Let’s face it, life is busy! Between work, family, friends, and everything else on your plate, you’ve got a lot going on. When you’re starving because it’s 3:00 and you haven’t had a chance to eat since breakfast, an AIP snack might be just what you need. Yet it can be especially tricky to navigate the grocery store for AIP snacks. That’s because gluten and dairy hide behind confusing names on ingredient labels. Additionally, many “convenience” foods contain grains, nuts and seeds, and other inflammatory ingredients that can affect autoimmune conditions.
It’s best to focus on fresh, organic foods. However, I understand that when you’re on the go sometimes you need convenient, prepackaged AIP snacks such as Double Chocolate Brownie Collagen Bars. When it comes to AIP snacks, the key is preparation. That’s why I have these on hand in my pantry and my purse.
Plus, I’ve compiled the following tips to help you make smart choices when shopping for AIP snacks. Now those little packaged pick-me-ups can be part of a healthy meal plan.
The Problem with So-Called AIP Snacks
Although the world has been flooded with packaged snacks marked as organic, Paleo, and autoimmune protocol (AIP) friendly, it really comes down to reading and understanding ingredient labels.
Many packaged foods are not really food at all. Unfortunately, even products labeled “non-GMO,” “all-natural,” or “gluten-free” can be loaded with sweeteners, preservatives, and other processed junk. In fact, a product might be Paleo diet-friendly, however, it could contain non-AIP ingredients. That’s why it’s important to be aware of all the ingredients to ensure you’re getting legit AIP snacks.
Sourcing Snacks that Really are AIP Friendly
1. Find High-Protein AIP Snacks
Research has shown that adding more protein to your diet helps you lose weight by sending the “stop eating” signal to your brain.1
Many snacks, especially those advertised as “nutrition” bars are really desserts masquerading as health food. Because they’re packed with carbs and sweeteners and lack the necessary protein to keep you full, these snack bars will cause a huge insulin spike. When your blood sugar plummets, you’ll be hungry again, leading you to search for another quick fix. So, they’re not truly AIP snacks.
Even natural sweeteners including maple syrup, honey, and molasses can have this effect on your blood sugar. In the long term, you will begin to feel sluggish, gain weight, and you may even be setting yourself up for insulin resistance.
Choosing a high-protein AIP snack, such as wild salmon jerky, helps you avoid overeating or derailing your progress. For those of you who have completed the reintroduction phase of The Autoimmune Solution protocol, my Double Chocolate Brownie Collagen Bars are perfectly balanced to handle those between-meal cravings.
This travel-friendly AIP snack has 10 grams of high-quality protein to promote fat burning by encouraging development of lean muscle mass. It’s also rich in collagen peptides to support a healthy gut, hair, skin, & nails It’s a perfect AIP snack for between meals and before or after a workout.
2. Look for Snacks High in Fiber and Healthy Fats
When looking for grab-and-go AIP snack options, you also want to choose one, like tiger nuts, that contains plenty of healthy fats and fiber. These will keep you satisfied until your next meal and help you avoid a sugar crash. For example, people with diabetes who ate 50 grams of fiber a day in the form of meals and AIP snacks were better able to control their blood glucose levels than those who ate significantly less. 2 Organic Gemini Tigernuts, for example, are packed with fiber and make a quick and easy snack.
Epic Hickory Smoked Bacon Bites or Pork Rinds are two more fabulous AIP snack options. That’s because their healthy fats can provide your body with the energy it needs to work properly, assist with vitamin absorption, and support your body’s inflammatory response.3
My Double Chocolate Brownie Collagen Bars are an excellent AIP snack to keep you full, energized, and focused. Plus, they can satisfy any cravings for sweet AIP snacks! These decadent bars contain 7 grams of fiber of prebiotics and soluble fiber to support a healthy gut microbiome and only 2 grams of natural sugars per bar. This post-reintroduction AIP snack will keep you satiated once you’ve started the reintroduction phase of The MyersWay®.
3. Read the Label and When in Doubt, Go Without
Ingredient labels will be your roadmap for navigating the supermarket aisles to find AIP snacks. Avoid any products that contain:
- Dairy (including whey protein)
- Corn (including corn flour, cornmeal, and high-fructose corn syrup)
- Gluten-free grains and pseudo-grains (amaranth, millet, rice, oats, quinoa)
- Nightshades (tomato, pepper, eggplant, potatoes)
- Nuts, nut butters, and seeds
- Legumes (beans, garbanzos, lentils, peas, peanuts)
- Vegetable or seed oils
Unsurprisingly, gluten is the biggest culprit to keep an eye out for when scrutinizing food labels. It can hide under the following additives and preservatives in packaged snacks that you think might make great AIP snacks:
- Artificial coloring
- Baking powder
- Caramel and other colors/flavors
- Citric acid (which can be fermented from wheat, corn, molasses, or beets)
- Glycerides and diglycerides
- Emulsifiers and stabilizers
- Fat replacements
- Food starch, modified food starch, and wheat starch
- Glucose syrup
- “Natural flavors”
- Vegetable protein
Be sure to routinely read labels, even on products you buy often as AIP snacks. Companies could change the ingredients in their products at any time. If a product contains an ingredient that is unfamiliar to you or you’re unsure whether or not it contains ingredients that are not The Myers Way® approved, you’re better off skipping it. It is not worth derailing your progress and risking a potential flare of nasty symptoms. In other words, when in doubt, go without.
4. Prepare for Success in Finding AIP Snacks
Going to the grocery store and navigating shelves lined with seemingly endless choices can be overwhelming. Therefore, your best bet for making smart choices in the snack aisle is to prepare a list of options you know are approved as AIP snacks. Some of my favorite ready-made AIP snacks include:
- Avocado or other fresh fruit
- Organic, freeze-dried fruit
- Coconut yogurt (such as Culina)
- Organic Gemini Tigernuts
- Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips
- Bone Broth Collagen
- Unsweetened coconut chips
- Artisana Raw Coconut Butter Squeeze Packs
- Plantain chips (such as Terra)
The above brands have clean ingredient lists, taste great, and make quick AIP snacks you can count on! However, you can certainly choose similar snacks made by other companies. Just be sure the brands you choose are certified organic, gluten-free, and don’t contain any inflammatory or toxic foods that put them out of the running as AIP snacks.
In addition, I recommend pairing foods that have lower amounts of protein and healthy fats with a snack that is higher in those nutrients to make it more satisfying (such as freeze-dried fruit mixed with coconut yogurt) for a satisfying AIP snack.
5. Make Your Own AIP Snacks
The best strategy to ensure your snacks are autoimmune-friendly is to make them yourself. That way, you can choose only healthy, clean, real-food ingredients that you know will not trigger an immune response and move you further up the autoimmune spectrum. Plus, you can custom make them to your own tastes, and probably save a few bucks too!
For some great AIP snack ideas along with more than 150 other recipes specially designed to prevent and reverse the full spectrum of autoimmune diseases, you’re going to love my book, The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook.
Certainly, with a little planning, snacks— homemade or prepackaged choices such as Double Chocolate Brownie Collagen Bars—can definitely be part of an autoimmune diet!