Tag Archives: paleo snacks

Homemade Green Kale Chips

Are Vegan, Nacho “Cheeze” Flavored, non-GMO, soy, dairy and nut-free, USDA Organic Certified kale chips all they’re cracked up to be?

Gone are the days when the line between healthy and so unhealthy was a glaring red divide.

Think back to a time when one might wander into any run of the mill grocery store and could either opt for one of two choices:

  1. Go down the into the small health food section(a concept I always found odd; if that was health food, what would the rest of the contents in the store be classified as anyway?) or produce section to buy real food.
  2. Peruse the rest of the store and stock up on packaged, processed items, often with their best feature being convenience.

Back then, it was hardly even conversation-worthy to consider whether steamed broccoli with olive oil versus trans-fat-rich potato chips were the healthier choice.

Now the lines have blurred tremendously.

Forget about the items labeled as being “keto-friendly” or “Paleo–approved”; let’s just focus on those items perceived to be healthy:

  • Organic ‘Nacho-Cheeze” Flavored Kale Chips.
  • Gluten Free Tamari Edamame Puffs.
  • Non-GMO Yam Crisps.
  • Oregon Tilth Certified Chick-Pea Bites.
  • Fair-Trade Coconut Flour Chocolate Wafers.

What else have you seen?

Let’s dig into this a little.

We know that the labeling we see on our foods is governed by the USDA.

And we also know who backs the USDA (1); amongst them are ConAgra, General Mills, Kellogg, the National Dairy Council, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Nestlé, and PepsiCo.

So, what does it really mean when we see the word “healthy” on a label?

Foods that “are not low in total fat, but have a fat profile makeup of predominantly mono and polyunsaturated fats; or contain at least ten percent of the Daily Value (DV) per reference amount customarily consumed (RACC) of potassium or vitamin D” are considered healthy (2).

No regulation to determine the amount of sugar, the presence of corn syrup or vegetable oils (hydrogenated or not), amount of processing and, on a most basic level, nutrient density.

This begs the question, as so eloquently positioned in a recent article in Vogue (3), “is the new breed of healthy snack food actually healthy, or just addictive?”

The author mentions navigating her young child’s stroller around her local Whole Foods and coming across one such ‘healthy’ snack labeled as “Vegan, White Cheddar ChickPea Puffs”, whose package stated that the contents were “USDA Organic, kosher, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free and non-GMO.”

Do all these qualifications mean this is a healthy item to give our youngsters?  Or to eat ourselves?

While eating a bag of USDA Organic Certified, kosher, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, non-GMO crisps of some sort or other on a rare occasion certainly isn’t going to create the demise of a healthy human body all on its own, what happens when food byproducts such as these become the mainstay of what humans consume?

Common sense dictates a general trend of eating more things from bags, boxes, mixes or cans is less than ideal versus fresh, local, and in season.

Another point of contention to consider is how much the ingredients, all of which are completely legal to use and approved for human consumption by the USDA, may do more damage long term as a result of what is, in effect, a domino-like effect caused not only by added addictive sugars but also potentially by artificial flavors, colorings, and dyes.

Dr. Mark Schatzer wrote The Dorito Effect (4) in 2015, in which he posits that it is the growing presence of fake flavorings which are responsible for our country’s obesity rate.

In the Vogue article, the author closes with an example of another product which was about to make its debut:  “100% Vegan Ch’eesy Mac and Ch’eesy Bacon Mac; a plant-based take on a classic comfort food that is shelf-stable, ready in one minute, completely free of nuts, dairy, oil, trans fat, cholesterol, GMOs and artificial flavors”.

How’s that for a mouthful?

Do we really want to choose to eat things that need that much qualification?

If we were to eat real, fresh, whole food, we wouldn’t need all that verbiage; how much wording do you see when you buy a bunch of kale, or a piece of wild black cod or a bottle of olive oil?

Cut to the chase:  sure, a baked, organic, non-GMO yam crisp made with coconut oil is a better choice than a conventional, white potato chip deep fried in hydrogenated oil.

Have it once in a while.

Once in a while, being the key takeaway.

But please, don’t do your body (or your kids’ and family’s) bodies the disservice of opting for packaged items marked as healthy as a regular occurrence.

It’s each and every one of our responsibilities to nurture and nourish ourselves by eating real food, moving, and sleeping… and then, to allow our leading by example to facilitate better options for those around us.

 

References

  1. http://www.eatdrinkpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/AND_Corporate_Sponsorship_Report.pdf
  2. https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ucm521690.htm
  3. Adler, Tamar. “Grab And Go?” Vogue, Feb. 2019, pp. 156–177.
  4. Schatzker, Mark. The Dorito Effect: the Surprising New Truth about Food and Flavor. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2016.

5 Paleo Snacks for the Kids in All of Us | The Paleo Diet

It’s funny how we tend to automatically associate kids’ snacks with processed, high in sugar and salt, low in nutrient density options with cartoon characters’ images on the packaging.

As if by magic, simply seeing a funny clown or superhero on a box of what is essentially junk food, somehow makes it a good option to give the little ones.

Not only is this a bad idea in terms of keeping the kids’ energy level high and concentration levels where they should be, both at school and while playing, but also giving our children these type of snacks starts the path to illness at an early age.

A diet high in sugar and salt, and low in high quality veggies, protein and fat will begin to tamper with the kids’ taste buds, blood sugar levels and overall wellbeing, as well as set an early course to type II Diabetes and obesity.

While it may be difficult for adults to transition to a true Paleo approach, if we give our kids healthy food from the beginning, we can be agents of change and help them avoid the many health problems that stem from poor diet.

As parents, you set the example and your kids follow suit. Healthy Paleo eating for the whole family, straight from the get go, will become the new normal for you and your kids.

If you’re reading this and thinking there’s no way to get your family eating broccoli instead of chips, I can assure you that it’s not only possible, it may very well be easier than you ever imagined.

If you focus on what you’re eating, and make it look and taste great, you change the skew from a ‘very restrictive, boring diet’ to an exciting approach to eating and living with endless possibilities.

Now, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for some fun stuff, too!

Check out our “Top 5 Paleo Snacks for the Kids in All of Us” that I’ve found work well with even the pickiest of eaters!

STUFFED MINI BELL PEPPERS WITH CELERY STICKS

Choose your favorite nuts, or if you follow the autoimmune protocol, skip them in favor of a higher quantity of grass fed beef.  A celery stalk or two easily fit in as an edible spoon, making this a completely edible snack, utensils included!

Ingredients

5 Paleo Snacks for the Kids in All of Us | The Paleo Diet
  • 1 lb. mini bell-peppers
  • 4 oz. shitake mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 oz. sprouted walnuts
  • 1 tbsp coconut toil
  • ¼ lb. 100% Grass- Fed beef
  • Celery stalks, for use as a spoon

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Remove stem and seeds from bell peppers.

3. Combine mushrooms, garlic and walnuts in food processor.

4. Pulse until thoroughly combined.

5. Heat oil in skillet over Med-High.

6. Add beef and sauté until cooked.

7. Add mixture from food processor.

8. Cook 2 – 3 minutes longer.

9. Remove from heat and let sit until cool enough to handle.

10. Stand peppers, cut side up, in a muffin tray (aren’t you glad you didn’t throw that away when you went Paleo?).

11. Using a spoon, stuff the mixture into the peppers.

12. Cook in oven 10 – 15 minutes until softened and slightly brown.

13. Remove from oven and let cool.

14. Serve with celery stalk as a spoon!

‘SNEAKY’ GREEN SMOOTHIE

Some parents opt to try to hide the greens; why not make them center stage and show the little ones that green is not only good, it’s delicious? While you’re not going to fool them into thinking this is a chocolate milkshake, it’s going to provide a very viable alternative that’s quite tasty and doesn’t have the after effects of dairy and sugar! By adding some healthy fat from the avocado, and some high quality protein from egg, the glycemic load of the coconut water is lowered, creating a very balanced alternative.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. coconut water (use a fresh coconut!)
  • ½ large, ripe avocado
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 soft boiled egg, chilled
  • Dried spices to taste- ginger, turmeric and cinnamon

Instructions

1. Combine all ingredients in blender and whiz to combine.

RADICCHIO WRAPS

There are many ‘wraps’ on the market these days, often made of nut flours and the like. And while they may be a bit better than a gluten-filled option, there’s a better option yet – leaves! From radicchio, to Bibb lettuce, to Swiss chard, we can easily rely on nature’s own ‘wrap’ for a much more nutritious snack.

Ingredients

5 Paleo Snacks for the Kids in All of Us | The Paleo Diet
  • 1 small head radicchio, washed and leaves separated
  • 1 small, ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 large apple, sliced thinly
  • ½ lb, pastured turkey, chopped
  • Umbrella toothpicks

Instructions

1. Place radicchio leaves on your work surface to create four open wraps.

2. Layer the avocado, apple slices and turkey evenly on each.

3. Bundle up the wraps and secure with toothpicks.

CRUNCHY VEGGIE ‘CHIPS’

Too often I hear from clients, adults and kids alike, that they miss the ‘crunch’ of a chip.  No need to overdo the sprouted nut-based chips when we can simply create our own crunch just by using veggies!  They work perfectly to scoop up some homemade guacamole, which supplies some good fat to balance out the starch you’ll get from the root veggies included in this preparation.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 medium yam
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 medium turnips
  • 2 medium beets
  • Dried herbs of your choosing such as oregano, cumin, ginger
  • Olive oil

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 250°.

2. Slice veggies lengthwise into ½” pieces.

3. Arrange veggies on wire rack on top of baking sheet.

4. Bake for roughly 1 hour, checking and turning two or three times to ensure even cooking.

5. Remove when crisp the remove from oven to let cool.

6. Sprinkle with spices.

7. Drizzle with oil if eating right away; store remaining in air tight container for up to one week.

HOMEMADE ‘SLICES’

Skip the candy bar and make your own protein slice with these two Paleoista variations!

Slice 1 Ingredients

  • 1 cup shelled raw walnut pieces
  • 1 cup diced natural dried figs
  • Freshly grated cinnamon, to taste
  • Olive oil

Slice 2 Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup natural dried apricots
  • ¼ cup natural dried pineapple
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter
  • Freshly grated cinnamon, to taste
  • Olive oil

Instructions

1. Pulverize nuts in nut grinder until powdery.

2. Place dried fruit in mini prep food processor and grind to a paste; stopping to scrape sides as needed.

3. Add fruit to nuts in small bowl.

4. Use your hands to mix.

5. Add spice to taste.

6. Press into shallow glass baking dish.

7. Pat to even thickness.

8. Cover with plastic then place heavy plate or pan on top to weight down.

9. Refrigerate 1 hour.

10. Dab olive oil onto paper towel and rub onto butter knife, then cut into squares.

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