My Favorite Quick, Healthy Snacks

posted by Andrea | 05/3/2012

We are BIG “snackers” in our house — and we ALWAYS have a large assortment of cookies, bars, ice-cream, cake, pie, and candy to pack in our lunches, to eat for dessert, and just to snack on around the house.

And while I’m definitely not opposed to occasional (or somewhat frequent) sweet treats, I know that I have to balance those with healthy snacks throughout the day — especially since I’m almost always hungry!

However, I’m busy… and I assume you’re busy too, which makes eating healthy THAT much more difficult.

If you are struggling to come up with quick and easy snacks that are also healthy, here are a few of my favorites… most of which are also great ideas for school lunches!

FRUIT & VEGGIES: 

I like to keep a variety of fruit and veggies on hand — and I almost always wash it BEFORE I put it away. I found that if I didn’t wash it, I was less likely to eat it for a quick snack because it required one additional step.

Also, if possible, I’ll have all my fruit and veggies cut up and ready to eat — with the exception of apples and bananas because they get brown so quickly.

SLICED CHEESE & CRACKERS:

I always try to keep a variety of sliced cheeses and crackers in the house (I know crackers aren’t great, but I’m pretty sure they’re better than chips) for when I’m craving a salty snack or something with a little more substance.

PRETZELS:

I only recently started loving pretzels — and now I can’t stop eating them! They are another great (and somewhat healthy) snack when I’m craving a salty treat.

And they are even better with a few M&M’s :)

GRANOLA BARS: 

OK, so my recipe for granola bars isn’t exactly a health food — but they sure are delicious and I have to believe they are better than eating a huge piece of cake :)

FRUIT LEATHERS:

I buy organic fruit leather from Amazon.com and we eat these as snacks all year long. They come in a variety of flavors and are super portable — which makes it easy to always keep a few in my purse!

If you have a food dehydrator, you can actually make your own fruit leather too.

YOGURT & GRANOLA:

I have my own recipe for homemade yogurt – and the most delicious homemade granola I’ve ever tasted. I haven’t been very faithful at making either of these recipes lately, but they are a great healthy snack I try to keep on hand as much as possible.

NUTS: 

Nuts are pretty expensive, so I don’t often have huge quantities.  But I usually keep a few containers of nuts on hand for a quick snack.

MUFFINS & QUICK BREAD

Yes, some recipes have quite a bit of sugar in them, but for the most part, I’d say muffins and quick breads are a much healthier alternative to cookies and brownies. Plus, I usually try to slip in some ground flax seed which makes me feel just a little bit better!

My all-time favorite muffin/bread recipe is banana chocolate chip – SO GOOD!

These are just a few of the snacks I always try to keep on hand to reduce the amount of sweets I consume each day.

What are your favorite healthy snacks to keep on hand? 

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15 comments

  1. Amy

    05/03/2012

    Hands down it has to be Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and hard boiled eggs :) Very quick and easy with a baby. I also snack on walnuts, dried cranberries, avocado, and apples. Sometimes I’ll grab a slice of wheat toast and slather on some Kerrygold butter (the best butter on the planet :) or some peanut butter.
    This is making me hungry now!
    I definitely am going to look into your yogurt and granola recipes:)

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  2. Dawn

    05/03/2012

    I buy that same fruit leather for my kids lunches. I buy it at Costco for $10 for the same size box!

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  3. Cathy

    05/03/2012

    I love the thought of cutting up and washing the fruits and vegetables. I am the same way – if they are not cut up and ready, I am less likely to snack on them. I also wanted to say that your granola bar recipe is amazing!! I fix that all the time. My husband loves them!! That is usually what each of us grabs in the morning to eat for breakfast on the way to work. Quick question about them – if I want to make up a bunch a head of time – can you just freeze them? How long would they last in the freezer? Thanks for all your tips and ideas – love your site!

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  4. linran

    05/03/2012

    When my older son was going through a growth spurt, it was hard to keep up with how much he wanted to eat. Pretzels are inexpensive and low in fat so I would leave an open bag on the counter for him to help himself whenever he was hungry between meals.

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  5. angie

    05/03/2012

    i make a big batch of honey granola, then mix up some homemade trail mix…with whatever I have on hand. this week’s trail mix has the honey granola, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, peanuts, and raisins. sometimes i through dried cranberries in or even m&m’s. waaaay healthier than buying a snack at the store!

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  6. Lindsay

    05/03/2012

    I really enjoy cottage cheese with pineapple. If you’ve never tried it before it may sound a bit strange, but it’s quite delicious and nutritious!

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  7. Sarah

    05/03/2012

    I LOVE this blog, but I did not love this post. I feel like one of the hardest things about people trying to eat healthy is that they don’t know what is healthy. This contributes to that problem by listing a bunch of unhealthy food as healthy snacks.

    An ounce of Ritz crackers is higher in calories than an ounce of Lays potato chips. Cheese is extremely high in fat and calories. Pretzels? Muffins? These are just snacks, not healthy snacks.

    It makes me sad to see people eating something that they don’t love because they think it’s healthy when it’s actually not. For example, after my dad had a heart attack, we went to a restaurant and he ordered chicken salad thinking it was a healthy option. There were other things he would have preferred, but he thought it was healthy because it had the word salad in it.

    When I worked at Starbucks, I would see many customers deny themselves the breakfast they wanted in lieu of what they thought was a healthy option, such as zucchini walnut muffins (490 calories, 44% of your daily fat allowance; that muffin is one of the most fat and calorie dense items on the menu.)

    I know this isn’t a food or a health blog, but I don’t think contributing to misconceptions of unhealthy foods being healthy is a good use of this normally amazing blog.

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  8. Ann

    05/04/2012

    The honey wheat pretzels from Aldi are incredibly addicting. (No, they are not a health snack but they are yummy!)
    Kudos to you for making many of your snacks at home instead of buying prepackaged items! Now if only there was a way to pre-package items (grapes, carrots, etc) without using so many baggies and using as little space as possible. :-)

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  9. Ann

    05/04/2012

    And seriously! How do you stay so slim if you are always hungry and snacking. That’s a metabolism I wish I had!

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    Ivy Miller Reply:

    She is nursing Nora… Breastfeeding burns a ton of calories that you need to replace to keep up your milk supply.

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    Ann Reply:

    I nursed for babies for 9 months to a year each and packed on the pounds while I was doing it. I know they say it burns calories but it never worked for me!

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  10. Melissa

    05/04/2012

    Some mornings I make a large pot of oatmeal and after we’ve eatten what we can of it for breakfast I put the intentionally made extras in the fridge. After the oatmeal is cold I like to sprinkle some cinnamon into it and layer it parfait style with either some low fat vanilla yogurt (or sometimes some vanilla pudding) and some fresh sliced berries or diced apples. This isn’t the fastest snack in the world to prepare but knowing how yummy it is motivates me to take the five minutes or so to pull it together. I love that the ‘recipe’ changes depending on what I happen to have on hand and I love that the left overs from breakfast can serve double duty by becoming a snack for later. Serving oatmeal cold might sound a little odd but after trying it once my household fell in love with this snack.

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  11. Amy

    05/05/2012

    I have started making home made granola bars about a month or so ago. We would never go back to the box brands! We also have nuts (mostly almonds!, I have a peanut allergy!), cheese and tortilla chips and salsa. (My family loves the organic blue tortilla chips and salsa verde from Trader Joes!) :)

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  12. Beth

    05/05/2012

    We snack on fruits as veggies as well. I like the convenience aspect of washing and bagging them before putting them away, but washing fruit early makes it spoil faster than washing it right before eating, especially with foods like berries. So if we don’t get to all the bags quickly enough, we end up with mushy fruit that no one wants to eat! My kids love pretzels with peanut butter for a mid-afternoon snack. I like that it gives a nice little punch of protein to ward off the crabbies until dinner! And yogurt is a huge staple at our house!

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