Before I started on a keto diet, I tended not to snack between meals. The reasoning behind that logic? I was pretty much always hungry and snacking inevitably led to me eating more calories than I otherwise would have when I was trying to run as large a deficit as possible in order to lose weight (calories in vs calories out, right?). Breakfast was coffee with smoked kippers or oatmeal with unsweetened almond milk; lunch was an enormous salad with Tofurky sausage or leftovers from the night before; dinner was most often a vegetarian soup with beans or baked fish accompanied with dark leafy greens plus a serving of basmati rice or roasted potatoes. The only snacks I allowed myself were one serving of fresh fruit (think plums or nectarines or berries — none of the extra sweet fruit like bananas or grapes or apples) or roasted pumpkin seeds. It was, I think (and my physician agreed), a well-constructed, varied and healthy diet but I was frequently hungry and despite counting calories, limiting refined grains and sugars and engaging in daily physical activity – I was losing no weight.
On keto – I don’t worry about snacking. I don’t worry because although I log everything I eat, I’ve found that I just *don’t* eat more than I need to. I have no problem eating at or below my calorie goal so long as I remain mindful about carbohydrate counts. Some days, I’ll just eat snacks instead of eating a full-fledged lunch.
So what kind of snacks do I eat?
Raw red bell pepper; green olives stuffed with lemon peel; dry salami from Volpi (a local company) and Kerrygold Dubliner cheese (think Cheddar crossed with Parmesan – sharp and crumbly and nutty). The great thing about this snack plate besides the fact that everything tasted awesome? Relatively low protein, high in fat and high in sodium. I find that getting that extra punch of sodium mid-day is so important to keeping the “blahs” at bay. Red bell peppers may also be my single favorite vegetable snack and completely worth the 3-4 grams net carbohydrate in half a pepper: full of vitamins A & C with an extra kick of potassium (again, getting those electrolytes in is so important).
But one of my favorite fatty snacks? Nuts. I eat an ounce of nuts most days: raw pecans or walnuts; roasted macadamia nuts or pistachios. And this weekend, a special package arrived for Michael from Illinois which contained… Hickory Nuts.
Hickory nuts come from the Shag Bark Hickory tree, which is native to the Eastern US and into Canada. By and large, they’re not sold commercially because the tree output varies so much from year to year and the shells are very hard which makes the nuts difficult to process. They taste amazing though – like a pecan but with more of the tannins I associate with walnuts. I quite liked them raw but Michael roasted some this afternoon and they are *really* good. Pecans and walnuts have always been tied for first place in my heart, but Hickory nuts are the new champion.
The next order of nut business: get my hands on some native pecans, which are supposed to be oilier and taste… wilder.