What Is a balanced snack?
A balanced snack is a food that contains a combination of macronutrients: carbohydrates (preferably fiber-rich ones), protein, and fat in proportions. This is important, because it helps sustain your energy and keeps you from being too hungry. Additionally, you’ll want to try and have your balanced snack be relatively low in sugar (or at least in added sugar) and salt, while high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. I don’t know about you, but if hunger strikes for me at an inconvenient time, I might just reach out for junk foods or at least to less healthy options. So it’s always a good idea to have a great snack or two ready to go.
Snacking has always been something I enjoyed, even needed through my days. As a growing kid and teenager, it seemed like I was always hungry. As a working adult, riding my bike everywhere as my main mode of transportation, I needed to have a mini meal in the morning and again in the afternoon to keep up with my activity level. Now that I’m a mom of two, I am always thinking about what the next meal will be and what snack foods we can have ready for at home and for on the go. That’s why I’ve come up with this list of tasty snacks that work for adults and children alike. I’ve divided it so that the first portion lists easy snack ideas that you can keep in your purse or diaper bag for that snack time on the go that you might not have even seen coming! No need to prep and pack a snack each time you head out the door, just keep one or two of these ideas stocked in your bag.
Snacks To Keep In Your Bag For Little Kids On The Go
1. Whole Grain Crackers
Who doesn’t like a snack with a crunchy texture? And because a sealed package lasts a really long time, it makes for a great snack to keep in your bag for just in case.
2. Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds
Almonds covered in dark chocolate are rather healthy. And yet, it kind of feels like a dessert or a sweet treat. Just make sure they really are vegan and don’t contain milk or butter.
3. Fruit Pouches
Fruit Pouches are marketed for kids, but I definitely know other adults who use this too for a quick, one handed (driving!) healthy snack. I try to limit our use of these since the packaging makes them bad for the environment. But I do keep one in my diaper bag, so that I always have something just in case my kid suddenly gets hungry while we’re out. I prefer these pouches over fruit juice, since it contains more than just the (sugary) juice.
Larabars come in various flavors and are often sweetened with dates. Plus, they all use only real ingredients – things you know and can pronouce! That makes it a healthier granola bar than most other brands out there.
5. Homemade Trail Mix
You can buy this too, but if you are making it yourself, you can control how much salt it contains, and whether or not you add a sweet ingredient in the mix.
6. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, including vitamin E (good for your skin), magnesium, phosphorus, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. They also contain antioxidents (good against inflammation) and fiber (good for digestion). Plus, they are usually cheaper to buy than some nut varieties.
7. Roasted chickpeas
Chickpeas are full of fiber and protein. But just be mindful of how young your child is, since these can be a chocking hazard.
General Balanced Vegan Snacks
8. Sliced apple with almond butter
It doesn’t get much easier (or tastier) than this! Slice an apple and slather some almond butter on it. This is a great way to introduce almond butter or apple to your little one, depending on which one they might not be used to eating yet. The almond butter adds protein to the nutrient-full apple.
9. Banana slices with peanut butter
Same as snack idea #8, by adding peanut butter to your banana slices, you add protein to your diet. Trust me, this can become addictive and you’ll find you want a banana and peanut butter snack every day!
10. Mix of berries
We love mixing blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. There’s something special about the mix of sweet and tart in this combination of berries.
This one is gold! Not only does watermelon contain vitamins, potassium and magnesium, but it’s also a great way to include more fluids into your day. So simple, yet so potent!
12. Fresh Fruit
Granted, my toddler could live on fruite alone. But who wouldn’t say yes to a piece of fruit? Have a bit of fresh fruit and you’ll find you have fewer cravings for processed sweets. Try something you might not usually reach for, like pinneapple, pomegranate, lychee, or even dragon fruit. You’ll be surprised at what exotic fruits your grocery store carries and you just haven’t noticed or dared to give those fruits a try!
12. Baby carrots with (or without) hummus
While I like carrots on their own, hummus really seals the deal and makes it more likely for kids to eat the carrots too. Even if they end up just licking the hummus off the carrot, it gets them started on touching and thinking about eating carrots, which is a great first step towards actually eating more veggetables.
13. Air-fried Sweet Potato Fries
Air-fried fries are best when made fresh. If you don’t have an air fryer, you can also make sweet potato fries in the oven. Using the air fryer usually cuts down on oil and baking time, but the fries can be just as delicious when made in the oven. Just cut the potatoes into finger size slices, add a little bit of oil (I like to use a brush to minimize the oil) and salt. Bake on 350° for about 30 minutes or until they’ve reached your preferred state of crispness. If using the air-fryer, fry at 390° for 20 minutes, but double check your own manual in case your fryer operates differently.
14. Energy balls made with nuts, dates, and dried fruit
Energy balls will look and taste like a dessert, but is actually packed with nutrients and protein!
15. Baked tofu cubes
Tofu lasts for several weeks in the fridge before you open it. This way you can keep it in the fridge for that day when nothing else entices you or when everything else has already been consumed. One benefit of eating tofu is that it contains quite a good amount of plant-based protein.
I like to buy these frozen in the store. Follow the instructions on how to rewarm, but you will basically just need to boil water and cook the edamame for 4-5 minutes, unless you buy already cooked frozen edamame. Either way, it’s super easy and quick! Keep a bag or two in the freezer so you always have some ready to go! It can be a helpful appetizer when dinner’s a little later than normal for whatever reason might come up.
17. Banana Bread
You might be surprised at how easy it actually is to make banana bread. Check out my 5 Ingredient Banana Bread Recipe here.
18. Zucchini Bread
Similar to banana bread, zucchini bread is also easy to make. It’s a nice way to get a bit of veggies into a sweet treat. I like using this for my toddler, who wouldn’t othewise eat zucchini at this stage in her life.
19. Red, Yellow or Orange Bell Peppers
This is especially easy and delicious! The sweet crispness of bell peppers makes this a a great snack just on its own. I used to cut 1-2 bell peppers up in the morning before going to work and eat them shortly after arriving there, already hungry from the bike commute.
20. Cucumber Slices
My toddler loves to munch on cucumbers. They are essentially calory-free, making it a good snack for anyone trying to watch their weight. Delicious and very quick and easy to prepare when hunger strikes.
21. Cherry Tomatoes
My toddler and I like to eat cherry tomatoes as though they were candy! So good, just on their own. I do suggest you cut them in half lengthwise when handing them to a little one to avoid them turning into a chocking hazard.
22. Celery Sticks With Nut Butter
Nut Butter makes everything taste so good, doesn’t it?! Celery sticks are a refreshing snack, made all the tastier when slathered in your choice of nut butter. This is another quick snack that will be ready within no time at all.
23. Kale Chips
You can easily make these at home too, so you can control how much oil and salt you use. Wash and carefully dry your kale with a towel. Cut into bite size, toss with olive oil and salt. Bake in the preheated oven at 300° for about 15 minutes or until they are as crisp as you’d like.
24. Vegan Organic Yogurt with Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are small, black and white seeds that are packed with nutrients and offer several health benefits. Chia seeds are a good source of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. It’s best to let your Chia seeds soak in your yougurt for at least a half hour so that they increase their size and and weight with liquid. This makes them easier to digest and helps your body better absorb their nutrients.
26. Homemade Chia Pudding
For the longest time I didn’t realize just how easy and deilcious it is to make chia pudding. Just mix 1 cup of oat milk (or your choice of plant milk) with 4 tbsp of chia seeds and 1 tsp of maple syrup. I like to pour this directly into a mason jar, then cover the lid and refridgerate for at least 4 hours. Top with berries, granola, nut butter, cocoa powder or whatever topping you prefer. You can even prepare this the night before and have it refrigerated all night long so that it’s ready to go first thing in the morning. This is my preferred method to get it to be a really thick pudding-like consistency.
27. Fruit and Greens Smoothie
Making a smoothie with fruit and adding a few leaves of greens (spinach is particularly good for this) is a great way to add some leafy greens into your diet, as well as that of your little one! The sweetness of the fruits will hide the fact that there are greens in there too. Blend everything together along with a few cubes of ice and pour it into a thermal tumbler to keep it nice and cool. This way you can make it in the morning and enjoy it later at work or wherever else you might be going that day.
28. Sugar Snap Peas
Buy a bag of them and they are all ready to be consumed! Very quick and fresh.
29. Avocado Toast
Slice up a ripe avocado, lay it out on a toasted piece of bread and season it with your spices of choice. I personally like to use a mix of salt, black pepper, paprika and nutritional yeast. Bonus points if you have a lemon or lime lying around and get to add a squeeze of that on top of the avocado.
30. Bell Peppers, Cucumber and/or Carrots With Guacamole.
Other great vegetable ideas to dip are carrot sticks, broccoli, and radishes to spice it up.
Are there easy vegan snack ideas?
Yes, there are definitey easy vegan snack ideas! Actually, ALL of the above ideas are super quick and easy to make. Many of them can be prepped ahead of time too, so you can get things ready at the most ideal time for you and have fresh, balanced, vegan snacks at the drop of the hat. Try it, I promise you won’t regret it! Eating a balanced diet will make you overall feel better!
Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Fats?
There are two schools of thought here. Many diets follow the rule that healthy fats are important to not only avoid weight gain, but to even lose weight, too. The Keto diet (not one suitable for vegans) states that eating very low or no amounts of carbohydrates, but instead eating fats will get your body to burn fat for energy. I, however, have been impressed by the science behind the Forks Over Knives diet. This believes that even healthy fats should be limited. If you follow this mindset, then you will want to limit your intake of nuts, avocado, and of course oils (even olive oil!). Do your research, try something out that resonates with you and see how that feels on your body!
What Is a Good Snack to Lose Weight?
When trying to lose weight, it’s important to choose snacks that are nutrient-dense, low in calories, and help control hunger. A lot of people end up eating junk if they let themselves get too hungry. But you could also have your blood sugar drop if you let your hunger go too far. It isn’t clear, however, if snacking helps with or prevents weight loss, as there are opposing findings about this subject. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and pay attention to your portion size and you should be successful. Hoever, it is a good idea to reach out to a reach out to a registered dietitian nutritionist with any questions or concerns.
Are Pretzels Healthy?
You noticed that pretzels aren’t on my list of smart snacks? That’s because they don’t have any nutritional value. Pretzels also usually contain a lot of salt. Though they are low in fat, they just don’t quite make it to the list of healthy foods, because there are many other options that offer far more nutrients and just do more for your body than a handful of pretzels will. They’re not the worst thing you can eat, but they are, nonetheless, not one of the best snacks.
There are many reasons to want to find the perfect balanced snack. Maybe your goal is to consume fewer calories, to work towards weight loss, to participate in mindful eating, or to add more nutritious foods in to your day. Whatever the reason is for you, it’s a good reason to have healthy snack ideas on your grocery list, so that you never run out of your quick, easy and healthy options when hunger strikes.
Eating a well-balanced snack can go a long way to adding valuable nutrients into your daily intake. The best part is that many, if not all of the above snacks are also great options to give your child. So, whether you are looking for ideas for well balanced snacks for yourself – for weight loss, or for general health – or for your little one, you will surely have a great time making and eating the above mentioned healthy snack options. Let yourself be surprised by the array of flavors and textures in these balanced vegan snacks!
Comment below and let me know what your favorite balanced vegan snack is!
Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or medic, the information above was created through years of vegan eating and research on what makes for a healthy diet. But if you have any questions or concerns about your own diet and health, I suggest you reach out to a registered dietitian nutritionist.