The carnivore diet is a highly restrictive elimination diet that aims to reduce inflammation, boost energy levels, and improve overall health through exclusively eating meat, meat-derived products, and limited dairy options.
The carnivore diet bans vegetables, fruits, sugars, soy products, corn products, vegetable oil, MSG, additives, most dairy products, and most preservatives.
Snacking on the carnivore diet is easy if you know what to look for. The trick is to rely on fresh meat and grass-fed meat products instead of canned, overly processed, or other low-quality beef products. If you're eating low-grade meat fed on grains, then you are still eating inflammatory ingredients!
It's common to see banned ingredients in snack foods, so in general, you will want to avoid snacks that include:
- Any added sugar
- Soy sauce or soy additives
- Any sort of flour
- Vegetable, canola, peanut, and any other vegetable oil
With that in mind, here are 15 simple and nutritious snacks for the carnivore diet!
1. Pork Rinds
Pork rinds (fried pork skins) are one of the best "grab-and-go" options you have on the carnivore diet. Just like beef jerky, as long as you are buying high-quality pork rinds that aren't cooked in vegetable or peanut oil, then they make a great carnivore snack.
Pork rinds are high in protein, fat, and calories, but they are also high in sodium and low in beneficial vitamins and minerals[*].
For the healthiest option, you can make your own rinds using this delicious homemade pork rinds recipe. Just swap the olive oil for lard, ghee, or butter!
Tuna is a super filling and tasty carnivore diet snack to have around the house. While mercury is a legitimate concern, if you eat tuna in moderation (2-3 servings a week) and avoid it when you're pregnant or breastfeeding, then you have nothing to worry about[*].
Tuna is packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12. Tuna can also help prevent anemia, promote heart health, and may reduce the risk of dementia[*].
Tuna is great with a bit of salt and pepper right out of the can. Depending on how strict your carnivore diet is, you could also add in a bit of mustard and balsamic vinegar to spice things up.
Eating carnivore usually means having lots of eggs. I always have some around so I can whip two up when I'm feeling snacky. All it takes is a few minutes, a bit of salt and pepper, and bam — 12 grams of protein and a filling snack.
Eggs are a complete protein and can help build muscles and allow you to feel full longer, have more energy, and lose weight as a result[*].
Add ground beef for an even more savory and filling snack, or add hard-boiled eggs to tuna for a good lunch.
4. Beef Sticks
We may be a little biased, but we think grass-fed meat sticks are the best carnivore snack out there. They are easy to eat and so delicious.
Not all beef sticks are created equal, though, and it's best to avoid any beef stick that packs their meat with preservatives, MSG, and other additives. Most gas station beef sticks are off the table, but carnivore and Whole30-approved companies like Chomps are perfect.
When creating our carnivore-friendly beef sticks, we don't stop at zero sugar. Every single part of our operation and supply chain is sustainable, grass-fed, and carnivore-friendly.
That means you will never find:
- Sugar substitutes
- Grain-fed beef
Or any other nasty additives and ingredients. We create carnivore snacks for health nuts because we are those health nuts!
5. Deli Meat
A classic refrigerator door snack, deli meat is an easy and convenient option to put those rumbles to rest. Chicken, turkey, and beef are all good options. The same rules of quality apply here, though. It's common for deli meat products to contain added sugars, binders, and other additives.
Look for natural, grass-fed options and avoid any products that contain unnatural flavorings or added sugars.
Adding deli meat to eggs is also a great way to start a carnivore day!
6. Bone Broth
Renowned for its nutritional profile, bone broth is a great choice for carnivore eaters because it gives you all of the amazing nutrients and vitamins found in marrow that are normally removed from modern cuts and meat products.
It's made from beef, chicken, or fish bones, and these bones are rich in vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Some studies suggest bone both can help with joint health and reduce inflammation[*].
Biltong is a South African take on dried meat. Instead of using dehydrators or smoke like jerky, biltong is air-dried. And while jerky is made from lean cuts, biltong is made from both fatty and lean cuts. Traditional bitlong also uses vinegar and coriander to give it a signature taste.
Biltong is usually beef and is pure meat, so it is a great resource for iron, zinc, vitamin b, and selenium. These minerals and vitamins can help build muscles, repair tissues, and promote brain and body functions[*].
8. Aged Cheese
The carnivore diet lets you eat hard, aged cheeses like swiss, parmesan, feta, and other low-lactose dairy products including cottage cheese, kefir, and ghee. People vary in what they allow and don't allow, but if you choose low-lactose options and eat them in moderation, you should be fine.
Keeping some of these options around for a quick bite can go a long way, and dairy products are full of calcium, which your body needs for strong bones and teeth[*].
Just remember to avoid overly processed and finished cheeses. Aim for naturally aged!
9. Cured Meats
Cured sausage, salami, or chorizo are some of our favorite carnivore snacks — especially after a long hike.
Cured meats are high in protein and fat and offer a good range of minerals. They are also high in sodium, however, so it is best to eat cured meats in moderation[*].
Look for salami and other cured sausages that aren't packed with preservatives, or try making your own!
10. Salmon Crisps
Salmon crisps are one of the new kids on the snack block. They are dehydrated salmon skins — imagine a pork rind but made from salmon.
Salmon chips are high on protein, a good source of omega-3 proteins, and have zero carbs[*].
One of our favorite salmon chip brands is Goodfish — check them out!
11. Beef Liver Crisps
Beef liver is one of the most nutrient-filled foods on the planet. Because livers act as our body's nutrient filters, they have an extremely high nutrient profile. If you want to take advantage of their benefits in a quick and easy fashion, then beef liver crisps are a great choice.
The nutritional profile for liver is exceptional. Just a few ounces of liver provides well over 100% of the RDI for many essential nutrients, and it is also high in protein and low in calories[*].
Try making your own beef liver crisps with this recipe direct from the MeatRx team!
12. Liver Pate
Liver pate is a spreadable paste that you can eat on its own or alongside other carnivore foods.
You still get all of the same amazing liver nutrition benefits when eating pate, and it is most often made from beef, chicken, and duck.
Try making your own chicken liver pate here — just remember to take out the onions and any other vegetables.
Sardines are definitely an acquired taste, but they are a great option on the carnivore diet. They are cheap, may have lower mercury exposure due to their short lives, and are full of rich vitamins in minerals.
Sardines are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help heart disease, Vitamin B-12, which helps with energy and cardiovascular health, and calcium, which promotes bone health and strength[*].
Just make sure you avoid the ones packed in vegetable or olive oil since this is against the carnivore diet rules.
14. Steak Bites
Steak bites are exactly what they sound like, but that doesn't mean they should be overlooked! Buy some steak in bulk, cook an extra one or two when making dinner one night, cut it into cubes, and ta-da! A delicious and nutritious carnivore diet snack.
Steak can help prevent iron deficiency and is packed with filling protein[*].
Here's the best way to cook a steak in an oven!
15. Beef Jerky
We have a saying here at Chomps: not all beef jerky is created equal. The fact is, so much of the beef jerky sold is terrible for you, but grass-fed, non-GMO jerky is fantastic.
Good beef jerky is an easy, protein-filled snack that you can take pretty much anywhere. We love packing some for a long run or a backpacking getaway.
The Bottom Line
Any of the snacks above are delicious options when following the carnivore diet. The key is to have a mix of snacks you can just grab-and-go and some other snacks that you can whip up from the fridge in just a few minutes.
You also need to make sure all of the products you buy are grass-fed and don't have any added sugars, unnecessary additives, or flavorings.