If snacking were a sport, I would be a champ. Before I started eating paleo, I would always make sure I had a snack on hand to cope with sagging energy levels and low blood sugar before it led to anything drastic. I’d usually keep a baggie of almonds in my purse, or a Luna bar, or some dried fruit or crackers in the console of my car. Although I’m nearly free of my blood sugar fluctuations and borderline-hypoglycemia, there are still afternoons when I need something to munch on. Some days I’m just downright HUNGRY.
The Whole30 was a revolutionary snacking experience for me, as I was almost constantly thinking about what I could or could not have. The exercise resulted in a little bit of obsessive behavior, which I will have to pay more attention to next time, but at the end of it all I think my healthy appreciation for food is just tempered with a bit more awareness. But back to snacks — I was very serious about my snacks, and got to the point where I would have the right things prepped and packed in the fridge at the beginning of the week, ready to grab at a moment’s notice. I delved into some new options for snacking that I’d been missing out on before, but really anything that tastes good and offers protein or fiber is a good snack in my book.
Sliced jicama – crunchy, slightly sweet with an earthiness similar to that of beets.
Sliced red and green bell peppers – great flavor and crunch with tons of vitamins (any brightly colored veggie is the same!).
Radishes – again, gotta love the crunch in these babies, plus the pungent spice adds a nice kick.
Hardboiled eggs – easy, portable, and satisfying with plenty of protein.
Bubbie’s Lacto-fermented pickles – a variation on the theme of “crunch,” this time with a fantastic effervescent sourness that pairs nicely with a hardboiled egg and mustard.
Leftover protein – leftover chicken from last night’s dinner or a little cup of stew acts as a tiny meal, but quenches any cravings for something savory.
Macadamia nuts – these I can go a little crazy on, but they have an ideal omega 3:6 ratio compared to most nuts, and have a naturally sweet flavor and creamy texture that I find satiates a craving for something sweet.
Roasted sweet potato coins – drizzled with a little coconut oil and cinnamon, or dipped in coconut butter, there are my go-to treat when I need something filling but a little decadent. Another squash that I love to roast for snackage is kabocha, a sweet little gourd with soft skin and plenty of fiber and beta-carotene, just like sweet potatoes. I like to slice it thin, roast it in a low oven, and eat it drizzled with toasted pumpkin seed oil.
Beef jerky – in mealtime emergencies or when traveling, little packages of good quality beef jerky are the perfect choice for snacking because: they’re made of pure protein and they take a lot of time to chew through, meaning you won’t eat too much regret it. (Your jaw gets tired before that point.)
Hot herbal tea – sometimes I’m not really hungry when I want a snack, I’m actually thirsty or, let’s be honest, bored. A hot cup of tea refocuses my attention and helps me to re-energize.
Plantain chips – sliced thin, fried in coconut oil, sprinkled with salt and paprika and then spritzed with lime, these usually don’t last long enough in our house to be eaten as a snack…
Toasted coconut flakes – slightly caramel in color and with a sweet, roasted aroma, toasted coconut is a great stand-in for granola and can be gulped by the handful.
Half an avocado – drizzled with a little coconut aminos or sprinkled with a touch of sea salt and lemon, half an avocado needs no dish — just eat the flesh from the hull with a spoon!
* * * * *
What are your favorite snacks? Healthy or indulgent? Portable or more of the sit-down kind of fare? Let me know, I’m always curious!