If you’re on a quest to eat “real food,” you’ll soon find that coming up with snack ideas is the trickiest part, especially if you have kids.
Here are four tips to follow as you work to get more whole food ingredients into your snack rotation without breaking your budget:
Never leave home without food and water.
Survival skills 101. If you’re going to be out of the house for more than 18 minutes, someone in your car will get hungry and thirsty. Plan ahead and have water and snacks with you so you don’t have to go through the drive-thru or stop in the store to refuel.
Besides the fact that you’ll most likely be eating healthier options if you bring them yourself, you’ll also save money over buying a $2 granola bar at the mini mart and avoid temptation in the candy aisle.
Buy in bulk or on sale and create your own snack packs.
Forget those pre-packaged containers of carrot sticks or overpriced snack-sized bags of chips. You can do that for a fraction of the cost.
If you’re busy, try spending some time slicing fruits and vegetables or bagging up cheese and crackers into smaller portions for the upcoming week. That way, your fridge is stocked with healthy snack options you can grab in a hurry and your wallet doesn’t take the hit.
Add snack ideas to your menu plan and grocery list.
Don’t you hate going grocery shopping only to come home and there’s “nothing to eat”? Whether you buy fruit snacks or dry your own fruit leather, make a plan to keep your family and your finances on track.
Try to think like an elementary-aged kid during the summer. ALWAYS hungry and you just want to get back out to play. Quick, grab and go snacks are all you want.
Set a snack time, especially if you have little kids.
Work really hard to get yourself out of the kitchen. Most kids only need a small snack between meals, so plan accordingly. This way you’re not constantly preparing food and your kids will actually be hungry when meal time rolls around.
Keep a running snack list in the kitchen.
Make a list of snack ideas in your kitchen to keep your kids (and you) from grabbing a handful of chocolate chips. Removing the guesswork is also a lifesaver when life is too crazy for real meals (moving or remodeling, new baby, big deadline, etc).
Here are some healthy-ish snack ideas to get your imagination going:
- hummus with crackers and vegetables
- chips and salsa or guacamole
- homemade Larabars
- fresh fruit and cottage cheese
- yogurt, maple cluster granola, and fruit parfaits
- apples and cheese slices or peanut butter
- vegetables and ranch dip
- “Ants on a Log” (variation: bananas & chocolate chips)
- Frozen grapes or berries
- Crackers or pretzels with peanut butter or Nutella
- homemade granola bars
- frozen yogurt tubes (like Go-Gurt)
- roasted almonds or cashews
- No-Bake energy bites
- ham and cheese roll-ups (spread ham with cream cheese and roll up)
- cinnamon-sugar or peanut butter and jelly tortilla roll-ups
- trail mix
- perfect popcorn
- cinnamon graham popcorn
- graham crackers and milk
- dried fruit
- fruit muffins or banana bread
- gluten-free zucchini bread
- cinnamon toast & applesauce
- string cheese
- fruit and vegetable smoothies
- peanut butter and banana smoothies
- sweet & salty roasted nuts
We’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite healthy snack idea?
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