Healthy Snacking for Kids of All Ages

7251561974_6a5e6c49ca_zIt’s a weekday evening and you’re rushing through the grocery store trying to collect enough food to make it through the rest of the week of school lunches, afternoon sports, and life. You’re wracking your brain for snacks/lunch sides and drawing a blank so you head to the snack aisle and throw in Cheetos, Oreos, and other stuff because you’re stressed and it’s “just this once.” Been there? We all have.

Or it’s 3p.m. and the vending machine at your office is taunting you with mini donuts and cheese powder covered whatevers, you haven’t made that rushed trip to the grocery store this week so you shell out $5 and throw out the bag as soon as possible to avoid looking at the nutrition facts. We’ve been there too.

The point is- we don’t want to have to be there. And we’ve found that the best way to avoid both of these scenarios is to have a plan. So we make a list- keep it in the car, on the phone, or maybe posted on the fridge door, and try to have 5-10 of these options in the house at all times. Healthy choices are so much easier when you don’t have to think about it!

Here is our list of easy, grab and go snacks. And most of them can easily survive a day in a purse or backpack.

Unrefrigerated:

-Granola bars, the good ones (not the glorified sugar cereal kind).  Some of our favorites are Clif bars, Larabars, Luna bars, and Clif Jr. bars.

-Peanut Butter singles: make sure to get real peanut butter and not a peanut butter spread which is usually loaded with sugar and extra oils. You can pair the peanut butter singles with apples, rice cakes, bananas, etc for a quick and easy snack.

-Apple slices: Many grocery stores have presliced apples packaged in individual serving sizes; you can usually find these with the salads

-Baby carrots or carrot sticks- often sold in pre-packaged servings sizes

-Bananas (you can also pair these with the peanut butter pouches/packages)

-Clementines/Mandarins: Often known as Cuties or Halos, these are a great sweet pick-me-up for late afternoon sugar cravings

-Trail mix: dried fruits and nuts (go easy on the M&M’s :). Buying your own ingredients and mixing up a batch of trail mix is super easy (and you can control exactly what goes into it), but you can also find some great prepackaged trail mix options out there. Just make sure to check the ingredients for extra sugars and unnecessary oils.

-Boxes of raisins- they’re not just for kids. And if they are, you’d be amazed the smile a little box of raisins can bring. If raisins aren’t your thing; the same grocery section often carries dried orange essence prunes (try ‘em, they’re good!), dates, figs, and apricots which are all handy to throw in a purse or gym bag.

-Rice cakes- Call us crazy, but a plain rice cake covered in cream cheese is a pretty awesome 3 o’clock pick me up.

-Popcorn: Go easy on the kettle corn and the cheese powder, but there are some awesome options out there for individually packaged popcorn

-Applesauce packages (unsweetened)

-Olives. Tiny cans of whole olives with the pop top lid are an indestructible throw in the bag and go snack

Needs a cooler:

-Cheese sticks- you’d be amazed the variety of cheese sticks and individual serving packaged cheeses. You can find the basic mozzarella and cheddar, but also pepper jack, cheese blends, gouda, swiss, havarti, and many other types

-Sandwich meat -many companies are packaging lunch meat in a snack size portion. We’ve even seen combo packages with cheese, meat, and almonds at many grocery stores

-Yogurt- you do need to be careful with yogurt, many kinds of yogurt are nothing more than sugar-sweetened, artificially flavored, thickened milk. We prefer to buy the unsweetened greek yogurt and add our own sweetener. Buy either the prepackaged single servings of plain yogurt or a big container to divide out and add some fruit, honey, OR jam for a great protein packed snack.

-Hard boiled eggs- You can even find these precooked and individually packaged at many gas stations! (We’ve seen them at all the Maverick stations in town).

What’s YOUR favorite easy snack? Please tell us in the comments! We’re always looking for new ideas!

 

We wish you good health,

~Columbia Basin Racquet Club

 

Photo Credit: Liz Mochrie : Flickr

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