By Heather Acken, Whole30 Coach, who knows firsthand the importance of one-handed snacks for mama and kids.
As a busy working mama, I know how much of a lifesaver healthy snacks can be. Sometimes you just need something to get you through, especially during pregnancy, postpartum, and with littles running around. We busy moms need to have a stash on hand so we have good options to nourish our bodies and those of our growing kids. Today I’m sharing my tips and tricks for making sure you always have a supply of healthy, one-handed snacks for mama and kids.
The key to snack success
Preparation is the key! I’m not always the best weekly meal planner. Life gets busy, and I sometimes go off plan. Snacks, on the other hand, are a different story and take me much less time. I love to chop raw veggies for the week or portion snacks to grab into single-serving containers. I also like to keep a designated snack drawer in my fridge and pantry. We all know that when snack time hits, we need a snack NOW! With designated areas, I don’t waste time searching and I can mix and match as I like.
For me, a great well-rounded snack option includes 2 macronutrients per serving. By that, I mean creating a combination of a fat, carb, or a protein. For example, I will mix things like guacamole and veggies (fat and carb), hard-boiled eggs and blueberries (protein and carb), apple slices with almond butter (carb and fat), or a meat stick and cashews (protein and fat). This way I’m not just eating an entire bag of dried mangos that might cause a blood sugar crash later. This trick helps keep things balanced, and if my daughter or I just eat snacks for dinner, well, then I don’t feel so bad.
If you’re on a Whole30, know that snacks definitely have a time and place, especially for those of us who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or pre/post-workout. You can limit your intake if you don’t fall into these categories. My list of items below contains both Whole30 and non-compliant options (I labeled them NCO below). Feel free to mix and match to meet your needs and goals.
Snacks for Your Refrigerator Drawer
- Lunch Meat: There are lots of compliant options out there these days, just read your labels. Applegate has some great turkey and chicken. I love to roll up my meats ahead of time to have a quick one-handed snack for mama and kids on hand.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: This is the ultimate in portable protein. If you’re getting sick of them change up your seasonings. I love ranch seasoning, everything but the bagel seasoning, and even mustard.
- Raw Veggie Sticks: My household favorites include carrots, jicama, green beans, snap peas, celery, and zucchini. We love this storage container that keeps produce fresh!
- Cheese Sticks: NCO, great for food freedom and especially for kiddos that enjoy dairy.
- Yogurt Tubes: NCO, and there are a lot of great options out there even in the dairy-free space.
- Precut Fruit: Like I’ve said, prep is key here. Putting them in individual serving containers makes it easy for anyone to grab and go.
- Dips: I love making my own or even buying the single-serving packs. Favorites in my house include guacamole, ranch, hummus, baba ganoush, pesto, butters (such as nut and seed) and tapenade. Click here for my roundup of 8 great Whole30 compliant sauces and dips.
Snacks for Your Pantry Shelf
- Olives: Canned or individual, shelf-stable snack packs are great to have for some healthy fat.
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and pepitas are all Whole30 compliant.
- Dried Meat: I love bars, sticks, biltong, and jerky. My favorite compliant options are Nick’s Sticks, DNX Bars, and Epic Provisions.
- Chips/Crackers: NCO, tortilla chips, potato chips, veggie chips, chicken chips, pork rinds, grain-free crackers, etc. All have lots of healthier options make with oils like coconut and olive and few processed ingredients. I love Mary’s Gone Crackers, Simple Mills, Wilde Chips, and Siete.
- Pouches: Fruit pouches are our absolute go-to around here. You can find them in great flavors and with compliant ingredients. Also, look at other baby food pouches that are great for adults and kids alike on the run. Great to throw into a purse or diaper bag. We also love Serenity Kids baby food pouches that blend veggies, healthy fats, high-quality protein.
- Canned and Jarred Fruit: Another pantry staple, I look for those brands in fruit juice and not syrup.
- Freeze-Dried and Dried Fruit: Think mangos, figs, blueberries, bananas, and strawberries. Portion out with nuts beforehand for DIY trailmix!
- Bars: I love fruit and nut bars and fig bars.
- Fruit Gummies: These have come a long way too. You can find them sweetened with fruit juice or if you’re feeling super motivated, make your own using gelatin.
Share the snack love
Heather Acken is a busy working wife and mother who has been on a wellness journey her whole life. She wants to teach others a new relationship with food and health and to help others find balance between life, work, food, and fitness so that they can make the most of their time. She loves being outdoors and spending time with her family and is driven to set an example and teach her daughter a new relationship with food, health, and her body. You can connect with Heather on Instagram. If you found these ideas helpful and would like a free download of Heather’s healthy snack list to keep on your fridge or in your pantry, you can learn more and sign up for her newsletter on her website.