6 Healthy Snacks that Won’t Break the Bank
We all need a little something to get us by between meals now and again. Healthy snacks are a way to ward off hunger without getting too far off track calorie wise. Problem is, if you listen to all the ads and hype, you might think keeping a few appropriate items on hand has to cost big bucks. Here are six healthy snacks that won’t break the bank.
The giant bag I picked up at the warehouse store came in at just over thirty cents a pound. Definitely within anyone’s definition of a cheap healthy snack. Now, you can dress it up, turn it into caramel corn and generally take it to the next level calorie wise quite easily. In fact, our favorite way to enjoy it is by making garlic Alfredo popcorn to watch online movies with. The point is, the base ingredient is unprocessed and relatively healthy. From there, you can omit salt, or reduce the butter by half by mixing it with grape seed oil. Or just enjoy it plain as an extra item to tuck in with your brown bag lunch. Bonus? Kids dig it.
In addition to the seasonal fruit access which varies depending on your location, there are a few which are reasonably affordable all year long. My top four for price and function? Apples, bananas, clementines and raisins. Apples are a grab and take snack that require no preparation and dirty no dishes. They can also go into a myriad of other recipes, providing serious flexibility. Bananas are quick, always available at your local Save A Lot for less than forty cents a pound, and like apples can be used for many other things besides a quick healthy snack. (Think bananas foster, daiquiris, breakfast cookies and more.)
Clementines may not provide as much flexibility, but as far as appropriate snack size and low mess items go, these things rock. Kids dig ‘em, they peel easily and are much lower on the messy scale than oranges if you’re looking for something to dress up the school lunches. I know I’ve written before about recipes and ideas for raisins, but I’m throwing them out again here. Why? Because honestly they’re pretty tough to beat when it comes to price, ease of storage and menu planning flexibility. A handful or two makes a great quick treat, and having them on hand for the pantry allows you to jazz up some otherwise humdrum meals with affordable ease.
Sauces, Dips and Spreads
These don’t exactly stand alone in the category of healthy snacks. You pretty much have to pair them with something. That being said, if you choose veggies instead of potato chips and carefully select your dipping medium, you’ll come out ahead in the calorie game. Think peanut sauce, spicy eggplant spreads, guacamole or bean dips instead of heavy cheese sauces or ranches. Mix up your honey mustard dip by using agave nectar instead. Some of the more flavorful vegan recipes in this category are worth considering, if calorie shaving is your main concern. Personally, we’re dippin’ and dunkin’ fans at our house, so finding substitutes in this area is an ongoing process. (Look for a post in the fairly near future on healthier dips and spreads, FYI.)
These things are available in uber bulk for a song if you enjoy shopping at Costco. Not only do they meet my definition of healthy snacks, they bring a flexibility to the recipe arena that’s comparable to popcorn. Two favorites at our house are chocolate covered pretzels for holiday treats and gifts and baked honey mustard pretzels for a low calorie upgrade to the plain variety. We’re always on the lookout for more bulk pretzel ideas however, so feel free to share your inspired ideas below in the comment section.
There are more recipes out there for smoothies than could ever be properly listed here. We do have a couple of favorites however, including peanut butter banana smoothies with soy milk and a cholesterol lowering berry smoothie that was doctor recommended to my Dad. I don’t have cholesterol issues, but do like the flavor and protein punch this one provides. (Again, would love it if you all would share your fave smoothies below.)
Trail Mix of Choice
This is sort of wide open for recipes as well. Starting with another frugal food I’ve written on before, peanuts, toss in raisins, dark chocolate chips, sunflower seed kernels and whatever else floats your boat. You can really mix and match here according to your ingredient preferences and budget.
Similar Wise Bread Articles
Looking for other snack related posts here on Wise Bread? Here are a few to get you started.
- A fresh take on baking pumpkin seeds
- Dump cake and other easy sweet treats
- Easy refrigerator pickles
- Baby carrots: not as frugal as you might think
- Simple DIY freezer treats
For general frugal food articles, Wise Bread offers too many to mention. However, if you’re looking for idea lists that use one particular frugal ingredient exclusively, I can include a fair number of those here in the closing section. Check out the following topics:
- Leftover turkey
- Canned pumpkin
- Canned salmon
- Imitation crab meat
- Frozen spinach
- Peanut butter
Do you have other inspired ideas for healthy snacks? Have you blogged or written about them on your own site? Share your idea or link below.