Are you ready to enjoy the pleasures of summer while still supporting your immune health? Take your pick from various nutrient-dense sweet and savory snacks while many fruits and vegetables are in their most abundant season. Try them with family or savor your self-care with these flavor-popping nutritious eats.
What Is the AIP Diet?
The autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet is a 3-phase elimination diet based on the popular paleo diet that is designed to manage symptoms of autoimmune conditions. In the first phase of the AIP diet, pro-inflammatory foods are eliminated and nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods are emphasized.
Grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables, eggs, dairy products, coffee, nuts and seeds, seed oils, food additives, and refined sugars are replaced with fruits and vegetables (other than nightshades), unprocessed fats from plants and animals, grass-fed meats, and wild-caught fish. It can be a significant shift in eating habits, but less challenging when you have an arsenal of snack ideas ready to go.
Snacking on AIP
The summer snacks below include nutrient-dense foods that are AIP-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about common inflammation triggers (and you won’t be missing those foods left behind). These delectables combine a protein- or fat-containing food (such as fish, meat, or coconut) with a carbohydrate (such as fruit or a starchy vegetable), so they’ll provide lasting energy without the blood sugar crash. We’ve included both sweet and savory snacks — and as an added bonus, some that are both sweet and savory!
With packed nutrition stores of vitamins A and C, magnesium, and fiber, plantains surely give corn chips a run for their money. A cousin to the banana, plantains are a grain-free starch that’s less sweet and much more versatile. Baking plantain slices give them a wonderfully crisp and crunchy texture similar to store-bought chips — and they’re just as dippable. Pair them with the guacamole in this recipe (or any of the dips listed below) for a variety of flavor-popping pleasers.
Ingredients: avocado, red onion, cilantro, lime, salt, plantains
Chip addiction is real, but grains don’t have to be the only craving quencher when you need a crispy snack. Making kale chips is relatively easy and requires less time in the oven and lower heat than other chip recipes. (Keep in mind, though, that they can be quick to burn and need to be watched closely while baking.) If you are watching your salt intake, season your heart out with a variety of AIP spices for nutritious flavor or a spicy kick.
Ingredients: purple kale, avocado (or olive) oil
Try with AIP seasonings: onion, garlic, turmeric, curry, horseradish, additive-free wasabi, salt
While they closely compare in vitamin content, white and sweet potatoes come from different food group families. Regular white potatoes belong to the nightshade family of vegetables and can be pro-inflammatory culprits, as well as having a significant effect on blood sugar. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are part of the morning glory family. They don't have the same inflammatory risk for those with autoimmune conditions, and when boiled (rather than baked or roasted) they have less of an effect on blood sugar due to their high fiber content. (Source, Source)
This recipe is a little more challenging than many others and requires a little elbow grease for rolling thin tortillas — but it’s well worth the effort. These tortillas can be stored for up to a week and used for various dishes from tacos and wraps to baked nachos and chips with dip. Pair with guacamole or legume-free hummus (recipe below) for a blood sugar balanced snack.
Ingredients: sweet potato, cooking fat, cassava flour, salt, hot water
Despite their starchy delight, parsnips are more closely related to carrots than potatoes and are delightfully AIP-friendly. Less sweet than carrots, they are easily prepared like good old fashioned french fries, but with more health benefits.
Although this recipe calls for black pepper as a seasoning, pepper’s heat-causing component pepperine is a potential problem for some with autoimmune conditions and is contraindicated on AIP. We suggest simply leaving it out.
Ingredients: parsnips, avocado oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt (omit the black pepper for AIP)
Endive is a slightly bitter leaf vegetable with a perfect shape for encasing food fillings. Although smoked salmon is the star of this finger food, endive might be the secret flavor-enhancing ingredient. We love the simplicity and combination of flavors in this savory bite.
Ingredients: endive, smoked salmon, red onion, avocado, sea salt, olive oil (omit the black pepper for AIP)
Chickpeas are a type of legume loaded with fiber — a characteristic heralded for its potential health benefits. However, specific compounds in legumes may have an inflammatory effect in those with autoimmune conditions, especially when raw or not thoroughly cooked, so they are not included in AIP. This covert cauliflower hummus will have you none the wiser with a satisfying smooth texture and tangy lemon flavor. Try it as a dip for your crudites or an addition to your entrees or wraps.
Ingredients: cauliflower, olive oil, lemon, salt, parsley, veggies for dipping
It’s simple to swap out cheese and nuts for a still dynamic and solid pesto dip — this recipe uses nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese and omits the nuts. Nutritional yeast is a flaky deactivated yeast with a high B vitamin content and somewhat cheesy taste. Serve this with any vegetable fries recipe, with AIP coconut flatbread, or as a sauce with zucchini noodles.
Fresh fruit is AIP-compliant and is loaded with fiber, nutrients, and water. Cantaloupe, in particular, is incredibly high in beta carotene, a beneficial antioxidant pigment thought to support your eyes, brain, and skin. This simple 3-ingredient blended fruit popsicle is definitely an all-age treat perfect for a hot day. You will need a popsicle mold for this recipe.
Ingredients: cantaloupe, coconut milk, maple syrup
Store bought gummy candies are usually made with blood sugar-spiking glucose syrup and other non-AIP ingredients. This recipe is sweetened with AIP-compliant maple syrup and contains gelatin, a form of collagen protein found in connective tissues of animals (usually cows, pigs, or fish) that supports a robust gut lining and repair. Not only are gummies another fun all-age treat, but we love this recipe because we know the ingredients also do a body good.
You’ll want to omit the black pepper in this recipe for AIP, but consider adding cinnamon or ginger for an anti-inflammatory boost. If you don’t have a tray for gummy molds, you can easily use an ice cube tray instead.
Ingredients: water, turmeric, maple syrup, gelatin
What can’t a coconut do? While such a versatile food, rest assured a coconut is not actually a nut (it’s a fruit of the palm family) and is AIP-compliant. When using shredded coconut and coconut flour, you won’t have to worry about the preservatives often found in coconut milk products. Due to coconut’s bacteria-friendly inulin (a prebiotic fiber) content, though, to support the balance of your gut microbiota you’ll want to limit your portions to a serving size.
This recipe is quick, tasty, balanced, convenient — and will satisfy your key lime needs!
Ingredients: dates, shredded coconut, coconut flour, lime juice
Collagen protein is one of the few AIP-compliant protein powders available, but it’s much more. It can help your body digest and absorb nutrients, repair intestinal permeability found in leaky gut, and may even help reduce bloating. The benefit of this protein powder is top-notch, whether you are on AIP or not. We love the nutritional balance of ingredients in this protein bar, a versatile snack for on-the-go or a lounging day.
Ingredients: raisins, coconut flakes, sweet potato flour, collagen protein powder, cinnamon, salt, and coconut oil
We would be remiss to leave a good salad out of eligible summer snacks, especially if you are missing your favorite non-AIP-compliant nightshade fruits and vegetables. This salad is a killer flavor and texture combo completely free of nightshade fruits, vegetables, and spices, so you can enjoy the season’s freshness without an autoimmune flare.
Ingredients: broccoli, apples, carrots, red onion, dried cranberries or raisins
For the dressing: coconut milk, avocado oil, lemon juice, salt
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.”