Avoiding sugar and gluten can be difficult, especially in evenings or mid-afternoon when you crave crunchy snacks — you have the munchies for something crispy and crunchy, but you feel like crud when you down an entire bag of “Cheez” flavored chips from the vending machine. Don’t beat yourself up if you occasionally slip and reach for something that’s less-than-perfect. But when you’re wanting a HEALTHIER choice, try these sugar-free, gluten-free crunchy snacks:
Carrot “Chips” + Dip
Somehow, slicing carrots on the diagonal (to create an oval shape) makes them so much more satisfying for dipping than regular old carrot sticks! Pre-cut carrot slices, sprinkle with water, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Great with hummus, organic salsa, or creamy herb dip. To make creamy herb dip (pictured below), blend until completely smooth and creamy:
- 1/2 cup lightly chopped fresh herbs (i.e. flat-leaf parsley)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (dairy or non-dairy) *or* 1/2 cup soy-free mayonnaise + 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup drained and rinsed white beans *or* 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 10-15 minutes and then drained
- 1 small garlic clove, chopped
- 1 drop cilantro essential oil (use only certified pure, therapeutic grade oils that are safe for ingestion)
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1 – 2 tsp water to allow for ease of blending
Crispy Apple Slices with Almond Butter
Self-explanatory. Simple, healthy, and family-friendly.
Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
Preheat oven to 375°F. Drain and rinse two 12-oz cans of organic, low-sodium chickpeas (or pre-soak and cook dry chickpeas to yield 3 cups, cooked).
Blot chickpeas with a paper towel or cloth tea-towel to remove excess moisture. In a large bowl, toss them with 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Spread on a baking sheet in a thin layer. Place in preheated oven and back for 35-45 minutes, until lightly browned and crunchy. Let cool, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
These will satisfy your chip cravings with the added benefit of fiber and protein!
Flavor variations: Cinnamon sugar (add 2 tsp cinnamon and 1-2 Tbsp coconut palm sugar to the recipe above)… Garlic and herb (add 1/2 tsp organic garlic powder and 1 tsp crushed rosemary to the recipe above, plus increase salt to 1 tsp and consider using olive oil or organic butter/ghee instead of coconut oil)… Chocolate-lovers (add 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 Tbsp coconut palm sugar to the recipe above).
“Buttery” Toasted Coconut Flakes
Preheat oven to 3oo°F. Spread 2-3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (called coconut “chips” if you purchase via Tropical Traditions) on a baking sheet in a thin layer. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp sea salt. Place in preheated oven. After a few minutes, stir the coconut to help ensure even color and to prevent burning. The flakes will toast very quickly and won’t take more than 5-10 minutes. Let cool, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
These are crunchy, buttery (without the butter), and nutty (without the nuts). Eat them like popcorn, add them to a trail mix, or sprinkle on top of yogurt or cut fruit. A good source of fiber and healthy fat!
Herbed Flax Focaccia Croutons
Make a batch of my poop bread/flax focaccia (so sorry if that name offends you). Cut into small crouton-sized squares. In a large bowl, mix together 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or olive oil, or organic butter/ghee), 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp organic garlic powder, and 1-2 tsp dried herbs. Add flax focaccia squares. Toss very gently (fold with a flexible spatula). Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place in preheated 325°F oven and back for 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned and crunchy all the way through.
Eat like crackers or popcorn. These have a nice nutty crunch!
Dried Fruit and Seed Topping
Make a customized fruit and seed topping using any (or all!) of the following ingredients:
- lightly salted peanuts (if you’re not allergic, of course!)
- lightly toasted pumpkin seeds
- chia seeds
- sesame seeds
- hemp seeds
- organic raisins
- chopped dried apricots
Stir well. Store in an airtight container so you always having a healthy topping on-hand! Use approximately 1/4 cup of your fruit and seed topping per serving.
Great on yogurt (non-dairy or dairy, if tolerated) or blended frozen bananas (which taste just like soft serve ice cream when you blend them with a splash of coconut milk).
Sometimes you just need chips.
The following are gluten free chips I love; enjoy in moderation! I purchase mine on Vitacost.com, but I always — ALWAYS — begin shopping on Vitacost by going through Ebates. I talk about Vitacost and Ebates (and how I use ’em together) on this page.
- Garden of Eatin’ Sprouted Blues Corn Tortilla Chips Gluten Free
- Enjoy Life Plentils™ Chips Gluten Free Light Sea Salt
- Luke’s Organic Multrigrain & Seed Chips Blue Corn & Red Lentil
- Turbana Platain Chips – Lightly Salted (or make your own)
Want more healthy recipes, not just for snack time but for ALL THE TIME?
Check out my friend Leanne’s Real Meals Weekly Meal Plans. I’m a proud affiliate because I think Leanne (of Healthful Pursuit) rocks. Her recipes are delicious, her meals are free from most common allergens, and she knows how to make things streamlined and attainable. Her weekly meal plans are affordable and a great resource for anyone who wants to eat clean but is totally overwhelmed by the reality of shopping and cooking meals every day… Yes, it can be stressful. Yes, it can be a lot. Real Meals Weekly Meal Plans takes out the guesswork and makes it easy!
Watch my interview with Leanne about meal planning in general (and get more details about Real Meals Weekly Meal Plans):
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