Each summer I love to take advantage of the time my kids have off school to fill their little minds and hearts with fun, adventure, and learning. As my three children have gotten older and out of the nap stage, summer days revolve around trips to the pool, parks, and various “field trips” and “road trips.” That means a good store of healthy, on-the-go snacks is essential for these various venues to keep the “campers” happy and full of energy!
Finding Healthy On-the-Go Snacks Isn’t Easy
It’s not always as simple as it seems to find or get my family to actually eat nutritious on-the-go snacks. A trip down the snack aisles at the grocery store reduces our choices to mostly crackers, gummies and cookies that do not provide the long-lasting energy we need when we’re running around. Instead, I try to turn to healthy grab-and-go snacks like the 30+ store-bought options or homemade ideas below.
The Key to Actually Eating Healthy Snacks
Buying or making healthy snacks is the first step. But, let’s face it, getting the family to actually eat them can be a big hurdle.
A HUGE help to that end has been simply organizing the snacks in an attractive, easily-accessible way.
The first day I organized them with a variety of on-the-go snacks, my daughter and son opened the fridge and simultaneously went “Wow!!!” when they saw healthy “eye candy” in the door. Those little rebels kept “sneaking” fridge door snacks throughout the day.
Here are 30+ Healthy On-the-Go Snack Ideas!
1) Homemade Clif Kid Z-Bars – Cut up and wrap these bars separately in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator or freezer for a quick and healthier treat. The refrigerator also keeps them from melting in warm little hands in the car!
2) Fresh or Frozen Grapes – Wash and divide up a large grape bunch into small bunches and place in a container in the fridge. That way it’s easy to grab this minimally-messy fruit for your next trip. Or try frozen grapes for nature’s best popsicle!
3. No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Energy Bites – These freezer-friendly, no-bake oatmeal energy bites come together in minutes and are full of all real food ingredients. I don’t feel quite so bad grabbing a few of these delicious, chocolatey treats! Great for after-school snacks too!
3) Whole Wheat Pretzels with Nut Butter – Look in the health food section for ones that are high in fiber and have no preservatives or additives. Bring along small containers of peanut butter or almond butter for dipping to add in some protein.
4) The Best Homemade Popcorn – This “real food” popcorn rivals any movie theater popcorn. Make a big batch in just a few minutes and then store in an airtight container. It lasts for 2-3 days when sealed.
5) Apples and Pears – Wash (using this quick homemade veggie wash) small to medium-sized apples and pears for self-contained, fiber-filled snacks. Stick in a fridge drawer so they are easily available to grab and go.
6) All-Natural Cheese Sticks – Add in this low-cal protein and calcium-rich snack to your day to keep your appetite at bay. These little guys fit perfectly in my small open bin in the door of my Frigidaire Gallery Refrigerator.
7) Powerball Cookies – Oh these little orbs are absolutely delicious and a relatively healthy no-bake cookie. I stick them in the fridge or freezer and they can last for weeks (although they never stick around long!).
8) Homemade Trail Mix – Save money and skip all the added sugars, salt, and preservatives found in many store-bought trail mixes. Take a trip to the bulk bins at the store to create your own container of trail mix. Ideas include dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, dried bananas), all-natural dark chocolate chips, your favorite nuts, and mini whole wheat pretzels.
9) Multigrain Crackers with Cheese Slices – Look in the health food section for crackers that are high in fiber and have no preservatives or additives. Then, I add a few cheese slices and crackers to a small sealed container for a satisfying mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.
10) Whole Wheat Banana Pumpkin Muffins – This is hands-down my family’s favorite, whole wheat muffin recipe. These muffins are naturally sweet and moist. Store in the fridge or freezer for longer life, but like the Powerball Cookies, they’ll probably disappear pretty quickly.
11) Frozen Peas – I used to love these as a kid and mine do now! They are sweet and a welcomed cold treat in the summer.
12) Sunflower Seeds – I buy lightly salted, roasted sunflower seeds in the bulk food section and my kids love these, as do I.
13) Squeezable Apple Sauce Pouches – I scour the label of any applesauce I buy to make sure there are no added sugars (look out especially for High Fructose Corn Syrup!) and preservatives. But, there are actually some great, all-natural options of these in the snack aisle of most stores now.
15) Squeezable yogurts or small cups of yogurt – Look for ones with low sugar content and organic if possible.
16) Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Banana Bites – There is something about small bites that make a snack even more delicious. Give this tasty combo a try.
18) Baby Carrots with Nut Butter – I always keep these on hand in my refrigerator. They are so easy to throw in a lunchbox or baggie for the car. Add a small container of peanut butter or almond butter or a great dipping option, too.
20) Clementines – My whole family loves these “naturally pre-packaged” easy-to-peel citrus fruits. They are especially cheap and good during the winter months.
21) Breakfast Cookies – These all “real food” cookies are packed with protein, potassium, fiber, and calcium. They’ve been a family favorite for years.
22) Mixed Nuts – I always have a container of mixed nuts on hand in the pantry. Or my favorite nuts–pistachios in the shell!
23) All-Natural or Organic Turkey Pepperonis – I find these in the health food section near the refrigerated sausage. My kids down these healthier pepperonis by themselves or we enjoy them on whole grain crackers.
24) Hard-boiled Eggs – Boil eggs, peel and store in the fridge for a filling, protein-rich snack that can be eaten almost anywhere.
25) Homemade Chex Mix – This Homemade Chex Mix recipe is easy to whip up, makes your home smell ah-maze-ing as it bakes in the oven, and is an addictive snack food that has proven to be a crowd favorite for decades. The recipe comes from my grandma and its secret sauce is the key to its deliciousness.
28) Zucchini Breakfast Cookies – Zucchini for breakfast!? Yep. And bananas, oats, and nut butter, too. All in one transportable, super nutritious, tasty COOKIE.
29) Ants on a Log – You remember this old school snack, right? Spread some nut butter on a celery stick and then add raisins on top. You can make a whole plate full and keep them in the refrigerator for several days, so you can grab one or two at a time to go.
30) Fruit Cups – You can either purchase all-natural fruit cups at the store (preferably packaged in 100% real fruit juice) or make your own by simply cutting up fruit, tossing it with a little juice (one has Vitamin C in it, to prevent browning), and place in small containers with lids.
31) Homemade KIND Bars – Kelly from The Nourishing Home says, “It was so exciting to be able to replicate this bar for far less. And even better, to be able to avoid any unwanted ingredients, as well as customize the bars to my family’s taste preferences. These little protein-rich bars are a hit with kids and adults alike!”
32) All-Natural Beef Sticks – I find these protein-rich snacks at our local Farmer’s Market, made with local, grass-fed beef.
33) Whole Grain Bagels with Plain Cream Cheese – About once a month, I run by our local bakery to purchase some whole grain bagels. While I’m there, I ask them to “bread slice” some of them so we can easily snack on them. For an on-the-go option, add a few tablespoons of plain cream cheese to a small sealable container for dipping the bagels slices.
34) Sugar snap peas – These sweet little guys can go anywhere with you. My kids love them straight up, but I like them dipped in some Homemade Ranch Dip.
35) Pickles – Polly’s kids love pickles, believe it or not. With more and more research showing that probiotic-rich, cultured foods are good for the gut, pickles made our healthy snack list.
36) Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries – Berries travel pretty well when kept chilled and in a sealed container. The antioxidants provided in this version of “nature’s candy” make berries a nutrient powerhouse.
37) Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Muffins – Ok, you caught us. We are big muffin fans around here. But, cross my heart, these baked goods are actually pretty darn good for you and so yummy!
38) Healthier Grab-and-Go Drinks – This one isn’t exactly a snack, but staying properly hydrated is definitely a healthy summer necessity. In the summer, I try to have small chilled water bottles always on hand for my kids in the refrigerator. I also occasionally buy fun grab-and-go drinks as a treat for the pool or a picnic. Polly and I both look for 100% fruit juices or a healthier all-natural alternative to soda.