Practicing a healthy paleo diet is an excellent lifestyle choice–but it's definitely a change of pace if you're used to following the traditional food pyramid. Since a paleo diet mimics a protein-rich diet similar to what our ancestors ate before processed foods, we need to have a mindset of getting back to the basics.
If you're just starting out, you might wonder what the best paleo snacks and meals are to make staying on track easier. Even if you're a seasoned paleo expert, everyone needs some fresh, healthy snack ideas to stay motivated and satisfied with new, fresh flavors. Keep reading to learn about creative ways to put some spark in your dinner plans and low-carb snacking habits.
Healthy Meal and Snack Recipes for Weight Loss
Many people start a paleo diet to lose weight. While it's a great goal to shed some pounds if you're overweight, it's just one of the benefits of adopting a paleo lifestyle. You'll likely lose weight without the hassle of counting calories and lower your risk for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
When you're making a paleo diet plan, think of whole foods–meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, herbs, and healthy fats and oils. Nix anything processed, such as sugars, soda, processed foods, vegetable oils, grains, and starchy veggies like legumes. Here are just a few examples of healthy meal and snack recipes that can power weight loss while keeping you full and energized.
1. Omelet Muffins
Who says you have to give up muffins because you can't eat flour? Omelet muffins are easy and paleo-approved. Just mix up your favorite omelet ingredients with eggs (or egg whites, if you prefer) such as zucchini and lean meat. Skip the cheese and add spices such as garlic and paprika. Pour into a nonstick muffin pan and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. Enjoy two for breakfast or one as a mid-day snack. Each muffin will only have around 90 calories!
2. Avocado Lettuce Wraps
If you love avocado, you'll love incorporating it into a paleo diet. One medium-sized avocado has 10 grams of fiber and is loaded with nutrients such as potassium and vitamins B and E. It's a superfood that's hard to beat! Simply wrap diced avocado, deli meat, and your favorite veggies in romaine lettuce leaves, and you have a filling snack or light lunch under 200 calories.
3. Sweet Potato Fries
Did you know U.S. News and World Report listed sweet potatoes as one of the tops foods for promoting weight loss? They are also chock-full of vitamin A and fiber–and economical. Slice them up, brush with olive oil, and top them off with your favorite herbs and spices. Bake at 425 F for 25-30 minutes.
You might even like them more than greasy, fast food french fries–and with only 150 calories, they support your weight loss goals so much more! Indulge in them as a snack or serve with a slice of lean meat and veggies for a satisfying dinner.
4. Cauliflower Popcorn
Corn has too much starch to be paleo-approved, but this mock popcorn is sugar-free, crunchy and delicious. Brush chopped cauliflower with olive oil, and sprinkle on garlic, sea salt, pepper, and any other spices you want to add. Bake at 425 F for 15-20 minutes and indulge in a savory snack or dinner side dish that's only around 140 calories per serving.
5. Tuna Salad
This one's easy–you don't even have to turn on the oven or stove. Grab a can of protein-rich, nutrient-dense tuna and whip up this easy paleo-friendly mayonnaise. Mix the tuna with about one tablespoon of the mayo and add a little oil to get a creamy texture. Eat it plain or enjoy this 200 calories snack with sliced veggies. You can even serve it as a light dinner atop fresh spinach leaves.
6. Boiled Eggs
Boiled eggs are a great paleo snack or breakfast for beginners–they're simple and easy to make! You can boil them on the stove in about 12 minutes or cook them in an instant pot. They'll keep in the refrigerator for three to four days. One egg has about 80 calories and is packed with protein, essential vitamins, and healthy fats.
7. Pumpkin Hummus
Traditional hummus made with chickpeas is a no-go on a paleo diet. This hummus recipe trades the chickpeas for soaked cashews for a nuttier taste that pairs well with pumpkin purée. Serve with veggies or paleo crackers.
8. Melon Wrapped Proscuitto
This sweet-and-salty combo is perfect for a dinner appetizer or even a dessert–plus it's easy to make! Use cantaloupe or honeydew slices and wrap them in prosciutto. You can even add a mint leaf and a little olive oil to step it up a notch.
9. Baked Zucchini Crisps
The almond flour coating gives these zucchini crisps a flavorful crunch without the carbs of traditional breading. Sea salt, pepper, and thyme give it an excellent flavor and the egg packs in protein. You don't have to be paleo to like these–they are a crowd pleaser!
10. Turkey Meatballs
Take the spaghetti out of meatballs, and you've can turn an Italian favorite into a paleo-friendly meal or snack. This recipe uses almond flour to ensure the meat stays together. Enjoy them by themselves or top veggie noodles with these flavorful turkey meatballs.
The Best Paleo Snacks to Buy
It's great to whip up homemade paleo snacks, but we get it–there's not always time to prep at home when your schedule is packed. Here are some of our favorite paleo snacks you can find, so you can eat like a caveman even when you don't have time to cook.
1. Hu Chocolate Bars
If you're missing chocolate, these salty dark chocolate bars are the perfect snack for you. Plus, Amazon ships it with cool packs!
2. CHOMPS Beef Jerky Snack Sticks
These jerky snack sticks are paleo-approved, grass-fed, and ready to eat. Their delicious flavors include Original Beef, Crankin' Cranberry Habanero Beef, and Hoppin' Jalapeno Beef.
3. Purely Elizabeth's Ancient Grain-Free Granola
While most granola found in stores contains added sugars and grains, this high protein granola snack is made with cashews, coconut flakes, seeds, and cashew butter. Try both the banana nut butter and coconut cashew flavors!
If you're a pasta-lover, giving up carb-heavy noodles can be tough at first. Zoodles are a great alternative, and since paleo diets have increased in popularity, you can buy these tasty veggies noodles at stores such as Whole Foods.
5. Kale Chips
You can't eat potato chips on a paleo diet, but kale chips are a tasty alternative with a satisfying crunch. Try dipping them in guacamole or salsa. You can find them at most grocery stores and online.
6. Zupa Noma Chilled Vegetable Soup
Soup doesn’t have to be eaten hot, especially in warm summer months. Zupa Noma’s soups are only 90 calories, have four grams of fat, and three grams of protein. They’re designed to be enjoyed cold and you can drink them right out of the bottle.
7. Epic Chicken Sriracha Bars
Who says all protein bars have to be sweet? Meat can be a snack too! Epic’s Chicken Sriracha Bars are only 100 calories, have 4 grams of fat, and a whopping 15 grams of filling protein. They are seasoned with flavors such as garlic, cumin, oregano, and red pepper.
8. Rhythm Beet Chips
If you like to know exactly what’s in your prepackaged food, these beet chips are a fantastic choice! They’re slightly sweet, 100 calories, and have only one ingredient–beets.
9. Simple Mills Fine Ground Sea Salt Almond Flour Crackers
If you’re looking for a paleo-approved cracker alternative, these sea salt almond flour crackers are an excellent choice. They’re made with seed and nut flour–so you can enjoy a crunchy grain-free snack. Try them with tuna or chicken salad!
10. Siete Grain Free Lime Tortilla Chips
Craving crispy, salty tortilla chips? You won’t be tempted to visit a local Mexican restaurant if you have these on hand. These grain-free lime tortilla chips contain coconut flour, cassava flour, and avocado oil. Enjoy them with salsa or guacamole!
Paleo Options for Kids
If you're a parent, you might worry starting a paleo diet will turn you into a short-order cook–that's not the case! There are plenty of paleo-approved, healthy snacks and meals that will please the taste buds of all ages. Here are some of our tried-and-true kid-friendly paleo picks.
1. Pepperoni Cups
Pizza is a favorite among kids, but that doesn't mean it has to have a crust. Put a slice of pepperoni into muffin cups, fill them with your child's favorite veggies and tomatoes, and top with a spoonful of tomato sauce. Add a cube of almond cheese and bake for 10 minutes at 400 F. Serve them hot for a great after-school snack or pair with a paleo salad for a quick dinner!
2. Carrot Cake Energy Balls
We get it, kids are always hungry. These carrot cake energy balls are sweet and have lots of veggies. Shredded carrots, pecans, egg whites, coconut flour, cinnamon, and honey are ready to go for breakfast or a pre-dinner snack.
3. Almond Joy Fudgesicles
Skip the ice cream truck and whip these fudgesicles up at home instead. They are made with avocados, cocoa powder, honey, and coconut milk–resulting in an irresistible texture and rich flavor.
4. Baked Apples with Almond Butter
Fill cored apples with almond butter, pecans, coconut, and pumpkin seeds. Add a little sea salt and cinnamon. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes for breakfast or dessert the whole family will ask for again and again.
5. Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding
This Thanksgiving, skip the carb-heavy pumpkin pie. Make this pumpkin chia pudding with coconut milk, chia seeds, and autumn spices. Don't be surprised if your kids request this paleo-friendly treat all year long!
6. Celery Sticks and Almond Butter
Peanut butter isn't permitted in the paleo diet, but almond butter is delicious and keto-friendly. Introduce your children to a new version of the classic after-school snack by filling celery sticks with creamy, rich almond butter. Top with dark chocolate chips for a special treat.
7. PB&J Energy Balls
Ok, so these energy balls don't actually contain peanut butter, but they are as tasty as a PB&J sandwich. They're made with freeze-dried strawberries, almonds, chopped dates, salt, and shredded coconut. Best of all, they are no-bake!
8. Paleo Zucchini Bread
Isn't hiding vegetables in tasty foods a pastime for every parent? This scrumptious zucchini bread is made with almond and coconut flour, coconut oil, almond butter, eggs, bananas, cinnamon. Your kids will barely notice the veggies.
9. Paleo Chicken Nuggets
Looking for an alternative to breaded chicken nuggets? They're easy to make on your own! Cut chicken breasts into two-inch pieces and bread them in a mixture of almond flour, garlic powder, and sea salt. Combine an egg and almond milk into a bowl. Dip chicken into the milk and egg mixture and pan fry in coconut oil for two to three minutes on each side.
10. Ice Cube Tray Orange Creamsicles
This paleo snack recipe is a summertime hit. Fill each ice cube tray with orange juice (with no added sweeteners) and coconut milk. If, desired, add a few unsweetened mandarin oranges. Cover the tray with foil and poke a popsicle stick into each cube, and freeze.
Paleo Snack Choices When You're On the Go
Perhaps your work involves extensive travel or your family keep you on the go. With a little planning, you can always have a paleo-approved snack at hand. Here are some of our top picks.
1. Plantain Chips
These are another good potato chip alternative. Unlike bananas, plantains aren't sweet. Usually, they are sliced, topped with olive oil and salt. You can make them at home and pack them for traveling, buy them at most grocery stores, or purchase them online.
Larabar's pack a powerful punch of paleo nutrition. They're inexpensive and GMO-free, too. Some of their paleo flavors include pecan pie, cashew cookie, and apple pie. Keep some in your purse, gym bag, or office drawer for when you need a boost!
3. Nut Butters
When you're on the go, these are a no brainer, especially if you live an active lifestyle. SuperFat makes amazing nut butters in a variety of delicious flavors you can take anywhere. Plus, they are vegan and certified paleo and keto-friendly.
4. Trail Mixes
They are great energy boosters when you're on the go, but most of them have sugary dried fruit and peanuts, which are definitely not paleo-approved. Make a big batch of paleo-friendly trail mix with walnuts, cashews, almonds, banana chips, and dark chocolate and store them in individual bags or containers to grab when you're on your way out the door.
5. Baked Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are great healthy snacks for paleo dieters. Bake them with your favorite seasonings, such as garlic, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika. You can even coat them with a little melted coconut oil first to add a sweet and salty flavor. Bake them at 350 F for 5-10 minutes and store them in small containers.
6. Paleo Energy Bars
These energy bars are like a healthy candy bar. They're portable, packed with healthy seeds and nuts–plus they pack a potent dose of potassium from the bananas. They'll keep you energized on a busy day!
7. Smoked Almonds
What happens when you're on the go and find yourself unexpectedly experiencing hunger pangs? If you didn't pack a paleo snack, you're not out of luck. You can find almond at nearly any convenience store. If you want a savory snack, make sure you pick salted over dry roasted.
8. Caveman Bites
Caveman Bites snacks are known as the alternative for traditional dry, tough jerky. They also have 16 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, are paleo-certified, and come in flavors like maple pork and sweet and smoky turkey or chicken.
9. Collagen Bars
Caveman Foods also makes paleo collagen bars in chocolate protein and chocolate chip. They have 11 grams of protein and five grams of grass-fed collagen, which helps keep your skin and muscles healthy.
10. Roasted Seaweed Snacks
Seaweed chips are popular paleo snacks for potato chip lovers. At only 25 calories per serving and several flavors to try such as sea salt, teriyaki, wasabi, olive oil, and sesame, these are a no-brainer!
No matter if you’re dining at home by yourself, feeding a large family, or constantly on the go, there are plenty of options that help make living a paleo lifestyle easy. With proper planning and motivation, these healthy meal and snack ideas will have you well on your way to reaching your health and wellness goals!
Author: Jess Pingrey
|Jess is a guest contributor for SuperFat, she has been featured on other keto, health, & wellness sites like ketohq.com, therunexperience.com, fitsmallbusiness.com, and kettleandfire.com.|
Hungry for more?
Read Our Beginner's Guide to the Paleo Diet, or try our delicious paleo-friendly nut butters.