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healthy snacks

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Easy Paleo Granola Bars :: Oat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

March 9, 2022

These yummy oat free Paleo granola bars are a snap to prep in the blender, quick to bake, and even easier to eat!

Easy Paleo Granola Bars :: Oat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything, and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Moving week…and snack short-cuts!

It’s *finally* here! Moving week! It’s been a long year as we awaited our house to finish, and I’m getting ready to get these boxes we have been surrounded by into their final destination! Which means…I won’t have a whole lot of time in the kitchen, or be able to find much of anything until we get unpacked. I decided to get a few things stashed in the pantry that we can grab easily while we are moving, and I even got a new kitchen find to make the granola bar making process even faster!

Easy Paleo Granola Bars :: Oat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Meet my new $13 kitchen friend!

Seriously, this is the best 13 dollars I’ve spent in a long while! I would even say life changing status that compares to the Instant Pot. If you have ever made granola bars before, you know that in a pan, the edges tend to get slightly more cooked than the middle, and sometimes the cutting process can lead to some crumbs. These little silicone granola bar pans literally solve all of those problems, and truly the end result is perfectly shaped, perfectly cooked bars every. single. time….and I’m so here for that!

Easy Paleo Granola Bars :: Oat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Let’s talk about the ingredients!

While we aren’t a “paleo” exclusive house, I do like to keep ingredients on a rotation so we aren’t just eating the same ingredients all the time. Most granola bars have an oat base, and since we do oats in other places throughout the week from baked oatmeal to breakfast cookies, I wanted to make this staple, easy to make bar without oats to change the nutrient profile up a little bit. You can swap the nuts for whatever nuts that you have on hand – and I do think that if you are nut free you can use all seeds. The combination power packed nuts, seeds, and coconut, makes for a balanced fuel for everyone in the house!

Easy Paleo Granola Bars :: Oat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

The Method :: Mix the Dry Ingredients

No hand chopping here! This whole granola bar mixture can be done right in your food processor! Put all of the dry ingredients into the food processor, and pulse about 4 long pulses, just to mix everything up and give a coarse “chop.” The pieces should look about like this ::

Easy Paleo Granola Bars :: Oat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

The Method :: Mix the Wet Ingredients

Next, you’ll want to melt the honey, coconut oil, and almond butter in a sauce pan, and pour into the food processor. The wet ingredients are what gives the “stick” to the granola bar to bind the pieces together, so you really shouldn’t try to adjust the amounts of these, or you’ll end up with a crumbly mess if you use less, or a gooey mess if you use more. Pulse the food processor to combine the dry pieces with the wet ingredients. You can pulse until the pieces are still on the visible side, or until they are very small and unrecognizable. I like to go somewhere in between – I do have “coconut chip” detective that will refuse the bar if she can “see” the coconut chips – but she has no idea they are there in this form (and she is the biggest fan out of everyone of these bars btw!)! The mixture should look like this ::

Easy Paleo Granola Bars :: Oat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

The Method :: Assemble and Bake

Again, I think the $13 investment in the silicone granola bar pans is so worth it – I am kicking myself for not getting one sooner! I think I would even pay double that for this convenience. Simply spoon the mixture into each well, and press it down firmly with the pack of your spoon. If you are making the bars in an 8×8 pan or a 9×9 pan, line the pan with parchment paper first, and then pour the mixture in. You’ll want to press the mixture down as firmly as you can before baking.

Easy Paleo Granola Bars :: Oat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Snack ideas and storage

Once the bars cool completely, they pop out of the silicone liner so easy, and you can store them in an airtight container in the pantry up to 3 months. Use your paleo granola bars for easy lunchbox add-ins or a quick snack with a side of fruit or veggies and dip! And for those of you with little ones at home, the *best* part about making your own granola bars is that you control the size. You can easily cut these bars into “bites” which is how I often still pack them for my 8 year old’s lunchbox. A full bar makes a good snack for her, but she doesn’t need all of that with other things in a full lunchbox too. My older girls do, though, so we keep the full size in the pantry, and I cut them to the size I need!

Easy Paleo Granola Bars :: Oat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Easy Paleo Granola Bars :: Oat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and place your silicone granola bar liners on a baking sheet. If you don’t have granola bar pans, you can use an 8×8 or 9×9 pan and cut them, just line the pan with parchment paper.
  • Put the walnuts, cashews, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, flax seed meal, cinnamon, sea salt, and coconut sugar into your food processor, and do a long pulse about 4 times to mix the pieces and break them up a bit. You can see what this should look like in the image above labeled “Mix the Dry Ingredients.”
  • Put the honey, coconut oil, and almond butter in a small sauce pan and melt over medium heat, stirring along the way.
  • Once the liquid ingredients are melted, pour them into the food processor with the dry ingredients, and pulse the ingredients to your desired consistency, making sure the wet ingredients have fully incorporated. If you want bigger pieces, pulse less times. If you want to make the pieces smaller so you can’t “see” them as much, pulse a bit longer. You can see what this looks like in the image above labeled “Mix the Wet Ingredients.”
  • Spoon the granola bar mixture into your silicone granola bar pan rectangles. Press the mixture down to pack it in tight using the back of your spoon. If you are using a square baking pan, pour the mixture into the parchment paper lined pan, and press firmly into the pan.
  • Bake the granola bars for 20 minutes, until lightly golden, for a slightly crunchy/slightly chewy granola bar, or 23-25 minutes, until darker golden brown, for a crunchy granola bar (similar to the texture of a Nature Valley Crunchy Honey Oat bar). I happen to love them crunchy, but both ways are fantastic! Let the bars cool completely before taking them out of the pan so they have time to harden. If you take them out while warm, they will fall apart.

More real food recipes you might like! ::

Healthy Kids and Teens Lunch Ideas Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Snack Ideas

Copycat Trader Joe’s® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

February 5, 2022

All of the yummy “Everything but the Bagel” flavor with a cleaner oil and no corn syrup! Copycat that Trader Joe’s® Nut Duo for your own pantry!

Copycat Trader Joe's® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything, and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

A Trader Joe’s® trip, and a fun, new snack!

Every first of the month, a couple of friends of mine and I hop in the car and head out for our monthly Costco and Trader Joe’s trip! We live a good 45 minute drive from the closest of either of these stores, so we make a morning of it once a month, and try to stock up until the next month. I am not a huge TJ’s shopper – I’ll grab a couple things here or there, but every once and a while I’ll find a fun snack, and this month was one of them. I was cautiously hopeful as I turned the bag of the TJ’s “Everything But The Bagel” Nut Duo to check out the ingredients…because my usual disappointment with these kind of stores, and these kind of snacks, is that the oils used are junk, and there is usually added sugar. This one checked both of those disappointing boxes, and I set the bag back down. I couldn’t stop thinking about the fun flavor that those nuts could be though….

Copycat Trader Joe's® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

A new kitchen experiment!

While I continued my shopping, I passed the spice isle, and decided to grab the “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning, and just try to make my own. Trail mixes are so easy to put together, and while the convenience of grabbing a bag off the shelf is always nice, making my own would save the budget *big-time* (because these specialty items are always over-priced), and I could also add a healthy snack to our pantry rotation on a regular basis instead of just once, because the ingredients are fantastic when you make it at home!

Copycat Trader Joe's® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

Why do food companies use these ingredients, and why do we want to avoid them?

Cheap and readily available. It really boils down to the dollar bill. Cheap oils like sunflower, soy, and safflower oils, as well as sweeteners like corn syrup are so cheap and easy to get, that it really hits the bottom line for these companies in a good way for their profits. When it comes to sweeteners, corn syrup is as cheap as it gets, and it tastes super sweet, so they don’t need to add a lot to make it super palatable to people. Corn syrup sky rockets blood sugar even more than table sugar, and is almost always GMO, so it is just really important to avoid if you can. Sunflower oil “looks” healthy – I mean sunflower seeds are healthy right?! But the way these seed and veg oils are processed makes them super unstable on the shelf, and they go rancid so quickly. When we eat these kind of rancid oils on a regular basis, it causes a lot of inflammation in the body. Free radicals fly everywhere and it inflames. (One caveat to this, would be if you see a truly cold-pressed – sometimes called expeller pressed – sunflower oil. The cold pressed process on the sunflower oil keeps the integrity of the fats so they don’t go rancid – this is very hard to find in products though!)

Copycat Trader Joe's® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

So how do we replace the bad stuff, and still get a yummy product?

It is so much easier than you think! Swap the sunflower oil for a healthier oil, and swap the “sweet” for a more natural sweetener (or leave it out). In the case of this nut trail mix, the oil part was easy. I almost always use coconut oil for my trail mixes because it is so good for our bodies, and it doesn’t change the flavor to us. If you are really sensitive to the flavor of coconut, you might want to use butter or avocado oil. Even a good olive oil would be fine for this recipe. As far as swapping the corn syrup, I tried the recipe without a sweetener at first, because I figured it was a savory snack, and didn’t need it. I was right on the flavor, BUT there is something the corn syrup did for the TJ’s snack that was lacking in my first attempt. The stick factor!

Copycat Trader Joe's® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

How to get that crunchy “stick” to the trail mix

Because the “Everything But the Bagel” Seasoning is larger pieces, you really need a way to get it to stick to the nuts, or it just ends up in a pile on the sheet pan. Most trail mixes that need to make a “candy like” crunch coating use egg whites. And you could totally do that and leave the sweetener out in this recipe if you want. BUT…I have so many egg free readers, and I really wanted to figure out a way to make this without the egg whites. I tried coconut sugar to start, since it has a lower glycemic index, but the candy like coating did not happen, so the seasoning fell to the bottom of the pan. Then I remembered that the secret to the crunchy coating on my Coconut Cluster recipe was maple syrup, so I tried that…success! It’s really just a couple of tablespoons for the whole batch, and I’d say that is totally worth it!

Copycat Trader Joe's® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

Egg white method

The trail mix can be made without the maple syrup, but the seasoning does not stick to the nuts very well in my experience. It is worth the stick to have that little crunch and flavor together! If you need it to be sugar free, and can have eggs, you can swap the maple syrup for 1 whisked egg white, and that will accomplish the same thing. I have so many egg free readers though, so I had to figure out a way to make this without the whites! If you can have eggs, the egg whites is a great way to get the seasoning to stick without using maple syrup.

Copycat Trader Joe's® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

Can I use any nut combo, or swap for seeds?

Absolutely! The Trader Joe’s® “Nut Duo” uses almonds and cashews, so that is what I used – but please use whatever nuts you have in your pantry. And I would actually encourage switching the combo up every time you make it, so that you are getting different nut or seed nutrients! If you are nut free, use pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp, etc! I really think it would be a fun mix to change things up for you!

Copycat Trader Joe's® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

Copycat Trader Joe’s® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, toss all of the ingredients together until well combined.
  • Spread the mixture out onto a large, unlined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees. Take the sheet pan out, stir the mixture around, and bake another 10 minutes until the nuts are fragrant and lightly toasted.
  • Leave the trail mix to cool completely before touching it. The maple syrup will cool and harden, sticking the seasonings to the nuts. Once the trail mix has cooled, you can store it in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 2 months.

Notes

  • I used the Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel seasoning, but you can find that blend just about anywhere now, and there are lots of homemade, DIY blend recipes online that you can find on Pinterest! Use what you can find or what is available to you.
  • The trail mix can be made without the maple syrup, but the seasoning does not stick to the nuts very well in my experience. It is worth the stick to have that little crunch and flavor together! If you need it to be sugar free, and can have eggs, you can swap the maple syrup for 1 whisked egg white, and that will accomplish the same thing. I have so many egg free readers though, so I had to figure out a way to make this without the whites!
  • You can swap the coconut oil for melted butter, avocado oil, or olive oil if you prefer that, or have that on hand.
  • My Everything But the Bagel Seasoning did have some salt added to it. Since the nuts are unsalted, I found the mix still needed some salt, which is why there is salt in the recipe. If you use a different brand of Everything Bagel seasoning, just be sure to account for this, and if yours does not have salt added, you may want to adjust the salt amount.
Copycat Trader Joe's® Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo!

More real food recipes you might like! ::

Healthy Kids and Teens Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Snack Ideas

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

March 25, 2020

Put snack packing on auto-pilot with this list of 15 portable healthy snacks for kids that you can rotate!

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything, and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

School snack time…my nemesis

Ok, so that might be a strong word. But if you have been around this space long enough, and have read my other school snack posts (my very first snack post, written when I had littles, all about preschool snacks here, and the ever popular, healthy store-bought school snack post here), then you know that I have kind of a love hate relationship with the morning snack at school.

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

A vital necessity

It isn’t that I don’t think the kids need it. Many of these kids are having breakfast at 7:30 am or earlier and don’t have a lunch period until 12:30pm or 1 – the morning snack helps bridge that long gap. It has more to do with the time and thought going into packing one…more…thing…for the day. We spend time packing thoughtful, balanced lunchboxes, and the morning snack matters too. Popping an easy bag of pretzels or crackers in their bag is tempting, but defeats the purpose of helping kids focus until the lunch period. Carb loading without a balance of fat or protein only sugar crashes these kids who rapidly use up whatever energy their body is given as their brains work hard in class, and their bodies work hard at playing and growing.

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

Busy momma, I see you.

I get that it is one more thing to pack. I understand that you are already trying to balance their breakfast and lunchboxes for school, and the snack seems insignificant. But I am here to tell you I have seen the kids in these classrooms carb crash with my own two eyes. These teachers are doing their best to help the kids make it to lunchtime, and could use a little help. Packing a balanced snack does NOT need to be hours of homemade “Pinterest Mom” creations. It can be as simple as adding a protein or fatty rich sidekick to that bag of crackers, such as hummus cups, cheese, guacamole cups, boiled egg, or nut/seed butter. The protein/fat will slow the carb burn and satiate their hunger for that extra hour or two until lunch. It really can be that simple…

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

So I say, let’s simplify it

A few years back I was getting burned out from snack packing, and decided that my oldest was old enough to be in charge of her morning snack (she was in 2nd grade at the time). One less thing off my plate! Since she was still learning how to pair the right foods as a balanced snack, I made her a list of options she could choose from each day. That rumpled up piece of paper is still in the cupboard, and now my middle kiddo has joined her in independently packing her own school morning snack. It is a list of simple, easy pairings filled with variety, and the best part is that each snack idea requires ZERO help from me. Two kiddos down, and 1 to learn! I’ve almost got this whole school snack packing thing completely off my plate!

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

My gift to you, dear momma

I want to gift this to your home. I spent some time making a kid friendly, colorful chart filled with my morning snack time ideas that you can use for your own kids. The chart can hang inside a cupboard in the kitchen for your big kids to refer to when packing their own snacks, and if you have littles in the house, they can help pick their snacks from the chart as well. And because I know this list of snacks is not all inclusive, and you may have different diet restrictions we do not have, I am also gifting you a blank chart that you can fill in yourself. You can tailor each snack choice to your household and the kids can pick from your list. If you have access to a laminator, you can mark up your chart with a dry erase marker week after week with new choices based on what you have in the house!

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

The breakdown!

So here is a breakdown of these snack choices so you can see them up close and give the kids a visual for how this can be packed. I would recommend supervision the snack making/packing for a bit so that you can help them choose appropriate portions for their age/appetite, and also help them with strategies for cleaning up. Remember, you can adjust the portion sizes in these snacks for your kids’ ages and appetites. No 2 kiddos are a like! Be sure to check out the TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL SNACK PACKING below the snack visuals!

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

1. CRACKERS & HUMMUS

Use snack pack hummus cups, or make your own hummus for a dip container (my own super simple, super smooth hummus recipe will be in the Staples chapter of my new cookbook, “The Little Lunchbox Cookbook,” on pre-order now!) and pack your favorite crackers! I prefer to keep an eye on the oils in store bought hummus to avoid rancid oils like sunflower, canola, soy, or safflower oils, and I’ve found the Lilly’s hummus cups to be the best using olive oil. The crackers pictured here are Mary’s Gone Crackers GF crackers. (Snack box pictured below is the Sistema Small Split)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

2. CELERY WITH SPREAD OF CHOICE & RAISINS

Spread options are endless here! Nut butters or seed butters are typically the go-to, but spreadable soft goat cheese is a favorite here, and cream cheese is yummy too! (Snack box pictured below is the Planetbox Round container that comes with Planetbox lunchboxes. They can also be sold separately.)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

3. COCONUT CLUSTERS

Store bought or homemade for this one, dear momma! Do what you can! I will say that the homemade version is very cost effective AND super fast to prep – just 5 minutes! These sweet, crunch clusters are super kid friendly and packed with fat and fiber from the coconut! (Snack box pictured in this post is the Sistema Snacks To-Go)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

4. MEAT STICK/JERKY WITH CRACKERS & CHEESE

These are my favorite kid friendly meat sticks, but you can use anything you like! Just watch those ingredients. As far as the crackers and cheese go, use your favorite crackers (pictured here are the Simple Mills Almond Crackers) and the best cheese you can afford. Pictured here is a spreadable goat cheese my kids love – you can spread or dip! (Snack box pictured below is the Kid Basix Safe Snacker in the medium size. I used our Planetbox condiment container for the goat cheese.)

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2020 :: We found these little Duke’s meat sticks at Costco this summer and love them too! You can get them on Amazon as well just in case your Costco doesn’t have them!

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

5. YOGURT WITH GRANOLA

Get whatever is the best full fat yogurt you can afford (coconut milk yogurt would be a great option for dairy free kids). You can make your own granola (very cost effective and easy!), or purchase a quality store bought granola for the pantry. (Snack box pictured below is the Sistema Snack Capsule To Go)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

6. VEGGIES WITH FULL FAT DIP

I find raw veg to be slower to eat for little ones, but as your kids get older, this makes a great crunchy snack! Let them use a crinkle cutter to make the veggies super fun dipping vehicles too! You can see a full list of kid friendly dips here to make at home, or these are a good store bought brand with healthy oils. (Snack box pictured below is the Sistema Snack Attack To Go)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

7. HEALTHY GRANOLA BAR

The sky is the limit here. Since my kids started school, the demand for healthier granola bar options has sky rocketed, and companies are hearing you, dear momma! There are many brands out there using heathier oils, less sugar, and better ingredients all around! My favorite store bought granola bars are the Autumn’s Gold and these Healthy Warrior nut free bars. Of course making your own will almost always be more cost effective – and I’ve got 2 on the blog you can try! This nut free chewy granola bar, and this nut free crunchy buckwheat and apricot granola bar! (Snack box pictured below with the homemade bar is the Kid Basix Safe Snacker in the small size)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

8. FRUIT SLICES OR FRUIT CHIPS WITH NUT/SEED BUTTER OR COCONUT BUTTER

From fresh apple slices or apple chips to a banana or banana chips, this is always a fun snack. The pantry dried fruit chips make winter packing much more affordable when fresh fruit is expensive. Sunbutter will work best for nut free school zones, but I encourage you to also try coconut butter – it is basically the flesh of a coconut blended into a smooth butter. It is sweet and creamy – so good! (Snack box pictured below is the Kid Basix Safe Snacker in the medium size.)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

9. MUFFIN LEFT FROM BREAKFAST WITH BUTTER

Tuesday’s are muffin mornings here, and with a pan of a dozen muffins, there are leftovers for snacks! Our favorite breakfast muffins that pack well for snacks are these protein banana muffins, GF blueberry muffins, GF paleo mini banana muffins, GF oat bran muffins, and these GF baked oatmeal muffins. Get a big smear of butter on those muffin halves and that is one easy peasy snack! (Snack box pictured below is the Kid Basix Safe Snacker in the small size.)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

10. HARD BOILED EGG WITH FRUIT CHOICE

Every Sunday, I hard boil a dozen eggs so that there is a container of easy to grab snacks in the fridge. They keep for 5 days so it is perfect for the school week. Let the kids pick whatever in season fruit you bought for the week, or dried fruit from the pantry. Figs and dates are so rich in minerals, so I always keep a bag of those in the pantry! (Snack box pictured below is the Kid Basix Safe Snacker in the medium size.)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

11. HEALTHY TRAIL MIX

Homemade or store bought here, dear momma! Do what you can! Homemade will tend to be more cost effective, and you can control the ingredients in bit more if you are in a nut free school. There is one really great seed based store bought trail mix that we love though from Enjoy Life! If you need that convenience, these are great, and they come in snack pack bags or larger trail mix bags to pack yourself. (Snack box pictured below is the Kid Basix Safe Snacker in the small size.)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

12. UNSWEETENED FRUIT POUCH WITH CHOICE OF FAT/PROTEIN

We love these fruit and veggie pouches and chia squeezes, and there are so many other safe/organic brands to choose from, so get whatever is the best that you can afford. You can give the kids a choice of fat/protein to go with their pouch based on what you have for the week. Things like hard boiled eggs, jerky, cheese, olives, or nuts/seeds are all great choices. (Snack box pictured below is the Sistema Small Split)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

13. NUTS OR SEEDS WITH FIG OR DATE AND CHEESE

Super simple, and easy to eat! This is a popular one in my house. Figs and dates are rich in minerals for busy kids and keep in the pantry well. (Snack box pictured below is the Kid Basix Safe Snacker in the small size.)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

14. MINI LARABAR OR ENERGY BITES WITH FAT/PROTEIN OF CHOICE

Larabars are great snacks. If you have older kids you could pack them a full size Larabar, or if you have younger children, the mini Larabars are great. Since they are mostly dates (fruit), I like to pack the minis with a fat or protein of choice such as olives, cheese, jerky, or boiled egg. Energy bites are also fun to make (there is a chocolate covered banana energy bite recipe in my new cookbook, “The Little Lunchbox Cookbook,” on pre-order now!). (Snack box pictured below is the Planetbox Round container that comes with Planetbox lunchboxes. They can also be sold separately.)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

15. GUACAMOLE CUP WITH TORTILLA CHIPS OR CRACKERS

We get these little guac cups at Coscto, but just about every grocery store carries them now! Pack them with some tortilla chips or crackers and this super fun snack will become a quick favorite! (Snack box pictured below is a Lunchbot Duo)

15 Portable Healthy Snacks For Kids :: FREE Snack Chart PDF Included!

Tips for successful snack packing

A little planning goes a long way, and I want to see you succeed in this, dear momma. Here are a few tips that I have learned throughout the years to make snack/lunch packing smooth and fast.

  • Food prep. On Sundays I typically hard boil a dozen eggs for the week, and make a jar of dip or dressing for veggies. It takes me all of 15 minutes and really sets me up for easy packing. The girls know where the container of eggs is for quick snack packing, and always have a veggie dip available as well. Once a month (yes just ONCE a month), I’ll stock my pantry with “something” – sometimes that “something” is granola or granola bars, and sometimes it’s trail mix. I have a shelf for these in my pantry in a spot that is easy to access for the girls to pack their own snacks.
  • Snack access. The rest of the snack items (such as nuts/seeds, pouches, and bars in the pantry, and then fruit/veggies, cheese, etc in the fridge) are kept in easy to reach spots in the pantry or fridge so that they don’t have to go digging through my things making a bigger mess. The time it takes to quick organize a shelf of snacks in the pantry and fridge is SO worth saving your frustration, dear momma!
  • Easy to use gear. Let me tell you…I have been through a LOT of lunch gear and snack box gear. I get things sent to me to try out all the time, and I have also purchased a lot on my own. Have a cupboard or drawer designated for your snack boxes that the kids can reach without your help so that you don’t have to search around for things. I have linked each snack box you saw in the snacks above – the ones pictured are my favorite brands.
  • Set them up for success. Explain your snack packing expectations. If you have older kids packing their own snacks, use the “Notes” section on the side of your chart to list your expectations. For instance, maybe you want to say that they can only repeat the same snack twice in one week so you can ensure they are getting variety. Or maybe you have a certain day of the week that you want something used up. Or maybe that week you don’t have a certain item on the list, so you want to let them know that that isn’t an option this week. My girls know that my rule on packaged, store-bought snacks (such as a packaged granola bar, jerky, or pouches) is 2 per week; it isn’t that they aren’t healthy – it is for saving my budget! For your littles, you can help them pick what snacks on the chart they want to eat for the week. Do NOT send new food to school without trying it at home first. This will end in un-eaten snacks and frustrated kids.

Ok! Talk to me! Tell me about your favorite healthy snacks in the comments below! We can keep this list growing!