Snacks make everything better. And when you have young kids, sometimes having ready-made food can be the difference between a perfect afternoon play date and complete meltdown city. When I’m planning our day out, making healthy to-go snacks is always on the agenda.
My kids (and many others, I would bet) love simple, white, unhealthy carbs – or what I call “carbs without a cause.” I’m talking about most pre-packaged snacks, boxed cereal or anything shaped like an animal (I’m looking at you, bright orange fish crackers). But since we try to keep a mostly gluten-free, vegetarian household, I’m always looking for new quick ways to make fruits and veggies fun. Check out three of our favorite no-cook snacks currently on repeat:
Peanut Butter & Celery Dipping Sticks
Peanut butter celery sticks are a go-to snack for us. They have plenty of fiber and protein, so they are filling – and I call that winning. Our version of this classic snack is simple to make and so portable!
Just scoop some natural peanut butter into the bottom of your travel container. When choosing PB to buy at the store, I always read the labels and find one with only one ingredient: Peanuts. Add thinly sliced celery sticks (or even carrot sticks) directly into the peanut butter. Top with some pretzels (we pick ones that are gluten-free) and you’re done!
FACT: Kids love dipping… and this quick snack makes all their dipping dreams come true. Also, if nut allergies are a concern for your family, you can make this with hummus.
PRO TIP: Hate stirring separated nut butter as much as I do? Store the jar upside down in your cupboard or pantry overnight. The separated oil gets re-absorbed into the butter and no stirring needed. Whoop!
Make-Ahead Yogurt Parfait
Yogurt parfaits are always a good idea, but I find the ready-made ones are jam-packed with sweeteners, so I like to make my own.
To make, add your favorite granola to the bottom of your travel container. Then layer some plain Greek yogurt over the granola and sweeten by adding a bit of honey on top — one long squeeze of honey should be enough, and it works out to fewer grams of sugar than flavored yogurt. Add berries, sprinkle with some unsweetened shredded coconut or chia seeds and enjoy. Just don’t forget to pack some spoons!
PRO TIP: Granola can lose its crunch if you store your parfait too long. If you’re keeping this snack overnight, just set aside the granola and add it in the morning so it doesn’t get soggy.
Green Monster Smoothie
Every day starts with a green smoothie in our house. My kids are reluctant veggie eaters, but aren't they all? I feel good knowing that they’re getting some green in their bodies first thing in the morning with this smoothie though (even if it’s through trickery).
We make this smoothie the day before and keep it in the fridge overnight, so it’s a perfect grab-and-go for a mid-morning snack (read: second breakfast). Here’s what you’ll need:
Approximately 2 cups organic frozen mango
Approximately 4 cups organic frozen spinach
1L of unsweetened non-dairy organic coconut milk
(Makes 3-4 servings)
Add all ingredients to a blender, starting with greens (smoothies always blend easier with the frozen chunks at the top). Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a shaker cup and keep it in the fridge overnight. If you’re looking to drink the smoothie right away, you might want to add ice so it’s nice and cold. You can also add a scoop of plant-based protein powder for an extra boost.
Happy snacking, friends!