Ask any parent and they’ll tell you how tired they are of the words, “Can I have a snack?” Although, we do have to be honest with ourselves — kids aren’t alone in their desire to snack the day away. Plenty of grown-ups are grappling with the urge to mindlessly nibble all day, too.
Shifts in routine, underlying stress of work and school, and snacks within arm’s reach make it easy get into a habit of sneaking treats more often than necessary. And while snacks can be a nourishing way to keep your brain and body energized (especially for littler tanks that need regular fuel), excessive snacking isn’t the best way to keep you sane (or healthy).
6 Tips for Healthier Snacking
Below are tips and strategies so that your snacking doesn’t spin out of control. You’ll also find 12 healthy recipes to make snack time something to look forward to.
- Don’t use your kitchen as an office or school room. Space limitations may make this hard, but if possible, find another place for you to work and your kids to study besides the kitchen. Having the pantry within sight can be a constant trigger to reach for a snack, even when you’re not hungry.
- Establish scheduled snack times. Set specific times for snacks and stick to it. Be firm when the kids ask for snacks outside the schedule, reminding them when they can expect their snack.
- Create a daily snack box. Every morning, assemble a snack box with two snacks and a full water bottle for each child. Put it within reach in the pantry or fridge. Older kids can decide when it’s snack time, younger ones may need help spacing things out. This technique works great for weekends, school breaks, and summer vacation. Side note: there’s no reason adults can’t use this strategy, too.
- Assemble a container of fruits and veggies. Take a few minutes in the evening or on weekends to cut up crunchy vegetables and/or slice fruits and keep them at eye level in the fridge. This makes it easy to choose healthy snacks for yourself and to offer them to the kids when they report being hungry.
- Keep an eye on portions. Rather than sitting down with a whole bag of peanuts, portion out a small amount and put the bag back in the cupboard. You can also pre-portion popcorn, trail mix, dried fruit, crackers, and other snacks into small containers or bags and store them in the pantry.
- Find healthy options. If you have something to look forward to, it may help your resolve to hold off until snack time.
Below are 12 snack recipes to get you started. You might also find the smart snacking tips in this post helpful, too!
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These tasty apples are basically like the tender insides of a pie. They cook in no time in the microwave and can be eaten straight up or spooned over plain yogurt.
A frosty, creamy smoothie is an easy fix for a healthy snack. This one works with fresh or frozen berries and any leftovers can be poured into popsicle molds.
Speaking of pops, here’s a recipe to carry you through spring right into summer. The yogurt adds calcium and protein, which make them more filling than an all-fruit pop.
This is an excellent cooking craft project to make with kids that will transform practically any fruit into a tangy sheet of fruit leather.
This is a good fix if you’re looking for a sweet treat, but don’t want a sugar hangover. They whirl up in no time in the food processor and will last for weeks in the fridge and even longer when frozen.
Skip the store-bought bars and make your own instead. Bring the kids into the kitchen, since this is a fun one to make family-style.
When the mood for something salty and crunchy strikes, nothing beats homemade popcorn. It also happens to be a whole grain that’s better for you than most of what you’ll find in the supermarket snack aisle.
Make a batch of these to store in the fridge and set out for snacks all week long. Peel and serve with salt and pepper or turn them into simple deviled eggs or egg salad to scoop up with crackers.
A creamy kid- and grown-up pleasing dip that’s super nourishing. It’s packed with protein and healthy fats, which means it will hold everyone over until mealtime.
When you want something on the lighter side, this simple cucumber salad is a good bet. With just a few ingredients, you can make it in no time and it tends to go over well with kids, too.
Set out a sheet pan of these crispy sweet potatoes and watch them disappear in minutes. If you want to make it a little easier on yourself, don’t peel the sweet potatoes (which means more fiber in your fries, too).
Make these nourishing bites in a mini muffin tin to enjoy warm or cold. Do up a double batch and freeze half for next week.