Making healthy choices while eating on the go can be tough. Sometimes potato chips just sound so good. But despite their convenience, pre-packaged goodies (and even homemade snacks) are often packed with sugar, sodium, and other ingredients to be wary of. The good news is that with a little preparation and the right ingredients, snack time can be healthy, tasty, and hassle-free.
1. Caramelized Pumpkin Seeds
Autumn means pumpkin-flavored everything, but why stop when the trees are finally bare? Instead of grabbing another Pumpkin Spice Latte, bake a batch of pumpkin seeds. They can be made sweet or savory, and are packed with vitamins either way, making them ideal to grab as a quick, crunchy snack.
2. Dark Chocolate Coconut Protein Balls
Protein powder is easy to pack in your bag, but mixing it solely with water isn't always as satisfying as making a blended protein shake. To get a protein fix and some flavor without the need for a blender, try protein balls instead. Full of healthy fats and chocolate (yum), this gluten-free and paleo snack will provide a boost of energy to last all day (and they'll last all day in your bag, too).
3. Homemade Turkey Jerky
There's a reason campers carry this protein-filled snack: Jerky is great fuel for a long, active day, and it can withstand long treks in any temperature (talk about sturdy.) To keep the chewy snack healthy, opt for turkey instead of beef—it'll keep fat and sodium to a minimum.
4. ips Egg White Chips
Those in pursuit of a protein power snack should look no further. These egg white chips have seven grams of protein per serving and come in awesome flavors like white cheddar and barbeque. Snacking on crispy egg whites may not sound as appealing as chowing down on a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, but they happen to taste pretty darn good.
5. Annie Chun's Seaweed Snacks
Seaweed is quite the superfood: It's full of antioxidants, calcium, and tons of vitamins and minerals. But while the health benefits are many, its slimy texture doesn't appeal to everyone. Annie Chun's Seaweed Snacks, however, are crunchy and come in multiple flavors (brown sugar, anyone?), so the snack tastes less like algae, and more like a small slice heaven.
6. Triple Layered Apple Sandwich
Apples are great alone, but they're even better when layered with dried fruit, almond butter, and nutritious seeds like chia and sesame. Not to mention the fiber and protein in this mini meal will keep even the hungriest of appetites satisfied for hours.
7. Trail Mix
We love trail mix at Greatist—in fact, we eat it daily. But the tasty mix of nuts, fruit, and other goodies can be a dangerfood (not to mention easy to overeat). Luckily, there are several tricks for keeping it healthy, like buying pre-portioned bags, storing it in single-serve bags, or whipping up one of these 21 healthier trail mix recipes at home.
8. Fruit and Dip
Many fruits don't require a refrigerator and taste great with a dip like nut butter. Simply pick a dipper of choice (apples and bananas are always winners), put a few scoops of nut butter in a small Tupperware, and hit the road. Worried about the ripeness of your banana? Speed things up by packing it in a paper bag.
9. Mango Popcorn Balls
Often thought of as a buttery movie staple to stay away from, popcorn is actually a great snack to have on hand—and even better when in ball form. (It's a whole grain, after all.) But like many items on this list, preparation is key. We suggest skipping the butter and adding nuts and fruits instead. Not a mango fan? Try swapping in dried cranberries, cherries, or anything seasonal.
10. Dark Chocolate
It's true: chocolate can be a healthy snack. The key is sticking to dark varieties and pairing it with a healthy sidekick, like clementines or pomegranate seeds. Just try not to eat the entire bar. It's all about moderation, after all.
11. Energy Bites
We made these energy-packed delights and can say firsthand that they are awesome. Filled with sunflower seed butter, blueberries, oats, agave, and more, they're the perfect healthy treat (or pre-workout bite if heavy cardio is the goal). The only downside? They're almost too good.
12. Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Chips are an easy go-to snack, but few have substantial nutritional value. (Sigh, we'll miss you, Cheetos.) Instead, satisfy crunch cravings by noshing on a protein-filled bowl of roasted chickpeas, which can be seasoned to suit all taste buds. Love spice? Layer it on. Prefer sweet? That works, too.
13. Open-Faced Rice Cake Sandwich
PB&J is a lunchtime staple, but sometimes we like to change things up. To lighten the classic and add some crunch, sub rice cakes for bread. We also like topping them with banana slices and cinnamon or honey instead of jam.
14. Trader Joes Green Bean Chips
Baking veggie chips can be fun, but there are times when buying them is simply easier. Our store-bought favorite? Lightly Salted Crunchy Green Beans from Trader Joes. Filling up on greens has never tasted so good. Just beware of eating the entire bag in one sitting.
15. Dried Fruit
Fresh fruit is awesome, but it'd be pretty darn difficult to cut and eat a mango while commuting. Avoid the mess and reap the nutritional benefits by packing dried fruit instead. Just make sure to buy unsweetened, as some store-bought varieties can have up to 25 grams of sugar per serving. Excess sugar consumption can have some not-so-sweet consequences like type 2 diabetes and heart disease Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among adults with type 2 diabetes. Bleich, SN, Wang, YC. Department of Health Policy and Management. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD. Diabetes Care. 2011 Mar; 34(3): 551-5. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Johnson, RK, Appel, LJ, Brands, M, et al. Circulation. 2009 Sep; 120 (11): 1011-20. .
16. Mary's Gone Crackers
Thanks to the rise in popularity of gluten-free diets, finding wheat-free products is no longer so difficult. What is difficult is finding ones that are both healthy and tasty. Mary's Gone Crackers, however, are both. Made with brown rice, flax, and other gluten-free grains, the crackers are both tasty and sturdy—perfect for a topping like Justin's nut butter squeeze packs.
17. Curried Carrot Chips
Plain raw carrots aren't the most exciting or satisfying snack on the planet. To keep your taste buds enthused, get crafty with a peeler and make curried carrot chips. They take under 30 minutes to prepare and taste great with a variety of spices (or just salt and pepper).
18. DIY Protein Bars
Packaged protein bars can be delicious (and they certainly market themselves as nutritious), but heed caution: they're a dangerfood. Avoid the sugar trap of store bought kinds by experimenting with flavors and making them in your own kitchen instead. Some of our favorites: No-Bake Almond Fudge Protein Bars and Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Fudge Bars. (Don't let their sweet names fool you—they're actually healthy!)
19. Dressed Up Suzie's Puffed Rice Thin Cakes
Looking for a lighter, more compact version of rice cakes? Try Suzie's Puffed Rice Thin Cakes. They may be thin, but they're sturdy enough to stand up to the likes of avocado, a great topper made even better with a dash of Sriracha.
20. Granola Bars
Granola bars are a great go-to snack, but many store-bought versions aren't as healthy as their labels may indicate. While packaging looks healthy, they're often packed with high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils, which can lead to weight gain and high cholesterol Trans-fatty acids--effects on coronary heart disease. Karbowska, J., Kochan, Z. Gdański Uniwersytet Medyczny, Katedra i Zakład Biochemii. Polish Merkur Lekarski. 2011 Jul;31(181):56-9. Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome. Elliott, S.S., Keim, N.L., Stern, J.S., et al. Department of Nutrition, University of California. Davis, California. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002 Nov;76(5):911-22.. Try these homemade, nut-free granola bars as an alternative.
21. Dry Cereal
Cereal is a popular breakfast food for a reason: it's full of healthy carbs, fiber, and protein. It's also easy to throw it in a container, toss in your bag, and eat on the go. Just be careful when it comes to serving sizes, since some breakfast cereals can be high in calories and sugar.
22. Canned Fish
Fish may be a pungent snack, but the protein and omega-3s it packs make it worth the extra stink. Not to mention, eating omega-3s can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. (Just don't whip it out in a small room or on public transportation, please.) To keep preparation to a minimum, grab a snack pack like Bumble Bee Sensations Seasoned Tuna with Crackers.
23. No-Bake Zucchini Bread Granola Bites
Gluten-free and vegan, these bites are the perfect snack for someone with stomach sensitivities. Simply mix the ingredients, pop them in the fridge, and grab a few before heading out the door.
24. DIY Fruit Leather
Remember the days of fruit rollups and lunch boxes? Those were the best. And there's no reason not to incorporate them into adult life. Simply pick your favorite fruit and let your taste buds relive childhood, without the sugar crash. We're big fans of this Sneaky Green Apple Fruit Leather recipe, which has an extra nutritional boost from one of our favorite superfoods.
25. Pita Pocket with Hummus
Pita pockets taste great with almost any filling. We like to pack them to the brim with hummus, cucumber, and other veggies for a delicious vegetarian snack. For those looking for some protein, throw in deli turkey slices or pre-cooked chicken.
26. Turbana Plantain Chips
Plantain chips may not be as tasty as the fried, potato-based variety, but they're a much healthier option—and still quite good! Turbana keeps it simple by using all-natural ingredients in their six varieties. We love pairing the chili-flavored version with hummus.
27. Protein Wrap
While regular ol' bread may become squishy after sitting in a bag all day, wraps are much sturdier. Plus, they come in a variety of flavors (and can fit just as many dietary needs). Fill them with nut butter, honey, jam, turkey, cheese, pesto, or any other nutritious stuffer you like.
28. Fresh Veggies
Carrots, bell pepper, and sugar snap peas are just a few veggies that can be packed as a snack and enjoyed throughout the day. Pro tip: To keep them fresher, longer, store vegetables in a Tupperware instead of a plastic bag.
29. Homemade Baked Chips
Chips are delicious — there's no doubt about it. But the packaged kinds aren't exactly healthy. Making them from scratch, on the other hand, is nutritious and easy. Plus, you can experiment with ingredients (green beans, sweet potato, apple…oh my!) and have control over the amount of sodium and fat in each batch.
30. Healthy No-Bake Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites
Quick, easy, delicious… it's hard to go wrong with a snack like this. Not to mention these hearty bites are full of two Greatist favorites: chocolate and peanut butter. (And they taste like cookie dough.)
31. Cranberry-Orange Chex Mix
There's no need to banish cranberries from the kitchen after Thanksgiving. Enjoy the sweet-tart berries all year long by noshing on cranberry Chex mix. To make it a tad healthier, use fresh orange juice, low-sugar cereal, and cut back on the sugar.
32. Veggie Pirate's Booty
Spinach, parsley, and kale have never tasted so good—at least not in snack form. These airy delights are packed with veggies, but taste like a splurge. The one drawback? It's hard to put them down after opening. We suggest pouring a serving into a bowl and setting the rest aside to avoid overconsumption.
33. Whole-Wheat Zucchini Muffins
Whoever started the trend of putting veggies into baked goods is a genius. It can be tough to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in a day, so adding them to snacks certainly makes it easier. These zucchini muffins are full of fiber and vitamins, plus they're suitable for those who prefer the dairy-free or vegan lifestyle.
34. Whole-Wheat Pita Chips
Before grabbing a bag of sodium-laden potato chips, consider deconstructing a whole-wheat pita and turning it into a handful of bite-sized snacks that satisfy when it comes to crunch, but are better for your body. We love the Old Bay seasoning in this recipe, but you can also go sweet by adding cinnamon and a dash of sugar.
35. Buddy Fruits
Gummy snacks may seem like a splurge, but they can actually be a great way to fuel up on fruit. Our favorite are Buddy Fruits Pure Fruit Bites, which—true to their name—are made with 100 percent fruit.
36.Matcha Green Tea Pound Cake
We love anything that tastes like dessert but can pass as a healthy snack. Take this matcha bread, which has the flavor of pound cake but is made of green tea powder. For a full snack, pair it with berries or top with a light spread of nut butter.
37. Ants on a Log
There's no reason this snack should be left in the days of playgrounds and after school snacks—it's delicious and good for you at any age! The classic combination of celery, peanut butter, and raisins is good as-is, but don't be afraid to experiment: almost every kind of nut butter will work with this recipe, as will dried fruit or nuts.
38. Vegetable Salads Rolls
Salad is difficult to eat while on the run, but salad wrapped in rice papers is another story. Simply slice your favorite veggies, add a little sauce, wrap them up, and they're good to go. Not sure where to start? We love this recipe for Vegetable Salad Rolls with Almond-Lime Sauce.
39. Pretzels and Cheese
It's true: Cheese does require refrigeration. But if you're planning to snack midday, it'll hold up just fine. We recommend pairing a string cheese with a small bag of pretzels (regular or gluten-free).
40. KIND Healthy Grains Bar
KIND is well-known for their tasty trail mix bars, but they recently released a granola bar that's just as good—if not better. We tried the peanut butter dark chocolate and dark chocolate chunk variety, and loved them both. But be warned: they tend to crumble, so bring a napkin.
41. Carrot Cake Granola
Recipes with "cake" in the title tend to be winners, and this Carrot Cake Granola recipe is no exception. Made with coconut oil and natural sweeteners like maple syrup, a handful of this cereal is the perfect pre-gym snack or treat to keep you full in between meals. Did we mention it tastes like cake?
42. Lemon-Blueberry Paleo Muffins
Who doesn't love muffins? Not to mention healthy ones (like in this recipe) that are full of berries and topped with lemon sugar sprinkles. Whether the caveman diet appeals to you or not, this paleo snack is sure to please.