(NOTE: For a newer, prettier list of real food snacks, click here.)
When I first began eating better and had what I call my “food conversion“, one of my biggest dilemmas was what in the world to give the kids for healthy snacks, it seemed like everything was in the “bad” category, like the junk pictured above. I have a home day care and definitely needed some easy snack ideas. If you have more to add, please leave a comment below and share it with everyone!
One note though, the more nutrient dense foods the kids are eating at mealtime (plenty of healthy fats are key), I definitely notice less hanging around the kitchen wanting a snack…but there are always times we still need some good snack ideas, so here are a few.
HEALTHY SNACK IDEAS (as opposed to those pictured above!):
Notes: I'm adding three stars (***) by the ideas below that would be good low carb options if you have weight issues you're concerned about.
And you may want to read Is Edamame a Safe Snack?
- Kelly's Healthy Popcorn and Is Popcorn Really Good for You?
- ***Kale Chips
- ***Nitrite free salami – find a farm or meat market that sells all-natural meats: www.localharvest.org or www.eatwellguide.org. Or click here to get safe, healthy meat online.
- ***Cheese, preferably raw – read more here about the amazing benefits of raw dairy! No “processed cheese” — Sick!
- Toast with a good sourdough or fermented bread with real butter, preferably organic (remember butter and other healthy fats help your body absorb nutrients in your other food and help with digestion!)
- Yogurt, preferably homemade from raw milk, but for sure whole milk yogurt, never low fat! (This post on healthy milk explains why low-fat dairy is so unhealthy.)
- Organic crackers – my kids like the organic cheese bunny crackers or organic graham crackers for a once-in-a-while snack, and although it's better than a lot of snacks, they're still not the best because it's in yet another package, which I need to get away from more and more. Have you seen the recipe for these sourdough crackers? Now those are a great choice, and they're really good! (Serve with salami or cheese mentioned above for good protein.)
- Homemade cookies – preferably with less sugar than the recipe calls for, or at least with more natural sugars like organic cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, and the jury is still out on Agave Nectar – read more about that at the My Dark Secrets post.
- ***Crispy nuts – an extra healthy, yummy & easy way to prepare nuts. Or even better, try these chili lime almonds.
- Organic dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, etc. – these are great on salads, too) – these are least expensive through my buying club (check your local health food store), at a bulk foods store, or at an Amish store.
- Fresh fruits (preferably ) – Jeanne just gave me a great idea! She will freeze grapes or berries in small baggies and the kids like to grab those for a quick snack on the go.
- Frozen fruits like blueberries, grapes, or mangos. ***With all fruits and veggies, keep an eye on the “Dirty Dozen“, so you know which ones it's important to buy organic (if they're a highly sprayed crop), OR which ones you can just buy conventional with no problem.
- ***Fresh veggies (again, keep an eye on the “Dirty Dozen“, so you know which ones it's important to buy organic (if they're a highly sprayed crop), OR which ones you can just buy conventional with no problem) – try dipping them in this easy-to-make homemade ranch.
- Extra healthy Superfood Smoothies.
- Organic applesauce – again, this is one of my “compromises” that I give the kids when I don't have any homemade applesauce in the freezer – I have a recipe which is SO good by the way, and from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook – it tastes like the best apple pie you've ever eaten: Homemade applesauce.
- Deviled eggs – yum! Or just plain hard-boiled eggs with sea salt. It's SO easy and FAST to make hard boiled eggs in the pressure cooker, see how here.
- Organic corn chips with this, the BEST homemade salsa recipe! or homemade guacamole – if you're not using homemade, check your labels and find some with short ingredient lists, no trans fats, no MSG, no preservatives, etc. (You'll have to do some sleuthing to find some half-way decent tortilla chips…) Also, my kids love this tasty Mexican layered dip.
- Here's the BEST homemade fresh salsa recipe!
- This is a weird snack that I LOVE to have for my lunch sometimes: a bowl of grapes or apples (preferably organic), crispy pecans and fresh shredded parmesan – yum! The kids love it, too.
- Sliced apples with cinnamon and a little sugar on top is always a hit.
- My kids love this “Texas Caviar”/Bean Salsa dip.
- Homemade pita bread crisps/bagel crisps/tortilla crisps – start with healthy versions of pita bread, tortillas or bagels (no trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, whole grain, preferably organic, etc.), if using bagels, slice into thin pieces and brush with butter, and cinnamon sugar if desired, bake until golden. Easy. See my recipe for homemade tortillas!
- From Julie: “Honey Bunches of Oats”: use whatever amounts you prefer and mix together peanut butter, honey and dried oats, preferably properly prepared – made similar to Crispy Nuts: mix together 4 c. organic oats, 4 c. filtered water, 1/2 c. yogurt or whey – soak on the counter overnight. In the morning drain and spread onto a buttered cookie sheet. Bake at 150* (or your oven's lowest temp) for 24 hours or until crunchy.
- Leftovers of this wildly popular baked oatmeal recipe (even with those who aren't crazy about oatmeal), are also great for on-the-go.
- ***My kids love beef jerky or meat sticks. (Be sure to get the kind made without MSG – I usually get it at our farm, or you could try homemade. You can also click here to order healthy meats online.) Also, Braunsweiger or Head Cheese – yes, I said it, and I even eat it! The “head cheese” just tastes like sausage and it's so good for you! Thankfully, and surprisingly, our kids (all but our teen of course) love it. We always call it “sausage”, whatever you do, don't call it by the real names!
- Crab meat dip with crackers or celery. (Fresh crab meat is best because it's not easy finding canned crab meat without all the preservatives.) Mix one can crab meat with 8 oz. cream cheese and a few squirts of organic ketchup to your taste. Easy and kids love it.
- Beef Liver Pâté with Shallots and Bacon (A Tasty Nutrient-Dense Snack!)
- My latest favorite snack is a banana sliced and fried in bacon grease – it may sound odd, but it's soooooo good! Kids love it, too! (Yes, bacon fat is a healthy fat IF you get it from a farm where the animals are raised on pasture!)
- Homemade Potato Chips – guilt-free!
- Spicy Pita Snackers (Like Olga's without the MSG!)
- Ham and Cream Cheese Roll-ups
- Crispy Rosemary Walnuts (Converting a Walnut Hater)
- Can anything good come from the chips aisle?
More posts you might like:
- Healthy & tasty waffles and pancakes
- Meatless/Lenten/Vegetarian meal ideas
- All about SUPPLEMENTS
- Coconut for dieting and more!
- Sourdough Galore: English Muffins, Crackers, Pizza Crust, Pancakes, and Waffles!