Since starting my health journey two years ago and eating (mostly) Paleo, I’ve noticed that I feel more satisfied at meals and I don’t snack as much as I used to. But…there are times when I want a little snack. I’m a teacher, and on school days, I eat lunch around 11:00. Then we don’t eat supper until around 6:00. Seven hours is WAY too long to go without anything to eat. So I always pack a snack to eat after school. Read on for some of my favorite snacks and 20 easy healthy snack ideas you may want to have on hand the next time you’re looking for something to hold you over between meals.
When I go on trips, I always pack snacks. You never know what the options are going to be when you’re on the road. The gas station or restaurant you stop at is probably not going to have many healthy options. So I always try to be prepared.
These easy healthy snack ideas are all safe options if you’re following Paleo. Check out my post all about the Paleo diet if you’re wondering what that is. But if you’re not, no worries. These are great, real food based healthy snack options. They’re all gluten-free, dairy-free, and full of real, nutritious food. No highly processed, chemical-filled foods here!
Keep in mind that just because they are healthy, that doesn’t mean we should eat as much as we want of them. A snack is something that you eat small quantities of between meals to hold you over until the next meal. These ideas are definitely healthier options than chips and Fruit Roll Ups, but they’re not meant to be eat-as-much-as-you-want foods. Contrary to what some people believe, too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing. I believe in listening to your body and eating when you’re hungry just until you’re satisfied.
20 Easy Healthy Snack Ideas
1. Apples and Almond Butter
I put apples & almond butter as #1, because it is my FAVORITE go-to snack. If I eat a snack before bed, it’s gonna be some apple slices, sprinkled with cinnamon, and dipped in almond butter.
I really like Harris Teeter’s creamy almond butter. It’s a GREAT price (currently $6.99 for a 16 oz container) and has ONE clean ingredient – just dry roasted almonds. It’s so smooth – not too tough and hard to spread like some almond butters are.
Another great option, if you don’t have a Harris Teeter nearby, is Justin’s Almond Butter. This one has two ingredients – just dry roasted almonds and sustainably-sourced palm oil. The great thing about Justin’s is that they have several other delicious flavors, like maple and cinnamon almond butters. They also have single-serving size squeeze packs that make great on-the-go snacks.
I’m so glad these pass as Paleo-approved foods. Larabars are the cleanest store-bought bars I’ve found, and they are SOOO good. They’re made of just dates, nuts, and whatever other flavors the specific bars have.
These Coconut Cream Pie ones contain unsweetened coconut and coconut oil. I love when store-bought food products, like these, list EVERY ingredient (not “natural flavors”) and when they have minimal ingredients. I believe it’s best to eat food when it’s as close to it’s natural state as possibly, not overly processed or mixed with tons of other ingredients. These pass the test for me!
You can also make homemade Larabars. I’ve made them a few times, and they’re so simple to make. Damy Health has recipes for tons of different Larabar flavors you can try!
3. Homemade Trail Mix
Trail mix is a snack I make pretty much every time I go on a road trip. It is full of healthy fats, protein, and natural sugar to keep you energized and to satisfy your hunger. It’s super easy to make and you can customize it how you want it. Here’s a great recipe from Nurture My Gut that you can use to get you started. But feel free to use any of your favorite nuts and dried fruit to make your trail mix your own.
4. Carrots and Almond Butter
My boys and I LOVE eating baby carrots with nut butter. I stick with almond butter, and my boys prefer peanut butter. Peanut butter is not considered “Paleo,” because it is a legume, not a nut. Legumes contain lectin and phytic acid, which are antinutrients (nuts do too, but not as many as legumes). They can cause gut issues and nutrient deficiencies if eaten too often or not prepared properly. My boys and husband LOVE their peanut butter though and haven’t had any problems with it. Just be careful not to go too crazy with the peanut butter.
Carrots are a great source of antioxidants, potassium, Vitamins A and C, and many more nutrients. When choosing your snacks, choose foods, like carrots, that are going to help you in ways others, rather than just fill your belly. Choose foods that pack lots of micronutrients into the calories, rather than processed foods that are full of calories, with hardly any micronutrients. They’re calorie rich, but nutrient poor.
5. Epic Bar
Like the Larabars, I love that Epic Bars don’t have tons of crazy ingredients. They’re made of meat, seasonings, and dried fruits. They have a great combination of protein, healthy fat, and carbohydrates to give you energy and fill you up. My favorite is their Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar. Unfortunately that one is not for you if you’re strict Paleo, since their bacon has brown sugar in it (It has 6 grams of sugar in the bar. It is still a great treat to have every once in a while.
Their Currant Mint Lamb Bars are one of their delicious, Paleo-friendly flavors (There’s no sugar, except for the natural sugar in the currants.)
Really any nuts (except peanuts, as they’re actually legumes) are great Paleo-snack options. They contain healthy fats and protein. They’re a great option to keep you full between meals.
My favorite nuts to snack on are Pistachios. They are high in protein, potassium, and antioxidants. Pistachios are also delicious and even have a little sweetness to them (They contain 9 grams of natural sugar in 1 Cup.)
You can buy pistachios without the shells, which makes it less messy for road trips. But, I find that if I get the shelled ones I eat MORE. I don’t have to take the time to shell them myself. I can mindlessly eat handfuls and handfuls of the yummy pistachios. So the in-the-shell version are best to avoid over-eating.
7. Frozen Berries
This is another easy healthy snack idea my boys LOVE. We get the BJ’s Wellsley Farms Organic Triple Berry Blend for making smoothies. However, sometimes I’ll just put some frozen berries in a bowl, and we’ll eat them by themselves. They’re delicious when they’ve been sitting out for a few minutes and are partially unfrozen. That makes them still cold like a popsicle, but a little bit softer and easier to eat. Yum!
8. Siete Tortilla Chips and Homemade Guacamole
I order Siete chips at Thrive Market or pick them up in Sprouts Farmer’s Market when I make a trip there. My favorite kind is the Lime flavored Siete Grain Free Tortilla Chips. They taste like regular tortilla chips, just a little lighter. However, they’re grain-free. No GMO corn or gluten! They’re made of cassava flour, coconut flour, avocado oil, chia seed, salt, and whatever specific flavor it is. Other flavors they have are: No Salt, Sea Salt, Nacho, Ranch, Sal Y Limon, and Fuego flavors.
Siete chips and guacamole make a delicious snack or side dish to your favorite Tex-Mex meal.
Ok, this one’s as simple as it gets. When you need a grab-and-go snack, a banana is your way to go. I’m sure you all know that bananas are a great source of potassium, which is great for heart health. They’re also a great source of fiber and carbohydrates. The more green a banana is the more starch it contains from carbohydrates. As it ripens, the starch converts to sugar. Bananas contain about 14 grams of sugar when ripe, but when eaten with the fiber, it releases slowly into your blood stream and doesn’t make your blood sugar spike up quickly.
If I’m in a hurry in the morning and don’t have time to make something for breakfast, bananas make a great breakfast-on-the-go.
10. Nick’s Sticks
Nick’s Sticks are another yummy meat snack. There are turkey, spicy beef, and spicy turkey flavors, but my favorite is the 100% Grass-Fed Beef Sticks. They’re made from 100% grass-fed and grass-finished cows and also contain water and seasonings. Super simple, healthy ingredients. My boys’ love these! Every time we go in Sprout’s Farmer’s Market they ask to get Nick’s Sticks.
11. Veggies and Ranch Dip
Raw veggies, like cucumbers, carrots, and celery, is another favorite healthy snack of ours. My kids definitely prefer raw veggies over cooked ones. On the weekend, you can cut up a bunch of raw vegetables to snack on or put in lunches throughout the week. When veggies are chopped and made more convenient to grab, you’re much more likely to actually eat them.
They taste great paired with a healthy ranch dressing, like this one from One Lovely Life. It’s sugar free, and it uses coconut milk instead of dairy.
12. Dang Coconut Chips
The Caramel favored Dang Coconut Chips are my favorite! They are very clean and just have 3 ingredients – coconut, sea salt, and coconut sugar. Since they’re pretty sweet, these coconut chips are not something I would eat everyday. But they make a delicious treat when I am wanting something sweeter, and they’re a much healthier alternatives to candy.
13. Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Check out this recipe from Appetizer Addiction to see how to make these delicious snacks. Bacon-wrapped dates are the perfect combination of sweet and salty. You can stuff the dates with an almond or goat cheese to make it even tastier. My favorite is goat cheese-stuffed. The texture combination is amazing!
You can make these even healthier by using high-quality Butcher Box bacon. It’is free of nitrates and sugar. So the sweetness would just be from the natural sugar in the dates.
14. Rx Bar
RXBars are a healthy, more natural version of a protein bar. This Chocolate Sea Salt flavor is delicious. I love how they are very transparent and share all the ingredients that are in them. They’re dairy free, using egg whites for the protein source, and they also contain almonds, cashews, dates, chocolate, and sea salt.
I’m not a huge pickle lover. If I’m going to eat them, they’ve got to be the kosher dills – either whole or spears. Many pickles you buy at the grocery store contain preservatives, food coloring, artificial flavors, sugar, and/or high fructose corn syrup. Pickles CAN be healthy if you look at the label and choose ones with good ingredients – free of the ingredients I mentioned – or if you make them yourself.
These Bubbie’s are a great brand to try. They have super clean ingredients – just cucumbers, water, salt, garlic, dill, and other spices. No sugar, no vinegar, and nothing artificial. Just real, clean ingredients. These pickles are actually fermented naturally with salt and water, so they don’t need vinegar. AND, that adds probiotic benefits!
To save some money, you can also give homemade pickles a try. Here’s a great recipe from All the Nourishing Things.
16. Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips
Jackson Honest chips are another great snack option that are about as clean as it gets. These sweet potato chips are only made of sweet potatoes, organic coconut oil, and sea salt. They’re the perfect option when you’re looking for something to satisfy your hunger, you want something crunchy, and you want it to be healthy. You can grab them here at Thrive Market. Use this link to get 25% off your first order at ThriveMarket.com. You get free shipping on all orders over $49 (which, for me, is REAL easy to do!)
17. Hard Boiled Eggs
When you’re looking for a snack that’s a good source of protein, you can’t go wrong with hard boiled eggs. Simply add your eggs to boiling water (carefully), let them boil for about 10 minutes, take them out and transfer them to ice water for about 10 minutes, and then peel them. They’re super easy to make and less expensive than buying protein bars.
18. Kale Chips
Kale chips are a great way to get your kids to eat their vegetables. My boys love these crispy, salty kale chips. Fit Mitten Kitchen has a kale chips recipe with the best spice combination and nutritional yeast (it gives it a little cheesy flavor).
A classic healthy snack option is apple sauce. However, most apple sauces you find in the grocery store are loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Thrive Market Applesauce has ONE ingredient – organic apples. It definitely passes the test for me with being made from whole, clean, and minimal ingredients. It’s also an easy snack to pack in lunchboxes. Win, win!
This granola recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine is a perfect Paleo-fied version of granola. Granola is another favorite snack I make to bring on road trips. It’s basically like trail mix, but baked with coconut oil, honey, and yummy spices. My boys and husband enjoy it on top of yogurt. I like it all by itself. Or, sometimes I eat is like cereal with some almond milk and blueberries.
Which one of these sounds the best to you? Or what are some of your other favorite easy healthy snack ideas?