Lots of people think the AIP is too limiting for their tastes, and for good reason – it’s designed to help people with autoimmune disorders. But even though you may not be able to eat lots of “regular” tasty treats, that doesn’t mean you never get to enjoy delicious snacks.
In fact, we’ve put together 5 of the easiest AIP snack recipes you can find. Check them out and dive deeper into what the AIP diet is and how it works below.
What is the Autoimmune Protocol Diet?
When your immune system works correctly, it automatically produces antibodies that can match and attack harmful cells like viruses when they enter your body.
Unfortunately, millions of people suffer from autoimmune diseases or disorders. These directly affect the immune system. Some of them can cause the immune system to produce antibodies that unintentionally attack healthy cells, leading to a variety of deeper conditions and side effects.
The exact causes of autoimmune diseases are complex. But they can be caused by things like medication use, stress, infection, lifestyle choices, and genetic factors.
One of the other big effects of autoimmune disorders is that it prevents you from eating certain foods, as some ingredients or compounds can trigger an immune system reaction.
Therefore, the AIP is a diet dedicated to:
- Eliminating foods that can trigger an immune system response
- Replacing those removed foods with healthy and nutrient-dense alternatives
- Including lots of foods that can reduce inflammation and the other symptoms of autoimmune disorders, as well as heal the gut and gut microbiome
It’s similar to the paleo and keto diets, though it has a number of differences as well.
The AIP diet works through two primary phases.
In the first or “elimination” phase, the diet has you remove any foods that might cause gut inflammation or that might trigger an autoimmune response. For example, the diet will have you avoid or remove foods like dairy products, grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, and more depending on how problematic they are for your symptoms.
In the second or “reintroduction” phase, the avoided foods will be very gradually reintroduced into your diet, one at a time. When you do this with individual foods, you can then learn what foods really cause autoimmune responses and what you can safely eat going forward.
Over time, you’ll build up a selection of foods that you know to be safe and healthy and can enjoy the widest dietary variability possible.
What Non-AIP Foods Should You Avoid?
A good amount, which is a big reason why it’s hard to find tasty AIP snack recipes. Alongside the foods mentioned above, like dairy products, eggs, grains, and more, you also need to avoid:
- Nuts and seeds, including any foods derived from them like certain types of butter or oil
- Different oil types
- Practically any food additives
- Refined and processed sugars
- Any medications classified as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs
Tasty AIP Recipes and Ideas
Even though the AIP diet seems pretty limiting at first, it still includes lots of different foods you can eat. Additionally, as you progress through the AIP diet, you’ll eventually be able to reintroduce certain ingredients or foods. Once you have some ideas for snacks down, it’ll be easier to create an AIP meal plan.
Some AIP compliant foods you can count on as safe and are great for snacking and can be found at most grocery stores:
- A lot of great veggies, with the exceptions of nightshade vegetables and algae
- Healthy fats like avocado, olive, or coconut oil
- Lots of fresh fruit provided you eat it in moderation
- Minimally processed high-protein meats such wild-caught fish, organic, free-range poultry and Grass-fed meat is also recommended. The most important thing is to make sure they are coming from clean sources. It is all about what you eat ate!
- Carb-filled food like sweet potatoes, gams, and Jerusalem artichokes. Homemade sweet potato chips are a great alternative to eating plain sweet potatoes.
- Tons of great herbs and spices provided they don’t come from a seed plant
- Apple cider vinegar and basaltic vinegar
- Teas like green and black tea
- Coconut milk, and other dairy free milks depending on sensitivity
- Coconut butter and coconut flakes
- Natural or sugar-free sweeteners like honey and maple syrup provided you eat them in moderation. These will help keep blood sugar on the lower side.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best AIP snack ideas you can make right at home with a minimum of effort.
These are great grain-free snacks as well and you can pair them with a healthy dip for somatic flavor. Mix the chips’ ingredients together, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake them at 300°F for about 10 minutes. Then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes for a memorable crunch you won’t want to go without.
AIP Sweet Potato Fries
Want something to go along a sandwich or burger? Try these sweet and simple sweet potato fries. Grab some regular sweet potatoes, some melted coconut oil, salt and pepper, and optional: paprika or cinnamon.
The potatoes can be baked with coconut oil and flavorings in the oven at 425°F. This gives them a crispy texture but also provides them with some natural sweetness and other flavors so they’re more than a match for regular French fries.
AIP Mixed Berry Smoothie Bowl
How about another tasty snack to satisfy that sweet tooth? For this smoothie bowl recipe, you’ll need coconut milk, frozen berries, frozen banana, fresh berries, dried coconut flakes, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips. Optional: Livingood Daily Vanilla Collagen Protein
That’s a lot of ingredients, but it’s well worth it in the end. Add the coconut milk to the blender and then add the frozen berries on top and blend until it is thick and smooth. Towards the end you can add the vanilla collagen. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and add the fresh berries, dried coconut flakes, and chocolate chips on top.
You’ll need 3 ripe avocados, juice of a lime, chopped red onions, chopped cilantro, salt, garlic, and pepper to taste. Combine the avocado, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper until you reach a smooth consistency. Then add in the cilantro and chopped onions. Guacamole is great as a topping for sandwiches and burgers or as a snack paired with vegetables like carrots, cucumbers and celery.
Roasted Beet Hummus
Wrap cleased beets in tin foil and roast them in the oven at 400 F for 30 minutes. After they have cooled, peel the skins and add to a food processor or blender. Add a can of chickpeas (set the juice to the side), tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and garlic and blend. Blend until you reach the consistency you desire, adding more lemon or chickpea juice if necessary. Pair and serve this roasted beet hummus with your favorite crunchy vegetables for a crunchy and satisfying snack perfect as a side dish or an afternoon treat.
There are many more delicious AIP snack recipes than these, but hopefully, the above examples have given you some great ideas going forward.
For help with understanding a comprehensive list of foods to remove and foods to replace into your diet for the full anti-inflammatory diet check the Make Food Simple book. It is an Amazon best seller and includes hundreds of delicious anti-inflammatory recipes.
Dr. Livingood, yes that is his real name, is the Founder of drlivingood.com natural health site and also the founder of Livingood Daily. He has authored two Amazon #1 Best Selling Books Livingood Daily and Make Food Simple. In 2007 after nearly losing his father to health conditions, Dr. Livingood was prompted to find a health care system to save his father’s life. Where medicine failed Dr. Livingood discovered solutions that got his father off 15 medications and overcame major heart and autoimmune conditions. As a Doctor of Natural Medicine and DC he now serves thousands of people in Morrisville, NC, and millions through his online and media presence. Dr. Livingood, his wife Jessica, and three kids spend their lives leading people nationally and locally in the hopes that others can experience real health.