Healthy Snacks to Keep on Hand
Hunger can strike at the most inconvenient of times and making healthy choices can be difficult. As with any other meal of the day, healthy snacking requires some planning. To keep hanger at bay, I put together this list of my all time favorite Healthy Snacks. I’ve included homemade healthy snacks for when you have time to plan, as well as my favorite store bought healthy snacks you can stock in your desk or pantry for when you need a good-for-you snack right this second. Whether you’re looking for a healthy snack for you, a healthy snack for kids, or even a healthy snack for weight loss, there’s a snack here to fit your needs!
First, it’s important to know what to look for in a healthy snack and to think about how snacks typically fit into your daily routine. For example, if your snack may sit in a hot car for hours, then you likely don’t want anything perishable. Have a hard workout planned? You might want something more substantial.
If you typically eat your snacks on-the-go, then you’ll want to find something quick, easy, and portable. No matter whether you have a little or a lot of time for snacking, there’s a healthy snack idea to fit your schedule.
What to Look For in Healthy Snacks
Whether you are making one of these healthy snack recipes from scratch OR picking up a healthy snack at the store, you’ll want to double check the snacks’ nutritional content. Here’s what to look for.
- Protein and Fiber. Protein and fiber are what is going to make sure you snack is actually filling and satiates your hunger until your next meal. The best snacks contain several grams of both.
- Whole Grains. Look for whole grains and complex carbohydrates, which are also more filling.
- Watch for Added Sugars. Added sugars taste great in the moment (looking at you, shiny wrapped granola bar) but can cause a sugar crash. Naturally occurring sugars, like those in fruit and dairy products like yogurt, are fine.
- Keep Calorie Count Reasonable For Your Diet. Unless a snack is really replacing a meal, make sure that the calorie content is reasonable for your needs (for me, that means a granola bar that’s 200ish calories or less). The healthy snacks on these lists will satisfy your hunger without making you feel too full.
- Avoid Highly Processed Food and Fast Food When Possible. These tend to be high in calories and low in nutrients, which are not qualities we want in our healthy snacks.
Tips for Sticking With Healthy Snacks
- Make a list of healthy snacks for the week, and prepare them ahead of time.
- To make mornings easier, prepare your snacks the night before.
- Place your healthy snacks at the front of the pantry, fridge, and snack drawer, so they’re the first items to catch your (hungry) eye.
- For kids: Find a low shelf in your refrigerator or pantry where you can store all the healthy snacks for kids. If the snacks are not already individually packed, place them in small containers or ziptop bags, so it’s easy for kids to grab them and go.
Now, without further adieu, let’s talk about some of my favorite healthy snacks!
5 Healthy Snacks You Can Buy at the Store
In a perfect world, I’d make every snack from scratch. In the real world, I often don’t have time, so finding healthy store bought snacks you can trust is a godsend! Fortunately, there are a lot of great options. Unfortunately, advertising and packaging can be deceiving. Sometimes the foods advertised as “healthy” and “natural” may be full of calories and of little nutritional value. When I shop for snacks at the store, I make a point to look for items with fewer ingredients and that are higher in fiber and protein, and that contain fewer added sugars.
My 5 Favorite Store Bought Healthy Snacks Are:
- Granola Bars. These tasty little bars are ideal healthy snacks for on-the-go life. A few of my favorite brands: KIND, RXBar, and Kashi.
- If you prefer to make your own, try these homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars.
- Fruit. One of my favorite ways to ensure I’m eating a healthy snack is to stick with whole, nutrient-rich foods like fruit. I love pairing apples or bananas with peanut butter or almond butter to make them more filling.
- Yogurt and Granola. This yummy combination isn’t just for breakfast. Yogurt and granola make a protein-packed, filling snack. Avoid yogurt with added sugars or artificial sweeteners if possible. I like to purchase plain yogurt, then sweeten it myself with maple syrup or honey.
- Trail Mix. Portable and fun to eat! I typically opt for the trail mix that includes a variety of nuts and dried fruits, with as little added sugar as possible (except for chocolate chips; I do love a handful of those!).
- Roasted Chickpeas. When roasted, chickpeas become golden, crunchy, and addictive. You can find roasted chickpeas at many grocery stores and online here. You can also roast them yourself.
- To roast your own chickpeas: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rinse a 15-ounce can of chickpeas, then lightly pat dry. Spread chickpeas in a single layer on a parchment or silicon mat-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then sprinkle with kosher salt and any spices you like. My favorite is 1/4 teaspoon cumin and a bit of black pepper. Roast until lightly crisp and dark golden, 20 to 30 minutes minutes, shaking the pan once or twice during baking so that the chickpeas roast evenly. Let cool and munch.
- I also love to make this Roasted Chickpea Snack Mix.
5 Snacks for Weight Loss (Lower Calorie and More Filling)
When selecting healthy snacks to promote weight loss, look for high fiber and protein to help you stay fuller longer. These snacks will sustain you for hours without wrecking your calorie intake for the day. Win-win!
- Energy Balls. My healthy snacking secret weapon. I have created a plethora of energy balls, so you can find your favorite flavor: Oatmeal Energy Balls, No Bake Cookie Dough Protein Balls, Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls, Pumpkin Energy Balls, Ginger Cookie Healthy Energy Balls, Golden Raisin Energy Bites, and Fig Almond Energy Bites.
- Protein Bars. Protein is the perfect way to fight those midday hunger growls, plus these bars are easy to eat anywhere your day may take you. These Peanut Butter Protein Bars are so easy and totally scrumptious.
- Hard Boiled Eggs. An incredibly easy grab-and-go healthy snack that you can buy at the store or make at home. They’re high in protein and calcium but low in calories.
- Protein Cookies. Because everyone needs a treat. Try these Peanut Butter Protein Cookies or if you prefer not to use protein powder, these Protein Cookies.
- Green Smoothies. Smoothies are an excellent way to sneak in tons of nutrients and protein, plus they’re cool, creamy, and ultra-satisfying. Depending on the recipe, the calories can add up more quickly than you’d expect, so make sure to check portion sizing.
5 Healthy Snacks for Kids
When thinking about healthy snacks for kids, ease and taste is key! These healthy snack ideas are fun to eat and full of good-for-you ingredients (don’t worry; they’ll never even know).
- Applesauce. Applesauce is one of the best snacks for kids. It’s easy to eat, full of nutrients, and scrumptious! If you want to make your own applesauce, try this simple Crockpot Applesauce recipe.
- Oatmeal Bars. These Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars feature cozy, kid-friendly flavors (peanut butter, honey, and banana…YUM!) and use only simple, healthy ingredients. Kids will love how tasty these are!
- Muffins. A favorite snack of kids (and adults) everywhere! I’m a huge fan, and my list of healthy muffin recipes is proof. Kids would love these Healthy Banana Muffins, Healthy Blueberry Muffins, Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt Muffins, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins, or Healthy Zucchini Muffins.
- Apple Chips. Thinly sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon, and baked until pleasantly crisp. These homemade Apple Chips are just as addictive as the store-bought kind, and they’re free of added sugars!
- Fruity Smoothies. While the green variety of smoothies may scare some kids, a sweet, colorful, and fruit-forward smoothie will definitely be a hit! Try this Strawberry Blueberry Smoothie, Blueberry Banana Avocado Smoothie, or Strawberry Smoothie.
All this snack-chat has left me famished. It’s time to raid my healthy snacks stash!
What about you? What are your favorite snacks? Please share them in the comments below. I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
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