When folks are first starting down the Paleo path, one of the top questions they have is, “Are there Paleo snacks? Can I have snacks on a Paleo diet?”
The short answer is, yes—snacks are allowed on a Paleo plan! This is a complete guide to all of your Paleo snack options, including homemade and store-bought.
Whether or not you should be snacking on your diet is up to you and your hunger levels. When people are transitioning to the Paleo diet, they may find themselves hungrier than usual, and some people just need to eat more regularly to maintain steady blood sugar and energy levels.
So if you find yourself getting hungry between meals, then by all means have yourself a Paleo snack! Having Paleo-friendly snacks on hand can help to sustain energy levels throughout the day. Our PaleoPlan meal plans include optional snacks that can help a lot of folks to more easily transition to the diet.
7 Tips for the Best Paleo Snacks
1. The need for eating snacks varies from person to person based on their activity level, metabolism speed, genetics, current health level, and more.
2. In general, just let your appetite guide you, but keep in mind that when you’re transitioning your diet, it’s not uncommon to find yourself hungrier than usual.
3. Be sure that you’re snacking for the right reasons (i.e. not because you’re bored, tired, emotional, or anything other than genuinely hungry).
4. Keep in mind that thirst is often disguised as hunger! Make sure you’re drinking enough water each day and not mistaking thirst for hunger.
5. If you find yourself snacking all day long, there may be an underlying issue that needs addressing.
6. Some folks need to eat more often than others to maintain steady blood sugar and energy levels. Growing children, athletes, people with impaired digestive function, fast metabolizers, pregnant women, folks healing from illness, and others may benefit from snacking between meals. These individuals may also need to eat more carbohydrates throughout the day, and include more carbohydrates in their diet overall.
7. If you’re trying to lose weight, opt for snacks that are lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and fats.
3 Rules of Thumb for Snacking on Paleo
When we’re used to eating pre-packaged snacks like granola bars, chips, and baked goods, it’s hard to imagine going without them. Since most pre-packaged foods are not an option when you’re eating Paleo, you’ll have to think ahead and plan your snacks in advance. Let’s start with some basic rules of thumb for snacking.
When you’re stocking your fridge and pantry with Paleo snacks, be sure to include a variety of protein, fat, and complex carbohydrate options.
- Choose proteins and fats over carbs. Proteins help to stabilize blood sugar, balance mood, and reduce sugar cravings. Healthy fats promote satiation so you don’t feel hungry as often.
- Choose non-starchy vegetables over fruit and starchy veggies.
Don’t over-consume carbs or calories in any one sitting. It’s way too easy to binge on fruit and starches, but the reality is that our bodies can only uptake so much glucose and calories at any one time. Excess food eaten that cannot be used by your body for immediate energy gets turned into fat tissue and food for pathogenic gut microbes.
Avoid snacking on carb-rich foods in isolation (i.e. don’t eat fruit or starchy foods alone). Eating carbohydrates without a protein or fat can trigger a blood sugar roller coaster. First the blood sugar spikes, then it falls, which can trigger hunger, fatigue, crankiness, and cravings. This cycle then causes a desire for more carbs.
Eating a protein and/or fat with your carbohydrates slows down the delivery of glucose to your bloodstream. Also, protein and fat do not spike blood sugar as quickly or as drastically as carbohydrates do. The blood sugar roller coaster can set you up for decreased insulin sensitivity and diabetes down the road.
Is Fruit Okay for a Paleo Snack?
Fruit is definitely Paleo, but be mindful that consuming too much fruit can interfere with weight loss and contribute to high blood glucose levels because fruit is sugar too! Try keeping your fruit intake to a couple pieces a day (or less) and eat it in the later part of the day to help control your blood sugar levels.
Rotate the types of fruit in your diet to ensure a variety of vitamins and minerals. In general, berries are best because of their nutrient and antioxidant content. I generally recommend that people steer clear of dried fruit, as it’s even more concentrated in sugar than fresh fruit. Mainly, you want to avoid getting stuck in a rut eating the same fruits over and over, like bananas and apples.
23 Best Homemade Paleo Snacks
Here are some delicious and easy Paleo snacks to take on the go, or to just nibble throughout the day. You can get even more snack recipes from our Paleo recipe gallery.
3. Beef Jerky
14. Ants On a Log
19. Kale Chips
20. Paleo Hummus
23. Paleo trail mix
20 Quick Paleo Snack Ideas
When you’re hungry or busy and just need a quick on-the-go snack, any of these options will fill you up.
Make extra dinner (or batch cook big portions of meals and snacks) so that you always have something on hand. Our meal plans help people save a lot of time and money by frequently using leftovers for snacks and meals the next day.
Poultry legs, thighs and breasts, pork chops, burger, bacon, or any kind of leftover meats make a protein-rich snack that’s especially delicious with avocado or guacamole smeared on top.
Pre-cooked meat strips
I always have a rotating variety of marinated and cooked meat strips (beef, chicken, lamb, pork, etc.) in the fridge that I snack on when hunger calls.
Easy to make and super portable, there are many variations when it comes to jazzing up boiled eggs! Try them with salt or spices sprinkled on top or topped with guacamole or salsa. You can make a quick egg salad by chopping up boiled eggs and mixing them with Paleo mayo and spices. I hard-boil a dozen eggs each week to have on hand for various uses.
Homemade or store-bought, jerky is a great snack to eat on-the-go! Be careful though, because many jerkies out there are not Paleo. Read the labels to ensure they’re gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and fully Paleo friendly.
Not only are they delicious and totally Paleo, but olives are also a source of healthy fats including oleic acid and phytonutrients that act as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Avocados are delicious snacked right out of the shell with just a dash of salt and pepper, but there’s also a ton of ways to prepare avocados to keep things exciting. Try these 9 Ways to Stuff an Avocado for a quick and healthy snack!
All the Veggies
Try them chopped and blanched or raw, dipped in a delicious Paleo dip. Remember, stick to non-starchy veggies and pair them with a protein or fat to increase snacking satiation.
Paleo dips are perfect for adding some extra energy to meats, veggies, or fruits, or you can even try making your own Paleo crackers.
Wild smoked salmon, canned sardines, sashimi, and other sea snacks are a great way to get enough anti-inflammatory omega-3 in your diet.
Sliced into rounds, this is a super-portable snack that’s also a great addition to your bento box. Just make sure you look for a nitrate-free version.
Paleo-friendly deli meats
A lot of deli meat out there is not ideal, due to the addition of nitrates and other preservatives and non-Paleo ingredients. Be sure to read ingredients, but Applegate, Simple Truth Organic, and Diestel Turkey are good brands of healthy deli meat to try. Deli meats are delicious when eaten alone or rolled around avocado slices or veggie strips. Turkey deli meat rolled up in a leaf of lettuce with onion and guacamole is one of my favorite snacks!
Keep a few pre-baked sweet potatoes in your fridge, but be sure to add fat when you snack on them! Try them smashed up with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sea salt.
Fruit slices with nut butter
Smoothies are a great snack, fast to prepare and easy to take on the go. Be sure to add a fat (like avocado or coconut milk) and/or protein (like protein powder or collagen) to lower the glycemic response. Focus on vegetables over fruit. Use the entire vegetable or fruit when possible, since the fiber slows down the delivery of sugar from the fruit juices.
Have these Paleo crepes pre-made in your fridge and simply add some almond butter, coconut oil, or coconut manna to them for a quick snack.
Sipping on a cup of bone broth is extremely nourishing and contains all sorts of gut-healing nutrients, healthy fats, and about six grams of protein per cup!
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a wonderful and portable snack on the Paleo diet, just don’t overdo them. Nuts and seeds contain anti-nutrient chemicals like phytates which can trigger inflammation when eaten in excess.
Nuts and seeds are also a source of omega-6, an inflammatory fatty acid. For these reasons, it is best to keep your nut consumption to a small handful per day or less. Also, rotate the types of nuts and seeds that you’re eating in your diet, and don’t get stuck on one type.
Be careful when buying nuts because many brands have been roasted in non-Paleo oils like peanut, canola, safflower, sunflower, and other “vegetable” oils. Your best best is to get plain roasted nuts salted or unsalted with no oil or to buy raw nuts and soak them in water overnight before eating. Soaking or “sprouting” nuts and seeds helps to reduce their anti-nutrient content—just be sure to rinse them well after soaking and do not drink or use the soak water!
The Best Paleo Snack Resources
To find even more awesome Paleo snack ideas, check out these helpful resources.
- PaleoPlan’s Snack Recipes
- How to Pack a Paleo Lunch & Snacks To-Go
- 6 Paleo Snacks to Fight Cravings
- Paleo Sweet & Savory Snacks – A Paleo Snack Guide
- PaleoHacks Snack Recipes
Are Store-Bought Paleo Snacks Okay?
Thanks to the rise in Paleo popularity there are actually a lot of Paleo snacks and foods sold online and in health food stores. As you start exploring, you’ll see products like “Paleo cookies” and “Paleo crackers.”
While some Paleo purists like to argue that foods like cookies and crackers aren’t Paleo, I think there’s a time and a place. As a Paleo nutritionist who works with people every day struggling to change their diets, I assure you these foods can be really helpful for folks who might otherwise not be able to make Paleo a reality.
Having said that, some of these pre-purchased snacks are more Paleo than others, and you’ll have to read the ingredient labels to determine whether or not you should be eating it. If you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce an ingredient, it’s probably not Paleo! You can always reference our Paleo Shopping Guide from your smartphone while you’re at the store to help figure out if it’s Paleo-friendly.
15 Best Store-Bought Paleo Snacks
Paleo Life Box is a monthly box of Paleo snacks delivered to your door, with shipping available to the United States and Canada. I love the variety and tasting experience that I get in my box each month, and it’s a great bang for your buck too. Expect a mix of meat snacks, bars, cookies, veggie chips, granola, chocolate treats, seed and nut mixes, dried fruit, and more.
Bubba’s carries grain- and preservative-free snacks and “un-granola.” Their Original Snack Mix tastes just like the Original Chex Mix!
These wild sprouted pili nuts have the highest levels of magnesium and healthy fats and oils, as well as the lowest levels of carbs of any nut. Pili nuts are reminiscent of a macadamia nut, but less bitter and even better.
These decadent and delicious bars contain more collagen than a cup of bone broth! Available in four flavors: Dark Chocolate Almond, Coconut Cashew, Chocolate Hazelnut, and Macadamia Sea Salt.
Made from dried pork skins cooked in olive oil and lightly seasoned with herbs and spices to create a perfect crunch experience sans carbs! Available in four flavors: Malabar Black Pepper, Rosemary and Sea Salt, Habanero Pepper, and Cinnamon Ceylon.
These delicious crackers are made from nuts, seeds, and spices and are available in three flavors: Mediterranean, Tuscan flavor, and Cracked Pepper/Sea Salt.
7. Muffin Else
Want a Paleo muffin in two minutes? Just add water, microwave, and enjoy a single delicious Paleo muffin in a cup! Available in several flavors.
Smoked sockeye, king salmon candy, wild salmon jerky strips, and other wild seafood and meats are omega-3 rich snacks for the brain and body.
9. Simple Mills
Crackers, muffins, and other boxed baked Paleo goodies that are easy to make, and even easier to eat!
You won’t miss tortilla chips or tortillas on your Paleo diet ever again. In fact, these taste better than any grain-based tortillas you’ve ever eaten! They’re my favorite.
These meat strips are the perfect protein snack to take on the go. Made from quality wild meats and ingredients, they’re available in four flavors: Wagyu Beef Steak, Smoked Salmon Maple, Turkey Cranberry Sage, and Venison Sea Salt Pepper.
This sampler snack box is filled with Paleo protein-rich snacks which are also AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) approved. The AIP On-The-Go Box is another great snack option for folks eating either Paleo or AIP.
Plantain chips are starchy, slightly sweet, and rich in fiber. These plantain chips are sturdy enough for dipping and crunchy enough to satisfy those cravings! Available in four flavors: Sea salt, Naturally sweet, Cinnamon, and Spicy cayenne.
There are seriously too many delicious Paleo bars available these days to not mix it up! This bar box sampler includes the “best of” Paleo bars, from sweet to savory. All are totally Paleo and free from preservatives and other junk.
This delicious Paleo granola is made from nuts, seeds, and other Paleo ingredients. Available in six flavors: Original, Chocolate Fix, Maple Pancake, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Pina Colada.
As you can see, there are a ton of super healthy options when it comes to snacking on Paleo, from easy to complex, from homemade to store-bought. With so many options available, it’s easy to find healthy snacks that will help you stick to eating Paleo when hunger and cravings arise.
The main point to keep in mind is that preparation is key. Since you won’t be dining out of vending machines anymore, you’ll want to have your snacks planned out in advance.
The best news is that many favorite non-Paleo snacks can be recreated using Paleo-friendly ingredients and a little creativity.