Healthy Snacks for You and Your Family

Snacks shouldn’t make up the bulk of our daily calories. Caloric needs vary person to person, but overall-we shouldn’t be over-snacking and should focus on getting lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables in to our meals. Often people ask me what they should be eating for snacks and what to give their children for healthy snack options. Below is a list of healthy and budget-conscious snacks for children and adults alike.

-Fresh Fruit: Apples, clementines, oranges, bananas, etc. are ready to go and can be thrown in a book bag or purse for a quick source of energy!

-Baggies of Fresh Fruit/Veggies: Utilize re-useable or disposable snack bags to pack berries, grapes, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, slices of cucumbers, sliced bell peppers, etc. Hummus or a yogurt-based dressing can be a tasty addition to fresh veggies.

-Granola Bars: Avoid ones containing excess sugar –which can be disguised as “sugar, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc” (one of the first 3 ingredients means there’s quite a bit of sugar involved). Some great brands I love include: KIND, Annie’s, CLIF (They make a kid’s CLIF version as well!), RxBar, Lara Bars, Kashi, and Luna are just a few! For younger kids-split the bar in half and save the rest for the next day!

-Dry Cereal: Pour ½-1 cup of a not overly sweetened cereal for a crunchy snack. Think mixing half Cheerios or plain Chex cereal with a sweeter cereal to have a happy harmony of sweet and crunchy! (Your kids will love you for this!)

-Air Popped Popcorn: Popping your own popcorn at home and adding a variety of flavors or leaving it plain is a healthy alternative to satisfy that crunchy and salty craving without going overboard. If air-popped is a hassle Smart Pop and Smartfood Delight popcorn brands are delicious and available in a time crunch.

-String Cheese: Convenient, portable, and cheesy. BOOM! Throw it in the freezer and take it out for a packed lunch where it will thaw and remain cold!

-Jerky: If you can find reduced-sodium options- try them!

-Yogurt: Greek yogurts are my jam! A protein-packed on-the-go container makes for a great snack! My favorite brands that can be found locally, are high in protein and lower in sugar are Yoplait 100 Greek Yogurt, Oikos Triple Zero, and Chobani Greek Yogurts.

-Nuts or DIY Trail Mix: Nuts and seeds provide a dose of healthy fats and keep that hunger pain away. Almonds, cashews, peanuts (aim for unsalted/non-honey-roasted), pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are all great options. The problem with nuts/seeds/trail mix is that PORTION size is the kicker. A small handful is just the right amount for a proper serving.

Try some of the snack ideas above and let us know what you think! What are some of your favorite snacks?

-Be healthy, live well.

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