Looking for some simple snack ideas that are healthy, quick and easy? This list of 15 simple snacks requires no cooking or baking and are perfect to grab on-the-go or at home!
For me, the best snacks are those that are the simplest. More often than not, my snacks tend to be whole foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts. These foods are provided by nature for our enjoyment and require nothing more than a quick rinse or chop! (No cooking or baking required!!) Sometimes I’ll enjoy a snack that is a little more processed such as a bag of popcorn, whole grain cereal or protein bar. But, the key is that my snacks must be “simple”. Simple equals Convenient. If my snacks are “convenient” I have a higher probability of actually eating them, instead of grabbing a less nutritious or high calorie item.
- It’s easy to keep the ingredients for these 15 healthy snacks on hand. Take a look at my Master Grocery List for everything you would need. You could have a different snack every day for 2 weeks! Or, focus on just three or four snacks and rotate between them until you get sick of them or need to re-stock the ingredient(s). For example, one week I may buy celery (to enjoy with peanut butter and raisins) until I use it all up. Maybe some grapes with cheese sticks too. Next week I might do carrot sticks and hummus and a seasonal fresh fruit, like strawberries. I try to avoid purchasing too many fresh ingredients at once, knowing that they may go bad before my family and I can eat it all.
- On the other hand, it’s very easy to keep your pantry or fridge stocked with nuts, protein bars, and whole grain crackers, popcorn, and cereal. You don’t have to worry about them going bad (well, maybe a little stale).
- Snacks are great for in-between meals, after school, and pre- or post-workout, to provide energy, a stable blood sugar, and a healthy metabolism.
- Ideally, it’s best if your snacks are less than 250 calories and have a combination of protein and carbs (i.e. cheese and crackers, nut butter and apple).
- Hydration is key to avoid over snacking because hunger can often be confused for thirst.
- Sometimes I’ll combine a few of these snacks together and make it a meal! They also come in handy as a side dish with breakfast, lunch or dinner!
- For an example of how to incorporate these snacks into your routine, take a look at my Rotation Printable page!
1. Bell Pepper Strips or Carrot Sticks + Hummus
There’s something about dipping raw veggies into dip, like hummus, that makes me feel I’m being really healthy! (Pat on the back for not choosing potato chips!) I’ll buy one bell pepper, slice it up, and share it as a snack with my husband. I alternate with baby carrots, which are even easier, because there’s no prep. Baby carrots are the one raw vegetable my kids will actually eat!
2. Celery + Nut Butter
This combo can’t be beat if you’re craving something crunchy! Kids usually love it too, especially if you take the time to spread the peanut butter (or any nut butter) in the celery and top with raisins to make the classic “ants on a log”. But when I’m lazy, I usually just take the celery sticks and dip them into a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter, with a few raisins on the side. I could eat this everyday!
3. Sliced Apple + Nut Butter
Another healthy snack that packs some serious crunch! When I eat an apple, I usually prefer to slice it up first because it’s easier to eat that way. Plus, it’s the perfect vessel to dip into creamy or crunchy nut butter (which provides some protein)! In this case I used dark chocolate peanut butter which was “awesome”. Another kid favorite!
4. Cottage Cheese + Fruit or Crackers
Another simple, classic snack. We always have cottage cheese in our fridge. Alone, it’s a little bland, but once you add some fruit it goes to another level. Melon, pineapple and berries are all great! For a more savory snack, cottage cheese is perfect scooped up with some crackers.
5. Whole Grain Waffle or Toast + Nut Butter
This is the perfect after school snack for kids! I often enjoy it as a pre- or post- workout snack. Start with a high-fiber frozen waffle or slice of bread, toast it, and while it’s warm, spread it with your favorite nut butter (I used chocolate peanut butter again). Yum! This also makes a great breakfast, with some fruit on the side.
6. Whole Grain Cereal + Sliced Banana
We don’t eat cereal for breakfast in our house because it’s just not a very substantial meal that keeps you full until lunch. Instead, we like to enjoy a bowl of cereal for snack once in a while. My absolute favorite is Cocoa Krispies (Whole Foods sells a somewhat healthier version) topped with sliced banana. I consider this to be a “comfort food snack” which I indulge in only once in a while. Any type of “non-sugary” cereal serves as a great snack as long as you keep it to one bowl!
7. Grapes + Cheese Stick
It doesn’t get much easier than this! Grapes are usually always in season, so they are a staple in our fridge. Organic String Cheese is also a staple in our fridge. (I buy a pack of 24 at Costco.) This snack always satisfies and is another kid favorite!
8. Crackers + Cheese
A classic appetizer which also makes the perfect snack. This snack will never get boring because there are so many different types of crackers and cheeses to experiment with. Pictured above is a trio of Spanish cheese with an assortment of crackers. Sharp cheddar, Swiss cheese and goat cheese are a few other favorites. I usually always have a block of some sort of cheese in the fridge!
Yogurt is a family favorite. Although there’s an overwhelming amount of options in the grocery store to choose from, I prefer to stick with basic Plain Greek yogurt. Not only is the sugar content lower, but it allows you the freedom to top it however you’d like. Simply use a teaspoon of jam, a drizzle of honey, or fresh berries. You can also add granola, hemp hearts, oats, or even cereal. Perfect with breakfast too!
When you’re craving something sweet, go for nature’s candy… fresh fruit! This really is the simplest snack of them all! How perfect is a banana? It’s portable and has it’s own packaging! Each type of fruit provides it’s own unique blend of vitamins and is at it’s best when purchased at it’s seasons’ peak. In addition to bananas, oranges, apples, peaches and berries, I also love kiwi, watermelon, pineapple, grapefruit, and cherries! I don’t think I’ve ever met a fruit that I didn’t like! Great as a side dish with any meal, but even better enjoyed on its on for a snack!
The best time for me to enjoy a smoothie is post-workout when I’m thirsty and in need of some recovery energy. It’s also a perfect afternoon snack for kids and can even stand-in as a meal replacement once in a while. There’s no end to the variety of flavors and ingredients so have fun experimenting! A basic favorite is a Strawberry Banana Smoothie: Blend 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 a frozen banana, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, optional 1 scoop protein powder.
Nuts, without a doubt, are my #1 favorite snack! I love them all: pistachios, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia, and peanuts (a legume). I actually have to be careful that I don’t over snack on nuts because a handful here and there can add up in calories fast. A recommended serving of nuts is 1 ounce which equals about 1/4 a cup which equals 160-200 calories, depending on the nut. Nuts are great to pair with other snacks such as a piece of fruit or a couple slices of cheese.
13. Trail Mix
Trail Mix is awesome because you can enjoy a combination of ingredients (usually salty and sweet) in endless combinations! I find trail mix to be very satisfying as an afternoon snack to tide me over until dinner. (It’s also great to have if you’re on a hike or just out doing errands!) My go-to variation of trail mix starts with a 100 calorie bag of popcorn, then a small handful of nuts and a few raisins or chocolate chips.
Popcorn is a great snack because you can get a lot of bang for your buck. For example, there’s only 100 calories in a 2 cup serving of Skinny Pop popcorn! Since it’s a whole grain it’s a great source of healthy fiber and therefore quite filling. (Just don’t overload it with butter, salt or artificial flavorings!) For convenience, I like to keep my pantry stocked with a variety of individual bags of popcorn (Popcorners is a new favorite). Every once in a while I pull out my air popper and pop my own! Either way, it’s perfect for movie time, as a base for my favorite trail mix, and a great alternative to chips and pretzels.
15. Protein, Snack or Energy Bar
Although protein, snack and energy bars are more processed than whole food snacks, they still have a place in my pantry. I try to stick to bars that use wholesome, natural ingredients and deliver protein and nutrients without too many calories. They’re perfect for sticking in your purse or desk for a convenient snack. My husband uses them after work for his pre-workout snack. I’ve even been known to use them as a meal replacement for lunch when I just don’t feel like stopping to eat. (Not the best lunch, but it’s a reality!) There’s a huge selection of bars to choose from. Just be sure to read the nutrition label and ingredient list and be picky. Otherwise, you may just be eating a glorified candy bar!
Most of the snacks listed above can easily be prepped and packed to-go. I always pack my husband a couple of snacks for his work day. It’s also helpful to have healthy snacks packed up in an insulated bag for when you’re going to be out all day and especially if you’ve got kids with you. At the very least, I always carry a protein bar or a bag of nuts in my purse.
A few of my favorite containers are Ziploc plastic containers (in a variety of small sizes), snack size and sandwich size baggies, EasyLunchboxes Mini Dippers (affiliate link) and 2 oz plastic containers (affiliate link). Don’t forget your insulated bag and ice pack for cold items. It’s handy to have a reusable water bottle too so you can stay hydrated!