Low Nickel Snacks

Feeling hungry is terrible. Enjoying nutritious or high protein snacks can prevent you from feeling famished and maintain your blood sugar. In addition, low nickel snacks can fill the gap between meals or allow you safer options than eating at a restaurant. 
Finding processed snacks without foods higher in nickel can be challenging. Many traditional prepackaged snacks can contain whole wheat, nuts, oats, chocolate, soy all of which are high in nickel. Cautious to purchase and eat processed foods at all, there are some I have found. It’s always important to check the ingredients every time, even it it’s been okay prior, as food labels regularly change without notice.
Focus on the foods you enjoy and can eat. Prior to my systemic nickel allergy diagnosis, I loved to spread peanut better over celery, apples or a slice of bread. Now I substitute the peanut butter with spreadable brie cheese. Packing a lunch nearly every day, comprised of dinner leftovers, an egg salad sandwich or turkey sandwich gives me peace of mind. I make homemade white bread for my sandwiches or I buy a loaf of bread from a local bakery that does not use soy as an ingredient. My lunch will also contain a piece of fruit, carrot and celery sticks, yogurt, a cheese stick or a hard boiled egg. I’ll usually eat the various parts of my lunch over several hours throughout the day.
Fruits and vegetables are fantastic on-the go snacks that don’t necessarily need to be kept in a refrigerator. I eat a variety of fruits and vegetables weekly, depending on the season. Some lists identify raw carrots as higher in nickel than cooked carrots. It’s easy to steam carrots (or any vegetable) in a microwaveable bowl with a couple Tablespoons of water in the microwave for 3-5 minutes. I also like to make zucchini and sweet potato fries or chips in the oven with a little seasoning or brown sugar and olive oil. You can also dehydrate fruits using your oven
Here’s a list of some low nickel snacks or finger foods that are easy to take with you wherever you go:

  • Fresh fruits: apples, oranges, pears, grapes, peaches, nectarines, bananas, mango, strawberries, blueberries, cut up watermelon, pomegranate seeds, grapefruit, papaya and more 
  • Vegetables: carrots, celery sticks, cucumber, zucchini, bell peppers, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower and more
  • Dried, freeze dried and/or dehydrated fruits. My favorites include raisins, apples, strawberries, peaches and mango. I avoid purchasing dried fruits with sulfur dioxide
  • Smoothies using water or orange juice, yogurt, and fresh or  frozen fruit
  • Cheese sticks
    Both the graham crackers and pop tarts contain whole wheat flour as an ingredient, which is higher in nickel. I don’t eat them all the time, but they’re a nice alternative snack.
  • Rice Chex and Kix cereals
  • Cottage cheese with fresh or frozen fruit
  • Applesauce or Dole fruit packs, pre-packaged in small plastic containers
  • Popcorn. I’ve cooked it both over the stove and recently found Simply Popped as Kroger grocery stores.
  • Yogurt mixed with fresh or frozen fruit
  • Deviled or hard boiled eggs
  • Juice, personally I like to mix orange juice with cranberry juice!
  • Processed foods I enjoy – crackers, Walker’s shortbread cookies, Good Thins Rice Crackers, hard candy, turkey or beef jerky- without soy sauce-however many contain natural flavors. Again, I recommend reading the label each time you purchase processed foods.

Let me know what types of snacks you like to eat, by commenting below. All and any snack ideas you have used are appreciated! 

21 comments
  1. I like to snack on Coconut Chips as well! they are yummy! needless to say, this allergy is a struggle! so glad to find you and read more about it.

    1. Hi Lis,
      Thanks for your comment and appreciation for my website! That’s wonderful you can enjoy coconut chips! I’ve never tried them, but it’s wonderful when you have a low nickel snack to savor!
      Cheers,
      Christy

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I am not able to tolerate coconut, but it seems to vary from person to person. Unfortunately coconut isn’t included on any of the low nickel diet lists, which is why I wrote the post What about Nickel and Coconut?
      I don’t have issues with avocados and they weren’t on the light of food high in nickel I was given. It isn’t on the Penn State low nickel diet list, however I did see it listed as high on the FDA list, beginning on page 118. I am able to tolerate avocados, though I don’t eat them daily.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

    2. We are all different I cannot touch any corn coconut. Sometimes half baby avocado is ok, wheat no, but chocolate I eat which I shouldn’t but I don’t see much problem. I can’t have too much sugar. I can have a few peanuts but no almonds. It’s trial and error. Christy eats a ton off foods that I can’t. Cleaning the liver is important. Lastly someone was ok doing fruit veg supplements on their blog. I tried and was so sick for a year. We are all different.

  2. I have recently been diagnosed with several chemical allergies and it was recommended to keep a food journal and start converting to the Nickel Free Diet. I am finding it difficult and my husband is diabetic and a heart patient. It has only been 2 weeks but I have been struggling to change all of my foods at 55 yrs old….

  3. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for your comment. It was overwhelming for me when I was first diagnosed. There are many times at dinner when my spouse and I eat the same meat selection, but we cook two different side dishes to suite our own health needs. There are some great posts below my story, which links to other posts that identify more of my feelings and how I was able to find solutions.
    Warm regards,
    Christy

  4. Can you eat pretzels on a low nickel diet?
    Struggling as the foods I am able to digest, are no longer foods I can eat due to my new diagnosis of SNAS.

    1. Hi Maria,
      Thanks for your comment. I understand the challenge of trying to find foods you enjoy and can eat. I love pretzels. Whether or not you can eat them really depends on what the food manufacturer puts in them. I’ll eat Snyder’s pretzels from time to time and their ingredients are ” Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, salt, malt, dextrose, canola oil*, yeast, soda.” Some food labels for pretzels will identify if they’re made in facilities that also make foods with other allergens, like soy, nuts, seeds, etc. In these instances there is a small chance of cross contamination. I choose to avoid foods with that kind of disclaimer.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

  5. I have a question…..since oatmeal is a high nickel food….is it OK to use Aveno oatmeal bath products for itching since it contains oatmeal? Do the foods that hurt internally also cause a rash externally? SIdney

  6. I have a question about wheat flour. The Penn State Hershey and the point-based low-nickel diets that I was given both have wheat flour as something I can eat. Is that not right? I am so confused about this.

  7. I have been living with this nickel allergy for 14 years and it took the doctor 7 years to figure it out. It is true not every single thing makes everybody react the same and it is hard to figure out what it is and to keep to the diet. It is a game of trial and error. But it is nice to know that there are other people out there like me, because I am my doctors only patient with this. Going to see dietitians, two different allergist, two different dermatologists and I still feel like I’m on my own. For the first time I don’t feel alone.

    1. Hi Colleen,
      Thanks for your comment. It really is nice to connect with others who also have systemic nickel allergies and understand it’s unique challenges. Glad to hear you no longer feel alone.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

  8. I already have dairy and gluten allergies and have had them long enough that I had my diet down pretty good. Now the nickel in foods. At first I thought about all the foods I cannot have now and was discouraged. I just have to look at the foods I can have. Also, I can’t digest lettuces and cannot tolerate caffeine. I am doing a 6 week elimination diet then will try introducing one thing a time a time a day watch for reaction. I am hopeful that there are some foods I can add back to my diet. Glad to have found your information.

    1. Hi Cassie,
      Thanks for your comment and appreciation for my website. It would be really tough for me to avoid dairy products and gluten on the low nickel diet! Glad you trying the 6 week elimination diet approach to identifying which foods your body can tolerate! It’s a slow but important process, but will have long term benefits!
      Warm regards,
      Christy

  9. I am just discovering I may be lactose intolerant on top of the nickel allergy. I’m hoping if I take a break from dairy, I can add some back that is lactose free. I’ve only known about the nickel allergy for almost 3 months and my head was already spinning in circles trying to get a grip on this. With the help of your website and others, I was starting to feel cautiously comfortable and then the lactose thing came up. Like you, Christy, I was relying on the dairy in getting my diet together. Now what? Here’s the deal: What do I spread on toast now without butter?

    1. Hi Samantha,
      Thanks for your comment. It would be difficult to eliminate dairy when you’ve found success with the low nickel diet. It may be helpful to meet with a dietitian who understands both issues, if possible. There are still plenty of foods to try, such as eggs. I firmly believe cow’s milk gives me terribly painful acne, so I use Rice Dream for my cereal. There are also lots of foods that contain lower amounts of lactose which some with a lactose intolerance can tolerate. Cheeses with low lactose like cheddar, parmesan and swiss. Butter typically also contains low levels of lactose because of how it’s made. Greek yogurts could also be a good option, as they too are lower in lactose. Everything is a process and hopefully with a little time you’re able to adjust to whatever diet works best for you.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

  10. I am 81 and was found to have nickel allergy through a patch test. I had a rash over my entire body and some areas were very itchy. With info. from Dr. and my own research I am mostly free of breakouts. I avoid chocolate, grains, all nuts and peanut butter and any foods that have soy. I take vitamin C, Zinc, genetic Claritin and today I tried some fresh cilantro and tonight by back is itchy. Should I use the cilantro?

    1. Hi Paul,
      Thanks for your comment and appreciation for my website. Glad to hear eliminating those foods higher in nickel, like chocolate, nuts and grains have helped your eczema symptoms reduce! Cilantro is low nickel and actually a chelation agent that can help the body remove heavy metals (for a long period of time and lots of cilantro!) Some swear it works. I love the taste of fresh cilantro and parsley and regularly include both in my cooking.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

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