When you think about the paleo diet, you want to think, "what would a caveman eat?" Whether you are new or a veteran to eating paleo, finding good snacks can be a challenge. Making your own snacks can be time-consuming, and snacking can being a huge barrier to successfully being on the paleo diet.
At the grocery store, you may be tempted by all the snacks that contain ingredients that you miss. Most of the snacks we're used to are high in sodium and fat. If you have a sweet tooth, it's even harder to find replacements for cookies and chocolates for your paleo shopping list. Fortunately, we have a list of the best store-bought paleo snacks that you can stash whenever you get hungry so you won't be tempted to go off of your plan.
What Foods are Paleo Friendly?
Followers of the paleo diet look for meals that our cavemen ancestors would have eaten. This means that your diet now excludes some of the newer staples such as grains, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, refined sugar that's in a lot of juices and sodas, and process and refined oils.
So, if you can't have yogurt or granola bars with grains, candy, pork rinds, peanuts, or potato chips, it can feel like you have nothing to snack on. The paleo diet does support the consumption of whole foods, so if possible, you want to snack on whole food items. If you keep your plate full of vegetables that are half raw and half cooked, you may have fewer cravings for snacks.
Either way, there are commercially available paleo snacks that suit your lifestyle and have health benefits. You don't necessarily want to have these snacks daily, but they are a fine treat.
Check out some popular paleo food delivery programs to remove any guesswork from your mealtimes.
Should You Eat Snacks on the Paleo Diet?
From the perspective of the paleo diet, anything made commercially is not exactly paleo compliant. But if we're being honest, we live different lives than our ancestors and sometimes we find ourselves needing to buy something from the store that is convenient and allows us to go on with our busy lives.
Your choice of whether to buy snacks from a retailer depends on how strict you want to be with your diet. Some of the advantages of buying snacks that are paleo compliant include variety in your diet as well as convenience for when you don't have time to prep a snack or eat a full meal.
As mentioned, you should also take into account the reasons that you want to snack. (1) Are you snacking to relieve stress? Are you snacking because you don't get enough sleep? Or did you miss an important meal and you should have a full meal instead? To set yourself up for success, make sure that you have nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits at your disposal all throughout your day.
How to Determine Paleo-Compliant Snacks
The easiest way to determine a paleo compliant snack is to find a paleo certified symbol. It looks like a black "P" inside of a circle. Other times, the package may explicitly say "paleo" or "primal," or you may buy gluten-free or grain-free items.
It also helps to read the ingredient list of your snack. Make sure the ingredients are paleo compliant even when it says paleo on the label. Finally, check out the nutritional value. You may not see added sugar listed as an ingredient, but you might find it under the nutrition label.
Most paleo compliant foods and snacks can be found in the grocery store in the organic section or green section. Nowadays, you can find most paleo items next to the regular items. For example, when you go to the flour section, you may be able to find flour made from almonds and coconut flour. If you're having trouble finding paleo-friendly items, try your local health food store instead. Or, you can try Instacart or go online and use amazon.com.
Sample Paleo Snacks
Some sample Paleo snack items include:
When you're going paleo, snacking may get repetitive if you reach for the bowl of nuts in your pantry every time. Fortunately, there are plenty of solid choices that don't require a lot of meal prep if you need a go snack for work, a road trip, or your bike ride. Some of these are just 50 calories per serving.
1) RXBar, Chocolate Sea Salt
Many protein bars are paleo-friendly as long as they don't contain oats, processed sugar, etc. Though you can't eat any of the peanut butter flavors, the chocolate sea salt version is made from whole ingredients and has plenty of protein (from egg whites) and fiber. The sugar content comes from dates.
2) PaleoValley Beef Sticks
As the name suggests, these beef sticks are a fine addition to your caveman diet. The sticks are made of grass-fed beef, and they come in flavors such as garlic summer sausage, original, and jalapeno. They also have a good amount of vitamins.
3) Justin's Classic Almond Butter
Your diet should consist of healthy fats, which makes nut butters such as almond butter a good paleo snack option. The only problem with almond butter is that it's easy to overdo it on these types of foods. With Justin's squeeze pack, you get a snack-sized portion that's easy to transport and it's made of palm fruit oil and dry-roasted almonds.
4) Emerald Natural Almonds
While full of calories (2), almonds are also packed with healthy fats, protein, and L-arginine amino acid. This 100-calorie pack allows you to have the perfect portion of nuts without worry about other processed ingredients or additives.
5) Delicious & Sons Organic Eggplant Spread
You can eat eggplant spread by dipping cut up vegetables in it or spreading it on a grain-free cracker. It's a worthy paleo snack if you're missing things such as hummus, guacamole, and other dips that don't fit a caveman diet.
6) Caveman Foods Dark Chocolate Bars Almond Coconut
Caveman Foods provides all sorts of paleo snack options like different flavors of beef jerky and protein bars. These items are certified paleo-friendly, dairy-free, gluten-free, and peanut-free. The almond coconut bar is made with cashews, sunflower seeds, and almonds that you can snack on or eat as a dessert.
7) Artisana Organics Bars
Artisana offers interesting flavors like Caveman Foods. The ingredients of the Artisana Paleo-approved Hazelnut Coffee Maca protein bar include Himalayan sea salt, vanilla extract, maca root powder, chia seeds, cacoa beans, cacao powder, hazelnut butter, and dates. If you get the variety pack, make sure to stay away from the peanut butter options.
8) Larabar Fruit and Nut Bar
Larabars only have about two to four ingredients, which makes them perfect protein bars for many diets. They have paleo snack compliant flavors like coconut cream pie, coconut chocolate chip, cherry pie, chocolate chip brownie, blueberry muffin, banana bread, banana chocolate chip, and apple pie. Many of them are made with nut butter and dates, and they're easy to find in grocery stores.
9) Paleo Balls
Paleo bites are a perfect mix of sweet and savory, and they come in flavors like Orange Cranberry, Chocolate, Lemon Cream, and Vanilla. They're much healthier than many other paleo snack bars, and they contain:
10) SeaSnax Chipotle Roasted Seaweed Snacks
Seaweed is a super simple snack that may satisfy your craving for a salty and crunchy paleo snack option. It's low-calorie and full of important nutrients. The SeaSnax brand is made with olive oil, has no added sugar, no MSG, and no cholesterol. It's a great store-bought paleo snack if you want to eat something on the go.
11) Fruition 100% Chocolate Bar
Regular chocolate bars are highly processed and not paleo-friendly. Fruition makes small-batch, handcrafted bars from 100% organic cocoa that are sugar-free and full of flavors like red berry. The bar is rich and flavorful, and it can make a decadent dessert when you're craving chocolate.
12) Eggland's Best Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs
One of the most popular foods for paleo dieters is a hard-boiled egg. But, boiling eggs at home is time-consuming, and carrying them around is not exactly convenient. The eggs in the pack from Eggland are only 50 calories each, are already peeled, and are a great source of protein. Add a pinch of pepper or other spices to make a tasty, filling treat.
There are many paleo snacks that you can prep yourself or grab quickly from the store. Staying paleo may require you to get a little creative, but you can enjoy items like:
Choose brands that have to-go packs and fun recipes, but watch out for additives and processed elements. Dried fruit may have a lot of sugars, so check the content of sweeteners on the ingredients list.
Popcorn is not an ideal paleo snack because it's made with whole grain. However, it's not the worst snack if you're in a bind. If you pop it yourself, make sure to use coconut oil or ghee to pop it (instead of vegetable or canola oil) and real butter to flavor it. You can also make a substitute popcorn out of cauliflower.
Some paleo popcorn alternatives include berries (in moderation), granola, hazelnuts, green pitted olives, and nut butter squeeze packs with veggies.
When you want a little crunch, some of your options are:
There are pros and cons to consuming dairy in general, and people on the paleo diet differ in their choices. To truly eat "like a caveman," you would be dairy-free. Based on that mindset, you would also not eat kale, chicken, or beef. Some people choose to consume butter and no milk or cream, while others enjoy the full range of dairy products. It's up to you. When you do have dairy, go for organic, grass-fed products.
Final Thoughts - Store-Bought Snacks for Paleo Diet
If your only paleo snacks are cut-up fruits and vegetables that you make in your kitchen, you may get tired of eating like a caveman. Fortunately, there are many brands and companies that make paleo-friendly snacks. These snacks tend to be dairy-free and use healthy fats.
As someone eating paleo, you do want to focus on consuming whole foods that can be found naturally. However, there's nothing wrong with eating paleo-approved lightly processed foods such as almond butter, chocolate sea salt protein bars, sesame seeds, avocados, walnuts, and raisins.
You can have a surprisingly nice combination of things if you get creative. For example, you can recreate your favorite dishes using a paleo-friendly recipe and seasoning to taste with onion powder, sriracha, and more. Keep your paleo snacks in easy-to-access places so you aren't tempted to break your diet.
Hess, J. M., Jonnalagadda, S. S., & Slavin, J. L. (2016). What is a snack, why do we snack, and how can we choose better snacks? A review of the definitions of snacking, motivations to snack, contributions to dietary intake, and recommendations for improvement. Advances in Nutrition, 7(3), 466-475.
Kamil, A., & Chen, C. Y. O. (2012). Health benefits of almonds beyond cholesterol reduction. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 60(27), 6694-6702.