Clean Eating Snack Ideas
Here is our family’s go-to list of snacks. When I’m hungry or Miss E asks for something to eat (seventeen times a day), we try to grab these things first. When tummies are full, then we’ll have some other munchies as a treat. Otherwise, trust me, we would fill up entirely on crackers, chips, and grahams, with a side of cheerios and plain pasta. I’m not saying that veggie straws and cheddar bunnies are bad, but we try to save them for a fun treat after eating something with some protein, vitamins, or other nutritional benefit.
- Nuts, nuts, and more nuts: almonds (raw), cashews (roasted unsalted), and peanuts (roasted unsalted) are favorites in our house.
- Fresh fruit: apples, bananas, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, avocado (yes, plain, cut in bite-sized chunks), and well.. you get the idea. Fruit. Wondering if you have to buy organic? Well let’s just say I’m pretty sure a non-organic peach is still better for you than a donut. Just sayin.
- Dried fruit: raisins, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, prunes, dates; dehydrated bananas, apples, and mango (easy to make your own! Store bought is delicious but often contains lots of added sugar, as well as sulfur… can be an allergy concern.)
- Veggies: Not excited to see this on the list? Try an experiment. Put a bowl of veggie sticks out in the middle of your table during meal time, on your desk while you work on the computer, or on the coffee table while your family watches tv. (And no, don’t leave the dish of m&m’s next to it!) Then watch. Maybe it’s just my family but we’re mindless snackers. Even if it’s baby-cut carrots we fin ourselves munching them while we talk at the table, work at the computer, or watch tv. Veggies to try: baby carrots, mini sweet peppers, seedless cucumbers, snap peas, raw green beans, cauliflower.
- Hummus: a great dip for veggies or chips (my fav!). Miss E even eats it by the spoonful… or fingerful. Let’s be honest, scooping and licking your fingers is way more fun than using a spoon.
- Nut Butter: peanut or almond butter by the spoonful, smeared on a banana, or scooped into a little dish and drizzled with honey. (Oh, and read the ingredients on your PB! I’ve got it home before and then realized it was “peanut spread” and had all sorts of ingredients and fillers in it. I’m happy if all it contains are “peanuts” and “salt.”)
- Cheese: string cheese, slices of cheese, squares of cheese, cheesy cheesy cheese.
- Yogurt / Kefir: Try buying plain and sweetening it yourself with fruit, honey, or pure maple syrup; or just read the labels and make sure your favorite flavor doesn’t have artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. We’ve been liking the tub of organic vanilla yogurt that Aldi just started carrying. Great flavor and super affordable. (Wondering about Greek Yogurt, Regular Yogurt, and Kefir? Strained Greek yogurt is highest in protein but lower in probiotics, while kefir is highest in probiotics but generally contains less protein. Regular yogurt is somewhere in the middle. FYI: Watch for “Greek style yogurt,” as it tends to be regular yogurt that is just thickened. Not bad for you, but doesn’t have the same protein content that strained Greek yogurt has.)
- Smoothies / Smoothie Popsicles: blend up your favorite fruits and veggies with some yogurt, drink, and then freeze any leftovers for a summer treat!
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: boiled and peeled, they keep in the fridge for up to a week for an instant power-packed snack or meal!
- No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Balls: Easy to throw together, full of good calories, and yummy enough to be known as “cookie balls” around these parts, here’s the recipe>>
- Popcorn: Sorry, that microwaved stuff doesn’t count. Try popping your own on the stovetop in coconut oil and topped with sea salt.
- Granola: make it chunky and enjoy with a cup pf coffee instead of whatever’s sitting there temping you in the break room! Here’s my favorite recipe>>
Additional Tips for Clean Snacking:
– Preparation is key! Wash fruit ahead of time, slice up some veggies, keep a container of nuts and dried fruit in your purse or backpack. When you’re hungry, you’re going to grab whatever is convenient and staring you in the face!
– Thinking about eating that brownie, piece(s) of candy, or ENTIRE FAMILY-SIZE BAG OF CHEETOS (I would never ever do that. Ahem.) Drink a glass of water, then eat one of the snacks listed above. Still hungry?
– Tell your kids (and remind yourself!) why these things are good for you. More than once I’ve heard Elsie comment while she eats, “This is full of good protein.” Recognize the value of what you’re putting into your body. You will feel better about doing something good for yourself, and healthy snacking will taste even better!