The first issue to address on the topic of Paleo snacks is your beliefs or mindset about snacking. Munching on something in between meals is not a nutritional necessity. For the most part, you will enhance your health by eliminating this habit, which is easy to do when you are eating correctly.
The need for snacks disappears in most cases, if you eat the right ratio of animal protein, fat, and carbs. Click To TweetWhen you consume proper amounts of animal protein and fat with each meal and reduce the carbs, hunger does not occur in between meals, because eating in this manner will restore balance to neurotransmitters in the brain and hormones that regulate blood sugar, appetite, mood, and energy.
If you have a need to snack, this is an indication that you are not eating enough animal protein or fat, or you are consuming too many carbohydrates. However, in the beginning, when you are first transitioning to a Paleo diet, then snacking may be needed until the transition is complete and some healing has taken place in brain chemistry and the endocrine system. During this time blood sugar will be unstable and cravings will be frequent, so eating something in between meals will help with the process. Additionally, there may be times when you need something to hold you over if meal time is delayed for some reason.
Keep it Low-Carb
However, it is critical that any snacks you consume support your transition, which means they should consist largely of animal protein and fat. Contrary to popular belief, snacking should not include foods like fruit, nuts, and seeds, granola, trail mix, or baked goods even if they are Paleo approved. You should also avoid manufactured products labeled as Paleo friendly protein bars, energy bars, or snack bars.
All these foods are way too high in carbs, which will inhibit your ability to restore balance to your brain chemistry and endocrine system and fuel cravings for sugar and carbs. It may be okay once in a great while to indulge in one of these as a special treat, but certainly not weekly or even monthly. A healthy individual with no health issues might do okay with these high-carb snacks, but not people who are dealing with the issues we focus on at this website like adrenal fatigue, depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol addiction, sugar and carb addiction, compulsive overeating, food addiction, binging, SIBO, candida overgrowth, obesity or trying to lose weight, excess sympathetic nervous system activity, neurotransmitter imbalances, and insulin resistance.
Good Paleo Snack Ideas
For our purposes, here is a list of ideas to get you started that will help keep blood sugar, mood, and energy levels more stable and alleviate your cravings for sugar and carbs.
- sugar-free beef jerky (make your own or get from someplace like US Wellness Meats)
- paleo meatballs
- hot dogs (sugar and nitrate free)
- leftover omelets
- hard boiled egg with sliced avocado
- cold meatloaf
- sirloin tips
- beef kabobs
- sliced roast beef
- cold burger
- lamb chop
- salmon patty
- chicken leg, thigh or tenders
- salami (free of sugar and nitrates)
- meat sticks
- deli meats (free of sugar and nitrates)
- sliced turkey breast
- any leftover that contains animal protein
Once you have made the transition to the Paleo diet successfully and have found the ratio of animal protein, fat, and carbs that eliminates your need for snacking, then let it go, your three solid meals per day will make you feel satiated consistently.
However, there are a few circumstances that could possibly affect eliminating one’s need to snack. This would include athletes or others who are very active, pregnant women, or breastfeeding women. In these cases, energy may be used up more quickly, leading to a need to eat more frequently. If that is the case, then adjusting accordingly would be sensible.
Exceptions for Children
Please note, most of my work is with adults, not children. If you are dealing with children, they are more active and may need to eat more frequently. So snacking may be desirable and beneficial. It may be acceptable to provide nuts, seeds, protein bars, Paleo granola or trail mix to some children in moderation.
However, many children are living with candida overgrowth, SIBO, sugar and carb addiction, or some type of mental health issue or on their way to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. So, many of them will benefit from staying low-carb as well. You still want to encourage consumption of animal protein and fat as much as possible, but they may also be able to use things like yogurt, olives, avocados, or celery with nut butter, depending on their condition. Furthermore, we want to teach our children healthy eating habits by setting a good example in early life that they can follow.
Snacking in the manner in which we have discussed is good for the entire family.