Picture it: it’s 3 pm and you’re getting that mid-afternoon craving. What do you reach for? If you said junk food, don’t beat yourself up. You’re definitely not alone. When we’re hungry, many of us focus less on what’s healthy and more on what’s quick and convenient.
The good news is there are many nutritious and delicious snack options to choose from. And the Paleo diet offers a wide variety. A Paleo diet involves consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meats, fish, fruits and nuts. It eliminates grains, legumes, dairy products and highly processed foods.
The next time you’re feeling hungry during the day, have one of these expert-approved snacks on hand:
Best Paleo Snacks
Nuts and nut butters
Almonds also contain calcium which is good for the bones. Cashew butter with sliced apple is another healthy and delicious option.
Related: Paleo Diet Rules, Recipes and More
Fruits are filled with phytonutrients, fiber, provitamin A and vitamin C. Registered Dietician Summer Yule recommends trying to get lots of different colors of fruit in your diet for a larger range of phytonutrients. This very simple recipe for apple chips is a great way to use up bruised apples.
Yule suggests substituting coconut aminos for soy sauce in this Ground Turkey Jerky Recipe for an easy Paleo meat bar option. Meat bars are an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamin B12, zinc, phosphorus and other essential nutrients.
Vegetables with Almond-based Cream Cheese
There are tons of dairy-free cheese options available now, which are great for dipping your favorite veggies, says Amy Davis, RD, LDN. She recommends carrots and cucumbers for this cream cheese.
Paleo Trail Mix
This nut-free trail mix is great if you need a high-energy and portable snack! This recipe from Yule has no added sugar and is packed with healthy fats from seeds and phytonutrient-rich berries.
Coconut Yogurt with Fresh Berries
A Paleo diet would recommend unsweetened coconut yogurt instead of traditional dairy yogurt, Katrina Hartog, RD, clinical nutrition manager at Lenox Hill Hospital, explains. Adding some flax seeds and fresh berries will provide some different textures and natural sweetener from the fruit.
Related: 20 Delicious Paleo Breakfast Ideas
Veggie Sticks and Guacamole
Calling all guac lovers!
With a base of avocados, you are consuming heart-healthy fats linked to lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol, says Hartog. Avocados are also full of fiber, which can keep you feeling full longer.
For this snack, pair with fresh-cut carrots, jicama or celery.
Strawberries drizzled with balsamic vinegar
This decadent snack recommended by Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD offers a unique flavor and satisfying taste.
“Strawberries are packed with beneficial antioxidants and nutrients including potassium, folate and fiber, eating them at snack time offers some major health benefits,” Manaker says.
As an added bonus, one cup of strawberries has all the vitamin C you need for the day.
Chomps Meat Sticks
Maggie Michalczyk, registered dietician nutritionist, recommends these certified Paleo, and Whole30 approved meat sticks, made from grass-fed beef. They contain 9 to 10 grams of protein, no added sugar and are free from the top eight allergens.
Chomps meat sticks are great on the go and pair well with a piece of produce.
Avocado slices wrapped in nori seaweed sheets
Avocados are loaded with key nutrients to keep you healthy and satisfied. Eating them provides healthy fats and fiber for a stick-to-your-ribs snack that satisfies, says Manaker. Wrapping them in nori sheets gives these snacks a bit more of an interesting flavor with even more nutrients.
Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein, Michalczyk explains. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein and many important vitamins and minerals like vitamin D and choline.
“Hard-boiling a batch at the beginning of the week makes for a great snack you can take on the go and pair with other things,” she says.
Lesser Evil Paleo Puffs
Made with just a couple Paleo ingredients, Michalcyzk says these puffs are a good snack option, particularly for those on the Paleo diet who might be missing more traditional "snack type" foods.
Plus, since they contain fiber, you can get a lot of puffs for one serving size!
Paleo “Rice Krispie” Treats
This recipe from Danielle McAvoy, MSPH, RD, Senior Manager of Nutrition at Territory Foods is a healthier take on traditional Rice Krispie treats.
Instead of melted butter and marshmallows, use melted almond butter and honey. Mix in your favorite paleo cereal (she loves Forager Grain-Free O’s for this) until coated and then press into a pan to cool. You could also use cashew butter or maple syrup.
Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds make for a great portable snack on their own or added to a homemade paleo trail mix with nuts, Micalcyzk explains. They're a good source of fiber, protein, zinc and magnesium which is essential for muscle contraction and relaxation—especially important for active bodies.
Veggies and Paleo Ranch
There are a few brands of Paleo ranch, but it’s also easy to make with coconut milk, paleo mayo and spices, McAvoy says. Use carrot sticks, cucumber slices, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and celery for dipping.
Banana with almond butter
Most of us are not getting enough potassium so munching on a banana with a heaping helping of crunch almond butter is certainly satisfying, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It - Taking You from Label to Table.
“The banana provides energy and when paired with almond butter, the protein and fat in the nut butter helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and keeps you feeling fuller longer,” she says.
To turn this into a super snack, Taub-Dix recommends adding the banana, nut butter and Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk with 3 ice cubes in a blender. This creates a delicious smoothie packed with calcium, vitamin E and vitamin A.
Shelled walnuts dipped in Paleo-friendly dark chocolate
This decadent treat is loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and plant-based protein. Since daily intake of walnuts has been linked to a healthier microbiome, this satisfying snack is a perfect paleo nosh for busy days, Manaker explains.
Avocado with crushed walnuts
This can also be a meal! All you have to do is slice up an avocado and sprinkle with crushed-up walnuts.Dr. Nicole Avena, nutrition consultant says the fat from the avocado and walnuts is great for you and the walnuts also will give you a nice crunch.
Paleo bread and seed butter smear
Since there are tons of options for Paleo-friendly bread, Dr. Avena suggests checking your frozen section in the grocery store. Make sure that your nut and seed butter is Paleo and doesn't contain any peanuts or sugar—both are a no-no for Paleo!
If you’re looking for a specific brand, she recommends NuttZo, which makes a Paleo nut and seed butter that comes in a few different varieties.
Kale chips and a hint of cayenne
You can make these at home, but don't buy the store-bought versions, as they aren't always paleo-friendly, Dr. Avena explains. Just tear up some kale, spread it on parchment and sprinkle with cayenne to your liking.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes or until it is still (not brown) and you're all set with a delicious, crunchy snack!
Chocolate Paleo Mug Cake
Mug cakes because are super easy and a great way to indulge your sweet tooth while keeping calories and portion sizes down, says nutritionist Heather Hanks. You can use almond or coconut flours, raw cacao powder, eggs, maple syrup, a banana and fresh fruit.
This flavor-filled recipe from Kat Burris, MS, RDN takes only 10 minutes to make.
2 ripe avocados or 2 cups of frozen avocado (thawed)—Burris recommends Pitaya
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients into a food processor
Process until smooth and creamy
Serve with fresh veggie sticks, grain-free crackers or sweet potato fries
Chocolate Almond Chia Protein Pudding
If you’re feeling the urge to snack, this smooth and creamy pudding from Nutritionist Melissa Kathryn definitely hits the spot. She says to make it in batches and serve chilled. This can also be a dessert if you want something sweet after dinner.
1.5 cups Almond Milk (recommends Silk)
1/3 cup Chia seeds
Stevia or Monk Fruit Sweetener
1 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder
1/2 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
1/4 tsp Sea salt
2 Tsp Cocoa Nibs
2 Tsp Slivered Almonds
Put the almond milk, chia seeds, sweetener, protein powder and salt in a container with lid and stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, eat as is, chilled and Sprinkle with cocoa nibs and slivered almond on top or mix throughout.
High Protein Strawberry Banana Mousse
Kathryn recommends this strawberry banana mousse since it’s fruit-based and high in protein. This recipe can be made in large batches or prepared for individual servings.
2 egg whites (1/2 cup liquid egg white)
1 Tbsp. Stevia
2 oz. frozen banana
1 ¾oz. frozen strawberry
Fresh berries (optional)
Blend the egg whites and Stevia until the egg whites are firm (1-2 minutes). You should be able to hold the blender upside down without the egg whites falling out.
When the egg whites are firm, add the banana and berries and blend until the consistency is smooth and everything is pink.
Serve in a bowl with a few fresh berries or use as a side
Next, read 15 Paleo Dinners the Whole Family Will Love.
Lisa R. Young, PhD, RDN
Summer Yule, Registered Dietician
Amy Davis, RD, LDN
Katrina Hartog, RD, clinical nutrition manager at Lenox Hill Hospital
Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD
Maggie Michalczyk, registered dietician nutritionist
Danielle McAvoy, MSPH, RD, Senior Manager of Nutrition at Territory Foods
Nicole Avena, nutrition consultant, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Visiting Professor of Health Psychology, Princeton University
Heather Hanks, Nutritionist
Kat Burris, MS RDN
Melissa Kathryn, Nutritionist
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