaffle. A “waffle” made of cheese, a chaffle is the perfect way to make low carb snacks like fried pickles, mini pizzas and other cheesy delights.
Sweet keto snacks
Munk Pack's nutritious granola bars are made to satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling a lick of guilt. Loaded with a wholesome mix of nuts and seeds, along with a natural sweetener that has virtually no impact on your blood sugar or insulin levels, these snacks have your health goals in mind.
Fudgy, rich, moist, sweet — who knew homemade, keto-friendly brownies could taste so divine? You wouldn't even know it was low-carb, fiber-loaded or sugar-free if you didn't read the ingredients list on the back of the package.
Mmmm, more cookies. My favorite way to enjoy these delicious low-carb cookies is in the afternoon with a cup of herbal tea.
Finding chocolate that's low in net carbs but high in taste is a challenge, and Lily's chocolate bars rise to that challenge perfectly. I keep a few bars in my freezer and break a few pieces off when chocolate cravings hit.
The friend who turned me on to these delicious snack cakes from Smartcake seriously changed my life — or at least my snacking. Top these yummy cakes with berries and whipped cream for a low-carb dessert that really makes you feel like you're splurging.
With over 1,300 five-star reviews on Amazon, this keto bark is the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Made with 100% stone-ground premium cocoa beans and sweetened with natural monk fruit, it's also a delicious treat for chocolate lovers.
These flavorful drinks taste similar to flavored water beverages and pack 20 grams of protein per bottle, making them an easy way to up your protein intake when you’re not super hungry.
The keto community has differing opinions on the use of exogenous ketones, but I love drinking them for the energy boost. And, it’s comforting to me to find my ketone levels elevated when I have some. Perfect Keto’s peach flavored ketones are among my favorites.
These delicious coffee syrups have zero sugar and zero carbs and contain MCT oil, which is said to help boost brain function, curb cravings and more.
I'm not a big fan of protein shakes, but these low-carb shakes from Keto Chow are truly delicious. While I've yet to try a flavor I didn't like, my favorites are chocolate mint (it tastes like a thin mint cookie) and raspberry cheesecake. Simply mix in a Blender Bottle with water and heavy whipping cream and let sit overnight and you'll wake to a simple breakfast that fills you up all morning.
If you're feeling sluggish at the start of your keto journey and need to replace electrolytes — keto flu, anyone? — this powdered supplement tastes great and has been my favorite way to recharge. The lemonade flavor also makes an amazing hot toddy when mixed with some spiced herbal tea and a splash of bourbon.
These canned energy drinks are hands down my favorite calorie-free energy boost. And, they contain muscle-building, brain-boosting ingredients like BCAAs (amino acids).
Adding this vanilla stevia to hot or iced teas is a delicious way to satisfy sugar cravings. And, I've been known to whip a bit of it into heavy whipping cream to top low-carb berries with for dessert.
Keto sauces and condiments
Guacamole lovers can't get enough of Kumana's signature, avocado-loaded hot sauce. Made with wholesome ingredients like habaneros, green bell peppers and mangos, this condiment is low-carb, non-GMO verified and keto- and paleo-friendly. It's also so popular, it's currently Amazon's bestselling chili sauce.
Sometimes you can't resist the urge to eat some queso. Fortunately this dairy-free, keto-friendly alternative from Core & Rind easily satisfies that craving.
There are only about 4 grams of carbohydrates in this marinara sauce, so it's perfect to use with cauliflower pizza dough, spaghetti squash or low carb pasta — all of which are essentials when following a ketogenic diet.
These sugar-free versions of must-have condiments taste exactly like the real thing and are perfect for all of the chicken and burgers you inevitably eat when going keto.
What is the Keto diet?
The keto diet has been around since 1921, dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick previously reported for TODAY. It was initially developed as a therapeutic diet used to treat certain conditions.
Now it has gained popularity as a go-to diet to shedding weight. But how does it work?
The diet focuses on extreme limiting of carbs and concentrating on high fat and protein intake. Through limiting carbs, your body will adapt by burning stored fat, which produces ketones from the liver for the brain to use as fuel, putting you into ketosis.
"The diet is one in which you drain your liver glycogen stores and force the body to find that alternative fuel. In addition to limiting carbohydrates to achieve this, protein content may also need to be reduced. That’s because protein actually has a small insulin-stimulating effect, which suppresses ketone creation," Kirkpatrick wrote.
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This article was originally published on June 25, 2019.