Find yourself wanting a mid-morning snack? Are the kids hungry before dinner? Why not break out the snacks? Munching on whole foods when you feel hungry is a healthy way to recharge throughout the day. It helps keep your blood sugar stable, and every healthy snack food is also an opportunity to get important nutrients.
Stocking up on a variety of easy-to-prep, nutritious snack foods can make healthy eating a little simpler for you and your family, even when things get busy.
Nuts are full of nutrients, including healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins. Reach for unsalted or lightly salted varieties when possible. Almonds are one of the healthiest options, but it can be fun to make your own mix with a few different types—you could add pistachios, cashews, pecans, or even ingredients like dried fruit.
And since they can be stored at room temperature, nuts are the perfect healthy snack food for when you and your family are on the go. Keep a container in your bag or in the car so you can always fit a healthy snack into your schedule.
Pre-cut blocks of hard cheese into slices or cubes. It’s a great source of protein, which your body takes its time to digest, releasing steady energy over time. For best results, prepare only what you’ll need for the next day, and prevent dryness by storing cut cheese in a sealed bag.
For an even quicker solution (or just for something both delicious and fun), look for string cheese at the grocery store. It comes in packaged portions, and kids love to pull them apart.
Yogurt and Granola
Yogurt topped with granola is a nutritionally balanced pick-me-up that combines protein and fiber with the added benefits of calcium and potassium. When you’re shopping for yogurt, look for plain Greek yogurt with probiotics, which benefit gut health. Top witht all-natural or homemade granola—or if that’s too sweet, try a variation with muesli, mixing in rolled oats, seeds, and raisins.
If you’re thinking outside the fridge, you can also freeze yogurt into a healthy popsicle treat with fresh fruit, such as berries.
Bacon as a healthy snack food? Yes, please. Godshall’s Turkey Bacon is a great alternative to regular pork bacon, with a high protein content, but much lower in calories. And it’s just as easy to prepare. Cook a batch in advance, keep it in the fridge, and it’ll crisp up in minutes in the microwave. It’s perfect for when you feel like a savory indulgence that you can also feel good about eating.
A plate full of cut veggies is a colorful way to add vitamins and fiber to your diet any time of the day. To make snacking as easy as possible, pre-cut a few of your family’s favorite veggies and store them in an airtight container. Have a child who isn’t a vegetable fan?
- Try arranging veggies in a picture or pattern, or cutting them up into fun shapes.
- Serve them with something flavorful, like hummus, which is a great source of nutrients featuring fiber-rich chickpeas, heart-healthy olive oil, and protein-packed sesame seeds.
- Provide a healthy snack food to kids who are busy doing something else, such as playing or watching TV—they may not even notice they are eating them.
Light and airy, yet satisfying, homemade popcorn is a snack that provides a salty crunch like chips, but with much less fat. Plus, the unpopped kernels store well in the pantry, so they’re easy to keep on hand for a family movie night.
But watch out: microwave popcorn and movie theater popcorn are packed with salty seasonings, so stick with plain kernels that you can make yourself in a lidded pot or air popper.
Apples and Peanut Butter
A tasty blend of sweet and salty, apples and peanut butter make an excellent healthy snack food for after-school or after-work. With protein, fiber, and vitamin C, this classic pairing is both healthy and delicious. Keep it interesting by swapping in almond or sunflower seed butter, or other fruits and veggies.
Snacktime is a fun opportunity to try out new foods, and it’s the best way to get the energy you need on busy days—from the right balance of lean protein, vitamins, fiber and healthy fats. The healthiest snack foods are also the simplest, with whole, natural ingredients that leave you and your family feeling nourished until your next meal.