We’ve all been there. You’re at the grocery store with your kids and they’re begging you to get Gushers or Doritos or some other snack that’s sure to send them bouncing off the walls. It’s tempting to just give in and toss them in the cart. Is saying no really worth the fight right now?
But what if you already had healthy snacks waiting at home? Odds are those salty-sweet treats wouldn’t be so appealing to you or the kiddos. That’s why we’ve whipped up a handful of quick and easy snack ideas to keep your family full and thriving. Keep these favorites on hand so you’re always ready to alleviate the munchies and boost your wellbeing.
1. DIY Trail Mix
Got nuts? What about seeds? Odds are you have a bag of raisins or dried cranberries hiding somewhere in your pantry. Why not put these oft-forgotten items into one healthy snack that everyone can enjoy?
DIY trail mix is quick and easy and your options for combining ingredients are practically limitless. Make a classic GORP mix with peanuts, raisins and M&M’s or whip up a tropical blend of cashews, Brazil nuts, coconut flakes, banana chips and dried mango. This effortless pick-me-up is a must-have when you’re running low on energy or the kids need a snack before soccer practice.
2. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is chock full of protein, a nutrient that builds strong muscles and promotes healthy growth. It’s also low in calories as long as you choose a low or non-fat variety. Yet, most peoples’ fridge is devoid of this healthy treat. That’s because it can taste a bit sour at first. However, if you add mix-ins, you’ll get a mild, creamy flavor that’s to die for.
Buy a big container of cottage cheese or stock up on single-serve packs. Top this tasty treat with fruit like bananas and peaches or get fancy and make a cottage cheese banana split with granola and berries. Cottage cheese also works well with savory flavors like basil, tomato and olive oil, so get creative and dig in!
3. Snack Skewers
If you snag even five minutes of free time this week, slip into the kitchen and whip up some snack skewers. All you need are a few 12-inch bamboo skewers and an array of piercable foods. Think grapes, strawberries, cheese cubes and folded slices of lunch meat. Even veggies like cucumbers and carrots will work if you cut them into small enough pieces.
The best part about making snack skewers is that they’re highly customizable, so you can incorporate your kiddos’ favorite foods or use whatever you have on hand in the fridge. Nix food waste and maximize your grocery budget — this snack hack can do both!
4. Fruit Juice Popsicles
Your family’s probably had its fair share of ice pops and ice cream bars this year. Why not put a healthy spin on these sugary treats by making your own fruit juice popsicles? You don’t even need ice pop molds, just a few 3-ounce plastic cups and some popsicle sticks.
Simply combine your ingredients in a blender, pour the mixture into cups, cover with tin foil and insert the sticks. Freeze for at least five hours or overnight. When you’re ready for a refreshing snack, submerge the bottom half of each cup in warm water for a few seconds. Pull on the stick and, voila! A snack worthy of any hungry child — or adult!
5. Roasted Chickpeas
Craving some crunch? When chips, pretzels and other salty snacks don’t cut it, try roasting up some chickpeas. This tasty legume makes for a quick, easy snack, especially if you prep a batch early in the week. Simply drain a can of chickpeas, pat the beans dry with a paper towel and sprinkle them with olive oil and salt. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast at 400°F for about half an hour.
Once they’re out of the oven, dust them in chili powder or curry powder to give your snack a bit of a kick. Fresh herb combos like rosemary and lemon zest or cilantro and lime are great options, too. Enjoy them while they’re hot for optimal crunchiness or eat them later in the week for a chewier, nuttier snack.
Snacking Made Easy
After you make a few of these healthy snacks, you’ll wonder why you didn’t ditch the store-bought stuff sooner. Make snack time even easier by packing trail mix, chickpeas and other tasty treats into single-serving baggies or reusable containers. This way you can grab and go whenever you’re in a rush to get out the door.