Healthy Snack Ideas for Busy Days
Let us be real, we all snack. And actually, snacking is not bad for you if you do it in moderation and make healthy choices
Adults and kids alike need snacks to meet our daily basic nutrient needs. For healthier snacks think mini meals made with the same whole or minimally processed food that you can make or purchase.
Here you will find healthy snack ideas for busy days that work great for on-the-go or to enjoy yourself while at home.
Yes, we all have long days at work where we start craving something sweet or need something salty to help us snap out of the workday monotony. The same goes for our kids. They need snacks during the day to help keep them alert and ready for the next class.
If you are smart about how you snack, you will feel, and maybe even look, better. And who does not want that? Healthy snacks help to satisfy hunger between meals and boost energy.
Healthy snacks can also round out the diet, ensuring that children are getting all the nutrients they need to fuel their growth and development. If you choose healthy, whole-food options with a lot of protein and nutrients, snacks can even help keep you full throughout the day and limit your cravings for unhealthy foods.
Learning to eat and enjoy healthy snacks encourages kids to develop healthy eating habits. This is a win-win situation for all parents alike.
What makes a healthy snack?
The ideal snack contains three key nutrients: fiber, protein, and healthy fat. This snacking trifecta keeps you full longer and stabilizes blood sugar levels, helping to keep cravings at bay.
As boring as “healthy snacks” might sound, you would be surprised at just how tasty they are, all the new things you will get to try, and how easy they are to tote around with you on the go.
One foolproof way to figure out how to snack healthier even on the busiest days is to choose easy snacks to eat on–the–go and make it fun for everyone.
How to make snacking fun
Pick snacks with a crunch:
- Apples and pears
- Carrot and celery sticks
- Bell pepper slices
- Zucchini or cucumber circles
- Roasted chickpeas
- Broccoli and cauliflower florets
- Popcorn. It is a whole grain!
- Rice cakes and whole-grain crackers
- Nuts and seeds.
Snacks that satisfy:
- Whole-grain toast with peanut or almond butter
- Cherry tomatoes with hummus
- Low-fat or fat-free cheese
- Plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt. A great pairing with fruit!
- Fruit and veggie smoothie
- Whole-grain crackers with canned tuna or salmon
Choose a combo of whole foods whenever possible:
- Apple slices + spoonful of nut butter
- Homemade trail mix
- Fruit of your choice + a handful of nuts
- Veggies + hummus
- Yogurt + granola + fruit
- Fruit + cheese
- Hard-boiled egg + fruit or veggies
Healthy Snacking Tips and Tricks
01. Get kids to help plan and make snacks
Get your child to list snacks they like to eat. Kids will be more likely to eat them. Get your child to help make popcorn, a fruit smoothie or vegetable dip.
02. Pack 1-2 snack along with school lunches
Kids need to eat about every 3 hours to keep energized and focused on learning. This same step applies for adults.
03. Keep healthy snacks interesting
Provide a variety of well-matched flavors, colors, temperatures, textures (smooth/chunky, cooked/raw, crunchy/chewy) and shapes (shredded, strips, cubes, chunks, slices).
04. Eat fruit, do not drink them
This will help with the consumption of less sugar and more fiber. Quench thirst with water first, not juice drinks.
05. Offer dried fruit with meals, not snacks
Add raisins, cranberries, and other dried fruits into your meals like yogurt, oatmeal, cottage cheese, even a delicious salad. This will all fill you up until the next meal.
06. Pay attention to portion size
Remember, a snack is supposed to help ward off hunger between meals – not a substitute for a meal. Be sure to enjoy snacks in moderation.
You do not necessarily have to measure your food but having an awareness of appropriate portion sizes can be helpful. If buying or cooking in bulk, divide snacks into smaller containers to keep portions sizes under control.
07. Do not snack all day long
Some people prefer to have a mid-morning snack and a late afternoon snack, and others are satisfied with just a late afternoon snack. We do not recommend snacking continuously; the calories can add up quickly and lead to weight gain. Figure out an eating pattern that works best for you!
08. Pack snacks for on-the-go
Do you know how many times I have been running an errand or at a doctor’s appointment and have heard my stomach growl? Countless times. I bet you have too.
Having grab-and-go snacks packed in your bag can keep you on track with your health goals when these moments arise.
Pack items that do not require refrigeration like trail mix, whole grain crackers, healthy granola bars, or whole fruit.
09. Avoid snacking when busy
Try not to eat your snack while you are also sending out emails or fiddling on your phone. Instead, take a few minutes to step away from your work or distraction. Listen to your body and mind and try to avoid eating out of boredom or stress.
Eating in the absence of hunger can cause you to eat nutrient-poor foods that are high in sodium, fat, and sugar.
10. Use snacks to curb your hunger
Consuming snacks between meals can help prevent you from getting so hungry that you overeat at your next meal.
Keep your snacks simple and nutritious. Find quick fix snacks that you like and are easy – the possibilities and combinations are endless!
Always remember to check out the nutrition label and choose wisely when shopping. Watch for added sugars and salt and try making healthier versions of packaged snacks at home so you can choose the ingredients.
It is evident that consuming healthy snacks are very beneficial to the body in many aspects as stated above. Some of our favorite easy healthy recipes for snacking are granolas.
Like this Pumpkin Pie Spice Granola recipe with cranberries and candied sunflower seeds and Pecan Pie Granola recipe filled with mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and toasted coconut.
Granolas are full of grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Making granola a fantastic, sweet snack on its own. Always keep your granola on airtight containers for a longer shelf life.
Preparing snacks ahead of time and leaving them in the fridge, or the kitchen counter will save on time when you need a quick pick me up before leaving the house or while at home.
It can also help you choose a healthier snack over an unhealthy snack. That will lead to consuming more nutrient dense foods throughout the day that can help improve your health and live a healthy lifestyle.