Healthy Homemade Snacks You'll Love

I get it! Days are long, you're working as hard as you can, and sometimes it's really challenging to pass up that convenient "pick me up wrap" at the fast food place on your drive home. Now don't get me wrong, I love me some hummus and veggies, but sometimes you want something more. Sure, you still want it to be healthy, and you still want to grab it and eat it in your car, or at the office, without hating yourself by 5 p.m. Here are some ideas for healthy homemade snacks that will get you out of your hummus rut.

Energy balls

Energy balls are a favorite in my house, in fact I just whipped up a batch today. I mixed fast cooking (but not instant) oats, almond butter (I heated it in the microwave so it stirred easily), raw honey, shredded coconut great if you toast it!) mini chocolate chips, a pinch of salt, and a few dashes of vanilla-flavored stevia. I also tossed in chia seeds, and a couple of tablespoons of collagen protein powder. Once everything was stirred together, I placed the bowl in the fridge to chill. When I am ready, my daughter and I will roll them into balls, and store the ones we don't devour in an airtight container. I love how many variations there are on these little guys. If you'd like to kick it up a notch, try making your own homemade granola bars, which typically incorporate some kind of flour to maintain their shape and structure.

Low carb crackers

I know I'm not the only one who cuts down on carbs when I'm trying to trim down. The problem most people encounter when cutting carbs is not finding anything to satisfy the craving for a salty and crunchy snack. I found a recipe at the Nourished Caveman a while back that was meant to be for a low-carb pizza crust...but I found that when cut into squares, it made a much better cracker. It combines almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk powder, unflavored whey protein (or egg white protein for dairy-free), pink Himalayan or sea salt, and large organic eggs. I then season the crackers in a few different ways — sometimes with dried rosemary, sometimes with smoked paprika. I add a few drops of water if it's too hard to mix together, and roll it out on plastic wrap. I cut it into squares and rectangles, sprinkle them liberally with kosher salt, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. They bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. The resulting crackers are perfect when topped with salami and cheese, and definitely satisfy that need for a carby, salty, somethin' somethin'. They keep for a week in an airtight container.

Two-ingredient pancakes

There are a lot of "two-ingredient" recipes on the interwebs that involve blending an ingredient with a box of processed cake mix. Anyone remember that "diet" recipe that combined devils food cake with a can of Diet Coke? You can do better than that! Take a moment to ask yourself these questions: Do you have eggs in the house? Do you have bananas? If you answered yes to both, you too can make two-ingredient banana pancakes. All you do is mash the ripe banana well, whisk in whole eggs, and pour, silver dollar size, into a hot pan coated with oil or cooking spray. The resulting pancake is more like a thin crepe. They are delicious as-is, or you can jazz them up with a bit of maple syrup or honey, or stuffed with your favorite nut butter.

Roasted chickpeas

I really couldn't possibly overstate how much I adore roasted chickpeas. Yes, you can prepare almost any bean in this method, but something about chickpeas delivers that rich and nutty flavor I want in a snack. Making them couldn't be simpler. Drain a can of garbanzo beans, rinse and dry them as much as possible, coat them in olive oil, and lay them in a dark-bottomed pan, and roast at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, until they start to deeply darken and develop that delicious crunch. When they come out of the oven, sprinkle them liberally with salt while they are still hot. I prefer them plain, but they are also great with curry powder or Italian seasoning. Make a batch and keep them in your office drawer to avoid those doughnuts your co-worker keeps bringing in.

Veggie chips

You may have tried packaged veggie chips out of the bag, but have you ever tried fresh from the oven, homemade veggie chips? Take it from me, they are a game changer. Homemade veggie chips are devoid of fillers like potato starch, and chock full of veggie goodness. Homemade veggie chips are the snack you will feel great munching on. Best part is, so many different veggies make for a great chippy snack. Kale, sweet potatoes, zucchini, beets... all make for a dynamite snack when baked in the oven with a thin coat of good-quality oil and coated with your favorite spices. If you're a purist, make your own potato chips baked in the oven with olive oil, salt, and a touch of cayenne pepper. A baggie of these in your purse, and you will waltz right by the vending machines at work.

Chocolate nut clusters

Fantastic news! Chocolate is good for you! High quality, dark chocolate that has gone through little processing is rich in flavanols that fight inflammation and lower blood pressure. Chocolate also contains a host of feel-good chemicals. The trick is, you need to eat the right kind of chocolate, so it's best to create your chocolate treats yourself.

Chocolate nut clusters are incredibly easy to make, and add in the healthy proteins and fats from the nuts to make this a well-rounded treat. If you would like to skip the traditional double boiler method of melting down your chocolate, consider throwing everything into your slow cooker. Your favorite nuts and dark chocolate are layered into the slow cooker, and cooked on low for one hour. Scoop out your clusters and lay them in mounds on wax paper, allow to harden, then store in an air-tight container.

Veggie tots

As far as I'm concerned, if you're going to tot-ify something, I'm gonna eat it. That's why turning veggies into tot form is a brilliant idea to get you, and your whole family, eating and actually enjoying more nutrient rich veggies. There are so many variations on this method — you can make them with sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cauliflower, even Brussels sprouts. Baking your tots instead of deep-frying them keeps them light, and whipping up a large batch and freezing them means you always have a quick veggie tot snack on hand at a moment's notice. How's this one for simple? Izzy at She Likes Food makes zucchini tots with only 4 ingredients! Zucchini, potato, salt, and olive oil.

Chocolate-dipped fruit

If you can melt chocolate and stick fruit on a stick, you can make freezer-ready, healthy snacks to enjoy any day of the year. Bananas are a sure-fire hit with the kiddos, and can be bedazzled with topping like sprinkles, coconut, and crushed cookies and nuts. Cut bananas in half and insert a craft stick up the center. Lay them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, and place in the freezer for a few hours until they are firm. Dip the top of the banana into the good-quality dark chocolate you have melted in a double boiler, then press into your prepared topping of choice. Eat right away, or freeze individually in plastic or wax paper.

Homemade Uncrustables

The appeal of an Uncrustable is totally lost on me. Why would you want less of the delicious, carby bread? Alas, not only my daughter, but also my husband, loves these things, and I do have to admit that they are pretty convenient to grab and go. The ingredient list on the store-bought variety is an epic accounting of almost every impossible to pronounce food additive in existence. For a PB&J on bread? There must be a better way!

There is! Making your own Uncrustables is a pretty straight-forward process. Get your favorite healthy bread, your favorite nut butter and jelly, and assemble, keeping the fillings toward the center of your bread. Now, use a drinking glass or a sandwich shaper to press down, and use a sharp knife to cut off the crusts. Place your Uncrustables on a cookie sheet and freeze for a couple hours, then store in individual plastic baggies in the freezer.

Ice cream and frozen yogurt

The blogosphere is filled with oodles of healthified recipes for ice cream or frozen yogurt, and there is definitely something for everybody. Want dairy-free? Try a recipe that uses full-fat coconut milk as the base, like the chai coconut ice cream from Cookie and Kate. For an even easier, and lower calorie frozen treat, try a blend of paleo Nutella with bananas, frozen into a two-ingredient marvel. Erin at Well Plated wisely blends a bit of coconut rum into her berry & coconut frozen yogurt to keep the froyo soft and scoopable. The best thing about all these recipes? None require an ice cream maker.

Creative popcorn

Ditch that microwave popcorn we've been hearing all the frightening stories about, and make yourself some good old, homemade popcorn, just like your mom used to make. If you have an air popper, great. If not, all you need is a soup pot with a tight lid. I buy organic popcorn kernels from the bulk bin of my local supermarket and cook it in a pot with coconut oil (no, you can't taste the coconut!). If I'm making it for my daughter, I just sprinkle liberally with Himalayan salt or table salt (kosher salt is too coarse — so it won't stick to the kernels). If I'm making it for myself, I get really creative with toppings like curry powder, Japanese furikake seasoning, smoked paprika, Parmesan cheese, truffle oil, or chili powder. Have a sweet tooth? Add some honey to the pot that you cook your popcorn in for a healthy, homemade kettle corn.

Froyo bites

For a frozen treat that's ready and waiting for you when you get home on a hot summer's day, or any day you need a sweet pick me up, try making these super simple frozen yogurt bites. Mix crushed granola with a bit of melted coconut oil, and spread into the bottom of muffin tin liners. Top with vanilla Greek yogurt and the fresh berries of your choice. Freeze for a few hours, and enjoy. Try variations like experimenting with different crushed cereals, toasted coconut, sliced bananas or chocolate chips.

Zucchini brownies

There are all sorts of sneaky recipes out there that involve putting a healthy ingredient in a dish you wouldn't expect to find it. Avocado pudding, cauliflower mashed potatoes, and yes, zucchini brownies. If you would like a version that's also free of flour, and refined sugar, try the one at Cafe Delites, that uses dark chocolate, coconut oil, and a heaping cup of grated, fresh zucchini. If zucchini isn't your bag, but you still want to sneak something healthy into your next batch of brownies, try making fiber-loaded black bean brownies.

Fresh spring rolls

Is it just me, or is food so much yummier when you roll it up in something? Tacos, tortillas, wraps... all a great way to get some healthy food in your belly in a neat little package. One of my favorites lately has been making my own little spring rolls. I buy rice paper wrappers from my local Asian specialty market, and use them to wrap all sorts of ingredients into neat, yummy, and fast little packages. If you would put it in a salad, it goes well in a spring roll. Think chilled shrimp, avocado, greens, cucumber, scallions, shredded chicken, herbs... you name it. They are great for on the go, and all the better if you have a yummy sauce or dressing for dunking.