A frequent inquiry I get from friends about eating Paleo is: “What about snacks?”
Everyone wants to know, when you get the munchies, what can you eat?
I think this is a fantastic and very valid question that I am happy to answer. I’ll even answer it with pictures! But first, a word….
1. My first and utmost recommendation when it comes to snacks is to have a MEAL. If you are hungry mid-afternoon instead of mindlessly eating and, by the time you’re done not be sure of how much you really ate, I suggest eating a MEAL. If lunch was my favorite chicken curry, eat a small bowl of curry. If breakfast was egg muffins, eat a leftover egg muffin. If your body is hungry, feed it! Feed it real, whole food.
2. My second recommendation is: kabocha. If you have read my blog for more than a minute you are already aware of how much I LOVE kabocha. My dear friend, Ayumi, introduced me to kabocha a few months ago and I haven’t looked back since. Kabocha is a japanese pumpkin that is sweet and flavorful and the perfect alternative to over-indulging in fruit.
I’m sure there are many ways of making kabocha but my favorite way is to bake it. I slice it up pretty thin (and it makes A LOT) with the skin and all, lay them flat on a baking sheet, drizzle in olive oil and bake on 425-450 for 15-20 minutes. The minute I pop them out of the oven I sprinkle them with salt and voila, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside kabocha. There are many days these don’t make it to a plate, we eat them so fast. They do make a great snack for the whole family, even cold. We just can’t get enough of our kabocha.
3. My new snack idea has got to be my latest new find: kale chips. These are so easy, so good, and a great way to get a few extra leafy greens into your diet. Kale is in season right now so go to your local farmers market, pick up a bunch of kale for a dollar, and get cooking. You’ll be glad you did. To cook up these goodies cut or rip the stalk out of the kale and get the kale to be chip-size pieces. Put them in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a dash of salt. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, tossing halfway during cooking time. They come out crispy, salty and the perfect alternative to a chip, minus the bloating. Enjoy!
By the way, when I finally got around to making these chips we had already had the kale a few days so it was starting to brown. They probably don’t look as pretty as they could but trust me, they still tasted incredible!
5. One of our all time favorite filler snacks are our cucumber roll ups. These are so beyond easy to make that it can be a family affair to make them. All you do is peel a cucumber, slice it in half, and then slice those halves lengthwise. Then get a piece of ham and roll the cucumber up in it. And you’re done! Some of us like them just like that, Brandon and I enjoy them dipped in mustard. Yum!
6. A healthy, especially on the go, snack is nuts, fruits and veggies. Sometimes we make a bowl that looks like this:
Here I made a combo of almonds, raisins, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. Perfect combo full of great nutrients.
7. The kids most favoritest of all favorite snack is chicharrones. Pig chips. Of all things, we get them straight from the farmers market and they are GOOD! When the kids take their snack to church on Sundays they usually always ask for chicharrones, that I usually couple with something like carrots.
8. I will update with a picture asap, but my eighth recommendation is japanese yams. Gotta love Japan! These look like our sweet potatoes except they are purple. I slice them in coins, drizzle them in olive oil, and bake on 425 for 15 or so minutes. These are so tasty, sweet and also just as good cold for those on the go days. Try them, you will love them.
9. My next recommendation is a sweet one. Literally. Fruit! Especially on the go, fruit has been a lifesaver. Running through the drive through doesn’t exactly happen anymore but i can always run into my local grocery and pick up a bunch of bananas. Every every every once in a while we make fruit smoothies and the kids can’t get enough of them.
There’s not really a secret recipe to the fruit smoothies. We usually throw in the blender whatever fruit we have on hand like blueberries, strawberries, pineapple or bananas. I like to also add in an avocado. You really can not taste it and it adds great nutrients and good fat to the smoothie. Add some ice and either, water, coconut milk, or carrot juice and a sweet smoothie you have!
10. Our absolute favorite treat that we are proud to say we invented (even though it was super easy) is the chocolate milkshake. Here‘s the recipe. Keep in mind this is not something to indulge in everyday, even every week, but it is a great treat every once in a while that you don’t have to feel bad about in your mind… or belly.
11. If you’re like me then there are times when a snack is not a snack unless it is HOT. If this is you then this is the perfect snack for you. Chicken wings!!! Here‘s my recipe. It is very basic and has only Whole30 approved ingredients. I did see a recipe in Make it Paleo that looked absolutely fantastic as well. For this pic we were watching a football game (Go Hogs!!!) and this combo was the perfect tailgating meal. Fruit smoothie, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, and a whole bunch of chicken wings. Man, I’m getting hungry!
12. A wonderful, healthy and delicious snack is coconut!!! There are many different ways to enjoy coconut. Our favorite so far is to make “coconut ice cream”. No it is not really ice cream, but you eat it the same way and it kind of looks like it, doesn’t it? Just go with me, okay. To make “coconut ice cream” spoon a couple of tablespoons of 100% coconut butter into your bowl with a couple spoonfuls of unsweetened shredded coconut. Voila, you’re done! We added some whole cranberries but you don’t have to. Or you can choose to go further and add sliced strawberries or bananas or raspberries. The sky’s the limit! However you do it, do it. This is the perfect way to get in some GOOD FAT and treat yourself while you’re at it. Go enjoy some “coconut ice cream”!
13. I had to save the best for last. What might that be, you ask? Haha, have you met me??? Just kidding, I’ll show you grace today but don’t let it happen again. Again, just kidding! haha… The absolute BEST snack, that of course must be enjoyed in moderation, is DATE BALLS!!!!
If you haven’t heard of date balls your life is not complete! Take the day off of work, run to Sam’s, get yourself a package of dates, pull out the food processor and get to work! I’ll be expecting a thank you later.
In all seriousness, as if I wasn’t serious before, date balls are the best. Really. Don’t let what you may or may not know about dates to scare you. These are little balls of utter goodness. Here are my recipes although, once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless. The best of the best are the fudge bombs from Melissa over at “The Clothes Make the Girl” that combine date with cocoa and have the taste of lovely non-sugar-spiking fudge. But don’t take my word for it, get cooking…er….processing!
14. Number 14 I haven’t actually tried yet but I am taking everyone’s word for it, and my taste-a-vision, that it is going to be incredible so I wanted to make sure to include it on my list. What is it? Caramelized coconut chips. Doesn’t the name itself scream snacks goodness to you?! I will be trying these asap and I’ll let you know how they turn out. I am expecting nothing less than nibbley perfection. Here‘s the link to Melissa’s site to get the recipe. While you’re at it, stay on the yummy-food train and order her book Well Fed. It is packed with delicious after delicious recipe and if the fudge bombs and coconut chips are any indication, then DANG! Trust your tastebuds and get this book!
I hope this list is helpful to you in your quest to find the perfect snack for your family’s rumbly tumblies. Remember that just because these are made with whole foods, that isn’t a green light to eat and eat and eat mindlessly. If you are on this Paleo journey and especially the Whole30 challenge, then you are either beginning to, or already are, understanding your body and it’s needs. Mainly, the balance. Kabocha is great, but it’s a starchy vegetable so go easy, or keep it as a post-workout snack. Date balls are great with their natural sugar, but it’s still sugar, so be aware. Fruit smoothies are to die for but that’s a lot of fruit in one glass so spread it out, don’t go indulging daily. Nuts are a source of good fat, but too much of this good thing can quickly become a bad thing.
Remember to have self control, to do everything in moderation, to be wise.
Now go cook up a healthy snack, your “Whole Family” will thank you.
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