As an added bonus, some of these you can make yourself beforehand when doing meal prep, or when you want an activity to do with the kids. That ups the health factor and cuts down on cost even more. All the foods on the list are ones that are staples in our house. With plenty of delicious snacks to choose from on this list, there are sure to be a few that you'll want to incorporate into your own household.
1. Hand fruitPeaches, nectarines, apples, pears, bananas, grapes, plums -- anything you can grab, wash and eat on the go without any fuss qualifies as a hand fruit. They're great to keep around for when you want something sweet. While oranges aren't a hand fruit, I like to keep a bunch of them in the house as well. Bananas are probably the cheapest fruit you can find, which is why we've always got a pile in our fruit bowl.
2. Peppers, celery, cucumbers and carrotsChop them up and keep them handy for when you're craving something yummy. I keep a container of carrot sticks drenched in water to keep them fresh in the fridge. A few cucumbers are always floating around the fridge to peel and slice.
Make-it-yourself bonus: You can grow your own garden and buy veggies that aren't pre-cut to save even more.
3. Peanut butter and breadA serving of natural peanut butter without fillers along with whole grain bread makes for a healthy, protein-packed snack to keep you full.
Make-it-yourself bonus: Honey wheat or buttermilk wheat bread goes great with peanut butter. Both are easy to make, too.
4. Protein barsPick up a big box of store-brand protein bars rather than going for the small boxes or singles of the fancy brands to save money. All protein bars aren't created equal, so check to see how much protein, sugar, calories and fat each really has. You don't want your snack to end up a meal!
5. Granola barsThis is another treat you can buy a big, store-brand box of to keep cost down. Like with the protein bars, check the nutritional label to be sure it's not just empty calories you're noshing on.
Make-it-yourself bonus: To know exactly what goes into your bars, throw together some of your own in the kitchen.
6. Cheese sticks or slicesAt any given time, we have about three different kinds of cheeses in the fridge drawer. American cheese slices, Swiss, Munster, mozzarella sticks -- you name it, the kids love it (so do I). When they're hungry, we often reach for low-fat cheese as a healthy, filling protein boost to last until the next meal.
7. HumusHumus comes in so many flavors! My favorites are traditional and ranch. Grab your favorite along with some pita chips, tortilla chips, crackers or pretzels to scoop up a yummy serving.
Make-it-yourself bonus: If you're adventurous, you can make your own humus easily and even whip up pita and tortilla chips.
8. Air-popped popcornPop up some kernels (you can get a big bag or container for a few dollars) for a fun snack. Leave off the salt and butter to keep it healthy.
9. Greek or regular yogurtLike the protein and granola bars, check the labels on yogurt for calorie, fat, protein and sugar content. You want something that's balanced so you have a satisfying snack. M2 loves the yogurt tubes and I often reach for a cup of Greek yogurt for myself. I get big packages rather than singles so it does't cost as much. Sales and the local discount grocery store also help me keep from breaking the bank on yogurt.
Make-it-yourself bonus: If you're up for the challenge, try making your own yogurt.
10. NutsPistachios, peanuts, almonds, cashews -- oh, my! So many choices that you can get in large containers so that otherwise pricey nuts aren't so shocking to your wallet. A small handful at a time is all you need for an afternoon (or evening) pick-me-up.
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