I am a firm believer in snacks. Snacks are important and grabbing one to eat during a moment of hunger will help you to approach your next meal with a more level head. Sitting down to eat a meal when you feel “starved” is just not a good idea, as you often end up eating more than you normally would. Additionally, when you encounter this “starved” feeling your will power is decreased and you are more inclined to eat whatever is around at the time, even if it is not candida diet friendly. Adding 1 – 2 snacks in between meals can help keep that starvation feeling at bay. Although snacks are important finding candida diet friendly snacks can be challenging.
There are tons of snacks out there that are suitable for most diets but the candida diet, as we have come to know is different. Fruit and most low-calorie/fat pre-packaged snacks are not allowed on the candida diet and leave us candida dieters wondering, what can we have for a snack? While most suitable candida diet snacks are not going to be found in the nearest vending machine, there are several snacks that we may be able to enjoy. Please note that these snacks may not be appropriate for all candida dieters. Unfortunately, many of us battling candida have developed allergies and/or sensitivities to certain foods. In addition, most of my suggestions are carbohydrate heavy so large quantities are not recommended. Eat small servings and remember to track you daily carbohydrate intake. Most candida diet resources that I have consulted recommend consuming no more than 120 grams of carbohydrates a day. The following are 10 of my favorite candida diet friendly snacks:
I am listing vegetables first because this really should be the focus of candida diet. Eating raw low carbohydrate vegetables is a key component to a healthy diet in general not just the candida diet. My favorite low carbohydrate vegetable to snack on is cucumbers. I can easily chop up a cucumber in the kitchen at work, so I also find them to be a convenient yeast free snack. Avocados, asparagus, and celery are other low carbohydrate vegetables that I have been known to grab for a quick snack. Vegetables that are higher in carbohydrates, such as carrots may be okay for some in moderation.
Air Popped Popcorn
Invest in an air popper and you can continue to enjoy this terrific snack in a much healthier way. Add a small amount of clarified butter and sea salt and I promise that you will enjoy this more than the microwave varieties. Ready-to-eat air popped popcorn can also be found in various stores such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and CVS. Just make sure you read the label carefully to avoid any unhealthy ingredients. Some microwave varieties may also be okay in a crunch but again, be sure to read labels. Popcorn is very high in carbohydrates, so proceed with caution.
Brown Rice Crackers
There are many different varieties of brown rice crackers and some are just plain nasty. There will be a little trial and error to find the ones that suit your taste. I do like the Hol Grain variety and often eat these with yeast free tuna, egg, or chicken salad.
These are high in carbohydrates so you must limit your intake but if you have the willpower to just have a few of these, they do make a tasty yeast free snack. I buy the varieties with the fewest ingredients. Sage Valley and Garden of Eatin are the brands that I typically buy. Most of the time I enjoy tortilla chips plain but they are great to dip in hummus or salsa.
I love hummus! I enjoy eating hummus with raw vegetables, tortilla chips, or a warm brown rice wrap. The best hummus that I have ever had is from a little Greek restaurant in Ridgefield Park, NJ. Tasting George’s hummus was what started this love affair. The prepared varieties sold at supermarkets taste okay but usually contain preservatives that we strive to avoid on the candida diet. The only pre-packaged hummus that I have bought is Trader Joe’s Garlic Hummus, which is made with all candida diet friendly ingredients. Alternatively, you can find a hummus recipe and just make your own, as it is extremely easy to make.
Salsa is another dip that I really enjoy. It is the dip that I most often eat with my tortilla chips. There are numerous varieties of salsa in the supermarket but unfortunately many of them are not suited for the candida diet. The offensive ingredients most commonly found in store bought salsa are distilled vinegar and citric acid. Whole Foods’ small jar of 365 brand salsa does not contain vinegar or citric acid. My favorite brand of jar salsa however is Blue Mountain Gringo (BMG). I you taste it I guarantee you will be amazed that this salsa came out of a jar. BMG salsa does contain vinegar but it is apple cider vinegar rather than distilled. Apple cider vinegar has numerous health benefits so I choose to use it despite most candida guidelines advising against the use of vinegar. Again, this may not be suitable for all but I am able to use it without any ill effects, so I like to mention it as an option. If you are having trouble finding a brand of salsa that works there are many simple salsa recipes. If you make it yourself you can actually substitute the vinegar with lemon juice.
I struggled with eating plain yogurt for quite a while, as I used to really enjoy the kind with the fruit at the bottom of the cup. Blueberry was my absolute favorite but most yogurts containing fruit have over 20 grams of sugar. This obviously will not work for the candida diet. Plain yogurt however can be a very good candida diet snack. Yogurt contains live and active cultures that help to maintain or restore the microflora balance to your digestive tract. I struggle a bit with dairy so I do not indulge in yogurt often. I find that it makes a good sour cream substitute, primarily because it is a similar consistency. I always use it as a topping on yeast free taco night.
Both of my daughters are allergic to nuts, so for a while I was afraid to have them in the house. Now that my daughters’ are old enough to fully understand that they are allergic, and to avoid nuts at all costs, I do occasionally buy them. Cashews are my favorite type of nuts and I fortunately have access to an unlimited supply at work. Nuts are packed with monounsaturated fats, protein, fiber, vitamin, nutrients and antioxidants. Additionally, they have cholesterol lowering effects.
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Even before I went on the candida diet I enjoyed rice cakes. I actually loved the sugary apple cinnamon and caramel ones but in more recent years started to enjoy the plain no salt type. In addition to a making good yeast free snack, plain unsalted rice cakes also make a great bread substitute for a yeast free sandwich. Another idea is to spread nut butters on the rice cakes. I have not actually tried this but I have heard many people recommend it.
I never really indulged in any type of seed until I started the candida diet and saw that they were on the “can eat” list. I am now thankful that these are an option, as I have come to really enjoy them. I usually buy seeds from my local farmer’s market as they have varieties that do not contain any preservatives. In addition to just being fun to snack on seeds are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals.