healthy snacks

healthy snacks

Chronic inflammation is a serious, modern condition due to the Standard American Diet (SAD) – and due to our over-stressed lives, both external and internal.. External stressors include lack of sleep, overflowing email boxes at work, over scheduled children, and so on. Internal stressors include food sensitivities, inflammation, and prescription drugs (just to name a few).

Prescription drugs provide many benefits, but they DO have their drawbacks. I always encourage people to try to limit their use of prescription drugs. They can kill gut bacteria, so I suggest taking a high quality probiotic along with prescription drugs, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease internal inflammation.

The 5 main inflammatory foods in the SAD are wheat, soy, dairy, nuts, and gluten. Many people I have worked with see improved health when they remove one or all of these from their diet.

Since inflammation is such a problem for many people, incorporating naturally anti-inflammatory foods into your diet can have a real impact on how you feel. To make it even easier, many of these good-for-you foods can be quick snacks!

10 Anti-Inflammatory Snacks

1. Hard Boiled Eggs

Eggs support pregnenolone production – the main steroid made from cholesterol. Pregnenelone is the anti-stress, anti-aging hormone and actually lowers cholesterol.

2. Mary’s Gone Crackers – Super Seed

These crackers are made with brown rice, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and seaweed. They are free of the 5 inflammatory food types that lead to inflammation. This cracker provides protein and carbohydrates, plus essential fatty acids that are important for a healthy heart and reducing inflammation.

Organic Mary’s Gone Crackers

3. Black Bean Pasta

What? Never heard of this? Well, it is so delicious – and doesn’t taste any different than semolina pasta. This pasta is made with 100% black beans, and is rich in protein, iron, and fiber. It’s also a perfect source of essential vitamins and minerals without the inflammation causing elements.

Tolerant Foods Organic Black Bean Pasta-Fettuccine

4. Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips

Most chips are made with sunflower or safflower oil, which are high in omega-6 fat. Sunflower oil’s omega-6 fat content is 75%, and safflower oil’s omega-6 fat content is 65%. Omega 6 is pro-inflammatory while omega-3 is neutral, so consuming more omega-3 (over omega-6) is beneficial. Omega-6 is associated with all inflammatory diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, IBS, IBD, metabolic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, asthma, and autoimmune diseases. This is why I love Jackson’s Chips – they are made with coconut oil, sweet potatoes, and sea salt. Only 3 ingredients! Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid that is easy to digest, not readily absorbed as fat, antimicrobial, and can increase your healthy cholesterol, HDL.

Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips

5. Edward and Sons Brown Rice Snaps

These are my go-to crackers, and all of my kids love them. I love them too because they taste great, and only have 3 ingredients: brown rice, tamari, and seaweed. They are free of gluten and any inflammatory oils. Seaweed is a nutrient dense food that is an excellent source of magnesium, zinc, iron, and selenium. More importantly, it’s an excellent source of iodine. Iodine intake has drastically decreased in the US since the 1970s, when the US population was told to reduce salt intake because it could lead to hypertension. We have also learned that there may not be as much iodine as listed on iodized salt labels. We need iodine – it’s a critical nutrient that is often overlooked, necessary for the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones and required in every tissue in the body.

Edward & Sons, Brown Rice Snaps Crackers

6. Purely Elizabeth Gluten-Free Granola

If you don’t have time to make your own granola on meal prep day, this is your best option on the market. This granola is sweetened with coconut palm sugar that reacts differently in the body than the white sugar we usually see in granola mixes. A serving (1/3 cup) contains 4 grams of protein and 5 grams of sugar. You still have to be cautious, as 1/3 of a cup is not a typical serving when we add granola to our yogurt, milk, or we eat it plain Jane! It is recommended that we do not get more than 20 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar per day. 1 teaspoon = 4 grams of sugar, so the 1/3 cup of granola you are eating contains 1 teaspoon of sugar. Even though it’s sourced from coconut sugar, you still need to be cognizant of how much granola you put in your bowl.

Purely Elizabeth Probiotic Gluten Free Granola

7. Living Intentions Activated Nuts and Trail Mix

There is a difference between raw nuts and activated nuts. Activated nuts have been soaked in water and salt for a period of time, which starts the germination process. They are then dehydrated at low temperatures. Not only does soaking increase the nutrient content, it also breaks down the compounds to help enhance digestion. Raw nuts contain phytic acid, which inhibits enzymes needed for the breakdown of proteins and starch in the stomach. If you have ever experienced eating raw nuts and feeling bloated, heavy, or ill – it’s because of the lack of enzymes due to the phytic acid. Try activated nuts and see if it will make a difference!

Living Intentions Activated Superfood Nut Blends

8. WrawP Organic Veggie Wraps

These are a perfect alternative for any sandwich. They are made with whole food ingredients and NO added sugar. They are wheat, grain, and preservative free!

Wrawp Raw Vegan Flat Bread

9. Cook’s Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread

It is so difficult to find tasty gluten-free bread on the market. I think I have tried almost all the gluten-free breads out there, and this is one of my favorites… It’s sourdough too. Real sourdough bread has a host of benefits. It contains wild yeast and lactobacillus in the leaven, which neutralizes the phytic acid and thus, will be easier for you to digest.

10. Theo Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate and milk chocolate are two very different treats. Milk chocolate is typically made from a combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other added vegetable oils, and sugar. All these ingredients are highly inflammatory. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is a powerful source of antioxidants that help lower the risk of heart disease, as well as improve cognitive function and protect against disease-causing free radicals!

Theo Chocolate 85% Dark Chocolate Bar 3 oz.

Each of these anti-inflammatory snacks comes with some benefits that fight back against the problems caused by SAD. We can all make healthier decisions and focus on ingredients that help our bodies function better – instead of causing inflammation, discomfort, and illness. Keep these treats in mind next time you’re shopping or reaching into the pantry – and take small steps toward feeding your body the fuel it really needs!