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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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November 07, 2008

Snack Solutions: Primal Alternatives For Non-Primal Snacks

By Worker Bee
72 Comments

In one sense Grok had it easy. He never had potato chips or candy bars in his diet. You, on the other hand, likely used to eat these foods in some way, shape or form before you found the Primal lifestyle. And, while you’re happy with all the changes that Primal Living has afforded, every now and then, when you least expect it, a craving for a cheese doodle – of all things! – sneaks up.

Well, fear no more, because we’ve figured out some great Primal alternatives to some of your favorite not-so-Primal foods. Granted, they’re not perfectly Primal and may contain a bit more sugar than we usually recommend, but they’ll beat store-bought, HFCS-laden, processed junk food any day.

Primal Veggie Chips:

You’ve seen veggie chips on store shelves, but if you check the label you’ll usually find potato as the first ingredient in the list. Skip the cleverly marketed potato chips and try this recipe that tastes MUCH better than those stale crisps:

Ingredients:
1 large, ripe eggplant
2 eggs
2 cups cheese

Method:
Cut ends from eggplant and shred in a food processor. Mix shredded eggplant with egg and cheese. Lump mixture onto a pre-greased cookie shape and smooth out to make 6 8″ circles. Bake at 450 degrees F in a pre-heated oven for 12 minutes. Loosen and flip the circles. Bake on other side for a further five minutes. Once cooked, remove from oven and cut rounds into triangles with a pizza cutter. Let cool on a rack for 6-8 hours. Once dried, sprinkle with popcorn seasoning, Old Bay, garlic salt or any other seasoning of your choice. Eat immediately or store for up to one week in an airtight Ziploc bag.

Primal Trail Mix

Pumpkin Seeds

Store-bought Trail Mix is typically loaded with a ton of sugar – this version, however, weeds out the bad stuff and leaves you with all the satisfying, delicious stuff!

Ingredients:
1 cup raw or roasted almonds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 cup blueberries
½ cup raisins

Method:
Combine all ingredients in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place (it really can’t get any easier!)

Better-Than-Store-Bought Apple Chips

Apple Chips

You’ve got the savory down, now it’s time for a little something sweet…

Ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened apple juice (if possible, juice your own).
1 cinnamon stick
2 large apples

Method:
In a large pot, combine apple juice and cinnamon stick and bring to a low boil. Meanwhile, remove top and bottom of apple and slice crosswise to make 1/8 thick “chips.” With a slotted spatula, place apples into boiling juice and cook 4-5 minutes or until apples become near translucent. Use the spatula to remove apple slices from juice and place on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Arrange slices on a cake cooling rack placed on a cookie sheet (to catch drips!) and place racks on middle shelf in 250 degree oven. Bake 30-40 minutes until apple slices turn golden brown and are almost dry to the touch. Let cool and serve either as is, or with a light dusting of cinnamon.

Almost-Chocolate Carob Treat

Ripe and Unripe Carob Pods

This recipe for carob desert comes courtesy of www.paleofood.com

Ingredients:
1 cup toasted unsweetened carob
1 ½ cups pecan meal
½ cup or less coconut oil

Method:
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Spread in a baking tin lined with parchment paper. Will make a slightly softer version of fudge, but the recipe’s creator swears this carob treat helped her kick what she calls a “significant” chocolate habit. Not that we have anything against chocolate!

Blueberry “Candies”

Blueberries

When a sugar craving hits, this blueberry candy ought to fit the bill:

Ingredients:
5 cups blueberries
4 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ginger
2 egg whites
1/4 cup raw honey (yes, we know that honey is pretty much pure sugar, but when it’s spread out across 5 cups, it won’t have too much of a glycemic impact)
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy. Add in honey and vanilla and stir until combined. With a slotted spoon, add blueberries to the egg mixture. Remove and roll in a small bowl filled with a mixture of cinnamon and ginger. Repeat until all blueberries are covered. Using the same slotted spoon, transfer the coated blueberries onto a plastic dehydrator tray. Dehydrate for 24 hours or until dry. After 8-12 hours, or when you see that one side is dry enough, turn them over to dry other side. Serve or store in an airtight container.

All-Natural Fruit Roll-Ups

Fruit Leather

Who says fruit roll-ups are just for kids? This stow and go snack is great for throwing in your purse or backpack for a quick pick-me-up!

Ingredients:
2 large apples
2 cups strawberries
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup purified water

Clean, core and dice apples. Add diced apples and strawberries in a blender and add a ¼ cup of purified water and cinnamon and process about 30 seconds or until smooth. Pour mixture on a teflex sheet (a Teflon-coated sheet commonly used to dehydrate delicate foods) and place in a plastic dehydrator. Dehydrate for 6-8 hours, remove teflex and flip fruit. Continue drying another 4-6 hours or until desired consistency is achieved. Use a pizza cutter to slice into snack-size pieces.

The last two recipes may be done in an oven if you don’t have a food dehydrator. Times will vary so keep an eye on it, but they will likely take about as long. A good rule of thumb when using an oven to dehydrate is to set the temperature between 100 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and keep the oven slightly cracked for the duration of the dehydration.

pj in oz, freakgirl, Librarian in Black, atul666, jessicafm Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Son of Grok’s Primal Pizza Recipe

How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day

Primal Breakfast Suggestions for People on the Go

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72 Comments on "Snack Solutions: Primal Alternatives For Non-Primal Snacks"

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Andrew R
7 years 10 months ago

Hey Mark,

Those apple chips and blueberry candies sound awesome!

I just saw an article that I thought was right up your alley. It’s from Dr. Briffa’s blog. Check it out!

http://www.drbriffa.com/blog/2008/11/07/diet-higher-in-protein-and-lower-in-carb-shown-to-be-superior-for-fat-loss-and-other-things/

All the Best,

Andrew R

Donna
Donna
7 years 10 months ago

Great recipes, i especially love to cook eggplant! You mentioned old bay seasoning, i sometimes use that and it’s very good!

Son of Grok
Son of Grok
7 years 10 months ago

As a kid we always made our own “fruit leather” from apricots as we had a tree that produced WAY too much fruit. I wouldnt mind trying this again!

Diana
7 years 10 months ago

Great ideas! I will definately give them a try.

damaged justice
damaged justice
7 years 10 months ago

I just discovered jicama while searching for a low-carb potato alternative for beef stew, which worked out great. Since I had some left, I tried slicing it thin, drizzling with olive oil and baking until brown and crispy around the edges. Very tasty!

Holly
Holly
7 years 10 months ago

deeeelicious. i always love your recipes mark. keep ’em comin!

Son of Grok
Son of Grok
7 years 10 months ago

Damaged justice,
I have made hashbrowns by shredding jicima and cooking it it evo just like you would with potatos. They are a bit sweet, but the texture is dead on for hashbrowns and it is very good.

Jade
Jade
2 years 5 months ago

Radishes also make a pretty good potato substitute. You can’t cut them like hashbrowns, but you can season them spicy and cook them in butter, and they go really well with eggs for breakfast.

Anne
7 years 10 months ago

Hi, Mark — LOVE your website and visit it every day — the Primal BluePrint just makes so much sense. My husband and I eat this way and it works very well for us.

However, I just read a book called “The Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer From The People Whove Lived The Longest.” It profiles long-lived populations in Okinawa, Cost Rica, and elsewhere.

All eat whole grains and many eat soy. Most diets are also lower in fat.

Placed within the framework of our evolutionary heritage, this doesn’t make sense to me! Can you help?

trackback

[…] R. of Go Healthy Go Fit recently directed MDA readers in the comment boards to a great post by Dr. Briffa that reviews a recent study that pitted a high protein, low carb diet […]

Son of Grok
Son of Grok
7 years 10 months ago

Anne, Mark actually has a post about the healthiest countries in the world that gets into your question quite a bit. It is fairly recent too!

Anne
Anne
7 years 10 months ago

You’re right, Son of Grok, I’d forgotten about that post, thanks.

Just looked at it again, though, and it doesn’t seem to get into the whole-grains and soy question.

I’m not advocating these foods, nor do I eat them myself — was just curious as to why they were common factors amongst these very long-lived pockets of people (100 years plus) in the world’s “Blue Zones” (http://www.bluezones.com/)

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[…] mmm… bison, skimming the soup scum, ideas for coconut, primal snacking, Mark holds court on the (lack of) need for carbs, food pr0n from Dr. Eades, liquid calorie bombs, […]

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[…] Eggplant Chips Recipe […]

Anita
7 years 4 months ago

When making eggplant veggie chips do you peel the eggplant or leave the skin on??

Rachel
4 years 8 months ago

I just finished making these. I left the skin on (since no one had said otherwise). Ummm, they didn’t turn out. It seems like maybe an ingredient was missing? …they were more like mushy pancakes than any sort of chip. I’m curious about others who’ve made these??? HELP!?!

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[…] and press down to extract excess water & voila – jicama ‘rice’!” while damaged justice suggests “slicing it thin, drizzling with olive oil and baking until brown and crispy around the […]

Alcinda
7 years 1 month ago
I used to make the fruit roll up for my kids when they were little. My favorite was pear! Just puree the pear (skins, but no core) and add a few drops of lemon juice. It was wonderful! I used my electric oven at it’s lowest setting and placed it on waxed paper. There was just 1 problem with it….I could only give it to my kids when there were no other kids around! They all loved it and then mine would be upset when it was gone! One time, as she was getting older, my DD complained that “real”… Read more »
trackback
7 years 1 day ago

[…] received some questions recently about finding a Primal substitute for corn-based chips.  Mark’s Daily Apple provides a recipe for some chips using eggplant as an ingredient.  I haven’t tried out the […]

Michael
Michael
6 years 9 months ago

Why not use cocoa powder and stevia? My wife uses the leaves whole and there is little taste difference between processed chocolate. Stevia leaves are 100% natural sweetener with no calories, or glycemic load… no known health issues. Very easy to grow your own plants!!!

Joel
Joel
6 years 7 months ago

I have wished for many years that I could use stevia, but I can’t. Everyone says it just tastes sweet with no aftertaste, but not to me…I taste a significant objectionable aftertaste in every stevia product I try. Also, if I try more than just a very little bit, it gives me a headache. Guess I’m just different.

Heidi
Heidi
6 years 7 months ago

the only stevia i’ve found that doesn’t give me that terrible, bitter aftertaste is the Trader Joe’s stevia in packets. Even then, if you use it in large quantities (four to six packets) it gives off that aftertaste.

Michael
Michael
6 years 9 months ago

to my last comment… raw cocoa has less fat, carbs and calories then carob. Cocoa also has many health benefits ( although less calcium then carob ) including lower cholesterol, antioxidents, and many others.

Rachel
Rachel
6 years 8 months ago

I don’t know how you can say that the eggplant chips are good for a Paleo Diet when you are not supposed to have salt, or dairy. Or are you eating a modified paleo diet?

trackback
6 years 8 months ago

[…] Tasty Paleo Snacks […]

Mishelle
Mishelle
6 years 7 months ago

The eggplant chips having you using cheese??? Cheese is dairy and not on the paleo diet.

Tamara
Tamara
3 years 6 months ago

Cheese, or any raw dairy, are Primal as long as they are in moderation. This is a Primal website, not a Paleo website.

Alyson
Alyson
6 years 7 months ago

Holy cow, people. Lay off a little.

Did you happen to read this line: ” Granted, they’re not perfectly Primal and may contain a bit more sugar than we usually recommend, but they’ll beat store-bought, HFCS-laden, processed junk food any day.”

Tom
Tom
6 years 5 months ago

PORK RINDS – cheap – and delicious with guacamole!

trackback

[…] Click here to get more snack ideas! […]

trackback

[…] Snack Solutions: Primal Alternatives for Non-Primal Snacks – There are healthy versions of chips, trail mix, candy, and fruit roll-ups, all using Primal foods like eggplant, blueberries, and apples. […]

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[…] Primal Alternatives to Non-Primal Snacks […]

trackback
6 years 5 months ago

[…] Primal Alternatives For Non-Primal Snacks […]

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Primal Toad
6 years 3 months ago

Homemade all natural fruit roll ups… so awesome!

trackback

[…] dig genom att göra lite nyttiga snacks. Marks Daily Apple har tips på chips, blåbärsgodis […]

Christina
Christina
6 years 1 month ago

Is Carob a legume?

Carrol
6 years 1 day ago

I’ve been playing around with a flax chip recipe and came up with something that can sub for a tortilla chip.
http://whaticrave.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/better-than-a-corn-chip/

Jeff
5 years 10 months ago

The blueberry candies are delightful.

trackback

[…] Almost-Chocolate Carob Treat […]

Iben
5 years 9 months ago

Awsome! Home made apple chips is my favorite snack!

trackback

[…] From Mark’s Daily Apple. […]

trackback
5 years 7 months ago

[…] Primal Trail Mix […]

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[…] Primal Alternatives to Non-Primal Snacks […]

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[…] Snack Primally […]

kim
kim
5 years 3 months ago

what kind of cheese is used with the eggplant chips

paleo food list
5 years 18 days ago

I use parmesan cheese.

trackback

[…] Some Easy Snack Ideas from Mark’s Daily Apple (Kids will like these!) […]

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[…] Mark’s Daily Apple sweet snacks […]

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[…] Mark Sisson provides a range of paleo alternatives for non-paleo snacks.  Includes recipes for Veggie Chips, Trail Mix, Blueberry Candies, and Fruit Roll-ups. […]

dietas
4 years 10 months ago

Hello, Neat post. There is an issue with your website in web explorer, may test this? IE nonetheless is the market leader and a big element of folks will pass over your wonderful writing because of this problem.

Rebecca
Rebecca
4 years 8 months ago

Hi! Great snack ideas but I am curious about carbs. I have been tracking my paleo diet on an online calorie tracker and struggle to get down to 110 g of carbs. I run 10 m a day and I feel like I have to pass on snacking on fruit or eating winter squash which are good foods. These snacks would send my carbs through the roof. Curious what your thoughts are?

Ken
Ken
4 years 7 months ago

Fruit is very bad for you. It has entirely too much sugar. Legumes & gluten are also bad.

aria
aria
3 years 9 months ago

fruit has all natural sugar in it, it is very healthy. what r u saying?

Ken
Ken
4 years 7 months ago

Fruit & legumes are unhealthy. Stick to meat, vegetables, & tubers.

http://youtu.be/bmL0gKEz00Q

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