Healthy Snacks for Busy Moms

I’ve been asked a lot of questions by other moms about the healthiest and easiest snacks to give their kids. We’re busy moms and we want easy snacks, right? Plus, we don’t want our snacks to be different from the ones we give our kids.

We’ll cover snacks that we can enjoy either bought or made that will actually support our energy levels and our overall health.

Now I personally suggest leaving out gluten but we really just want to skip out on sugar and really unhealthy snacks. I know it can be hard to bypass the unhealthy snacks in the pantry like chips or candy, but we want to show our kids a healthier alternative by eating the things that are better for us. Basically, eating by example.

I’m going to give you the nutrition 101. How can we navigate in the supermarket? How can we navigate in the kitchen without spending too much time? Because we don’t have that time without unknowingly giving ourselves or our kids, something that is not necessarily healthy, that is that is sold as healthy, but isn’t necessarily healthy or supportive to our wellbeing.

SHOPPING FOR FOOD

So the first thing that I wanted to talk about is our options in the supermarket. This is tricky because the large food brands know that as soon as they write “healthy” or “low fat”, “no fat”, etc we trust that to be true. Nowadays it’s like high in protein or whole grain or all of these promises that are on the box, people are more likely to buy them. Those labels are warning signs for me. Usually when I see a promise on the box, I double check the ingredient lists to ensure there isn’t something hidden. 

Now, when I talk about ingredients, I’m not talking about calories and the fats. I’m talking about clean ingredients overall.

For example, there are a good 40 plus names for sugar so we need to know what those are. We also need to know how it’s made. If it says rice sugar or rice syrup…that’s sugar.  Rice is rice. It’s a grain. And It’s not sweet. So you have to think about how highly processed it must be to become sugar or syrup from rice. So always keep that in mind.

You want to stick to about two or three sweeteners at most, which are honey, pure maple syrup and dates/date syrup. There’s still sugar, but these are much higher quality and aren’t as processed. 

So we want to make sure we’re reading all of the ingredients in the supermarket. It takes a little bit of time on the first few runs but you’ll pick up on healthy and unhealthy ingredients pretty fast. Even using an app, for example, you’ll find most snacks will be in that red category.

But having those little shortcuts and dedicating a couple of runs to each supermarket to know which products are good for us is the best solution. 

HEALTHY SNACK OPTIONS

One of my favorite snacks is a good bar. If you look at the ingredients of one of the bars I love, it’s 55% dates, almonds, cashews, almond paste, cocoa, mass, cocoa powder. That’s it! It’s delicious and sweet. The combination of fruit and nuts is what’s great here.

So when we’re looking for a snack that’s healthy and provides sustainable energy, this combination is ideal. When you have a banana on its own, you are eating a good, healthy, nutritious snack, but your sugar levels still go up. But if we’re combining that banana with a handful or more of nuts, the fibers of the nuts and everything in the nuts will actually help maintain the energy. So add nuts with a banana, you’re going to stay fuller longer, and you’re also going to get more sustainable energy.

Same goes with dried fruit. It does help sustain the energy a little bit more. It keeps you fuller for longer.

When we’re looking for snacks to give our kids that don’t have to be prepped, put together or sat down to eat, bars, nuts/seeds and fruit is the perfect, healthy idea.

Energy bars are great. They can walk around and munch on them. You can also prep a large batch of handmade energy balls so you know what the ingredients are. Give them this and an apple, this and a carrot.

BUT what happens if you have kids who don’t like nuts or are allergic to nuts of some kind? If you make it at home and it is easy, especially if you have a trusty food processor, you can make it with seeds. Grind it up. If you put enough dates in there and you put enough cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, etc (plus chocolate if they like it) they will not detect any nut or seed in there.

To make it more interesting you can make them into balls, press it down in a tray and just refrigerate it a little bit and then cut it. And they have little cubes as well. So you don’t have to stand there and make balls, although it’s adorable!

You might be wondering, Well Danna…what about chocolate?

Chocolate is good for you depending on the ingredients. So something like Lindt chocolate will definitely have dairy and sugar. They will have other things in them, and in most cases not enough cocoa, which is why chocolate is good for you. 

When my kids want chocolate, I’m happy to give them something raw and healthy. I don’t need to monitor it. I don’t need to worry. Good quality ingredients, high quality and high percentage of cocoa? Winner winner chicken dinner!

So you can find things you can buy. It may involve getting used to ordering online and maybe buying in bulk. We always have healthy snacks in the cupboard so that if we don’t feel like making something, we know we have what we want.

The biggest benefit is always that these kinds of snacks will give you more energy.  We usually go for a snack but aren’t necessarily hungry. It’s because we need that boost of energy.  When we need a boost of energy, if we’re having a deep flee with jam or potato chips or m&ms, etc, we’re just shooting ourselves in the leg because we’ll have that immediate energy boost, but it will go down and just go downhill from there, which is not very helpful.

And if we’re giving it to the kids, we know why we feel bad giving this stuff to the kids. We know that we really shouldn’t necessarily give it to them or give it as often. So we want to know that they have things they can rely on. 

THINGS YOU CAN MAKE QUICK AND EASY

Something that I love to do if I need something sweet, and I really feel like I need to indulge, is take a handful of nuts in a bowl. I drizzle some good quality local honey on it, some cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Mix it up and enjoy!

You also want good quality fats with your snack with kids or for yourself. So what you can do it take fruit, cut it up and have some nut butter, dip it in or drizzle on it and just enjoy. You can also add some cinnamon, vanilla or maple syrup to nut butters to make them even sweeter!

If you take one thing away from this blog post, just look at the ingredients. It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping in person or online. For example, nut butters that’s just the nuts and maybe some salt, as opposed to popular peanut butters that are full of sugar.

And remember, you can always add honey, maple syrup or anything like that to sweeten snacks up to your liking. Add it to veggies and you’ve got a balanced snack!

I hope you found this article helpful! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!

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