The following blog post originally appeared on Unbound Wellness. This version was slightly edited for thatsitfruit.com.
The health world is always divided on something, and one of the most divided topics in snacking! Is it good or bad? How much should you do it? What’s considered a healthy snack? These are questions that I’ve pondered myself many, many times! And you know what? Everyone is different. However, there are some good general guidelines that everyone can follow when it comes to snacking, and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.
First, why, and when, should you snack? It’s no secret that I love nourishing, nutrient dense meals and will always share recipes for those. However, in reality, we could all use a snack every now and then! Here are some occasions that having a snack on hand can really come in handy…
- Long car rides
- Long school or work day
- Parties or events
Or, just when you feel like having a treat!
Again, everyone is different. Having a little snack in between meals can be perfectly fine—and necessary—for most. As someone with food intolerances that follows a real food paleo diet and travels often, I depend on healthy snacks to get me through airports, long car rides, and events where I’m surrounded by food that would otherwise make me sick. So, how do you make sure you’re snacking smart when you’re living a real food, paleo lifestyle?
1. Prioritize full meals… don’t depend on snacks alone
This is placed at number one for a reason. One of the biggest mistakes I see with snacks is that people forgo full, nourishing meals and just snack all day. This is the opposite of what you want to be doing.
You still want to have full sit-down meals, and you should take time to enjoy your food. Not only does this ensure you get in more nutrients, but it helps aid digestion. Digestion takes place slowly, and in a relaxed state, so if you’re constantly eating or on the go, it can be counterproductive.
Rather than just snacking here and there throughout the day, make time for full meals and have optional snacks when needed.
2. Favor real foods and simple ingredients
When I first started traveling on a paleo and autoimmune protocol diet, I was at a complete loss for what to bring along with me on trips for snacks. Everything was filled with added sugar, canola oil, or corn-based ingredients. Even snacks that are labeled as “natural” just weren’t the best choices.
Regardless of the convenience factor of a lot of these snacks, it’s never been worth it to me to feel terrible over one bag of poor quality chips! I’d much rather enjoy my day free of headaches and stomachaches and choose a real food snack instead.
Favor real foods like chopped veggies (celery and carrots are my favorite for travel), fruits, other homemade options, or pre-made snacks that have minimal ingredients.
That's it. Fruit Bars were one of my early discoveries for simple ingredient snacks on the go that I’ve stashed in my bag on several trips, and have accompanied me to many coffee shop trips while I work!
These bars are made with just two ingredients each, and have no added sugars or juices. Their paleo variety of bars are made with just apple and another fruit. The first one that I tried during my early paleo days was the blueberry and apple , and I’ve always loved it.
I was also excited to see that they have a blueberry and coconut, and tons of other flavors! There’s an apple and pear flavor, apple and banana, and even black bean-based bars for those who tolerate beans.
That's it. Fruit Bars are especially great for when you’re trying to conserve space. Sometimes I just can’t fit a whole piece of fruit in my purse or carry-on bag!
Picking real food ingredients for snacks doesn’t have to be hard, and convenient options like these are making it even easier!
3. Plan ahead
If you want to snack smart while following a real food paleo diet, this step is always crucial! I’ve had entirely too many experiences where I’ve shown up to the airport or college campus empty-handed and have been greeted with nothing but canola oil and sugar laden packaged snacks.
Think about where you’re going to be, how long you’re going to be there, and what you can reasonably bring. I often check with airlines and customs laws if I’m traveling, or double check with the hotel that I’m staying at if there’s a fridge in my room or not.
I’m known for always bringing a snack in my purse if I’m going to be out all day, and even packing an extra bag if I’m traveling with safe food! In the beginning, I felt silly, but as someone with food intolerances, it’s worth it to plan ahead rather than be sorry with a headache and stomachache later!
4. Balance your snacks
In order to balance your blood sugar, you want to make sure that you’re getting in healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates if you can.
So, what does that look like? Here’s an example of some snacks that I’ve brought along on a trip or a long day…
- Beef jerky or meat bar (for protein)
- Collagen fat ball (for healthy fats and protein)
- That's it. Fruit Bar (for carbohydrates)
These snacks provide balance and satiation, and they’re all convenient enough to carry in a small bag!
When you make the time to put in the thought for the best options, healthy snacking can be a breeze! I hope you love these simple tips, and that they can be of help during your holiday travel and beyond. And, if you’re looking for delicious, Paleo-certified fruit bars to bring on your trips, try That's it.!