Ever since we waved a tearful goodbye to grains, our snack options are leaving much to be desired. And frankly, we’d rather stop halfway through “Stranger Things” on Netflix than completely give up our snacks.
If you just started keto, the paleo diet, or decided to see what this gluten-free thing is all about, you’re probably sitting there with the same mental dilemma. When crackers, pretzels, and virtually everything that comes in a wrapper is stripped away (or so you think), what snack options are left?
Grain-Free Snacking: The Best Grain-Free Recipes
Let’s do a little trust exercise, here: Take our hand, and allow us to lead you outside the cracker aisle. Beyond the wall of white, enriched flour is the uncharted land of protein-rich, healthy snack options. And it’s a beautiful, wonderful place.
But like most new experiences, you’re going to have to think of things a little...differently. Not a bad sort of different, just different. If you’ll entertain us for a second (or three minutes, which is roughly the length of this blog post), we’ll retrain your brain on how you think about snacks.
And if, by the end, you’re like “Nope, send me back down the cracker and cereal aisle from which I came from,” we can do that too.
Instead of Crackers and Spreads, Think Veggies and Dips
Image: Emily Kyle Nutrition
Alright, maybe jumping straight into vegetable territory wasn’t the best strategy here, but stick with us.
If your go-to snack options are cheese and crackers, crackers and peanut butter, crackers and hummus, or really crackers and anything, think about it: What is the common denominator here? Crackers are nothing more than a vessel — a tool we use to snack without using silverware while still looking civilized. With this in mind, try the following grain-free snacks instead:
- Celery sticks and peanut butter (or almond butter)
- Cucumber slices and smoked salmon spread
- Red pepper slices and guacamole
- Pepperoni slices with mozzarella
- Salami with cheddar cheese
- Zucchini slices with hummus
- Apple slices with brie and jam
- Cucumber boats filled with tuna salad and cherry tomatoes
Instead of Potato Chips, Find Another Way to Satisfy Your Crunch
Image: Sweet Simple Vegan
We’re going to go out on a limb here and call it the way we see it: Potato chips and tortilla chips wouldn’t be so addicting without their crunch.
How true is that? When we gave up bread we got on board with lettuce wraps and salads. But we miss that satisfying crunch that comes with every bag in the cracker aisle. And we know we’re not alone in this way of thinking, because there are roughly 283 million chip ideas on the internet that don’t originate from a potato.
Side bar: Yes, we are 100% aware potatoes aren’t a grain — now do you want our suggestions or not?
- Kale chips
- Apple chips
- Baked savory vegetable chips
- Baked zucchini chips
- Baked plantain chips (these are incredible with guacamole — but what isn’t?)
- Crispy spinach chips
Instead of Finger Foods, Start Stabbing Everything With Toothpicks
Image: Don’t Go Bacon My Heart
Even if you’re opposed to silverware (zero judgement here, we’re eat-straight-outta-the-bag type of people), allow us to reintroduce you to the most overlooked device: toothpicks. Stab virtually any dish that you’d write off as an entree, and miraculously it becomes a snack or appetizer.
Toothpicks make any recipe party-friendly, snack-friendly, and environmentally-friendly. If you’re into that. Consider making any of these grain-free snacks your next must-have treat:
Instead of Pouring Yourself a Bowl, Rethink Your Cereal Options
If we were to take an unbiased poll, we’re going to warrant a guess that more people eat cereal as a snack than as a breakfast food.
Not going to lie, we once ate cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner before we took a good hard look at the ingredients label. But because we lack any sort of willpower, we weren’t willing to give it up. So we reinvented it instead.
Ever since we cooked up a batch (correction: thousands of batches) of grain-free cereal, we realized there are more of “us” out there. You can use nuts, seeds, and other ingredients to make grain-free granola, cereal, and even oatmeal. Sure, you’ll have to make these grain-free recipes from scratch, but a little time in the kitchen never did you any harm, now did it?
- Cereal School Cinnamon Bun
- Cereal School Fruity
- Crunchy nut-free, gluten-free granola
- Low-carb cinnamon squares
- Low-carb cookie cereal
- Granola made from pecans and coconut
- Porridge made from coconut flour, coconut milk, and flax meal
- Oatmeal made from flaxseed, chia seeds, and protein powder
- Chia pudding
Instead of Toast or Bagels, Go for Grain-Free Baked Goods
Image: Lemons and Basil
There’s been this wonderful development in recent years where people realized that flour is nothing more than wheat ground into a powder-like substance. Therefore, they reasoned, anything ground into anything should create a similar result. They started grinding nuts, seeds, and even roots into flour. They then baked them into breads, brownies, muffins, and chocolate chip cookies.
Those people are heroes.
- Keto and sugar-free banana bread chocolate chip muffins
- Chewy protein bites made from coconut flakes and protein powder
- Avocado “toast” made with sweet potato rounds
- No-bake peanut butter energy bites
- Keto “cloud bread” made from eggs and cream cheese
- Grain-free chocolate and peanut butter grain-free granola bars or “Lara bars”
Many Snacks Are Naturally Grain-Free
We wrote out this list for you and linked dozens of recipes because we’re nice like that, but don’t overthink this.
There are tons of snack ideas that you enjoy semi regularly that are naturally grain-free. And they don’t require you to alter them in any way or to go buy a bag of almond flour to enjoy them. But in case you need a friendly reminder, don’t forget about these go-to grain-free and gluten-free snacks:
- Homemade trail mix made from cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds
- Deviled eggs
- Raisins and dried cranberries (watch the sugar content on these)
- Celery and carrot sticks
- Blueberries and cherries (dip them in homemade dairy-free coconut cream "whipped cream")
- Smoothies made with greens, protein powder, and flaxseed
- Hummus with a fresh-veggie tray of cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash, and kalamata olives
- Virtually any fresh vegetable, fruit, nuts, or seeds — don’t overcomplicate it
Giving Up Grains Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Snacks
If it did, we wouldn’t do it.
We always have, always will love our snacks. Why do you think we packaged our cereal in a bag in the first place? So we could eat straight out of it like the self-respectable snackers we are, of course.
Giving up grains doesn’t mean you have to give up snacks. It just means you have to rethink them (and probably do a little cupboard cleansing). Focus on naturally gluten-free, grain-free snacks like fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds; and when you turn to a packaged product, turn to one you can trust.
We made our cereal low in carbohydrates (just 1 gram per bag), high in protein, and with minimal ingredients and nothing artificial. They won’t give you a sugar crash, they’ll power you up with protein, and they’ll give you that satisfying crunch that only the best snacks can — just go ahead and try them for yourself and you’ll see what we mean.