Satisfy Crunchy Cravings Without Sacrificing Your Health

Article written and reviewed by Tara Kemp
Published January 6, 2018

We all deal with food cravings from time to time. One of the biggest things we hear people asking about in our coaching program are crunchy food cravings in particular.

Whether it’s biting into a tortilla chip or adding crispy croutons to a salad, there is something about that crunch that makes a bite extremely delicious. Unfortunately, most of the crunchy foods you know and love are not healthy. 

Thankfully, with a little creativity, you can still satisfy your crunchy food cravings without sacrificing your health.

Here are a few options for you to try out when you’re in the mood to feel the crunch! 

*Note: Here at Mastering Diabetes, we organize foods into 3 categories: green light, yellow light, and red light foods. 

Green light foods are 100% plant-based whole foods, that are low in total fat content. These foods should make up the bulk or entirety of your meals, and can be eaten ad libitum.

Yellow light foods are still healthful plant-based choices, but they are lightly refined or a little higher in fat. For maximum insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control, we recommend limiting these foods.

Red light foods are those that we recommend fully avoiding. They are known to promote insulin resistance and lead to the development of chronic disease. These include meat, dairy products, eggs, and oils.

Green Light Crunchy Snacks

These have a great spicy kick! The recipe calls for a dehydrator but you can also bake them in your oven (425 degrees, 30 minutes)!

Celery with Dates

Celery is crunchy and salty. Dates are deliciously sweet. When you combine them, it's a heavenly treat.

Celery, Carrots, or Cucumber Sticks with Hummus

Who doesn't love veggies with hummus?! If you are looking for some good hummus recipes, check out this list of oil-free hummus recipes that we compiled for you!

When you roast chickpeas, they become crispy and crunchy. The high fiber and protein in these little morsels makes them a more filling snack. Eat to your delight!

As tasty as they are beautiful, these vegetable chips are lots of fun to prepare AND to eat!

There's no reason not to eat crispy potato fries – provided that you use THIS recipe, that is!

Yellow Light Crunchy Snacks

Making homemade tortilla chips is so easy, you'll never need to buy them at the store again!

Mary's Gone Crackers

It's hard to find a cleaner cracker than this one! Mary's Gone Crackers are made without any flours – just whole food grains and seeds, along with spices and seasonings. Stick to the package's recommended serving size to keep your fat intake for the meal in check. 

Engine 2 Crispbreads

Equally healthy and delicious, these crackers are made with 100% whole wheat flour, low in fat, low in sodium, and have no added sugar. 

Rice Cakes

Rice cakes might sound like a boring food, but they don't have to be! One of our favorite ways to enjoy rice cakes is to top them with some oil-free hummus, sliced cucumbers or tomatoes, and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.  

Green Light Crunchy Salad Toppings

Whether you just chop up raw cauliflower or make spicy cauliflower bites, sprinkling it on top of your salad bowl adds a good crunch and great flavor! 

Pomegranate Seeds

It's a labor of love to open a pomegranate and extract the seeds, but the rewards are worth the work. With a unique and complex flavor that is equal parts sweet, bitter, and nutty, pomegranate seeds will take your meal to the next level. 


Celery is a great food to use when you want to add a bit of a salty flavor to your salad, because it is naturally high in sodium.

Roasted chickpeas aren't just a great snack on their own, they also make a wonderful salad topping! Try out different seasoning combinations and see what you like best!

Freeze-Dried Vegetables

Freeze-dried food isn't just for astronauts. Give these crunchy veggies a try and you just might be amazed by how much you love them!

Yellow Light Crunchy Salad Toppings

Believe it or not, granola can be made without added oil or added sugar – AND still taste delicious! Check out this recipe, and feel free to add raisins or diced apples for extra sweetness and varied texture!

Croutons are notoriously unhealthy, but are often your favorite part of the salad. With this simple recipe, you can enjoy them and feel good about their nutrition too! We recommend using Ezekiel sprouted grain bread.

And there you have it! Delicious, healthy options to turn to when the crunchy food cravings come calling. 

We hope you find a few choices here that you love! And please let us know in the comments below if you have any other ideas to share with us.

May you never feel like a victim to your food cravings again! 

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Leave a comment below!

Which of these crunchy food snacks or salad toppings sound best to you? Do you have other ideas to share? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author 

Tara Kemp

Tara Kemp is the Director of Nutrition Education at Mastering Diabetes. She has been active in the field of health and nutrition for many years, including working with Forks Over Knives, Engine 2, and Dr. Neal Barnard and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Tara has a bachelor's degree in Education from Bucknell University, a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell, and is a Certified Food For Life Instructor through the Physicians Committee.