Potato chips, French fries, pretzels, cheesy crackers. Is your mouth watering yet? We all love biting into an addictive and delicious crunchy snack, but if you suffer from inflammation and/or chronic pain, you may want to switch up your go-to grub next time you tuck in for a Netflix binge.
Today we’re talking about one of the hardest things to drop from the typical Western diet: crunchy snacks.
They’re cheap, filling, and available almost everywhere (seriously, there are vending machines in GYMS these days). But here’s the thing: these factory-made snacks may be sabotaging your quest to reduce inflammation, keep a healthy weight, and heal from chronic illness.
But don’t worry, snacking is still on the table! We’re about to give you some delicious, flavorful, nutritious, and super easy to make crunchy snack swaps that will keep you on track to achieving a pain-free life.
The Problem With the Western Diet
As we previously mentioned, the typical Western diet is full of unnecessary sugar, processed fats, and loads of salt. Because of this, many of us are actively working to clean up our diets, and it’s not easy. Pat yourself on the back if you’re still holding strong with that New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier—we’re proud of you!
Why Store-Bought Snacks Fuel Inflammation
The reason why many of the traditional snacks we reach for rile up inflammation is rooted in a few problem ingredients. A lot of them were discussed in our blog, Holiday Inflammation Flare up Foods to Avoid, but the main culprit is high Omega-6 oils.
Remember: even if you’re shopping at an organic or health food store, you may find these oils on the ingredients list of your favorite snack—so be sure to look before you buy. Or better yet—make your own snack with the recipes below. It will be healthier, taste better, and save you money.
Inflammation Triggering Oils:
- Soybean oil
- Safflower oil
- Corn oil
- “Vegetable” oil
- Canola oil
- Sunflower oil
To learn more about the role Omega-3s and Omega-6s play in inflammation, read our blog, Meat and Inflammation—the Shocking Connection.
Low-Inflammation Cooking Oils
Because these oils have a healthier ratio of Omega-3s and Omega-6s, they’re considered the best substitute if you suffer from inflammation.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Macadamia Oil
- Ghee (clarified butter)
Our crunchy snack recipes below will utilize these inflammation friendly oils to help keep your aches and pains at bay.
Raw Veggies—A Great Crunchy Option, for Some
Getting as much produce as you can in your diet is vital, making raw veggies an excellent substitution for greasy potato chips. But many people have trouble processing raw veggies. If you’re one of them, this swap may not be right for you.
To learn more about some common complications associated with eating raw, read our blog, Raw Food Diet—The Truth Revealed.
Now, on to the crunchable snack recipes…
Crunchy Ginger-Spiced Nut Mix
No added sugar option, gluten-free, paleo.
This warming and filling spiced nut mix will have you fueled up to conquer your day. Also, it makes an excellent post-workout snack.
- 2 cups mixed nuts, you can use raw almonds, cashews, pepitas, walnuts, macadamias, or whatever you like.
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger or ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Coconut oil spray
- Parchment paper or foil
- Customize your mix: add in unsweetened dried blueberries, cherries, cranberries, or goji berries
- Start by preheating your oven to 250F.
- Spray your nuts with oil. This will help the spices stick.
- Add to the nuts ginger, salt, and cinnamon.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Evenly spread seasoned nut mixture onto a baking sheet and pop into a 250F oven for 35-40 min. until aromatic. Note: be sure to rotate the baking sheet pan halfway through cooking.
- Let nut mixture fully cool before munching!
Store in an airtight container or mason jar for easy snacking.
Customizable Crispy Baked Chickpeas
Gluten-free, vegan, no sugar added option.
These crunchy, crispy chickpeas are an excellent addition to salads and Buddha bowls. Or, you can simply eat them by the handful. The great part about this recipe is that it’s entirely customizable and can be switched up to suit any taste.
- 2 cans (or 3 cups of soaked and boiled) chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
- Your custom flavors—choose from the list at the end of this recipe
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Drain and/or rinse chickpeas and thoroughly dry them on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
- Lightly coat the chickpeas with oil of choice and sprinkle with salt and other seasonings.
- Bake until crispy, 40-45 minutes. Note: Shake the pan a few times during cooking to ensure maximum crispness.
- Let chickpeas cool and enjoy!
CUSTOM FLAVOR COMBOS:
- Garlic, Pepper, Rosemary
- Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Chili Powder
- Soy Sauce, Wasabi Paste
- Curry Powder
- Brown Sugar, Rosemary, Cayenne Pepper
- Lime Juice, Chili Powder, Dried Cilantro
- Roasted Garlic, Sage, and Thyme
- Nutritional Yeast
- Maple Syrup, Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon
- Cinnamon, Honey
- Or experiment to create your own!
Don’t like chickpeas? No problem! Try making this recipe with thinly sliced delicata squash instead. It won’t disappoint!
Vegan Oil-Free Popcorn (Your Way)
Gluten-free, vegan, no sugar added.
This oil-free spiced popcorn is an excellent way to satisfy your craving for a yummy crunchy snack. Make up a big batch and let everyone customize their flavors from the list of options we provided for the Crispy Bakes Chickpeas (note: liquids should be spritzed on the popcorn before adding dry ingredients.)
- Air popper
- Spray bottle
- 1/3 cup Popcorn kernels
- 1/2 lemon or lime, juiced
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- Whatever spice mixture you want!
- Air pop your popcorn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Transfer popcorn into a large bowl.
- Add lemon or lime juice to the spray bottle and lightly mist your popped corn.
- Pour seasonings over your misted popcorn and stir or shake to incorporate.
If you don’t have an air popper, you can make popcorn on the stove! Pour 1-2 tablespoons of your oil of choice into a large pot with a lid. Add your popcorn and turn the heat to med. High. When you start to hear popping, shake the pot back and forth every few seconds so it doesn’t burn. It’s done when there’s 1-2 seconds between pops. Simply pour into a bowl, add seasonings of your choice, and enjoy!
Love Healthy Inflammation-Fighting Recipes? We Know Just the Place for You
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