Arguably the most fun part of any eating routine are the snacks. They’re like the purses of food. Cute, fun, and portable. Snack time was always the most fun ncrn school, and one of the best little escapes during the workday. Seriously.. who doesn’t love snacks?
Though they may be fun, packaged convenience snacks can get super expensive, especially when they’re paleo, AIP, and gluten free. Not only are processed convenience expensive, but even if they’re allergen friendly or claim to be healthy, they’re still processed. I can easily spend a quarter of my grocery budget just loading up on processed convenience snacks that really aren’t health promoting what-so-ever. Thus, making healthy and homemade AIP snacks at home is a must to save money and stay on track.
As a nutritional therapy practitioner, I work with my clients to help them heal with a healthy and sustainable diet that works for them. I build out a full meal plan that often includes snack ideas, recipes and tips. So, why do I okay my clients to snack if so many people claim it unhealthy?
Why Snacking isn’t Totally “Unhealthy” For Everyone…
Snacking gets a bad reputation in many circles as being unhealthy, and unnecessary. Well, yes and no. Typically, not everybody needs snacks.
Snacking can overburden your digestion and add unnecessary to junk food to your diet for no real reason. Digestion takes place in a rested, and relaxed state and needs to be done in increments throughout the day. Snacking constantly on the run disturbs the digestive process and can lead to gut health issues. So, it’s not for everyone.
However, most of my clients come to me with blood sugar issues that they don’t really even realize they have. It’s often the root cause of their sugar cravings, energy issues, mood swings, hormonal imbalance, and even gut health problems. When regulating blood sugar issues, it’s crucial to keep your blood sugar balanced while you’re in a healing state. Blood sugar drops and spikes only worsen the issue. Having balanced, healthy homemade snacks on hand that are preferably Paleo or AIP (if you’re dealing with autoimmune disease) will help balance your blood sugar as they lack carbohydrate rich grains and are often higher in protein and fat.
The argument is often made to just eat more fat at meals and you don’t need to snack. Again, yes and no. Yes, because that’s totally accurate, but no because all of my clients also have digestion issues and aren’t ready to just load up on fat at every meal and call it a day. We work together to slowly and carefully improve their fat digestion by mindfully upping their fat intake while supplementing with digestive enzymes and adding in foods that support fat digestion. Luckily, the body naturally wants to come back into balance, and I see many of my clients improve within a matter of weeks. However, we have to do the work to get there. Not everyone is ready to switch to being a fat burner over night, so snacking is still needed in the interim.
Though I’m a much larger advocate of full meals that are nourishing, and satiating and do not believe that everyone needs snacks daily, they’re perfectly find in the right context and when they’re the right kinds of snacks. So, how do you snack healthy?
How to Snack Healthy…
Protein bars and peanut butter packets are not exactly a health promoting choice… like… at all. I know as well as you do that that’s the idea we’re fed by magazines, and even health professionals. I studied to be a registered dietitian before I pivoted to become an NTP, and the ideas I heard for healthy snacks from other RD’s shocked me. So, how do you do it right?
1.Balance your snacks.
Most processed snacks are just filled with refined carbohydrates and sugar… even those that claim to be protein rich. Having snacks that are balanced with protein, fat, and carbs (like those below) are more likely to keep you fuller longer.
2. Only have them when you need them.
Like I said above, snacks are appropriate if you’re working towards better blood sugar regulation, or if you’re just legitimately hungry. That doesn’t meant that everyone needs 3 snacks a day. Snack only if you’re hungry and try to avoid snacking just for the sake of it!
3. Don’t let them replace meals.
In a society where most women are constantly dieting (including myself for years) it’s easy to just run off of protein bars, and small bowls of cereal. Not only is this approach detrimental to your blood sugar and gut health, but it’s just not satisfying. Sitting down to a nourishing, full meal that keeps you full for hours is so much more satisfying that just nibbling on cereal bars all day. Don’t let your snacks replace whole meals.
4. Make them homemade.
Processed snacks are pricey, and likely unhealthy. Making snacks homemade allow you to control what goes in them and keep your grocery budget down.
Making homemade snacks can be easy, fun, and doable with some of these ideas!
Healthy Homemade AIP & Paleo Snacks on the Go
Homemade Beef Jerky and Apples
Homemade jerky is so much easier than it sounds. I follow my own recipe that’s similar to this for homemade jerky that’s made from ground beef, and can easily just be left in the oven overnight! Pair it with half and apple and you’ve got a super satiating snack.
Turkey and Sliced Veggies
Good quality deli meat can be hard to find, so I highly moderate it, but a quality turkey with sliced veggies is a great snack to can be thrown together super easily.
Wild Caught Tuna and Avocado
I love having tuna with avocado as it has a similar creamy consistency to mayo. Tuna and avocado are a great protein/fat snack to keep you full and not spike your blood sugar!
Chocolate-y Collagen Protein Bites
These tasty protein bites are my own recipe made with coconut butter, collagen, and carob powder for just a hint of sweetness. They taste like a treat and do an amazing job at keeping your full and satisfied.
Cinnamon Banana and Coconut Butter
Definitely the closest to a treat and are more likely to raise your blood sugar a bit, but it’s oh-so tasty. Banana with cinnamon and coconut butter has a creamy, almost cake batter like taste that will satisfy and sweet treat craving!