9 Low-Carb Halloween Recipes Perfect for a Keto Diet


The ketogenic diet is all the rage these days. What started out as a high-fat, low-carb eating approach to manage seizures has become one of the go-to ways to purportedly lose weight — and lose it fast. But with so few carbs and so much fat required on the keto diet, this meal plan can be challenging to follow.

There are no official rules about which macronutrients to eat in which proportions to maintain ketosis, but popular resources suggest that an average of between 70 and 80 percent of your total calories should come from fat, up to 20 percent from protein, and only 10 percent or fewer from carbohydrates, Harvard Health reports. In a 2,000-calorie diet, this translates to about 165 grams (g) of fat, 40 g of carbohydrates, and 75 g of protein.

Sticking to a low-carb diet like keto can be especially trying around Halloween, when candy and desserts are difficult to dodge. So, how can you follow a low-carb diet while still enjoying food-focused holidays, including Halloween?

An Initial Word of Caution on the Keto Diet

Before you commit to this restrictive eating plan, know that there is limited research on its safety and benefits. You’ll want to check with your doctor if you’re hoping to try keto, especially if you have any underlying conditions. For example, people living with diabetes who are on medication to lower blood sugar (especially those who use insulin) may suffer dangerous hypoglycemia on this diet. (Also, if you have type 1 diabetes or are on insulin, you’ll want to avoid the keto diet because of that risk of low blood sugar.)

If you have type 2 diabetes, the keto diet may actually improve your blood glucose control, according to a meta-analysis published in Cureus in October 2020. And a review published in May 2019 in Nutrients suggested that the keto diet can be an effective eating approach for people living with type 2 diabetes, though the study also notes this high-fat approach may increase cholesterol levels (and there’s not enough data available to judge the diet’s long-term sustainability, safety, and effectiveness).

For those following a keto diet for weight loss only, know that slashing carbs and upping fat intake may not be the key to keeping extra pounds off for good. “The keto diet is hard to sustain long term,” says Constantine George, MD, an internal medicine doctor at Epitomedical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. This may be particularly true for adults with obesity, overweight, or type 2 diabetes, according to a review published in September 2023 in Nutrition & Diabetes, which concluded that adherence to the ketogenic diet is challenging. Previous research in mice also found that a ketogenic diet may lead to the loss of muscle tissue, according to research published in December 2019 in Scientific Reports. Not only does muscle loss impact metabolism, but, Dr. George points out, “Your heart is also a muscle.”

One reason the keto diet may be hard to sustain? The very limited carbohydrate intake can make eating at social events and during the holidays a challenge. “Many party foods are full of carbohydrates, so it can be difficult for those on the keto diet to eat at such events,” says Staci Gulbin, RDN, who practices at Lighttrack Nutrition in New York City.

Tips for Following Keto During the Holidays

To stay on track, plan ahead. “Fill up on a keto-friendly meal before leaving for the event, so you aren’t hungry when you get there, and you can keep your focus on enjoying the time out,” says George. Or to ensure there are keto-friendly options, volunteer to provide them. “I recommend bringing your own keto-friendly dish to share,” Gulbin says.

Easy dishes, like dips with low-carb veggies or a meat and cheese platter, can be keto-friendly, but with a little creativity, you can enjoy festive sweets on the diet as well. For inspiration, check out these low-carb Halloween recipes. Any of them can easily fit in a keto diet! From creamy Jack-o’-Lantern Dip to low-carb Mummy Cookies, these delicious options make for super keto-friendly additions to your Halloween plans.


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