Working out on any restrictive diet can sometimes seem like an uphill battle. But keeping to a specific nutritional regime can be great for any cardio and flexibility training needed for martial arts. When you’re on the ketogenic diet, it’s especially important to stick to your eating plans. Swaying too far might mean you fall out of ketosis, the fat-burning mode the low-carb, high-fat diet brings you in. The right pre and post workout snacks can help get you through the tough parts of staying keto when you're training.
What Is Keto?
The ketogenic diet is based on minimal carbs, a moderate amount of protein and a lot of fats. The goal is to get your body in a state of ketosis, where it uses fat as a source of energy instead of carbs. This can be the fats in your food, but also fat stored in your body. How many carbs, proteins, and fats you need to consume, depends on various factors like your goals, your lifestyle and body composition. You can determine the amounts with a keto calculator which takes all these aspects into consideration.
Going keto is an excellent option if you’re looking to develop muscle tone and keep yourself lean and fit. It helps boost your energy levels and increases flexibility. It can even prevent long-term health complications, by lowering the amount of glucose in your blood.
There are however some concerns about using keto if you’re trying to bulk up. For martial arts, however, it is a fantastic diet. It encourages heart health, and the high-fat content allows you to stay flexible and healthy. The lack of carbs in your diet means you have plenty of energy, and your workouts can go on longer, to increase stamina during your training. It’s also the perfect diet to gain the lean muscle that is instrumental in keeping you fighting fit.
Best Portable Keto Snacks For The Gym Bag
Keto doesn’t have to mean you spend all day in the kitchen. For that boost of energy before or after a great workout, all you need are a few gym bag friendly recipes. Prepping yourself some delicious snacks that can be carried with you doesn’t need to be complicated. These healthy, keto-friendly snacks are super portable, filling, and delicious whether they’re at the beginning or end of your workout!
1. 4 Ingredient Protein Bars
Delicious protein bars to give you a boost of energy while you’re training. These are simple to make, and they last a while, so you can always grab a protein bar when you need it.
- 1 cup of almonds
- 1 cup of cashews
- egg white protein
- 10 ounces dates
- 2-4 tbsps water
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
In your food processor, process the almonds, cashews, coconut, cinnamon and egg white protein until the nuts have been broken down into small pieces. The “chunkiness” is down to taste.
Add in the pitted dates and process. Add in water, a tablespoon at a time, and combine until everything sticks together. The mixture should be sticky when you transfer it to the pan.
Flatten with your fingers. Freeze for 1 hour. Cut into bars.
You can pop the bars into a Ziplock bag and put them in your gym bag.
2. Avocado Egg Salad
Egg salad may not seem like the most portable option, but keeping it in these avocado boats make it suitable for a lunch box or gym bag snack. Rich in proteins and healthy fats, it’s just the thing for the keto diet.
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 handful of chives
- 1 handful of parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
Hard boil your eggs and peel them.
Scoop out avocado into boats
Place the eggs with avocado, and herbs in a medium bowl. Add lemon juice and seasoning. Mash with a fork.
Scoop into avocado boats
Wrap these up in a lunch box or another plastic bag.
3. Salmon Cucumber Rollups
1 long English cucumber
½ cup smoked salmon
½ cup cream cheese
Peel the cucumber into 6-inch strips using a vegetable peeler
Spoon about 1-2 teaspoons of cream cheese along the length of the cucumber.
Press a strip of smoked salmon into the top of the cream cheese and roll the cucumber as tightly as possible.
Secure with a toothpick, and roll in wax paper. It won’t keep for long but should stay fresh in a sealed container.
3. Keto Chocolate Coconut Fat Bomb Squares
Keto fat bombs are a popular snack while you’re on keto. Rich in fats and proteins, they’re also really easy to stuff in a gym bag. They keep for a long time, so they’re great for freezing, and are sure to kick any sweet cravings you have.
4 cups coconut flakes, unsweetened
1 cup of coconut oil
1 cup of chocolate chips
½ cup of butter
2 tbsp sweetener of your choice, powdered
1 tsp vanilla
Melt the coconut oil and butter together.
Combine the melted butter and coconut oil to the chocolate flakes.
Add 1 tsp of vanilla and mix well
Add in sugar and mix
Place parchment paper in a square pan and pour the coconut mixture into the bottom. Freeze until set.
Melt chocolate chips by setting a glass bowl in a pot of boiling water, so you get a nice even coat.
Remove coconut mixture from the freezer, and coat the top with the chocolate, spreading to get a beautiful, even coat.
4. Keto Friendly Banana Bread Muffins
Baking and keto? There are ways! These banana bread muffins are great breakfast on the go, or a delicious snack to take to the gym.
3 large eggs
1 cups mashed bananas
½ cup almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup coconut flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin pan
2 combine eggs, bananas almond butter, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Whisk till fully combined.
Combine dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
Once they’ve had a few minutes to cool, you can wrap them up for the gym bag, or stick them in the freezer to keep for longer!
5. Keto Carmelitas
Carmelitas are traditionally made with oats and sugar. But these are healthy and keto-friendly. They’re also fantastic. About the size of a protein bar, and packed full of sweetness, they’re the perfect way to curb an after-workout craving.
1 cup unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 cup almond flour
½ cup sweetener of your choice
3 tbsp coconut flour
½ tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar-free caramel sauce
1/3 sugar-free chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 225F and grease a 9x9 inch square pan
Combine coconut and sliced almond in a food processor. These are to replace the oats, so they’ll need to be about that size when you’re done.
Add this to a large bowl with almond flour, sweetener, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in melted butter.
Press half the mixture into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Cool completely and prepare your caramel sauce and chocolate chips.
Spread caramel sauce, then chocolate chips. Add the other half of the mixture to the top, and bake another 15 minutes.
6. Homemade Chipotle Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is the ultimate in travel-friendly protein. These jerky sticks are delicious and flavorful. They take a while to cook, but they’re simple, and they make a significant impact on your training.
1 ½ lb flank steak
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp chipotle powder
½ tsp chipotle salt
2 tsp chipotle flakes
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
Freeze the flank steak for 2 hours to make it easier to cut. Cut in thin strips
Use the rest of the ingredients to make the marinade. Add the sliced steak, stir to coat, cover, and place in the fridge overnight, for at least 24 hours
Preheat the oven to your lowest setting. Lay the steak slices on a baking rap. Bake in the oven with the oven door propped open slightly. It should take between 4-6 hours to dry out completely, and you should turn the meat every two hours.
7. Egg Cups On The Go
Egg muffins are full of proteins, and you can fix them with whatever your favorite mix-ins are. This recipe is totally customizable, portable, and takes only minutes. Whether it’s an on the go breakfast, or a protein-packed snack is up to you.
4 oz cooked bacon
4 oz cheddar cheese
4 oz sun-dried tomatoes
Preheat your oven to 400F
Place cupcake liners in a muffin tin
Crack an egg in each cup and fill with your favorite mix-ins. We’re using cheese, bacon, and sundried tomatoes, but you can replace with whatever you like best
Bake for 15 minutes
Keto is a great choice if you’re looking to lose weight and gain lean muscles. But your diet is only part of your health. Sticking to an exercise regime that works for your keto diet means having keto-friendly snacks on hand wherever you go. That includes the gym. These recipes keep you healthy and feeling great during training. Plus, they make a great portable pick me up.
Guest post from Michael Herscu, Co Founder, Kiss My Keto