If you are looking for a list of low iodine diet snacks, you are undergoing treatment or monitoring for thyroid cancer. You may be stressed, confused, depressed, tired, overwhelmed, not feeling well, and more.
You have come to the right place. By filling out the information here, you can have this list of over 50 snack ideas emailed to you.
But before grabbing your list and moving on, there are important things to consider about snacking while on the low iodine diet.
This article will help you understand when you may need low iodine diet snacks during treatment, why to be careful with snacking, and how to incorporate low iodine snacks within a balanced diet PLUS your list of over 50 low iodine diet snack ideas.
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What is the Low Iodine Diet?
A low iodine diet (LID) is used before radioactive iodine treatment to make the body “iodine hungry”. (1) The basic idea is if you deprive your body of iodine, any remaining thyroid cells (specifically thyroid cancer cells) will be very hungry and aggressively take up the radioactive iodine when you receive treatment. This should make the treatment more effective.
For more on the low iodine diet and foods low and high in iodine, read the Low Iodine Diet Basics post.
Do I need Low Iodine Snacks?
Not everyone is a snacker naturally. Maintaining your typical eating pattern during the low iodine diet can be beneficial for weight maintenance as well as feelings of normalcy in your life.
However, there are a couple reasons why you may want or need snacks during the low iodine diet, even if you normally don’t like to snack.
- Decreased appetite. If you are withdrawing from your thyroid hormone, you may experience decreased appetite. Large meals seem overwhelming when you are not hungry. Snacks throughout the day can maintain your overall calorie intake when you don’t feel hungry for meals.
- Fatigue. Similarly, being hypothyroid makes you very tired. Cooking a whole meal is exhausting. Having quick snacks ready can make sure you eat when too tired to cook as well as give you a good boost of energy for your day.
- Depression and/or anxiety. Being diagnosed with cancer is enough to create depressed or anxious feelings in people. While you are hypothyroid, you may feel even more emotional or not yourself. Some people turn to snacking during these times.
- Nausea. Many people experience nausea after taking radioactive iodine. Small snacks eaten frequently are better for nausea than eating larger, less frequent meals.
- Difficulty finding foods to eat. The low iodine diet is not particularly easy to follow. Finding a few snacks you can eat regularly may be easier for you than figuring out regular meals.
- Good for social gatherings. Going to parties or getting together with friends can be difficult while on the low iodine diet. It is often easier to bring your own food. A few small snacks is easier to bring along rather than a full blown meal.
Being Careful with Snacks
Snacking, especially excessive snacking, can easily lead to eating too many calories and weight gain. You should always listen to your hunger and fullness cues as much as you can.
It is also best to find other ways of coping with your emotions than with food. You are experiencing valid feelings. Seeking out counseling, journaling, positive affirmations, and talking with trusted friends and family can be beneficial ways to deal with emotions rather than eating.
If you are withdrawing from your thyroid hormone, you may be at risk of weight gain. So keeping track of your hunger and fullness cues will be important. It will be difficult to assess if you are eating a normal amount for you. Also, if you are hypothyroid, your normal diet may be too high in calories.
With that being said, many people lose weight due to the strictness of the diet and not feeling well being so hypothyroid, so it really is a balancing act.
Balanced Low Iodine Diet with Snacks
So how can you eat a healthy, balanced low iodine diet while eating snacks?
Like your regular diet, you will need to really listen to your body for hunger and fullness cues. If you feel “hungry”, evaluate if there are other reasons behind that feeling, such as:
- Increased needs from exercise
- Previous meal was low in protein or fat or high in sugar
Next, decide if you need a meal or snack.
Balanced Low Iodine Meals
Eating balanced meals is key to avoiding excess snacking. You should try to have all of your meals include a good source of protein, carbs, fat, and fiber. Here are a couple example meals.
Sample Low Iodine Breakfast:
- Oatmeal with berries
- Toast with unsalted nut butter
Sample Low Iodine Lunch/Dinner:
- Whole wheat pasta tossed with olive oil, basil, pine nuts, and roasted veggies
- Roasted chicken breast
- Side salad with homemade dressing
Healthy Low Iodine Diet Snacks
A good snack includes protein and fiber, as both of these will keep you feeling full longer.
Protein rich foods include:
- Egg whites
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut and seed butters
- Dairy free yogurt
Fiber rich foods include:
- Whole grains
- Dried fruit
Here is your list of low iodine diet snacks. You will notice I indicate which groups are high in protein or fiber. But even in the high fiber groups, I try to give suggestions to add protein, such as a nut butter sandwich.
Low Iodine Bread and Grain Based Snacks (Fiber Rich):
- Unsalted nut butter and jelly sandwich
- Toast with nut butter and banana
- English Muffins
- Bagel with Kite Hill Cream Cheese Alternative
- Popcorn, unsalted with no butter.
- Cereal (plain or with non dairy milk)
- Matzo crackers with hummus, guacamole, unsalted nut butter, or Kite Hill dips
- Rice Cakes (Quaker)
- Quaker Instant Oatmeal packets
- Corn tortilla chips (homemade) with hummus, guacamole, homemade salsa, or Kite Hill dips
- Muffins (Vegan Zucchini Muffins)
Low Iodine Fruit and Vegetable Snacks (Fiber Rich)
- Fresh Fruit
- Canned Fruit
- Dried Fruit
- Fruit Leather
- Orchard Valley Harvest Dark Chocolate Dried Fruit
- Fresh veggies with hummus, guacamole, unsalted nut butter or Kite Hill dips
- Wholly Guacamole
Low Iodine Protein Rich Snacks
- Sabra Hummus
- Rosarita Refried Beans with corn tortilla chips (homemade)
- Scrambled Egg Whites on an english muffin
- Unsalted nuts
- GourmetNut Power Up Trail Mixes
- Orchard Valley Nuts and Trail Mixes (select flavors)
- Unsalted sunflower seeds
- Enjoy Life chewy bars and protein bites
- Energy Balls (Healthy Apricot Almond Butter Energy Balls)
- Dairy Free Coconut Milk Yogurt Oui by Yoplait
- So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Yogurt
- Forager Project Organic Cashewmilk Yogurt
- Cocoyo Coconut Yogurt
- Kite Hill Yogurts
Low Iodine Candies and Sweets
- Jolly Rancher candy and gummies
- Mott’s fruit snacks
- Great Value peach rings
- Black Forest gummy bears
- Haribo gummy bears
- Mike and Ike
- Swedish Fish
- Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels
Low Iodine Frozen Treats
- Ben and Jerry’s Non Dairy Ice Cream (select flavors)
- So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert (select flavors)
- Talenti Sorbet (select flavors)
- The Frozen Farmer Strawberry Sorbet
- Great Value Sorbet
- Outshine Frozen Fruit Bars
- BlueBell Bullets
- Popsicle Brand Ice Pops with Natural Colors
Conclusion: Low Iodine Diet Snacks
Snacks can be an important part of your low iodine diet. They can help you deal with side effects of thyroid hormone withdrawal, cancer diagnosis, radioactive iodine, and isolation.
It is important to eat a balanced diet to prevent gain during the low iodine diet. Remember, focusing on hunger signs and eating snacks with both fiber and protein will help you maintain your weight.
If you’d like more specific recipes for snacks, check out our Low Iodine Diet Snacks E-Cookbook.
If you’d like a free PDF list of snacks, enter your email below.