Did you know that 71% of people snack at least twice daily? Whether your reason to snack is to curb hunger pangs, boost your metabolism, or indulge your taste buds, the guilt of snacking is real. You tend to grab potato chips, cookies, or something ready-to-eat because they are convenient options.
Unfortunately, we all know these foods are expensive for daily snacking and loaded with high fat, salt, and artificial ingredients. How about trying cheap, healthy snacks to satisfy your tummy, tongue, and wallet?
Cheap Healthy Snacks for Work
Snacks are your lifeline at work, especially when you miss lunchtime or work long hours. Check out some options below:
Nuts, Seeds, and Dried Fruits
These foods pack protein, good fat, and other nutrients your body needs. Keep a jar of almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pistachios, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, apricots, etc., in the drawer at your workstation. Eat a handful once a day when you feel hungry.
A word of caution: avoid salty and sugar-coated nuts, seeds, and dried fruits to keep surplus calories at bay.
Opt for baked vegetables or fruit chips when the craving for chips strikes during office hours. These crispy, cheap snacks for adults are much healthier than fried chips if you bake them in an oven or air fryer. You can try chips of different veggies such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, beetroots, carrots, zucchini, etc. Apple, pineapple, ripe banana, and jackfruit chips also taste lip-smacking!
A powerhouse of protein, cottage cheese keeps your stomach full longer. You can relish this low-fat snack as it is or with your favorite fruit. You can even sprinkle it on whole-grain avocado toast and carry it in a snack box to your workplace.
This Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dip is a sinful blend of chickpeas, olive oil, tahini (sesame seeds paste), garlic, and lemon juice. You can even add beetroot for a healthier version and get that gorgeous pinkish hue. Dip sliced carrots, cucumbers, or bell peppers in hummus dip to relish. The combination will bring a burst of freshness you need to shoo away the work fatigue. You can also use hummus as a spread on whole-grain breads or crackers.
Roasted chickpeas and peanuts also make cheap healthy snacks for adults looking for nutritional benefits and crunchy taste. You can eat them plain after roasting or season them with a spice mix. Don’t eat more than a fistful – overeating them is risky due to their tiny size.
Lettuce wraps are a perfect substitute for grain-based bases. You can try different fillings such as veggies, shredded chicken, shrimp salad, tofu, bacon, etc. You can even add baked chips to the wraps for crunchy bites. A drizzle of lemon and vinegar dressing will elevate the palate.
Cheap Healthy Snacks for School
Finding snacks, your children will love to nibble without any complaints and bringing empty tiffin boxes back home is a struggle. Here are some ideas to pack affordable and nutritious munchies for school:
Protein, calcium-rich, and gut-booster yogurt tubs are available easily in supermarkets. Just make sure to buy the low-fat and unsweetened variety. However, nothing beats the purity and creaminess of homemade yogurt! You can pair the yoghurt with your child’s favorite fruit, veggies, or fortified cereals.
This humble bite-sized snack is a classic school snack that no child can resist. You can season them with a pinch of salt, cheddar cheese powder, oregano, cinnamon sugar, or other herbs to make them flavorsome. You can easily pop the corn kernels in oil on a stovetop, instant pot, or microwave!
A trail mix is the best way to incorporate nuts, seeds, and dried fruits into your child’s diet. Just mix and match these foods to suit your child’s taste. Throw in a pinch of nutmeg or sea salt to bring the zest. Little bits of chopped dark chocolate or pretzels will add fun to the mix.
The versatile crackers are a quick and convenient school snack, especially when you need cheap, healthy snacks on the go amidst the morning rush. Opt for whole-grain or multi-grain crackers for better nutritional content. They go well with low-fat cheese, homemade pickles, salami, shrimp salad, smoked salmon, tomato salsa, etc. They also make a healthy base for pizza sauce and toppings.
You can experiment with eggs differently to make your child’s school snack time delectable! You can pack plain, hard-boiled eggs with a dusting of salt and pepper. You can make a mean veggie omelet for a burrito or tortilla roll filling. Egg-fried rice and egg sandwiches are also great options.
If your children are tired of eating sandwiches in school, you can delight them with refreshing cucumber bites. Cut the cucumber into round shapes. Top them with herbed cheese cream, avocado mash, pickled beetroot, bacon, eggs, etc. Be your creative best!
Cheap Healthy Snacks to Make at Home
There is no denying that homemade snacks are more budget-friendly, fresher, and healthier than store-bought snacks. Here are some recipes you can whip up at home without any hassles:
It is one of the most fulfilling and nourishing snacks; it barely takes a few minutes to make smoothies. Toss low-fat milk or yogurt and a fruit of your choice in a blender. Avoid adding honey or any form of sugar to lower the calorie count. Viola, your smoothie is ready! You can combine various fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, muesli, or oatmeal to make any smoothie recipe.
Granola Bars and Energy Balls
If you or your children are not a big fan of nuts and seeds, you can sneak them into oat-based granola bars and energy balls. For better taste, you can add dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, dried cherries, unsweetened coconut, dates, vanilla extract, peanut butter, almond butter, or brown sugar.
Toast the oats and mix other ingredients. Place this mixture on parchment paper in a serving dish. Flatten the mixture and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Cut them into bars. Alternatively, you can roll up the mixture into small balls and then refrigerate.
The best thing about chia pudding is that you can prepare it the night before you need it. That way, you can have a few spare moments in the morning. Add low-fat or dairy-free milk, a teaspoon of chia seeds, and a healthy sweetener to a small glass jar. You can even add oats to make it wholesome. Let the mixture soak overnight in the refrigerator. Before reliving this creamy pudding, top it with sliced fruits, nuts, seeds, or protein powder. Carry the jar to your work or pack it in your kid’s tiffin box.
The tender and young soybean pods known as edamame are sinfully delicious and healthy. Wash them thoroughly and steam them in salt water till the pods turn soft. Strain the water and eat the cooked edamame as it is. You can also sauté them in a teaspoon of olive oil and garlic ginger paste. Add chili flakes, oregano, or herb mix as per your taste.
Bake savory muffins with whole wheat flour, spinach, tomato, and feta cheese as the key ingredients. You can substitute spinach and tomato with minced meat, broccoli, green peas, pumpkin, or zucchini. You can prepare a few batches of muffins in one go and store them in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Pop them in your mouth whenever you feel the urge to snack!
You can easily make mini quesadillas at your home. Try different fillings of chicken, pork, ham, eggs, mushrooms, vegetables, or black beans with different sauces. After all, variety is the spice of life!
Cheap Healthy Snacks to Buy in Bulk
Bulk buying is recommended to reduce food costs, save time, and reduce waste. However, make sure you purchase locally sourced, freshly harvested, and organic snacks as far as possible. Read the nutrition labels on the packaging to understand whether they are a healthy choice for you.
Ideally, you should buy ready-to-eat snacks or ingredients for homemade snacks that you can consume within a month. Here is a list of a few cheap healthy snacks to buy from stores:
- Frozen fruits and vegetables (for the times when you run out of fresh stock)
- Nuts and seeds in shells (they have a longer shelf life)
- Unsweetened dried fruits
- Popcorn kernels
- Whole peanuts
- Dried beans and lentils
- Chia seeds
- Dark chocolate chips
- Baked vegetable or fruit chips
- Whole grain cereals
Snacking is necessary to fuel your body at regular intervals. However, it can add unwanted calories to your diet and dent your purse if you are not careful with the snacks’ quality, frequency, and portion. Snack smartly. Snack the right way.