I'll be first to admit; I'm a movieholic. What's more relaxing than catching the latest blockbuster at the movie theater for a chill date night or a day out with the family?
And what goes hand in hand with movies? Snacks, of course! The only problem is most snacks at the movie theater are not keto-friendly, not to mention super expensive. Here are just a few of my favorites:
What are some excellent keto movie snacks?
- Beef Jerky
- Pork Rinds
- Meat Snacks
- Cheese Whisps
- Low-carb Protein Bars
- Mixed Nuts and Seeds
- Sugar-Free Candies
- Fat Bombs
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
Below is a compilation of almost every type of every keto-friendly movie snack I've snuck into the theater over time, both store-bought and homemade.
Shhhh… don't tell; I'll keep yours a secret too.
What Makes A Good Keto Movie Snack?
So what exactly makes a good keto movie snack? Obviously, it has to be delicious, right?
The most critical aspect of getting in and maintaining a metabolic state of ketosis is through carbohydrate restriction. Therefore, the best keto movie snacks will have these characteristics (in no particular order):
- Low or no carbohydrates “keto-friendly.”
- Convenient enough to sneak in the theater
When the term “keto friendly” is used, it is often about how many carbohydrates a particular food has.
Most people find themselves staying between 20 and 50 grams of net carbs per day to remain in ketosis effectively. These carbs can almost be seen as your “budget” for the day.If you have a budget of 50 versus 20, you have more than double the budget of someone else, and this means more items are keto-friendly for you than the person eating 20 grams of carbohydrates per day.
It's like if you had a daily food allowance of $50 versus $20. If you had $50 to spend, you could undoubtedly splurge on that grass-fed rib-eye steak, but if you only had $20 to spend, you may want to stick with the choice cut.
Best Store-Bought Keto Snacks For The Movies
For many, going the store-bought route is probably a quicker and more convenient option.
I get it; you have a busy schedule and may not have time to make a keto-friendly snack at home.
Luckily, with the internet and all the available options at local grocery stores, there is an endless amount of store-bought keto-friendly movie snacks you can bring to the theater.
Here are some of my favorite store-bought salty and sweet keto movie snacks and where to order it online.
Many of you may be confused or never heard of biltong before. When people ask me what biltong is, I tell them it's like beef jerky, but better!
Mainly, the difference between biltong and beef jerky is the ingredients they use and how they're produced.
For me, biltong is much tastier due to the production process and vinegar/spice marination.
The meat also comes out more tender without the use of sugar that many beef jerky producers use to re-add moisture and weight to the meat.
In terms of production, biltong is made without heat or a dehydrator. Specifically, biltong is hung and air-dried for up to a week at a time.
And since biltong typically doesn't have any added sugars, it's virtually carb-free and packs more protein.
But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself.
I personally like Kalahari brand biltong.
Each small package has:
- 160 calories
- 4g fat
- Less than 1 gram of carbs
- 32g protein
#2 Beef Jerky
If you've ever looked at the back of most beef jerky packages, you'll soon realize they are chock full of sugar.
Most commercially sold beef jerky is not keto-friendly and should be avoided due to the carb content being too high for most people to fit within their daily carb budgets.
Luckily, with keto becoming popular, many of these commercial companies are slowly beginning to add zero-sugar beef jerky to their lineups.
For this reason, I would recommend the following beef jerky without any added sugars.
Tillamook Country Smoker Zero Sugar Jerky
Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, I thought Tillamook only made cheese, and then I slowly learned they made ice-cream, and then eventually found out they had some delicious beef jerky.
Each serving 1 oz (28g) serving has:
- 70 calories
- 1.5g fat
- 0g carbs
- 14g protein
#3 Pork Rinds
Want a great potato chip replacement that's keto-friendly? Pork rinds are your answer.
Pork rinds can also act as a versatile ingredient in your keto-kitchen and may be used as a breadcrumb substitute, fried chicken anyone?
Or pork rinds may even serve as a crunchy crouton substitute if you enjoy a salad now and then.
I like to enjoy my pork rinds straight from the bag or even dipped in a bit of apple cider vinegar , or sometimes even balsamic vinegar (don't knock it till you try it).
Each 1 oz (28g) serving of these pork rinds has:
- 160 calories
- 12g fat
- 0g carbs
- 16g protein
#4 Cheese Whisps
Want a more keto-friendly alternative to cheeze-its? Cheese whips are your answer.
Cheese whips are another great way to get that crunch we all love and miss when starting a ketogenic diet.
While most cheese whips are made with Parmesan cheese, you can find varieties made with other types of cheeses and even flavored varieties.
Each serving of 15 crisps (18g) has:
- 100 calories
- 7g fat
- Less than 1 carb
- 9g protein
- Purchase Cello Parmesan Whisps Here. (You may also be able to find these at your local Costco)
#5 Meat Snacks
If you're familiar with those cylinder meat snack goodies called slim Jims you had as a child, you'll be glad to know they're keto-friendly.
While many of them may have many unpronounceable ingredients, many other varieties are reasonably priced, made with 100% grass-fed and finished beef, and free of fillers.
For my meat snack needs, I've just discovered Mission Meats Keto Sugar-Free Grass-Fed Beef Snack Sticks.
At less than $2 a stick, you can't beat it!
Each stick has:
- 80 calories
- 6g fat
- 1g carb
- 7g protein
#6 Low-Carb Protein Bar
Protein bars can make convenient, keto-friendly snacks when enjoyed in moderation.
Since many of the protein bars are filled with certain fibers and sugar alcohols like chicory root fiber, eating too many of them may not agree with some people's stomachs.
However, having them as a treat once in a while can be a great treat, especially when enjoying it with a movie on the big screen.
I enjoy quest protein bars, specifically the chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies n' cream, and birthday cake flavors.
Each bar contains: ~flavors will vary +/- 20 calories and a few grams of fat.
- 200 calories
- 9g fat
- 4g of net carbs
- 21g protein
#7 Lily's Dark Chocolate
If you're the type who likes something a little sweet, Lily's dark chocolate is keto-friendly and is sweetened with Stevia, making for the perfect sweet treat for chocolate lovers at the movie theater.
If you're wondering about what other candy you can eat on keto, I wrote up an entire list as well.
Each serving of Lily's (40g or half a bar) has: ~calories will vary +/- 20 depending on the flavor.
- 160 calories
- 15g fat
- 4g of net carbs
- 2g protein
#8 Perfect Keto Bars
If you want a bar that was specifically made with a ketogenic dieter in mind, you can't go wrong with Perfect Keto's Keto Bars.
With six different flavors, including birthday cake, cinnamon roll, chocolate chip cookie dough, and more, you have a plethora of options.
Salted caramel is my favorite.
What's even better is that the bars each have 11g of grass-fed collagen protein, which may help support hair, skin, nails, joints, and other connective tissues. 1 2 3
And to top it off, I've scored 15% off for all the readers of The Art of Keto. To take advantage of the discount, simply click the keto bar image below and use code: AOK to save 15% off keto bars and any other Perfect Keto product.
#9 Seaweed Snacks
Seaweed is a personal favorite salty movie snack and an excellent source of iodine and tyrosine, which is great to help support thyroid function.
They sell them in small packs that have them sliced into small rectangles for easy snacking, and they're also lightweight and easy to carry.
Keto Movie Snacks Recipes You Can Make At Home
If you like to experiment in the kitchen, these homemade keto-friendly movie snack recipes are the perfect accompaniment for that summer blockbuster.
These are just a handful of recipes that I've tried over the years that are sure to please.
#10 Zucchini Chips
Don't knock it till you try it.
Zucchini chips saved me during my bodybuilding competition prep. They are super easy to make, very low in calories, and can easily be a great low-calorie keto movie snack.
All you need to do is slice up the zucchini very thin, preferably with a mandolin, and bake it in the oven for a few minutes. Zucchini chips can make a great keto substitute for movie popcorn and potato chips.
Season them with salt and pepper for a salty keto movie snack or sprinkle them with cinnamon and your favorite sugar-free substitute for a sweet treat.
Want to kick up your zucchini snack game up a bit? Try this awesome recipe for zucchini fries.
Photo and recipe courtesy of Clean Keto Lifestyle
#11 Hard-boiled eggs
Yepp, you read that right! Hard-boiled eggs can be an easy keto movie snack that you can prepare at home and easily sneak into the movie theater; I'm that guy.
You may want to peel them before you go to save some time and spare the others from all the cracking.
#12 Fat Bombs
While I don't recommend eating fat bombs on the regular, having one as a treat at the movies or for dessert once in a while can help with those cravings.
Here's an easy peanut butter chocolate fat bomb recipe that I use. Simply mix all the ingredients on low heat in a pot or microwave save dish, stir, and let set in the fridge or freezer in your favorite molds.
#13 Keto Cookies
I don't know about you, but I have a sweet tooth, and usually, it's asking for either ice cream or cookies.
Since we can't exactly bring ice cream to the movie theater (or can we?) let's go with the cookie option here.
Here is one of my favorite keto-friendly cookie recipes you can use to bake some treats for the movies courtesy of Low Carb Crave.
If you prefer to buy keto-friendly cookies to take to the movies, I'm a fan of Nui Cookies.
Keto Substitute For Movie Popcorn
Are you looking for a keto substitute for that buttery movie popcorn goodness?
Of course, I mentioned a few ideas above that might fill that void, which include cheese whisps, pork rinds, and zucchini chips.
While there is no TRUE substitute for movie popcorn, here is a keto-friendly recipe that may fulfill that void.
Keto Popcorn Cheese Puffs
Similar to cheese whisps, these cheese puffs only use one ingredient… cheese!
- Cut cheese (I like Dubliner Irish Cheddar) into small 1/4 inch squares
- Leave the cheese to dry out for 24 hours on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and cover it with a paper towel or clean dish towel
- Preheat oven to 375F and bake cheese for 3-6 minutes until it puffs up
- Let cool, pack in a baggie for the movie theater, and enjoy!
Movie Theater Food On A Keto Diet
If you're looking for keto-friendly options at your local theater chain or AMC dine-in, here are a few options that are generally safe and low in carbs.
While most theaters have the same standard options, certain people may have access to dine-in theaters with a full menu, so options may vary.
- A hot dog without the bun
- Crispy bacon Brussels sprouts *AMC Dine-In
- A burger without the bread or sauces
- Southwest Chicken (no beans, rice, or tortilla chips) *AMC Dine-In
What Can You Drink At The Movie Theater On Keto?
While plain water would be an obvious choice, that's boring and doesn't add to the festivities.
Since it's a little harder to sneak in drinks to the theater, you can find sparkling water, La Croix for example, or diet soda at almost any movie theater.
Additionally, you may be able to find some sugar-free energy drinks like Bang, Reign, or Rockstar.
Movie Snacks That Are Not Keto
Here is a list of definite snack no-no's on a ketogenic diet and should be avoided at all costs if staying in ketosis is of utmost importance to you.
Sorry folks, popcorn isn't keto-friendly and is all carbohydrates.
Luckily, there are a few items you can use as a substitution, such as pork rinds or cheese whisps.
You can also use the recipe I posted above to make keto popcorn cheese puffs, but make sure you plan before making those since they require a little bit of prep.
While dried fruits may be considered “healthy” in some circles, they are not keto-friendly and should be avoided.
Not only are dried fruits full of natural sugars, but most of them also have added sugars to make them more sugary.
Your best bet is to sneak in some fresh berries like blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries, which are relatively low in carbohydrates.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are hit or miss. While nuts and seeds are moderately keto-friendly, they are also VERY high in calories.
Since we're at the movies and likely mindlessly snacking, I can't in good faith recommend eating nuts or seeds as both the calories and carbs can add up, especially if weight loss is your goal.
However, if you're one of those rare individuals with strong willpower or only need a taste to be satisfied, nuts and seeds can be an excellent keto movie snack.
Need more inspiration for sneaking snacks into the movies?
Here is a video from my man Goody Beats showing what he sneaks into the movie theater with his fanny pack. Lol!
There are tons of keto-friendly movie snacks that you can bring to the theater (without getting caught, of course).
A little planning ahead and knowing what to avoid is all you need to enjoy quality time with friends and family at the theater without ruining your progress.