At this point in my life, I have no desire to go on GAPS, and the Paleo diet does not particularly appeal to me, but I have lately been endeavoring to shift the balance of proteins vs. carbs in my diet. I don’t want to eliminate carbs completely because I feel that they play an important nutritional role; but I do want to be more cautious about consuming carbs in excess, and I want to focus on carbs that are refined as little as possible.
Unfortunately, snacking has proven to be my downfall: It appears I’ve really gotten into the habit of eating carb-laden foods in between meals! Popcorn, homemade cookies or granola bars, dried fruits and the like are all go-to snacks for me. Not that those things are inherently unhealthy – they’re not – it’s just that I eat too much of them.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that carb-olicious snacks don’t tend to stick around with me for long. It’s like they evaporate into thin air after a little while, and then I start getting pangs in my stomach and shaky hands and a light head. But if I eat some protein and/or healthy fat, I can go for hours without feeling any hunger or low-sugar issues. (I will say that sometimes I do need to eat at least a small portion of carbs to get a more immediate rush of sugar to my blood if I’ve gone too long without sustenance.)
So…. all that to say that I’ve been getting a little more creative with our snacks here lately, and experimenting with protein-rich snacks that are filling but not super expensive, plus easy to keep on hand when the munchies strike. I’ve come up with this list of such snacks, mostly for my own benefit, and I thought you might be interested as well. And if you have any more ideas for me, please let me know! I’m in need of more inspiration.
Straight Up Protein
These snacks do not contain any carbs at all; they are only proteins (and fats).
- Hard-boiled eggs – I actually want to get in the habit of having a few of these on hand in the fridge. Since my DH and I are currently the only ones in the house who eat eggs, it tends to take us a while to go through a whole dozen, so we definitely have some to spare most of the time.
- Cheese sticks/Cheese slices/Cheese cubes – I’ve already gotten in the habit of buying two large bags of cheese sticks from Costco every month, and that’s plenty enough for my DH to have the requisite 2 in his lunch every day (force of habit!), and for me and Tiger Cub (formerly Baby Boy) to snack on occasionally. I know it’s not the healthiest version of cheese around, but for now, it works for me! (Read: it’s cheap, and the healthy cheese is too expensive.)
- Nuts – I particularly love almonds, but pistachios and walnuts are yummy, too. I have some hazelnuts in my pantry, but since they are still in the shell, I rarely bother to deal with cracking them. But I like hazelnuts, too!
- Nut/Seed butters – Around here, that’s mostly homemade sunflower seed butter because it’s safe for everyone, but I do occasionally indulge in my own personal jar of all-natural peanut butter. I usually use it as a dip for something like apples or – very rarely – celery.
- Yogurt – I make yogurt with a machine once a week. Admittedly, I usually add some honey or jam to it which means added carbs, but over all it’s still a protein-rich snack (good fat, too, since I make it with whole milk). Sometimes I also mix it with freshly whipped cream, which is quite yummy.
- Mini meatballs – The other week, I made meatloaf for dinner, and since I had a 3lb package of ground turkey to work with, I went ahead and doubled the recipe to season all the meat, but then rolled half of it into meatballs. I froze some and kept some others to eat as a quick snack.
- Roasted chickpeas – My Certain Little Someone and I enjoy any flavor of roasted chickpeas; here’s a salt-and-vinegar chickpea recipe you might like.
These snacks might contain some carbs, but they are based on proteins.
- Coconut Cookies - These cookies have 3 ingredients: coconut flour, butter and a small amount of honey. They are very good, although I did find them to be a little bit dry. That might be because I had to use coconut oil and palm shortening in place of the butter, though.
- Bean Brownies – My bean-based brownies always turn into fudge, but that might be because I have to substitute the eggs in order to keep them safe for my Certain Little Someone. But they’re still yummy!
- High Protein Muffins – I haven’t tried these yet, but I’m putting them on the list so I will remember to! Nut or seed butter forms the base of these muffins.
- Cookie Dough Dip - This bean-based dip could be completely carb-free if you eliminate the chocolate chips and use stevia to sweeten it. I dont’ think I would have the heart to eliminate the chocolate chips completely, though, so I’d probably just reduce them a little.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Dough Dip – This dip is also bean-based.
- Baked Donut Holes – Coconut flour forms the base of these delicious little morsels, and there is very little sugar involved.
- Raw Vegan Chocolate Cranberry Energy Bars – Kind of like a Larabar, I think. I’ve never made them because I don’t usually have that many nuts, and I don’t have a food processor. But they sound quite delicious and they’re on my Pinterest board because I would like to make them someday.
- Peanut Butter Balls – Kind of like the old-fashioned “Buckeyes”, but made with peanut butter and coconut flour.
- Chocolate Bark - Use nuts or coconut and it’s deliciously protein-rich!
- Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – yet another reason why “chickpeas” are on my grocery list!
These snacks are carb-based, but use protein-rich ingredients as well.
- No-Bake Energy Bites – These do have oatmeal, but they also have peanut butter and coconut.
- Leslie’s Sunbutter Balls – These are made with a crispy rice cereal and call for dried fruits and chocolate, but the base is sunflower seed butter.
- Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - Once again, peanut butter is the core ingredient here, and it also contains eggs, but this recipe does call for a great deal of sugar. I would try with maybe 50-75% of the sugar called for, or I would experiment with stevia.
- Beanie Butter Blondies – Chickpeas are the main ingredient, but it also calls for a small amount of flour. I think I might have more success with these than I have with the completely grain-free bean brownies.
- 4-Ingredient Chewy Almond Butter Granola Bars – I made these with sunflower seed butter (and slightly less honey), and they were seriously the best granola bars I’ve ever made.
- Cultured Coconut Milk Cheesecake – This recipe is on my list to try; it’s definitely more of a dessert than a snack, but it sounds divine!
Whew! I’m so glad I have compiled this list; I have a feeling I’m going to be referring to it often! I hope you find it useful as well.
So, my friend, what is your favorite protein-rich snack?