One of the biggest problems that many people encounter when they start following the Paleo diet for the first time is finding something to snack on. The most common snack foods chocolates, sweets and crisps are all nutritionally void, calorie-dense foods that should be avoided when you’re eating Paleo. So what can you replace them with?
Some people find that there’s no need to replace those snacks with anything – simply following a diet that no longer revolves around grains and carbs means that they feel satiated for longer after their main meal, so they have no desire to snack. If, however, you like to graze throughout the day, or simply want to keep something on standby in the office for those days you end up chained to your desk, you might want to consider a nut-based snack.
The Perfect Paleo Snack
Nuts and seeds are brilliant snacks and they’re perfect for people following the Paleo diet. This isn’t just because they’re a food that our ancestors had access to. Yes, that’s an important part but Paleo is about more than just blindly eating anything as long as it’s not processed. The fact is that many varieties, including almonds and cashews are rich in healthy fats and important nutrients:
- Almonds are a good source of manganese, copper, vitamin E and riboflavin.
- Macadamias are also rich in copper and manganese, as well as providing the body with thiamine. In addition, they are low in poly-unsaturated fatty acids and high in omega 3.
- Pistachios are a good source of thiamine, copper, manganese and vitamin B6.
- Walnuts are a good source of omega 3, as well as magnesium.
- The chestnut is the only nut that contains more than trace amounts of vitamin C. In addition, chestnuts contain vitamin B6, thiamine, copper and manganese.
What Do These Nutrients Do?
- Manganese is used in cholesterol metabolism and is also important for keeping your skin and bones healthy. Manganese is thought to help regulate the menstrual cycle.
- Thiamine is essential to maintain normal growth and development in children. It also helps to maintain the functions of the heart, digestive and nervous systems.
- Magnesium is an important component for around 300 different enzyme reactions in the human body. It is used in neurotransmission and in the functioning of the immune system.
- Copper is used to make enzymes which are used in energy production. It is also used as a component for enzymes which are involved with the strengthening of connective tissue and neurotransmitters.
As you can see, the humble nut contains many important nutrients and is a useful snack. However, it is important to note that some types of nut are high in fat and incredibly calorie-dense. Even when following the Paleo diet, it is possible to eat too many of them. Try to eat no more than a small handful each day so that you can enjoy the nutritional benefits without going overboard on the number of calories consumed each day.