Food

Back-to-School Snacks That are Healthy for You and the Planet!

What to eat when those snack-attacks hit

With fall approaching fast and back-to-school right around the corner, it means that long summer nights and making s'mores might be replaced with long study nights and a need for some brain-fueling, healthy snacks. Even though the convenience of goldfish and fruit gushers might be calling your name at the grocery store, these snacks are full of unhealthy refined sugar and might even potentially contain small amounts of phthalates due to packaging (1). Instead, try making your own snacks at home! It's healthier, extremely easy and better for the planet. Think about all the snack packaging that you toss away each year - I know for me, even though I try to recycle, sometimes I'm not sure if something can be recycled and it all ends up going into the trash. It's definitely more sustainable to make your own snacks in bulk and pack them in reusable (and healthier!) alternatives to grab to-go. The recipes that we've rounded up for you are low in refined-sugar, high in whole-grains, and full of healthy fats that will keep your stomach full and your brain juices flowing. Bonus, you can personalize each of them to taste exactly how you want and making them can be a fun activity with your kids or friends.


Energy Bites

Minimalist Baker Peanut Butter Energy Bites: vegan and gluten-free

  • This recipe contains dates, which don't contain added sugars, but are still high in sugar since they're a fruit. If you're looking for a low-sugar snack, try out our trail mix and granola bar recipes instead!

Well Plated Energy Balls: vegan and gluten-free

  • This recipe doesn't contain any dates, so if want to try your hand out at energy bites, but don't like dates used in traditional recipes, this one is great alternative.

The Kitchn Tahini Energy Balls: vegan and gluten-free

  • This recipe is a twist on the traditional energy bites. It includes Tahini, which is ground up sesame seed paste. Sesame seeds have proven health benefits and this would be a great recipe to ease yourself into incorporating Tahini into your diet (2)!


Trail Mix

The Humble Oven Trio Trail Mix Bark (cherry, almond and cashews):

  • Calling all chocolate lovers, here's a way to get your chocolate fix and still stay within your daily limit! This bark is chock full of naturally sweet cherries and heart healthy almonds and cashews.

Rachel Cooks Superfood Trail Mix:

  • Trail mixes are great because they are generally low in sugar. This recipe takes maybe 10 minutes and keeps super well, so you can always have a bag on hand.

Harvest Kitchen Antioxidant Trail Mix:

  • If you like variety in your trail mix, this recipe has it! With 10 different types of nuts, seeds and dried fruit, it'll keep snack time interesting no matter what.

Granola Bars

Ambitious Kitchen Peanut Butter Granola Bars:

  • These granola bars contain chia seeds and flaxseeds for fiber and nut butters which are healthy fats to keep you feeling full.

From My Bowl Nut-free Granola Bars:

  • For those of you with nut-allergies, rejoice! This recipe contains zero-nuts (it's made with seeds and dried fruit instead), but is still delicious and healthy.

Cookie and Kate Chocolate Chip Granola Bars:

  • Chocolate chip granola bars are a staple of most childhoods, and if you're not ready to give them up quite yet, try this healthier, homemade version.


Savory Snacks

Smitten Kitchen Whole Wheat Goldfish:

  • If you're not in the mood for anything sweet, check out Smitten Kitchen's whole wheat goldfish. Not only is it made with whole wheat, the recipe also includes instructions on how to cut down the sodium, while still ensuring these taste delicious.


While these snacks are healthier than store-bought processed snacks, nothing beats eating a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables. These snacks are definitely not meant to supply all the nutrients you need in a day, and are best to just help tide you (or the kids) over when the hangry-ness starts!

Happy snacking!


References
  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-7643-8340-4_4
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123756886101227

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