20 Healthy Snacks for Kids, College Students, Home, or Work

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on January 27, 2012

So here’s the dilemma: we all want to eat healthy, but sometimes it’s just impossible to cook food at home every day. This could be because:

  • You’re in college or grad school and you don’t have a kitchen to cook in, and you either have no fridge or a very tiny fridge
  • You’re a busy professional, your fridge is empty and you use your oven for storage
  • You always find yourself on the go: you’re traveling on planes often or just never at home
  • You just don’t like to cook, but you still want to eat healthy
  • You have kids and a full time job, but still want to give your family healthy options
I have been in most of these situations in the past! When I was in college, I never cooked and it was really hard for me to figure out which snacks were the healthiest to eat. And when I traveled as a consultant post-college, I was always on the go and didn’t want to survive on airplane or airport food all the time. And I’m sure when I have kids, I’ll be much too busy to cook every meal, every day.For all of you who are in similar situations, here is a list of my top 20 healthy snacks (many of which are portable and packaged, but still all-natural and preservative free). I’ve divided them into two groups: the all-naturals, and the packaged-food-stars. Hope you enjoy these ideas for smart snacking!
The All-Naturals
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1 & 2. Apples and Bananas – these are both super portable fruits, don’t perish easily, and have 80-100 calories and 3-5g fiber each (3g for bananas, 4-5g for apples)
3. Applesauce – another great way to get your daily serving of fruit in a non-perishable way. Just be sure to get the unsweetened apple sauce with no additional sugar added
4. Carrot Sticks and Hummus – fiber from the carrots + protein from the hummus, and as long as you don’t go overboard with the hummus you can keep this to around 100-150 calories
5. Kale Chips – probably one of the healthiest snacks out there, and if you don’t want to make your own, Kaia Foods has great all-natural packaged options
6. Rice Cakes with Almond Butter – try brown rice cakes, they have 2g fiber and 60 calories per cake, with 1 Tbsp almond butter that’s a 160 calorie snack!
7. 0% Greek Yogurt (like from Chobani) topped with honey and nuts or cereal – one container of greek yogurt is 80-90 calories and has 14g protein. Add 1 Tbsp honey and a handful of cereal or nuts, and you’re looking at a 200-250 calorie nutrition packed snack.
8. Nuts! 1/4 cup of nuts has about 140 calories and is a good source of fiber and protein. Walnuts are my favorite.
9. Sprouted Wheat bread with 1 Tbsp almond butter and sliced bananas (optional) – About a 250 calorie snack depending on whether you add banana or not. And it’s a healthy twist on the old pb&j!
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Now, on to The Packaged-Food-Stars
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10 & 11. Original Puffins and Kashi Heart to Heart – two of my favorite cereals; 3/4 cup of each gives you a 120 calorie snack with 5-6g fiber and only 5-6g sugar
12. Shelf Stable Soups – a great way to get your serving of vegetables, and they last FOREVER unopened. Once you open them, you just need to use them within 10 days which is totally doable, and they are delicious. My favorites are the ones from Trader Joe’s: Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper, Carrot Ginger, and Butternut Squash
13. Snapea Crisps – 22 pieces are only 150 calories, and provide 5g protein and 2g fiber
14. PopChips – A great substitute for potato chips, with half the fat and only 120 calories for 23 chips
15. The Good Bean Chickpea Snacks – These chickpeas pack a nutritional punch! 1/2 a package has only 140 calories, but provides 6g fiber and 7g protein. And they are delicious!
16. Baked Tofu from Trader Joe’s – The teriyaki flavor is my favorite, and this tofu has a great texture and can be eaten straight out of the package.
17 & 18. Lara Bars and CORE Foods Bars – Both of these protein bars are made with all natural ingredients, are extremely delicious and low in added sugars. Lara bars make a great snack or dessert substitute, while CORE Foods act more like a meal replacement (they keep you full for 4 hours, have 350-390 calories, 6-8g fiber and up to 18g protein).
19. Masala Lentil Dip from Trader Joe’s – A good substitute for hummus if you want to change things up. Eat it with 1 whole wheat pita for a 200 calorie snack.
20. Ginger Chews – A great substitute for sugary candy, 2 pieces will run you only 40 calories and have only 5g sugar each.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Ani January 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Must try the good bean! YUM.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm

The sweet cinnamon is my favorite flavor!

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Emilie January 28, 2012 at 2:50 am

I love carrots and hummus. I have that snack almost everyday.
I also love popcorn. I can get 100 cal bags and they are very filling.
Great tips. I will have to look for some alternatives I can get in Australia.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 28, 2012 at 9:21 am

Thanks – so glad you like these ideas! I totally agree with you about popcorn – if you season it with spices and a bit of salt (vs. butter) it’s a very healthy snack!

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Jordan@almondjay January 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

These are all great snacks! I would add instant oatmeal. I used to eat that every morning before heading off to class. Quick and easy 🙂

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 28, 2012 at 9:20 am

Great point! Plain Instant oatmeal with no sugar added (the flavored kinds have tons of sugar) is a perfect option! 🙂

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lynn @ the actor's diet January 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm

ginger chews – can’t live without them!!!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I know right?? They are delicious! 🙂

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Cheryl Mosley January 29, 2012 at 5:29 am

What a great list and a fantastic idea! Wish I had eaten those things in college!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Thank you so much! So glad you like it!

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Missy Chase Lapine January 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Love your snack list! I’ll know what to suggest to my daughter when she goes to college. I still have a few years to go (thank goodness!).

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Thank you so much!! And yes, it’s nice that you still have a few years before you have to think about your daughter going to college! 🙂 Btw – these make great after-school snacks too, especially if you’re on the go. Hope she likes them when she tries them!

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EatFree February 1, 2012 at 9:59 am

Thanks for the tips! Will pass on to my sis. who’s going off for college next year! 🙂 And what’s better than sprouted grain bread? I love French Meadow Bakery’s-esp. the one with the yummy nutty flax and sesame seeds!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm

No problem!! Hope your sister likes these tips as well! And totally – sprouted grain bread is the best. I’ve never tried French Meadow Bakery’s version though, I usually use Ezekiel’s. I’ll have to try that next time!

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Matt K February 16, 2012 at 7:18 am

Great tips, they’ll come in handy at the office, thanks a bunch

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 16, 2012 at 11:31 am

No problem at all! So glad they’re helpful! 🙂

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Sarah June 29, 2012 at 8:37 am

Hi,

These are some great snack ideas! Seeing as I can’t find The Good Bean around here but saw roasted chickpeas at Ethnic foods stores: Do you know how these compare? Did you have these before? http://www.tadim.com.tr/en/products/14

Hope I’m not bothering you too much with my questions!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 11, 2012 at 8:22 am

Thanks Sarah! To your question – they look similar but I can’t totally decipher the nutritional info so I can’t be sure. But if they are roasted with minimal oil, then they should be pretty close to The Good Bean! Btw – if you really want to try The Good Bean you can order it online here. Oh and don’t worry about the questions – I’m happy to answer any others you have! 🙂

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Brandy August 21, 2012 at 9:31 am

Hello Anjali,

Great blog and great article! I represent the Marketing & PR for a new line of better-for-you snacks called “Hi I’m Skinny” sticks. The line was developed in house by Cornfields, Inc., the better-for-you snack company.

I came across your blog and this article and thought I would reach out to you to see if “Hi, I’m Skinny is something you’d like to review. You can read all about us at http://www.hiimskinny.com. Essentially we’re a grain based, all natural, heart healthy snack that has up to 40% less fat than traditional snacks. With 6 different flavors to choose from, you’ll be getting up to 19g of whole grains in one serving and only 4 calories per stick. Also, all of our products are Non-GMO. If after reading about us, you’d like me to send you a sample pack of our line, just email me back and I’d be happy to!

I’d also like to note, that I do not expect anything to come of reaching out to you. I just came across your blog and this article and thought this would be perfect for your followers.

Thank you!
Brandy

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Hi Brandy!

Thanks so much for reaching out to me and for your kind words about my blog! I’d love to learn more about your products – I’ll send you an email and we can take it from there. Thanks!

Anjali

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adam selby September 4, 2012 at 5:25 am

and one ther time in Paris . . . but apart from these 2 times this the above is the best

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Ray Fowler October 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Check out this video on healthy eating its great!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK9yv182G8A

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater October 12, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Thanks!

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litebrite February 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm

This is a great article for college students like me! Thank you! An almond butter and jelly sandwich sounds soooo good right now! My tummy is growling! Thanks for all the healthy ideas!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm

No problem at all!! I’m so glad it’s helpful for you! I hope you ended up having that AB&J! 🙂

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Briana April 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Hi, the site looks great.

I was just wondering what you would recommend for quick and easy meals that can be taken to university? Keeping in mind there are no fridge or heating facilities. I really struggle trying to find good tasting food that can be taken with me.

Also I have heard that the ginger chews in the picture above can sometimes help with indigestion 🙂

Thanks

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Hi Briana! So glad you like my blog! So as for quick and easy meals to take on the go, I’d recommend sandwiches, salads and wraps that you make at home and then take with you. For sandwiches/wraps — make sure you’re getting an all-natural, low sugar, 100% whole wheat or sprouted wheat bread/tortilla. Fill it with tons of veggies: spinach, tomatoes, onions, red peppers, etc; a lean protein; and spices/salt/pepper to taste. For salads – load them up with all kinds of veggies, nuts/seeds, lean protein and make a simple dressing with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to drizzle on top! And yes, ginger chews can help with nausea, stomach aches and indigestion – they’re best taken right after a meal. Hope that helps!

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Steph May 22, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Thank you so much im a jr in college and now i have more snack ideas =)

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 24, 2013 at 10:50 am

Oh that’s so great! I’m so glad this is helpful Steph!

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Katie July 18, 2013 at 7:29 am

I’m never in one place for too long so I’m always looking for good, healthy on-the-go options. Thank you for posting! I’m a big fan of carrots and hummus 🙂

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 18, 2013 at 8:00 am

So happy to hear that this was helpful Katie! I love carrots and hummus too 🙂

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Solomon August 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Thank you so much for all the helpful ideas 🙂
I needed something to help me in the morning to start off my day when I head to school. Some of these really look good 🙂

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm

No problem! I’m so glad this was helpful to you!

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Tora November 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm

I love Rice Cakes with Almond Butter! Those Lara bars are delicious but slightly naughty, I think…

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 3, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Ha well Lara bars taste like they’re “naughty” but they’re actually not bad in terms of ingredients! All of the sugar in the bars (while there is a lot) comes from dates vs. cane sugar, so that’s something I can get behind 🙂

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Lake Buckley May 16, 2014 at 10:22 am

I think SLOW bars would be a perfect fit for this list! The California bar is like a salad for your back pocket!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 16, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Oh nice! I got your other email too Lake! Thanks for the suggestion — will get back to you now! 🙂

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