Are you trying out an autoimmune protocol (AIP) or paleo diet, hoping to reduce inflammation, heal your gut, identify foods that trigger symptoms, and boost your energy? Achieving these very desirable results can be challenging when it means giving up so many familiar foods to manage your autoimmune conditions. Having to strike your favorite comfort goodies off the menu, even temporarily, can leave you feeling deprived. Happily, it’s possible to indulge a little and still stay within the AIP/paleo guidelines. Here are 10 of our favorite go-to, non-bland, AIP friendly snacks and easy-to-follow recipes with simple ingredients to satisfy your cravings.
This blueberry crisp is an easy to make AIP-compliant snack or dessert with healthy ingredients that will fit the bill at any time of the year! Blueberries are high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C, which means they are helpful for good digestion, treating and reducing inflammation, and preventing conditions such as heart disease and cancer. (Source)
Blueberries are at their most delicious when fresh, but frozen berries are nearly as good. Eat this tasty crisp alone or pair it with coconut cream or non-dairy yogurt.
Ingredients: blueberries (fresh or frozen), lemon juice, coconut oil, cassava flour, arrowroot starch, coconut sugar, unsweetened coconut shreds, salt
The contrast of salty and sweet in these energy balls will have your taste buds standing at attention! Enjoy crispy-tasty flecks of plantain chips in a delicious but not too sweet fruit mixture in this healthy snack. This AIP-compliant nosh is a great pick-me-up to boost your energy at any time and will please your sweet tooth, too!
You can easily make substitutions if you have allergy concerns. If you are allergic to coconut, for example, you can omit it completely and throw in some extra plantain chips to make up for the loss of texture. While the coconut does make the balls chewier, it isn’t necessary for holding everything together.
Make sure to choose dried fruits that haven’t been coated in vegetable, canola, sunflower, or safflower oils, as these are not AIP compliant. It’s best if you choose unsweetened dried fruits wherever possible.
The amount of salt you add will depend on the saltiness of the plantains you use. If your plantains are salted, taste the mixture in the food processor before adding any salt, just in case!
Ingredients: dried black mission figs, dried golden raisins, dried tart cherries, strawberries, or apricots, plantain chips or plantain strips, shredded unsweetened coconut or coconut chips, ground cinnamon, fine sea salt
Looking for a new tasty breakfast option? Then these gluten free AIP-style overnight “oats” are for you. Prepped the night before for breakfast the following morning in the same way as actual overnight oats, his dish is actually completely grain free and uses tiger nuts, coconut flakes, and some other AIP friendly ingredients that will make you forget all about oats! This AIP breakfast takes just 15 to 30 minutes to prepare before you head off to bed, and will be ready in the morning for you to start your day off right with a perfect combination of protein, fat, and carbs to fuel your body.
Note that tiger nuts, included in this recipe, are not actually nuts but rather are small root vegetables. They are rich in nutrients, promote digestion, reduce blood sugar levels, boost the immune system, and help improve heart health. You may be able to find tiger nuts in your local organic shop or supermarket, but you might need to plan ahead and order them online. (Source)
We love topping this delicious breakfast treat with coconut yogurt and fresh fruit!
Craving a toasted bagel slathered with your favorite schmear, but wheat is off the table? This is one of the first AIP recipes to come close to the consistency of a “real” bagel — you won’t even notice the difference! Top these bagels with dried onion and garlic, which are both AIP compliant, and poppy or sesame seeds (non-compliant ingredients) if you are not strict AIP or have successfully brought these ingredients back into your diet. These bagels are a tasty option for a quick snack or a scrumptious breakfast that fits into a restrictive diet.
Carrots are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are both AIP and paleo compliant. Carrots are naturally sweet and satisfying by themselves, play well with others, and are easily enhanced with herbs and spices. You won't miss your usual carrot sticks with this yummy dish, perfect for a grab-and-go weeknight side to a hearty dinner dish, or as a substantial snack paired with a grass-fed beef jerky stick. You can’t go wrong with the nutrient-dense ingredient list of these roasted carrots!
Ingredients: heirloom carrots, avocado oil, garlic powder, fine sea salt, green olive tapenade or green olives, lemon juice, salted capers, cilantro or parsley, garlic, Italian seasoning
Sweet potatoes, which can be white, orange, or even purple, are high in fiber and antioxidants. They are also rich in carbohydrates and have a relatively high glycemic index, but even if you have to watch your blood sugar they can have a place in your AIP or paleo diet. (Source)
These easy oven fries are a crispy snack and can be made with any variety of sweet potato. Swap out your store-bought snacks for these fries or use as a side at lunch or dinner. Keep in mind that oven temperatures will vary and so will the cooking time, so the sweet potatoes can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes to finish.
Ingredients: sweet potatoes (any color will do), lard, salt
Studies have shown that, in moderation, shrimp can be a healthy source of protein and other nutrients. What matters most, health-wise, is how shrimp are prepared. These eggless coconut shrimp are crispy, crunchy, and addictive! A simple three-stage breading process gives the tasty little crustaceans a perfect texture that is not only delicious but AIP compliant, too! Pair these with the included pineapple ginger dipping sauce for an extra pop of flavor.
What is life without chocolate? Going without what is for many of us almost a daily necessity can be the hardest part of starting out on an AIP or paleo diet. Chocolate is excluded from the first phase of the AIP diet, when foods that can contribute to inflammation and autoimmune symptoms are temporarily eliminated, because it comes from a seed and contains chemical compounds thought to be hard on the intestinal tract. And while it’s technically allowed on the paleo diet, it’s often combined with additives that aren’t.
Fortunately, there is a well-known and much-loved chocolate substitute: carob, which comes from a bean rather than a seed. Carob is also high in fiber, low in fat, is a good source of antioxidants, and contains no caffeine. (Source)
We love the rich dark chocolate taste of this carob mug cake. Perfect fluffy goodness and no mess — what more could you ask?
Anyone else miss the “Cake Batter” ice cream flavor from Coldstone? This recipe is for you! It is gluten free, dairy free, and can be made paleo friendly. Enjoy this no-cook decadent vanilla cake batter!
To make this recipe AIP friendly: For nut-free/AIP, tiger nut flour would be the best substitute for the almond flour. It is grittier than almond flour, so be sure it’s well sifted! Also, use coconut oil instead of ghee, and shredded coconut instead of sprinkles.
Ingredients: almond flour (or sub tiger nut flour), coconut flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract (or sub vanilla bean powder), ghee (or sub coconut oil), sprinkles (or sub shredded coconut)
You may already be a fan of coconut butter, made with nothing but coconut meat and delicious enough to incorporate into baked goods or even just pour over fresh fruit. If so, wait until you try toasted coconut butter! It is rich with flavor and has an unbeatable nutty depth. Add a dash of sea salt and try pairing this yummy manna with apple or banana slices.
Ingredients: unsweetened coconut flakes or chips, sea salt
The Bottom Line
If you’ve just started the AIP protocol or have been following this style of eating for a while, you may feel a bit deprived of your regular snacks and treats at first. Fortunately, there are AIP-compliant and nutrient-dense swaps for those food combinations you love, so you can enjoy what you’re eating without undermining your healing protocol.
Adhering to the AIP diet to identify and eliminate trigger foods and reduce inflammation doesn’t mean giving up the satisfying flavors you love. Working with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner at WellTheory can help you navigate the autoimmune protocol and give you the support you need to create fun and flavorful nutrient dense meals, snacks, and everything in between!
Give yourself the time and space to find out what your ideal routine looks like to support your autoimmunity. Over 75 days, you’ll incorporate new routines focused on diet, sleep, movement, stress management, and lifestyle to make steady, sustainable progress towards reducing your symptoms.”