How to Make Healthy Snacks


How to Make Healthy Snacks

Summer is here, along with all kinds of fun outings!

We load up the kids and head to the pool, the park, the mountains, the creek, the beach, sports events and museums. We’re on the go!

Then stomachs start to rumble and everyone wants a snack. Are you ready?


The Downside of Pre-Packaged Snacks

It’s so easy to reach for a “grab-and-go” pre-packaged snack. Chips, candy, crackers, cookies, soda, energy drinks, those unnatural-colored meat sticks. Even bars aren’t that great because they’re almost always loaded with added sugars. Plus, most of these snacks have additives, preservatives and food dyes, which aren’t good for anyone, especially kids. Most of these snacks are hyperpalatable, meaning they’ve been formulated to light up the brain, causing cravings and an inability to stop eating them.

Most common snacks are high in refined grains (white flour), added sugars and unhealthy fats. Flour foods and added sugars cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. So while they provide fast energy, they burn out quickly and are a nutritional void.  And one hour later, everyone’s blood sugar crashes, they’re hungry again and this time they’re crabby.

Is this really the best we can do?


Snacks as Mini-Meals

To do better – to make better snacks – let’s reframe the word “snack.”  Instead of thinking of it as a quick grab-and-go item, think of snacks as mini-meals. These mini-meals are nutritional powerhouses that fuel energy and keep blood sugar from spiking and crashing.

It takes just a little planning and minimal preparation to create snacks that contain complex carbohydrates for immediate energy, plus lots of protein and healthy fats for staying power! This combination gives immediate energy without the blood sugar spike and crash.

To be successful, it’s important to be prepared! You will need:

  1. A cooler or lunchbox with cooler packs.
  2. Small containers (preferably Pyrex or stainless steel). Some containers have multiple sections to separate foods in the same container.
  3. Stainless steel water bottles


Mix and Match Snack Items

Choose several items from the list below to create a mini-meal snack. Include at least one protein item (nuts/seeds/meats/eggs/cheese). Make sure there are healthy fats (guacamole, olives, nuts/seeds, full-fat dairy). Then add the complex carbohydrates (vegetables, fruit, whole-grain crackers, beans). Many of these items can be bought pre-made or pre-cut/cubed at the store to save time. Having these items on your shopping list all the time ensures that they’re available for daily snacking or to pack up for your next outing.

  • Raw or roasted nuts/seeds – can create a mix – cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts
  • Nut butter packets with fruit
  • Fruit of all kinds – berries, oranges, bananas
  • Pre-cut vegetables – pair with hummus or guacamole or bean dip
  • Seaweed snax!
  • Homemade trail mix – nuts, dried fruit, roasted chick peas or roasted soy beans or roasted baru nuts, dark chocolate chips
  • Meat jerky – beef, turkey or salmon
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Meat chunks or smoked salmon
  • Cheese cubes
  • Olives
  • Plain yogurt dip (add spices, herbs or even bagel seasoning)
  • Whole grain/seed crackers, such as Mary’s Gone Crackers and Go Raw Crisps


What to Drink?

Especially when out in the sun, it’s important to stay hydrated. The rule of thumb is to drink half one’s body weight in ounces each day.  A person weighing 100 pounds needs at least 50 oz of water.

First on the list of hydrating beverages is plain filtered water. This can be jazzed up with slices of lemon, lime, berries or cucumbers. Other choices are unsweetened seltzers and unsweetened teas. 

When the activity includes sweating, it’s a good idea to add some electrolytes into the mix. The commercial electrolyte drinks usually contain food dyes and additives. Skip those! It’s so easy to make your own electrolyte drink, simply by drinking coconut water, or adding a pinch of sea salt and the juice of 1/4 lemon to water. A drop of pure stevia can add a little sweetness.

Now you and the family are ready to jump into all of those summer activities with lots of energy!

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