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Here I am, day 24 in my second round of Whole30. So far, my energy is great, zero cravings for anything processed or off-plan, and I have absolutely no intentions of breaking momentum now!
BUT, it wasn’t always so easy. No matter how prepared we think we are, life will inevitably throw you a curve ball, and you will want to be ready for it!
I wanted to share with you my two-part list of ideas for Whole30 snack ideas, mini-meals, and on-the-go convenience foods that has saved me from losing my mind during both rounds!
In both rounds, my family visited Disneyland. During the first round, I did not prepare well at all, and not only did I have a super hard time finding food that was Whole30 compliant, but the snacks I did pack (only nuts and an apple), while not bad, definitely did not help me feel satisfied while watching my kids eat corndogs. (I mean, have you SEEN those Disneyland corndogs?? They’re heaven on a stick. I just heard ethereal music as I wrote that, no joke. They are famous. Or maybe infamous for us Whole30 peeps.)
During my second round, we visited Disneyland just a few days ago for my son’s birthday. This time, I was prepared. I had with me food that I actually wanted, that did not make me want to run screaming towards the corndog cart. The day was a breeze.
Here’s the thing about snacking and Whole30.
It’s kinda discouraged. I mean, in the Whole30 book, the authors encourage us to increase the size of our meals to help us stay satiated. This is all about creating a healthy relationship with food, and that makes perfect sense considering it’s not good for us to eat impulsively in between meals. Honestly, I can’t do that. I feel light-headed, weak, and
stabby snippy if I don’t have a snack. And let’s be honest: when you’re fatigued and your stomach is cramping with hunger pangs, and you’re feeling low energy, you probably are not going to make good choices, am I right? It is definitely better to have a quick backup in case of emergencies.
Here’s the rule for snacking, according to the Whole 30 book. Instead of thinking it of a snack, think of it as a mini-meal. Never eat just one of the food groups (protein, carbs, and fat) just on their own. If you are going to have a snack/mini-meal, then pick from two of the food groups. Thinking of it as a mini-meal and not a snack keeps away the impulsive eating mentality. It becomes a conscious decision to feed your body what it needs: another nourishing meal.
I would also like to note that when it comes to snacks like plaintain chips, Larabars, and fruit strips, though very minimally processed, these are a part of a slippery slope back into old habits because they still somewhat resemble the junk food that has hooked us all these years. Use these only in case of emergency and not as a plan to replace your favorite candy bar or potato chips. We’ve got to cut that bad relationship out with junk food, and cutting out even the healthy versions of junk food is in our overall best interest.
In my family’s case, not only do these very products save us from disaster at Disneyland, these three products are a lifesaver for my traveling husband. They are easy to toss into his carry-on, and they keep him out of the airport shops. The worst thing ever would be to be in day 24, give in to the temptation of the corndog cart, and have to start your 30 days all. over. again. If you don’t restart, then your reintroduction phase would fail because your nearly-healed gut had been compromised. All that work down the drain.
OK, stepping off my “reader beware” and “snack for the right reasons” soapbox, it’s time to talk about snacks and to go meals!
1. Water. No, this is not a trick. Just… hear me out, OK? I made it a habit to always first reach for water when having those hunger pangs between meals. The majority of the time, we confuse thirst for hunger. Years of missing your thirst cues has conditioned your brain to automatically try to eat those natural uncomfortable cues away. Try ice water, or however you like it, wait 20 minutes, then see if you are still hungry. If so, proceed…
2. Stretch Island All Natural Fruit Strips. Really delicious fruit strips made with only real ingredients.For example, their strawberry flavor contains only the following ingredients: Apple puree concentrate, pear puree concentrate, strawberry puree, natural strawberry flavor, lemon juice concentrate. All non-GMO. (Also? I just realized while linking to them that I pay $1.50 MORE per box at my local health food store than I would at Amazon! So there you go.)
3. Plaintain chips. Whichever brand of plantain chips you choose, they should only have ingredients of plantains, palm or sunflower seed oil, and salt. No sugar added. The bag in my image is from Sprouts, but I also love Trader Joe’s plantain chips.
4. Coconut chips. Another great snack for soothing the urge to crunch on something. Made purely from toasted coconut meat and seasoned lightly with sea salt, this brand is the one I prefer to buy.
5. Apple chips. Choose apple chips that are made only of apples and no other ingredients. I love the variety of apple flavors from this brand.
6. Berries. I didn’t lump these in with the fresh fruit, only because I think of berries as being superior, and my always go-to for fruit. On the micronutrient level, they are total fiber and nutrient bombs! They are the most densely packed fruit with vitamins and other antioxidants. We should all try to eat a cup of berries per day if possible, they are just that good for us! Plus, they are the lowest on the Glycemic Index coming in at around late-10’s to mid-20’s. (Compare those numbers to fresh fruit in number 10 below.)
7. Guacamole. Good guacamole should only have a few real food ingredients. I love the Sprouts house brand as pictured, however, my absolute favorite guacamole is from Wholly Guacamole. The ingredients for their classic dip are Hass Avocado, Jalapeño Puree (White Vinegar, Jalapeño Peppers, Salt) Dehydrated Onion, Salt, Granulated Garlic.
8. Larabars. The candy bar of Whole30. Ugh, so good, so minimal in ingredients. I have seen the author of Whole30, Melissa Hartwig, say that if you’re going to grab one, choose the Cashew Cookie Larabars (which is actually the only reason I tried it in the first place), but ONLY do this on a very rare occasion. But if you check the ingredients, there are a ton of flavors that (besides the fact they are kind of a candy bar replacement) are otherwise Whole30 compliant.
9. Nuts. “Hallelujah!” is all I have to say for having nuts on Whole30! I prefer to buy mine in bulk at the health food store. I’ll typically buy cashews, almonds, and macadamias. Macadamia nuts are crazy expensive, though. Yikes.
10. Fresh fruit. I have to be so careful with fruit because I will full-blown fiend for it! No temptation whatsoever for anything off plan, but fruit? It is just truly, incredibly hard for me. Some people don’t even bother with fruit while on Whole30, but if you can have it without feeding into the very sugar addiction you are trying to kick, then by all means, go for it! You don’t need to count calories or sugars while on Whole30 (we are learning to listen to our body’s natural cues, after all), but it was important for me to discover that my cravings were happening due to the high Glycemic Index impact of my favorite fruits. Remember berries having a GI listing in the 20s? Well, apples are 38, peaches 35, and bananas 55! Beware, fellow sugar addicts!
11. Applesauce. Purchase applesauce with no added sugar. Make sure it is strictly apples. Use the same precautions as number 10, but I personally like these little cups for convenience and storage.
12. Nut butters. A great topper for vegetables. Cashew butter on celery, for me, is to die for. They can be quite pricey in a jar, but your local health food store might have an in-house brand, made fresh at the store, that is much more reasonably priced. Check labels carefully because many have added sugar, like the one in this photo that I had to replace because in my haste at the store, I assumed it was clean. D’oh!
This is just part one of my list of Whole30 snacks ideas! Check back again soon for part two!
What are your go-to snacks for whole30? Let us know in the comments below!