Thyroid-friendly Snack Ideas
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It’s a busy week. You’re short on sleep and don’t have time to prepare a meal. You tell yourself you’ll figure out what to eat later, but when later comes you’re ravenously hungry and still have nothing on hand, and no time to cook. Your blood sugar spikes, your tummy growls, and before you know it, you’ve fallen face-first into a bag of chips from the gas station, cookies from the vending machine, or a candy bar from the grocery store checkout.
We’ve all been there. But we’re also here. You came to Hypothyroid Chef because you want to know how to eat to support your thyroid and overall health. Maybe you're on a restricted diet or trying to cut out inflammatory foods like refined sugar, refined oils, and refined wheat flour. Succeeding in making these life changes takes planning, preparation, willpower, and forethought.
When you’re altering the way you eat, having a few quick fuel choices is a good strategy for staying on track, and one of the best ways to set yourself up for success.
Below, you’ll find a list of whole-food, nutrient-dense snack ideas in both on-the-fly and make-in-advance categories. I've also included some of my favorite packaged snacks. Our nutritional needs are bio-individual and there is no one single thyroid-healthy diet, so choose the options that adhere to your unique dietary guidelines and goals.
Before Snacking, Take this Quiz
Grab-and-go snacks and quick calories are a necessity in our busy lives. There are all kinds of good reasons to snack. But there are also bad reasons to snack. Bad snack habits are easy to succumb to and can easily derail your health and wellness goals.
Take the quick quiz below. If you answer yes to ANY of these questions, consider it a red flag that you need to press pause and reevaluate your snack choices and habits.
- Are you regularly using snacking as a replacement for well-balanced meals?
- Are you snacking because you’re bored or stressed? (Try taking a walk or bath instead.)
- Do you snack mindlessly for comfort, say when you’re watching television at night, bombarded by ads for fast food and sugary treats?
- Are you snacking when you’re not truly hungry?
- Are you regularly eating packaged snacks to avoid preparing real, whole food?
- Are you leaning too heavily on snacks because you’re not prioritizing and making time for cooking?
Mindful eating and self-awareness are critical to your success. Before you dive in and start munching, ask yourself the questions above.
Thyroid-Healthy Snack List
All of these options exclude wheat, dairy, gluten, grains, and soy. Choose whichever options work best with your current dietary needs, read labels carefully, and choose organic whenever possible.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are remarkably high in Zinc, a nutrient that’s commonly low for thyroid patients. They will also give you a thyroid-protecting dose of Omega-3s. Eat them raw or roasted and sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt.
- Organic Tree Nuts: A handful of almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts or pecans can be just enough to keep the ‘hangries’ at bay while delivering healthy fats and high nutrition. Be aware that nuts labeled ‘Roasted’ are often fried in refined oils, so pay attention to labels and choose raw or oven-roasted nuts whenever possible.
- Cherries & Berries: When in season, a small bowlful of fresh cherries or berries delivers high-antioxidant nutrition, fiber, and anti-inflammatory goodness. Balance the natural sugars with a handful of nuts or seeds for added protein.
- 1-Minute Guacamole: Dice an avocado, spritz with lime or lemon juice, and sprinkle with sea salt. Mash with a fork, taste, and adjust flavor with more citrus and/or salt, and voila! High in fiber and healthy fat, avocados are full of nutrients that thyroid patients need. Serve with carrot sticks, plantain chips, or a grain-free cracker (see #5).
- FlackersⓇ: These flaxseed crackers made the list because they are organic, Paleo, nutrient-dense, and gluten-free. In fact, the only ingredients in the ‘Sea Salt’ variety are flax seeds, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. Top them with hummus, guacamole, tapenade, smoked salmon, cucumber slices, or whatever you like!
- Apple Slices with Nut Butter: Apples truly are a health-promoting food, with plenty of fiber and blood-cleansing pectin. Balance the natural sugars with some protein from your favorite organic nut or sunflower butter (see nut butter recipe below).
- Chopped Veggies and Pesto Mayo: Getting in the habit of keeping some fresh veggie sticks handy is one of the best things you can do to improve your daily nutrition. Mix a spoonful of ‘clean’ mayo (like this one, or this egg-free option) with a spoonful of dairy-free pesto and you'll find that it's a welcome replacement for that bottled ranch dressing laden with unhealthy oils, preservatives, and a long list of ingredients we can't pronounce.
- Seaweed Snack Sheets: This is one of the few packaged foods that made the cut thanks to a clean ingredient list and a healthy dose of thyroid-supporting minerals like iodine. They’re also low-calorie and the full-size sheets can be wrapped around veggies, salmon salad (see item #9 below) and/or gluten-free grains to make a super-quick thyroid-loving lunch. Be sure to read labels to avoid refined oils. This brand uses only seaweed, extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt (their slogan says it all: “Strangely Addictive!”). NOTE: The thyroid needs enough iodine to function optimally, but not too much so it's important to be mindful of how much dietary iodine you're consuming.
- Salmon Wraps: Canned wild salmon is an excellent and inexpensive source of inflammation-reducing Omega-3s. You may be surprised to learn that it’s also a good source of calcium if you eat the soft, chewable bones. Premium canned salmon excludes the bones and is typically leaner and therefore lower in healthy fats, so go for the regular (and cheaper!) variety. Combine with a ‘clean’ mayo (like this one, or this egg-free option) and wrap in a lettuce leaf or a sheet of dried snacking seaweed for a substantial snack or light lunch.
- Nut Butter with Carrot Sticks: Nut butter is a household staple for quick snacks and breakfasts that require no cooking—a precious necessity for those of us abstaining from gluten, dairy, and/or eggs. Peanut butter works but keep in mind that peanuts are considered goitrogenic. They're also a legume and are not Paleo compliant. If that doesnt' work for your current dietary goals, choose almond butter, sunflower butter, or macadamia butter.
- Hard Boiled Eggs: For those of us who tolerate eggs, this is a handy option to keep in the fridge. Place half a dozen or so in boiling water, set a timer for 10 minutes, and run under cold water when the timer goes off. Drain and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Take the deliciousness up a few notches by preparing these BLT Deviled Eggs, or sprinkling with this Furikake Seaweed Shake.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bliss Balls: This super-easy recipe will satiate your sweet tooth while providing energy-supportive nutrients that won’t crash your blood sugar levels. Keep a batch in the freezer for grab-and-go convenience.
Sweetpotato Awesome: These AWESOME freeze-dried sweet potato slices are organic, AIP compliant, and incredibly delicious. I always try tokeep these on hand for dipping, snacking, and entertaining. My fave is the garlic and dill variety. Enjoy 10% OFF your order when you use my exclusive coupon code: AWESOMESAUCE.
Epic Bison Bacon Cranberry Bars: A lot of bars are full of junk ingredients, but not these ones by EPIC. With 7 grams of protein per serving, these grass-fed bison bars are great to stash in your purse for a quick dose of protein. To mix it up, try their wild-caught Smoked Salmon Strips. So good!
Bada Bean Bada Boom: If you do beans, these crunchy roasted broad beans are so addictive, and the ingredient list is surprisingly clean. My favorite part is that they have 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per 100 calorie serving. The sea salt and garlic & onion flavors have the cleanest ingredient list, but the sweet sriracha is craaazy good. Note: They do lose 1 star for using refined sunflower oil.
- Rx Bars: Whenever I'm on the slopes or the trail, this is what I toss into my pack. There's no guessing when it comes to the ingredients in these bars which they list in big bold letters on the front of the wrappers, for example: 3 egg whites, 6 almonds, 4 cashews, 2 dates, and no B.S. My 2 absolute favorite flavors are the peanut butter chocolate chip and the chocolate sea salt.
- Barnana Organic Plantain Chips: Whenever I see them at Costco, I grab a bag of these plantain chips. I like this brand because it contains just 3 ingredients: organic plantains, organic coconut oil, and Himalayan pink salt. They're the perfect vehicle for a quick batch of 1-minute guacamole (recipe above).
- Siete Tortilla Chips: Sometimes a plantain chip just isn't the same as a tortilla chip. It's great to have options like Siete's tortilla chips which are made with cassava and coconut flour. My kiddo even prefers these to corn chips. They're Whole30 Approved, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan, Non-GMO.
- Paleo Treats: When you're looking for something sweet and chocolatey, Paleo Treats are just the ticket. They have a collection of amazing clean treats you can order by the dozen. My fave is the Bandito, which is like a peanut butter cup made with almonds. Ingredients: Almond flour, roasted almond butter, coconut oil, honey, cacao butter, flax meal, dried unsweetened coconut, cacao powder, vanilla extract, sea salt. Give them a try for 10% off when you use the coupon code THYROIDREFRESH.
There you have it! Thyroid-friendly snack ideas to keep you satiated and on track, no matter how busy your week is. I hope it helps and comes in handy next time you need a snack in your pack, feel a case of the hangries coming on, are trying to avoid gas station snacks on your next road trip, or just need something quick. Hope it helps!
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