The carnivore diet is regarded as a way to help reduce inflammation and it may help you to lose weight. Most of the literature on meal planning for the carnivore diet provides three meals a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While this often works better for people who don't like the fasting that is associated with a ketogenic diet, you might be wondering if it is okay to have snacks while you are on the carnivore diet. Before getting into this further, we want to stress that you should discuss any radical elimination diet with a licensed dietitian and your medical provider to determine whether it is safe for you and your body.
Can You Snack on the Carnivore Diet?
One of the main advantages of the carnivore diet over other types of elimination diets is that you can snack when you are hungry without seriously risking your diet plan. The key is to know what the best options for snacking can be and what you should avoid. The high levels of protein and fat along with the low levels of fiber often mean that people who are on the carnivore diet don't feel compelled to snack as much, which can improve overall results.
Identifying Good Carnivore Diet Snacks
There are a few things you should pay attention to when choosing carnivore diet snacks. One of the first things is processed meat products. This includes things like bacon, pepperoni, and pork rinds that often have high levels of salt and may include other ingredients that you want to avoid. The trick is to get used to reading ingredients list items and identifying what is – and is not – a good ingredient. A rule of thumb we like to use is that most ingredients we can't pronounce are probably not good. This includes things like preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, anti-caking agents, and similar bad boys of the food world.
Snacks to Avoid on the Carnivore Diet
The carnivore diet is an extremely restrictive diet, so there are certain things you'll want to avoid when looking for carnivore diet snacks. A common thing to avoid is grain-fed beef. The reason is that foods like corn, soy, and barley are not the natural diet of cattle. While scientifically there is little to no difference, avoiding grain-fed beef and buying grass-fed beef for your snacks is a better option. You'll want to look for ingredients like vegetable oil, soy additives, olive oil, and low carb labeling indicates poor choices for carnivore diet snacks.
The Best Snacks for the Carnivore Diet
A typical carnivore diet meal plan includes things like fried eggs, bacon, or ham at breakfast, followed by a lunch of something like steaks. So what do you snack on in between? When looking at conventional snacking options versus carnivore diet snacks, you'll want to find options that have higher levels of protein and you'll likely find snacks with higher levels of fatty acids. Always strive for zero sugar options to meet the demands of the carnivore diet.
Eggs are regarded as one of nature's perfect foods, and the carnivore diet lets you take advantage of those delicious alternative sources of protein without having to sear up a steak or eat your fourth hamburger of the day. Eggs can be versatile, too. One of our favorite snacks when hiking is hard-boiled eggs. They pack easily, they don't go bad quickly, and they are tasty. While we like to add a little salt and hot sauce to our hard-boiled eggs, these ingredients might be no-nos for your diet plan.
We recommend experimenting with the amount of time that you hard boil an egg for to get the perfect balance between a creamy yolk and a fully cooked egg. You can mix it up by trying different types of eggs, like duck, turkey, or even alligator eggs, which were a common food item in the American South in the early 1900's.
This one might not seem like a very good snack, but you'd be surprised about how delicious and filling a good bone broth can be. Plus, it's almost free to make at home. Use caution when buying prepackaged bone broth because it often has high levels of sodium added to it. Bone broth is one of the best snacks for a post-workout energy boost and it has a proven track record of health benefits. If you are making bone broth from raw bones, blanch them first, then roast them before boiling to unlock all of the nutritional value. You can use beef bones, pork bones, chicken bones, and even fish bones to make a delicious and nutritious zero-carb snack.
Also called chicharrones, store-bought varieties are often loaded with salt and preservatives. Making them yourself at home is one of the easiest things possible. The basic ingredient is pork skin that has a good amount of fat on it still. Deep fry strips of skin in lard until golden and crispy for an excellent tasting snack that fits perfectly with the carnivore diet. If you love bacon, you'll love chicharrones. You can even remove the rind from a pork belly before making bacon and fry it up for a tasty snack for your meat-based diet. For a healthier take on pork rinds, try using an air fryer to crisp them up without the added fat.
One of our personal favorite snacks is pepperoni chips. Simply bake pepperoni until crispy. They can also be made in an air fryer for convenience. Read labels carefully, though, as many types of commercially made pepperoni have artificial ingredients and other additives that are not part of the carnivore diet. These are great snacks you can toss in a ziplock bag and eat on the go.
Beef Jerky and Beef Sticks
We are lumping these two together because they are really similar. Like many of the great snacks on our list today, these are both best made at home where you can control the ingredients and avoid unnecessary carbs, soy products, and other additives that are meant for preserving color and appearance. Making beef jerky at home is the best way to know that you are using all-natural ingredients, grass-fed beef, and zero carbs without relying on questionable manufacturing processes. You can even use grass-fed beef liver in your flavored sticks to increase the essential nutrients your body needs. We of course have a great lineup of snacks including beef sticks (available in our Original and Honey flavors), beef jerky, and summer sausage, all containing good things with pronounceable ingredients and not the crazy ingredient lists on some labels.
Snacks that Come from Animals
Depending on the level of restriction you want to go for your carnivore diet, it may be okay to add in some snacks that aren't directly from an animal but aren't one of the off-diet categories either. This includes snacks like cheese sticks, yogurt, milk, and butter. Many of these ingredients can improve body functions, aid in digestion, and supply essential nutrients that improve your overall health, burn fat, and build muscle. A pure carnivore diet excludes these conventional snack items.
Snacking on the carnivore diet isn't always necessary. The high level of protein and fats typically leaves people feeling full, so there's no need for snacking. However, snacking on the carnivore diet comes in handy when you need a quick bite after a vigorous workout or when you are eating small portions to control weight gain. Carnivore-friendly snaking options include dried meats and other easy-to-carry snacking choices. The real key to a successful carnivore diet is to make sure that the snack options you choose include many of the essential nutrients your body needs while avoiding sugar, flour, nuts, and fruit that are not appropriate for your diet plan.