Snack Solutions: Primal Alternatives For Non-Primal Snacks

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:

1 large, ripe eggplant
2 eggs
2 cups cheese

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!

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

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…

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

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

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

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”


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

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!

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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38 thoughts on “Snack Solutions: Primal Alternatives For Non-Primal Snacks”

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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!

  7. 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” (

    1. 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!?!

  8. 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” fruit roll ups had fancy shapes they could pop out and eat….so I used metal cookie cutters….just had to be careful not to cut thru all the way!

  9. 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!!!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

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

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

  13. 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.”

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

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

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

  17. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But carob is a legume and so its not primal

  18. Carob may in fact be a legume, but it is the pod rather than the seed that is consumed…or so I’ve read. The anti nutrients we all fret over should be in the “seeds”rather than the pod. **This post contains speculation and sarcasm

  19. RE: the carob treat – does any know if it has to be baked or refrigerated? The instructions seem to just stop.

    (Note that I don’t know if carob is primal, but caffeine in chocolate keeps up at nights, and sleepless nights are definitely not primal! 😉 )