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Top 10 Zero Carb Snacks
Well-formulated zero and low carb diets are based on fatty, nutrient-dense foods making the desire to snack far less frequent.
In fact, many people find that practicing intermittent fasting like OMAD (one meal a day) is a natural addition to a low and no carb lifestyle. With that said, there will certainly be times when we find ourselves on the run and in need of a nourishing zero carb snack.
The problem is that when most people think of snacks, they think of processed and packaged foods loaded with carbs and toxic vegetable oils.
Even “natural” snacks like nuts can be high in carbs, plant toxins, and inflammatory omega-6 PUFAs.
The good news is that with some foresight and preparation, you can line up a delicious array of nourishing zero carb snacks for when you’re on the run.
Here’s a list of zero carb snacks that require minimal preparation along with a few store-bought options for when convenience is paramount.
Table of Contents
1 Steak Leftovers
By default, low and zero carb diets are based on fresh fatty meats.
And there’s no reason why your zero carb snacks should be any different.
All you have to do is select cuts of steak that are bigger than you can eat in one sitting. Aim for an extra 25% weight.
Cold, leftover steak is delicious and tastes even better and more nourishing when you’re hungry and on the go.
Ribeye steak is an incredibly succulent treat rich in protein, healthy fat, B vitamins, iron, and zinc.
In fact, ribeye is so healthy that you can thrive on a zero carb diet of ribeye, salt, and water. Known as the lion diet, this approach was popularized by psychologist Jordan Peterson. Now thousands of people are using it to reclaim their metabolic health.
You can cook your ribeye along with Doctor Kiltz in the video below:
Other classic fatty cuts like New York strip and short ribs make delectable snacks loaded with numerous meat specific nutrients, including:
- Carnitine: boosts mitochondrial (cell energy) function, supports male fertility, and supports cardiovascular health
- Taurine: A powerful antioxidant that reduces glycation and oxidative stress while supporting stable mood and mental health
- Carnosine: Supports heart health and skeletal muscle formation. Provides anti-aging benefits by protecting against damage to telomeres
- Creatine: Improves cognition and protects the brain. Enhances athletic performance and heart health.
Ribeye zero carb snack nutrition highlights
|Fat||High-Fat: 73% of calories from fat|
|Protein||Moderate: 20 grams/4 oz serving|
|Vitamins||B vitamins, vitamin K2, selenium,|
|Minerals||Rich in zinc, copper, heme iron|
|Other||Numerous meat-specific compounds like carnosine, carnitine, and creatine|
2 Fatty Cheese
If you tolerate dairy–and the vast majority of people do–creamy, fatty cheese is an incredibly satiating zero carb snack.
Remember, the fattier the cheese, the lower the carbs. Looking for “triple cream” varieties is a safe bet. Dr. Kiltz’s favorite creamy blue cheese also provides added benefits–which we’ll summarize below.
It’s worth noting that a zero-carb diet is by default a high-fat keto diet, since you can only get around 35% of your calories from protein without suffering protein poisoning. This means that you want to get between 70-80% of your calories from fat. The highest fat cheeses can have a 4:1 fat to protein ratio, helping you achieve your macronutrient goals.
Though eating dairy fat has been demonized since the 1960s, modern studies tell us that these guidelines got it wrong.
A major 2018 study with over 2,500 men revealed that after a five-year follow-up, participants who consumed the most cheese had lower body mass index.
Cheese is also an anti-snack since its combination of fat and protein make is incredibly satiating. Consuming cheese will be so satisfying that you’ll be less likely to seek other, less healthy snacks.
|Nutrients Per 100 grams (3.5 oz)||Creamy Blue Cheese||Triple Cream Brie (Saint Andre)|
|Fat: Protein Ratio by grams||3.25:1||4:1|
Zero Carb Snack Highlight: Creamy Blue Cheese
Studies show that blue cheese provides 2900 and 4700 different bioactive peptides that offer numerous health benefits.
One of the more well-studied peptides in blue cheese called spermidine, has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, relieve joint pain, slow aging, and reduce inflammation.
|Nutrients per 100g of Creamy Blue Cheese|
|Significant Vitamins and Minerals|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||1.7mg 35% RDA|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.4mg (36% RDA)|
3 Beef Jerky and Biltong
Dried meats like beef jerky and biltong are among the most convenient zero carb snacks. Jerky is generally smokier, while biltong is air dried and marinated simply with vinegar.
Fnding varieties of jerky and biltong without added sugar can be a challenge. It’s also worth noting that though jerky and biltong are zero carb, but also very low in fat and high in protein. So they’re not suited for replacing meals.
Biltong is often fattier than jerky. And you can guarantee fatty jerky or biltong by making your own at home from extra fatty cuts of beef.
The best no-carb biltong we found is from Brooklyn Biltong’s Naked Meat Flavor. Simple ingredients include grass-fed beef, apple cider vinegar, and salt.
4 Beef Liver Crisps
Beef liver crisps aren’t completely zero carb snacks, but with only 2 carbs per serving the unsurpassed nutrients they provide is more than worth it.
One serving of beef liver crisps provides:
- 180% of Vitamin A (retinol)
- 540% of Vitamin B12
- 260% of copper
- 90% of Riboflavin
- 40% of folate
- 30% of selenium
Beef liver crisps have the added benefit of providing the crunch that you’ve given up by cutting out high carb corn and potato chips.
Carnivore Aurelius claims, “There isn’t a food on earth with greater potential to transform the way you look, feel, and perform than grass-fed beef liver.” When considering the nutrient profile of beef liver alongside the fact that 43% of Americans are deficient in vitamin A, we’d have to agree.
5 Grass-fed Butter
Butter is delicious, satiating, easy to find, and packed with the nutrient you need the most of when going zero carb–fat!
A few tablespoons of butter is often all you’ll need to boost your macros after a leaner meal.
Like fatty cheese, butter is another zero carb snack that modern science has freed from dietary prison.
For example, a large-scale review of data from more than 3.6 million participants found that high-fat dairy products are not associated with any causes of mortality.
A 2013 review of 16 studies found that consuming high-fat dairy products like butter can actually lower your risk of obesity.
While a 2006 study looking at men and women aged 45-75 who regularly consume dairy fat showed a reduced risk of a heart attack.
Other studies show that butter may be an especially beneficial zero carb snack for people hoping to get pregnant. Adding just one serving of full-fat dairy has been shown to reduce infertility by over 50%.
Butter is also a great source of the beneficial fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA has been shown to:
- Fight tumors
- Protect against colon cancer
- Reduce risk of heart disease
- Lower bad cholesterol
- Improves insulin sensitivity in young, sedentary adults
- supports fat loss
- Boosts immune function and reduces inflammation
Butter is also a good source of the beneficial fatty acid called butyrate. Your body can make some butyrate from fiber, but on a zero carb diet you cut out most fiber, so getting your butyrate from butter can be important.
Butyrate reduces inflammation in the colon and liver, and supports good sleep.
6 Butter Coffee
Can a beverage be a snack? Sure it can, especially when you boost its nutrient value by adding butter, ghee, and collagen powder.
The 400 plus different beneficial fatty acids can provide antimicrobial and antifungal properties. For example, studies of lauric acid found in butter cancan significantly improve intestinal health by fighting pathogenic bacteria in the gut.
The addition of collagen to your coffee provides the amino acid glycine which has anti-stress, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Butter Coffee Nutritional Highlights
|Fat||High 80-99% of calories from butterfat|
|Protein||None w/ only butte. Low when adding collagen powder|
|Vitamins||Vitamin A, D, E, and K2|
|Other||Glycine–anti-inflammatory amino acid|
7 Hard Boiled Eggs
Eggs are one of the most complete foods on earth. They have ample protein, fat, B vitamins, choline, and cholesterol. Basically, everything that an animal needs to grow.
Hard boil your eggs in batches at the beginning of the week and reach for these guilt-free zero carb snacks when you need a boost.
Eggs Nutrition Highlights
|Fat||High-Fat: 55% of calories from fat|
|Protein||Moderate: 6 grams/egg|
|Vitamins||Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin K2, choline, selenium|
|Minerals||Rich in zinc and copper|
|Other||Rich in lutein and other carotenoids|
If you’re worried about eggs being bad for you health, just don’t. The anti-egg dogma of the 1990s has been thoroughly debunked by a robust body of modern science showing that eggs do not increase risk of heart attack. ”/]
In fact, the once demonized cholesterol and fat in eggs are what makes them such a sustaining zero carb snack. Studies show that eggs may actually reduce your risk of heart disease:
- A large study looking at data from 500,000 Chinese people found that participants who ate the most eggs had the lowest risk of major cardiac events, CVD, ischemic heart disease, and CVD-related death
- The cholesterol in eggs has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol while not increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol.
8 Pork Rinds and Cracklings
Rinds, cracklings, chicharrones–these crunchy zero carb snacks are delicious and surprisingly nutritious.
Prot tip–llook for pasture-raised pork rinds at your farmer’s market. Pork raised in the sunshine will have a better fatty acid profile and higher levels of vitamin D.
The best store-bought options we’ve found are Epic Artisanal Oven Baked Pork Rinds, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt flavor. The only ingredients are pork skins and salt, and zero carbs.
You can also use pork rind bread crumbs as zero carb bread “bread” crumbs. Use them to boost the fat when cooking leaner meats like chicken and fish.
9 Bone Broth
Put this zero carb snack in a thermos of a cozy treat when you’re on the move.
Most store bought bone broth has the fat filtered out. But you can leave the fat in for an extra-nourishing broth by making your own at home. Either way you can always add ghee, butter.
Bone broth nutritional highlights
|Fat||Moderate amounts (40-60% from fat)|
|Protein||Moderate amounts (45-65% from protein)|
|Vitamins||Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2|
|Minerals||Calcium, phosphorus, silicon|
|Other||Glycine, an anti-inflammatory amino acid|
The pioneering nutrition researcher Weston A. Price found that bone broth was used by virtually every ancient culture as a secret to their superior health.
Bone broth is an excellent source of inhibitory amino acids that provide a balance to the excitatory amino acids we get from from muscle meats.
Some of the additional benefits of bone broth include:
- Collagen reduces facial lines and wrinkles, and improves skin elasticity
- Stabilizes GABA levels leading to improved mood
- Supports better sleep
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced joint pain in osteoarthritis patients
- Supports healthy gut microbiome
- Prevents ulcers
Zero Carb Bone Broth Recipe
- 12 pounds beef bones
- 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar, optional
- Lots of salt to taste
- Step 1 (optional): Preheat oven to 450 °F (232°C). Arrange bones in a single layer on a large roasting tray, place in oven for 20 minutes. Roasting is not necessary but can add flavor.
- Step 2: Place bones in large stock pot and fill with water until all bones are covered.
- Step 3 (optional): Add vinegar
- Low simmer for minimum 18 hours. 72 hours is ideal. Check to make sure bone are covered with water, add more when necessary.
10 High Quality Preserved Meats–Salami, Prosciutto
High-quality preserved meats like salami and prosciutto make excellent zero carb snacks.
Very low and zero carb diets are versions of keto. This means that you need to consume more salt–especially since you’re cutting out all processed foods that are high in salt.
Along with salt, quality preserved meats provide fat, protein, and B vitamins.
Though preserved meats have been given a bad wrap, modern studies show that the link between processed meat and cancer is essentially non-existent. 5
Should you eat them all the time? Probably not–fresh meat is always a better option, but for an occasional snack they’re great.
Go ahead and combine preserved meats with the creamy cheeses above and vanquish all feelings of deprivation that you might have from cutting out carbs.
This is another zero carb snack where you’ll find the best pasture-raised varieties at your local farmer’s market. Otherwise, Niman Ranch is a good bet.
Preserved Meat Nutritional Highlights
|Fat||Moderate amounts (35-60% from fat)|
|Protein||Moderate amounts (40-65% from protein)|
|Vitamins||Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, B, Choline,|
|Minerals||Calcium, phosphorus, silicon, copper, iron,|
Zero Carb Snacks: The Takeaway
A well-formulated zero carb diet centers on satiating whole foods, especially fatty meats. This means that snack cravings will mostly be in the rearview mirror.
However, modern life can be busy and unpredictable. On occasions when you’re on the run and need zero carb fuel, these snacks will keep you topped up and ready for anything.