Real food snack ideas can be just as easy as the typical “go-to” snacks – only a whole lot healthier. And they don’t have to be blah or boring, either. Here are some of our favorite ideas…
It seems that we go from sport to sport, field trip to day trip, year round. And I love it. BUT I started getting tired of watching (and cringing) – seeing my kids eating typical snack foods. I decided things were going to change. We try to be conscious of what we put into our bodies (ok, fine – *I* try to be careful of what we’re all putting into our bodies) but one day, I realized that, by default, I was reaching for the same old, zero-nutrient, pseudo-food items for snacks. Even though I try to be careful about our meals, I realized I had fallen into the easy trap of grabbing boxed, cello-sealed bags of fake food snack items.
*Please note: if you use and love these things, please don’t take this as a judgement post. I’m just sharing my heart on what I was feeling and what I’ve started doing instead.
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Real Food Snack Ideas: No Prep Needed
- Nuts. These can either be roasted or raw, single variety or a blend. Either way, they’re delicious and easy.
- Dried fruit. As with all things, consume in moderation. Even though these are natural sugars, they’re still sugar. I always like to pair dried fruit with nuts and/or a protein, like cheese, to slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream.
- Cheese. Stick, cubes, curds – we love it all. Cheese is an easy to pack snack that keeps well.
- Hummus. While you can make your own, and it’s delicious – the pre-made packs are easier to pack for snacks and save you time in the kitchen. Depending on your personal preferences, hummus can be packed along with celery, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, pretzels or crackers.
- Nut butter. We are a huge peanut butter family, but use whatever your family likes. Almond butter, sunbutter, etc. I like to pack fresh fruits and/or veggies to dip in it.
- Sprouted Cracker rounds or Whole wheat crackers. I reach for the sprouted or Simple Mills variety and my kids like the regular whole wheat kind. Pair with any of the above options.
- Popcorn. You can easily make your own or buy the pre-done kind. We avoid the flavored ones with a bazillion ingredients on the back.
- Fresh fruit. We’ve always got apples, berries, grapes, nectarines or bananas packed. These are easy, delicious and zero prep.
- Organic Corn Chips. Sometimes I’ll make the kids’ day and get them a bag of organic corn chips – if it’s got 5 ingredients or less, I’m cool with these once in a while.
- Applesauce. The organic, pre-portioned packages are easiest for packing.
- Pickles. My youngest is a pickle maniac and I’ve had to stop him from drinking the brine before. LOL.
- Olives. Open and drain a can of olives and put them in a reusable portable container. Again, my youngest loves these.
Real Food Snack Ideas: Just a Little Prep Needed
- Fresh veggies. You’ll need to slice these up, but really, that’s such minimal prep. And if you’re a person who preps their veggies as soon as they arrive home from the grocery, this is already done when you need to pack snacks to go.
- Homemade granola bars. I prefer to save money by making my own granola bars. Most store bought varieties are so full of fillers and air that you’re not getting much in the way of nutrition from them. There are a few brands that are whole food based, but you’ll pay a pretty penny for those bars. And I’d rather not. 😉
- Trail Mix. This is so random for us. I usually throw some roasted, sea salted peanuts in a quart jar – about half way up. Then fill the rest of the way with a combination of: organic raisins, dark chocolate chips, roasted sunflower seeds, pistachios, etc. Anything and everything that could make a great combo. It’s rarely the same and so easy since you’re simply pouring then shaking the jar to evenly distribute the contents.
- Whole Wheat Muffins. We’ve done applesauce muffins, banana chocolate chip muffins, pumpkin spice muffins, etc. I especially love freezing muffin batter so it’s ready for me to bake at a moment’s notice – no thawing needed. Which reminds me: I need to do this again.
- Smoothies. I’m not nice enough to make everyone individual smoothies, based on their wants 😉 – but I’ll make one giant smoothie in the blender and divide it up into jars or wide mouth water bottles (wide mouth for ease of cleaning).
- Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits. Ok, this is actually one of my personal favorites, but my boys like them, too. I get plain greek yogurt, sweeten it myself to taste, then layer yogurt, frozen berries (frozen keeps it all nice and cool and by the time I’m ready to eat, the berries have thawed nicely and given off some delicious juices to stir in), and occasionally nuts or homemade granola on top. Dried Goji berries are my latest topping obsession. YUM.
- Energy balls. This is our favorite recipe here. No bake, and so fast to whip up. Put the kids to work rolling the balls and it’s even better.
- Homemade applesauce. If you’re trying to reduce your plastic usage, you can make your own applesauce and divvy it up into small reusable containers made for travel.
- Boiled eggs. Ok. Full disclosure. I do not bring along boiled eggs for away-from-home-snacks most of the time. Just because they smell…weird when you open the bag/jar/whatever that’s holding them. I usually reserve these for at home use. Just saying. But they are a fabulous snack option.
- Homemade Granola. This recipe is my favorite, (sometimes I’ll sub out the brown sugar for Pyure) but there are tons of recipes with whole food, minimal ingredients on Pinterest.
I hope this helps you if you’re trying to find more real food snack ideas!
Life is a whirlwind. Fuel accordingly.