Snacking On The Paleo Diet
I’m a serial snacker. In some cases, this is a good thing; at least for all of the health and wellness articles out there that encourage you to eat 6 small meals a day with a couple of intermittent snacks. But how fun is snacking when you’re devoted to a Paleo diet and all you can see when you open your fridge is a drawer of stagnant vegetables and uncooked meat staring at you? Not so fun.
There’s the obvious solution, which is meal prep, so that we can turn those stagnant flaccid vegetables into welcoming bite-sized shapes and sizes for easy retrieval and consumption. But when you come home from a long day and your body feels like it’s going to implode, a cute little carrot stick just isn’t going to do it.
This doesn’t mean we should turn backs to our formerly beloved processed foods, filled with health washing claims that make it seem like you’re actually doing good for your body. The secret here is being prepared with specific snacks that you’re actually excited to eat. You should also be mindful of what you are hoping to get out of a snack, whether you’re simply tiding yourself over to your next meal or have a specific goal you’re working towards. You might also want to ask yourself:
– Do I need extra protein to compensate for my workout today? (Likely).
– Could I use another serving of vegetables today? (Yes. Always).
– Is my sweet tooth telling me I need a sugary treat right now? (Probably – don’t be fooled).
Did you answer yes to the first two questions? Awesome! It’s good to be mindful when a sugar craving strikes and what that’s telling you. Often enough, it’s a key indicator of a blood sugar imbalance or a deficiency in a specific nutrient, vitamin or mineral. It’s best to pin point what you might be lacking instead of giving into the sugar craving, thus worsening the issue even more. With that said, if you are snacking with a specific intention, you’ll greatly benefits from planning your snacks around that. You’ll really surprise yourself to discover the impact certain foods have on your energy levels, mood and bodily functions (YEP!) when you give your body what it needs.
What should you be snacking on?
For the Protein-deficit:
Though it’s not mandatory (nothing is mandatory in life), you’ll want to consider how much protein each snacks entails for the satiation factor. That, and most people actually don’t meet their daily requirement of protein on a regular basis. Typically, most people need 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight to maintain lean muscle mass. For example, if you’re 160lbs or 72.5kg (11.4 stone), you should be aiming for approximately 80 grams of protein per day. So by all means, pop that boiled egg in public if you need to. Your body will thank you.
We’ve strung together a list of some of our favourite and easy-to-prep protein-filled snacks for when snack time comes calling:
- Mini Meatballs with Mustard – Using ground turkey, beef or chicken, spice to your liking and round up into small balls. Pair with a basic, Dijon or curry mustard.
- Spicy Pumpkin Seeds – Mix up pumpkin seeds with lime juice, chilli powder, cayenne pepper and a dash of salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Almond-Coconut Protein Balls (Recipe below)
- Beef Jerky – Store bought is okay if you can find some without sugar or soy sauce. Otherwise, use a dehydrator to make your own beef, turkey or or buffalo jerky.
- Apples with Almond Butter Drizzle – Chop up a granny smith, drizzle or dip with almond butter. Ta-dah!
For the Green Thumbs:
For those of you who could use a bit more greenery in your life, this one’s for you. There’s an awesome saying that goes like this: “A salad isn’t going to do any good for your body if you’re not happy eating it.” It sounds silly, but there’s actually a lot of truth to this. Our thoughts are actually more in tune with our digestion than you might think. On a physiological level, if you are sad, upset or stressed in anyway, your digestion is going to be effected by it by restricting secretions needed for digestion and sometimes causing inflammation.
When we are in a “rest and digest” mode and bring mindfulness, gratefulness and happiness to every bite, the body is able to digest, detoxify, eliminate, heal and build immunity harmoniously. I understand it can be difficult to get excited about eating your greens, but by preparing them in a simple but different way, you’ll be happier than ever to crunch down on some of these (P.S: A dehydrator will be your best friend for the following recipes, or an oven and a great load of patience):
- Kale Chips – Cut the stems out of several kale leaves, sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt and bake at 300 for 40 minutes.
- Cucumber Sandwich – Pick your favourite meat and sandwich it in between two slices of cucumber.
- Sweet Potato Fries – Cut sweet potato like a French-fry, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, bake at 300 for 30 minutes or until crispy.
- Cauliflower Popcorn – Cut cauliflower into medium-sized florets, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, bake at 400 for 45 minutes. No corn here, have a great day!
- Fermented Dill Pickles – Slice up a dill pickle. Crunch down and enjoy!
For the Sweet Tooth:
Though we do advise to steer away from indulging in sweet treats when sugar cravings come on, it’s okay to snack on wholesome fruits that contain natural sugars, though moderation is still key here. Fruit seems to have developed a bad reputation in the past couple of years as people have become more aware of the harmful effects of sugar. It’s still important to remember that the Paleo diet is all about the local and seasonal foods that would have been available to us long ago. It’s great to be mindful about how much natural sugar you are consuming, but let’s get away from shaming nutritious foods like bananas for having too much sugar – it’s always going to be better than that ice-cream sundae or box of cookies. Ultimately, too many calories or sugar from anything can have harmful effects on the body. If you’re working out around 3 times a week, you’ll want to aim for 100 to 150 grams a day (A medium banana has about 27 grams of carbohydrates in it for comparison). So by all means, enjoy these beautiful fruits of the earth:
- Fresh Fruit – Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, oh my! Toss your favourite fruits into this fruity cocktail bowl.
- Honey Bananas – Cook bananas on medium heat with coconut oil, mix together honey and water and pour mixture over bananas. Enjoy once glazed and crispy.
- Paleo Smoothie – Toss frozen berries and coconut milk into a blender. Sip and enjoy!
- Banana Ice-Cream – Blend up a frozen banana with a dash of coconut milk and cinnamon. It doesn’t get easier than this.
- Cinnamon Apple Chips – Thinly slice an apple of your choice, sprinkle cinnamon and place on baking sheet. Bake at 250 for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
The key with snacking is to simply listen to your body – it always knows best.
I used to try to challenge my body when a hunger pain would strike at night, but too often, I would give into the belief system that you shouldn’t eat after 8:00pm (who invented that rule anyway?), go to sleep famished and wake up even more ravenous. It doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you’re willing to plan in advance and get creative. It’s time to bring it back to us and give our body the fruitful gifts it deserves.
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