Mother Earth Living

Healthy Convenience Foods: Quick-Fix and Make-Ahead Snacks

Snacks can be simple and healthy. Use our tips and recipes for quick, nutritious noshing.
By Eleanor Hughes
November/December 2013
Add to My MSN

Photo By StockFood


Content Tools

Related Content

Safe makeup & beauty products

safe makeup products and 4 ingredients to avoid in skin care products

Healthy Foods to Eat While Saving the Planet

Mark Bittman offers solutions for leading a healthier life, starting with what we eat. 

Super Foods for the Super Bowl

Skip the hardy snacks that Super Bowl parties usually provide by replacing them with these great, he...

Make Homemade Cheez-It Crackers

Who needs to make a trip to the grocery store when you can make these tasty cheesy crackers at home?

At first glance, healthy eating seems simple: We should eat when we are hungry and make mostly nutritious choices like veggies, fruits, lean proteins and whole grains. We should exercise and balance the calories we take in with the calories we burn off. The concept is elementary. But unfortunately, healthy eating is anything but simple. We make food choices for many reasons besides hunger: cravings, boredom, celebration, loneliness, convenience, lack of time. We are complex creatures.

Snack Recipes

Easy Turkey Wrap Recipe
Sweet and Savory Mini Whole-Grain Bagel Snacks
Easy Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Recipe
Banana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies Recipe
Baked Lemon-Kale Chips Recipe
Oat Coconut Granola Bars Recipe

We all live in a busy world full of deadlines and demands. It can sometimes seem as if nothing is easy and we are not in control of much of our lives. But we do have control over what we feed our families, and darn it, our snacks should be easy and healthy.

What makes a healthy snack? Any time you pair complex carbs such as veggies, fruits and whole grains with lean proteins such as eggs, seeds, nuts, beans and dairy, you have a healthy snack.

Snack Ideas

We all have regular snacks we rotate through, but we would be wise to widen our repertoire. It’s when we get bored eating the same things but haven’t planned ahead that we’re most likely to reach for something unhealthy.

To solve this problem, we can seek out—and buy the ingredients for—interesting snack ideas. Many people make shopping lists for main courses, but forget to think about including healthy snack options.

It’s easy to find creative snack ideas online, but remembering those ideas when we’re actually hungry is a challenge. If you use a smartphone or tablet, keep a note or spreadsheet of ideas handy, complete with links. For the less technically savvy, an old-fashioned list stuck to the fridge will work. I recently installed a magnetic dry-erase board in my kitchen for meal planning, snack ideas and shopping lists.

Healthy convenience foods can be split into two types: quick-fix and make-ahead. Think of quick-fix snacks as anything you can toss together in less than two minutes. To have make-ahead snacks on-hand for convenience, consider making big batches on the weekend.

As a mom who works full-time, I value quick-fix snacks. I often walk in the door at 5:30 with two hungry kids in tow, but it’ll still be 30 to 45 minutes before we have dinner. I want to give them (and me) a little something, so they (and I) don’t completely melt down, but I want them to still have an appetite for dinner. This is a fine line. When I have more time on the weekends, I can also make my week easier by preparing healthy make-ahead snacks that are ready to roll when weeknight hunger strikes.

Quick-Fix Snacks

These simple snacks are easy to throw together in a rush—older kids can make them themselves.

Easy Turkey Wrap Recipe
Sweet and Savory Mini Whole-Grain Bagel Snacks
Easy Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Recipe

Make-Ahead Snacks

When you have a bit of extra time over the weekend, here are a few more ideas for healthy snacks that take some work on the front end, but are a big time-saver later on. If you have extra little hands available, keep them busy measuring, pouring and stirring.

Banana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies Recipe
Baked Lemon-Kale Chips Recipe
Oat Coconut Granola Bars Recipe

For even more healthy snack recipes, check out our Healthy Snacking collection page.


Previous | 1 | 2 | Next






Post a comment below.

 

Gay
10/17/2013 10:25:25 AM
These look good, but the link for the mini Bagel snacks is broken!








Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.