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Snack Smarter with These Healthy, Quick Ideas

Back-to-school, even if it’s virtual, means back to the chaos. Prevent hangry breakdowns with these tips.

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Runners love to snack, and for good reason. We’re a hungry bunch and we often can’t get enough of the nutrition our hardworking bodies need from just three meals a day. Unfortunately there are far too many healthy-sounding packaged foods targeted at athletes (and often, at children, too). These snacks are designed to satisfy all our cravings, but they’re often lacking in real food nutrition.

Typical packaged snacks are high in salt, sugar, refined oils, and hard-to-digest ingredients like protein powders and fillers and low in vitamins and minerals. There are awesome companies dedicated to making healthier snacks, but these come at a premium. The key to pulling off homemade snacks is to plan ahead. Just like you plan and prep your meals in advance, take time every week to prep snacks for your busy week ahead—especially if you’re juggling virtual school for kids and work from home. You and the little ones will be a lot less likely to reach for a packaged bar or bag of chips if you have a stash of freshly baked wholesome treats in your pantry and/or freezer.

The best snacks are low in sugar and include fat and protein for satiation and whole food ingredients for maximizing your intake of vitamins and minerals.

Healthy Snack Ideas

Here are a few of my favorite healthy, easy snack ideas (no recipe needed):

  • Half an avocado sprinkled with sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and sea salt
  • Hardboiled eggs with salt and pepper
  • Roasted nuts and seeds (add oil, spices, and salt for flavor)
  • Fruit and veggie smoothies (add nut butter and yogurt for fat and protein)
  • Rice cake with nut butter and sliced banana
  • Dark chocolate and almonds
  • Berries and yogurt
  • Apples and peanut butter
  • Guacamole and tortilla chips

Tips for Having Healthy Snacks at the Ready

If you’re trying to keep up with feeding a hungry family, it can be difficult to keep homemade snacks at the ready. Here are a few helpful time-saving tips:

  • Double recipes for your favorite baked treats. Wrap in individual portions and stash in the freezer. 
  • Wash and chop enough veggies for several days. Store carrot and celery sticks in wide-mouth mason jars with a splash of water in the bottom to keep them from drying out.
  • Freeze your favorite fruits and vegetables for smoothies into individual packets. Then simply grab a packet out of the freezer and blend with liquid, nut butter, dates, and yogurt. 
  • Hard-boil half a dozen or a dozen eggs and chill in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Set aside time every Sunday to bake a wholesome treat like muffins, breakfast cookies, roasted nuts, and granola. 
  • Create your own trail mixes and stash in a large canister in the pantry. Include nuts, seeds, unsweetened dried fruits, popcorn and/or pretzels.

Elyse’s Favorite Cookbook Snack Recipes

Here are my favorite snacks from Run Fast. Eat Slow. and Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. that I make on repeat in our household.

  • Ginger Molasses Granola with yogurt
  • Superhero Muffins 
  • Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies 
  • Maple Turmeric Nuts
  • Chocolate Matcha Energy Balls 
  • Crispy Chickpeas 
  • Homemade hummus with carrots and celery sticks 
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 
  • Can’t Beet Me Smoothie 

For when you have a serious snack craving and you need something crunchy, savory, sweet, and spicy, try my crave-worthy Spiced Popcorn Granola.