You fill your plate with clean protein and tons of veggies. You’re loving that coffee totally black, or maybe with a little coconut milk. But what about the SNACKS? When switching to Paleo from the Standard American Diet, you might find yourself lost when it comes to snacking. It’s easy to feel frustrated, after all; most of us have been raised eating the snacks we find lining the grocery store shelves, but I’ve got some recommendations for easy Paleo snacks that will keep it clean.
For starters, this is a little trick I do: When I feel hungry for a snack, I first ask myself if I am truly hungry. If the answer is yes, I will grab something more like a meal, maybe a small portion of protein and some veggies, and I will drink some water. This eating behavior encourages stabbed energy throughout the day, and discourages snacking. But sometimes I am just wanting a snack, in which case I try one of the below tried-and-true Paleo snacks.
1. Raw veggies and dip. This is a great first choice because the fiber from the chopped veggies will have you feeling fuller much faster—in addition to the nutrients you will receive. I love to slice up celery, tomatoes and carrots, and then whipping up a dipping sauce to make this snack more fun. My favorites?
- Honey Mustard: Mix together your favorite honey (local, if possible) with some regular yellow mustard for this classic favorite.
- Ranch: There’s a plethora of Paleo ranch dressing recipes out there, but this one combines just a handful of ingredients to create the most delicious dressing I’ve ever tasted.
- Guacamole: This doesn’t have to be fancy! Mush some soft avocados together, toss in a bit of diced onion, a dash of salt and lime and you’re set. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat, so if you’re focusing on good Paleo fats, this is a great way to get them!
2. Nuts. This one can be easy to go overboard on, but nuts are a tried-and-true favorite when it comes to Paleo snacks. Just a small handful of nuts is a great source of unsaturated fats and protein. Eating raw nuts eliminates extra sugar that coated nuts may contain. If you want to take this healthy snack even further, try sprouted nuts, which helps to negate phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors so you can absorb more of the nut’s nutrients. (Learn more about sprouting nuts here.) Be sure to stay away from peanuts though, as they are technically a legume and are off-limits for most people when going Paleo.
3. Potato chips. You probably thought this was off limits on the Paleo diet, right? Wrong! Companies are wising up and dropping those terrible oil-fried chips, instead embracing the good Paleo fats for their oil of choice. Since most Paleo folks eat both white and sweet potatoes, potato chips fried in coconut oil, avocado oil or olive oil are a great option for snacking (in moderation, of course). When searching for paleo-friendly chips, just be sure to check the ingredients on the bag. They should contain nothing more than potatoes, one of the oils listed above, and salt. Brands to look for: Jackson’s Honest Chips, Boulder Canyon.
4. Chocolate. This Paleo thing doesn’t sound SO terrible after all, am I right? Most Paleos will agree that there’s a great place for chocolate in our diets. Sure, you don’t want to eat a bar a day, but dark chocolate contains tons of antioxidants, and polyphenols (found in cacao beans) can even help your heart. Make sure to look for a dark bar with 80% or higher, or look for bars made of raw cacao and dried fruits or coconut sugar, which is a lower sugar option for sweetening chocolate. (Cacao is basically non-roasted chocolate, meaning the nutrients are kept intact. Coconut sugar is lower on the glycemic index, so it doesn’t cause your body to have as much of a sugar high, or crash, after eating it, which, in turn, prevents the need to continuously get that sugar fix.) Also, buy fair trade chocolate, when possible, to make sure your purchase isn’t supporting slavery in parts of the world where cocoa is grown. (Read more about good chocolate here.) Brands to looks for: Rawmio, Eating Evolved, Alter Eco, Antidote, and Taza.
5. Fruit. This is a no-brainer, right? Fruit is a delightful treat: Delicious, nutritious, sweet, and fresh. After giving up highly processed foods, including overly sweetened desserts, your palate will adjust and fruit will taste much sweeter than you ever remember.
If you’re trying to watch your sugar intake, avoid bananas, apples and grapes, and instead go for berries, which are lower in natural sugar and won’t have as much of an effect on your blood sugar. If you want to make your fruit feel a little more indulgent, drizzle some cold, canned coconut milk on top for a creamy treat.
There you have it, friends! Five super easy paleo snacks that won’t make you feel like you’re depriving yourself of anything. There are tons of other options out now, both pre-made and things that you can make at home. Next time someone tries to harp on your Paleo diet, break them off a piece of that chocolate bar and you might easily change their tune.
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