Simple & Healthy Snack Ideas For Under $1
My boys are snack eaters! If I would let them they would survive completely on munchies and skip meals altogether. It seems that they prefer to eat more frequently in smaller quantities and as long as they are eating healthy things I'm just fine with that. It keeps them going through the day and actually helps me offer them a wider variety of foods to eat.
As a result of this I'm always looking for yummy, healthy, and inexpensive snack options for them. We've come up with many things over the past few years that they love and I thought I would share them with you today in case your family needs a little snack inspiration! (Your prices may vary from mine but most options should still be affordable.)
I've also included a *bonus snack* at the end of each snack ideas. These may cost a little more but be better for those that need a little bit more hearty snack to get them through the day.
We pay $1.99 per 3 pounds for bananas at Costco which usually averages to be about 9 bananas or $0.22 each. Bananas are a nice filling snack and my boys think it's fun to peel them and eat them like a monkey. We shop every 2 weeks for perishable groceries at the moment so I try and pick up 2 bunches to get us through the weeks. If they turn brown before we use them I just toss them in the freezer to use for Banana Bread Mini Muffins which are another BIG favorite snack in our house!
*Bonus Snack Idea* Banana Pudding is an excellent, filling snack for those looking for more protein.
Hard Boiled Eggs
We have two with egg allergies so we can't enjoy this snack as a family but those that can love this high protein snack and I love it because since we have chickens, eggs are free! Fresh eggs can be hard to peel so just add a little bit of baking soda to the water you are boiling them in and rinse them with cold water after boiling.
*Bonus Snack Idea* Egg Sandwiches are a good snack that you can also prepare ahead of time.
Yogurt or Coconut Yogurt
Neither of my boys can have dairy of any kind so we've found the coconut products useful for making alternatives. Yogurt from the grocery store can get expensive but Homemade Yogurt is easy and you can replace the regular milk with coconut milk (just use a non-milk based starter or use a little coconut yogurt from the store as a starter) and you have a great non-dairy alternative that is much cheaper. I like my yogurt with a little buttered granola sprinkled on top.
*Bonus Snack Idea* Yogurt Fruit Dip can be served with whatever fruit you have on hand for a larger snack.
If you watch for a sale, bell peppers (especially the yellow, red, and orange) can be a great inexpensive snack. We love the crunch and sweet flavor. Cutting them into little sticks makes them easy to grab. If you need a little higher protein snack you could make a simple hummus out of 1 cup soaked garbanzo beans, 4 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. (Add more water or salt as needed to fit your texture and taste preferences.) Blend all the ingredients together in the blender or food processor until smooth and serve as a dip.
*Bonus Snack Idea* The snack above is pretty filling but you could also use your bell peppers to make Jalapeno Pepper Jelly to serve with crackers. Another good option!
Hands down, this is the FAVORITE snack at our house. We have this nice Popcorn Popper from Nordicware (Yep, I know, I have a microwave, cue the judgmental comments.) and then I simply toss the popped corn with a little olive oil and real salt (the kind with trace minerals in it). If you prefer not to use a microwave you can always do the Kettle Corn version on the stovetop (with or without sugar).
*Bonus Snack Idea* Popcorn is a hard snack to make heartier but by adding various spices or homemade seasonings you might feel like you are getting a little "more" of a snack.
In Season Fruits or Veggies
This one is a little harder to pin down to a certain item because prices changes with the seasons so while apples may be an affordable snack in the fall...in the spring you might want to pull out the jars of homemade applesauce instead. Some of our favorites are cucumbers, apples, pears, grapes, whole peas, and mandarin oranges. If you can manage a great deal on a bulk amount of fruit or veggies you can always dry them for a snack that lasts longer. Smoothies are great with slightly over-ripe fruits and vegetables too, and you can prep them in advance by sticking the ingredients together in a freezer bag and freezing until needed. Then just thaw slightly and blend!
*Bonus Snack Idea* Adding a great dip with fruit always makes it feel like a more filling snack. This Peanut Butter Fruit Dip is a good place to start and you can add any nut butter to the recipe if you can't do peanut butter.
A mashed avocados is all you need to make "green dip". Of course you can add a little garlic and salsa to make it more of a guacamole but my boys prefer it plain. One avocado costs around $1 and that's all I need to make a snack. We like to pair it with these bean chips instead of regular tortilla chips for the added protein and fiber. Salsa is another great dip (in the summer when you have fresh garden tomatoes) as is a refried bean based dip.
*Bonus Snack Idea* Out of all the dips mentioned above, refried bean dip would be the heartiest (and cheapest) snack idea. Top it with some melted cheese, guacamole, diced tomatoes, and sour cream for even more or go straight for the 7 Layer Dip.
Another one of our favorites! A little juice, water, and gelatin make a simple snack (see Homemade Gelatin). You can add fruits for different tastes and textures or add a bit more gelatin and make homemade fruit snacks. We buy this kind of gelatin to make our snacks with. It's very high in protein. You can even make your own gummy bears with a mold like this.
*Bonus Snack Idea* If you like the idea of using gelatin to add sneaky protein in snacks, try adding it into smoothies. It will give your smoothie a creamier, thicker taste and be a bonus protein that you wouldn't get from fruit or veggies alone.
Sometimes it's hard to convince the boys that raisins are a good snack but they will enjoy them on occasion. A pound of raisins from my coop, Azure Standard is currently $3.45 (even cheaper in larger quantities) and one pound goes a long way. When I have raisins to use up and the boys are being picky, I toss them with a cereal (like a corn pop or flake), dried shredded coconut, maple syrup, and a little coconut oil. Then I roast it all for a few minutes in the oven, just long enough to let the oil and syrup dry to the pieces.
*Bonus Snack Idea* If your family can tolerate nuts, making a trail mix with the raisins might be the way to go. Here's an OLD post idea on how to make snack mix with anything to get you inspired.
Bread and Jam
Sometimes it's not necessary to go past the basics! If you are able to have bread, a nice slice of Homemade Bread topped with some Homemade Jam is a sweet and simple snack. My husband loves this snack in particular, especially if the bread is still warm from the oven.
*Bonus Snack Idea* Skip the jam and go for heartier toppings on the bread if you need a bigger snack fix. Mashed avocado, melted cheese and garlic, even onions and a bit of leftover roast warmed up is a great snack!
Most snacks take some degree of prep work (even if it's just washing) so to make things easier on yourself follow these tips....
- At the beginning of the week (or before a shopping day) plan out the snacks that will be available to your family for that week or until the next shopping day. Just like you would do a menu plan for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners...snacks are important to plan out too. (Get a free printable meal planner that includes snacks here.)
- If you plan your snacks before your shopping day, make sure to add any needed items to your grocery list so you don't forget.
- Once you have your snacks planned, think about any prep work you can do on the snacks that will make them easier to grab-and-go. For example, if you need to bake muffins you will need to add that to your baking day plan or find a time. You can also wash and dice some produce in advance. Most items will keep in an air tight container in the fridge for a week.
- If your kids are older, let them know where they can find the available snacks. Make a special shelf in the fridge or pantry just for the snacks. Even my 3 year old can find his snack shelf quickly in the pantry when he's looking for something to munch on. This helps to eliminate the, "Well, what can I have?" questions.
Some other yummy snack ideas to consider:
- Sweet Potato Toddler Snacks
- Homemade Fruit Leather
- Homemade Cheese Its
- Homemade Rice Crackers
- Crunchy Granola Bars
What do you serve for cheap, healthy snacks at your home?
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