8 Healthy Snack Ideas to Keep You Fueled at School and Work

Back to school means back to the packed lunch routine. I don’t know about you, but I need more than just a main course to get me through the school day. I need SNACKS. So in this post I’ll be sharing with you 8 easy snack ideas that can be homemade or store bought and are perfect for your lunchbox. Of course, don't limit yourself to enjoying these snacks only at school. You can have them at work! In the car! As a midnight snack! The possibilities are endless... 

Speaking of lunchboxes...

We need to talk about how to transport all of your food (because you don't want to have random little containers of Tupperware scattered across the bottom of your backpack).

You know those cute little lunch bag you might get at Target or Urban Outfitters? Yeah, that’s not what I have. My lunchbox is pretty ugly, and that’s because it’s all business. You see, I don’t mess around when it comes to packing food for school. When I chose it I was looking for something that had: a shoulder strap, lots of space for lots of food, a plain color that wouldn’t show stains, and a top-opening style for easy access during class. I settled on this dark blue Wildkin lunchbox and I’ve been using it for years.

That doesn't mean you can't get cute tote or a bento box. You do you. I’m just reminding you to consider the practical features that you need.

Why do you need to snack?

To snack or not to snack? That is not even a question. Obviously, the answer is SNACK!

The time from breakfast to lunch can span upwards of five hours, and that's plenty for hunger pangs to hit. These can be distracting, especially when you’re at work or at school. Your brain needs fuel to function!

If you go without snacking and then sit down to eat a huge meal at lunch, you’ll be left feeling sluggish. Small, nutritious snacks are the key to making sure that you get through the day with steady energy.

A small confession here: sometimes I snack at school just to stay awake which isn't really the healthiest but I'm just trying to keep it real here :)

The snack checklist

Obviously not every edible foodstuff is fit to be a snack. Donut holes, fried chips, and those weird cheese crackers come to mind. Aside from their questionable ingredient lists, these definitely won’t leave you feeling full and satisfied.

To curate the best snacks, I focused on the following checklist of requirements:

  • Balanced - carbs, fats, and proteins to keep you full and satisfied

  • Healthy - I'm not about labels like "clean" but we're trying to keep the ingredients lists as short as possible here and keep out the processed stuff

  • Quiet - nothing is more awkward than trying to bite into a carrot quietly during class work time

  • Not messy - crumbs and stickiness are a no-no, especially when you’re trying to eat and work at the same time

  • Easy to transport - you need foods that won’t spoil and can be packaged easily in your lunchbox

So let's get on with the ideas!

1. Make your own trail mix

I don’t really like the taste of store bought trail mix, and making your own is so easy that it's just a no-brainer snack option. You can make a big jar and then scoop portions into little containers. Tip: Store your mix in the fridge, if you have room. Nuts can go rancid, especially very fatty ones like walnuts, cashews and pecans.

Here’s what you might consider adding to your trail mix:

Nuts: cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios (I try to avoid seeds just because they’re so tiny and hard to pick out of the bag)

Fruit: dried cranberries, blueberries, and raisins; banana chips; freeze-dried fruits are also delicious but more expensive

Chocolate: I believe chocolate is its own food group… just make sure to choose a dark chocolate to keep the sugar low

Another tip: Be careful about allergies. Make sure no one in your classroom or workplace has a severe nut allergy.

2. Apples and peanut butter

This borders on the messy and loud but it’s a relatively easy snack to eat and it’s definitely much quieter than carrots and peanut butter, so I decided to include it. The sweetness of apples is a perfect match to the creaminess and saltiness of peanut butter. Tip: Again, watch out for allergies.

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3. Veggie egg muffins

Basically omelettes in a muffin shape. They're way more filling than sweet muffins, and really easy to prep ahead for the week. It’s a great way to get some veggies in during the day, and the high protein content will definitely keep you full. Here are a few recipes you might want to try:

1. Healthy Egg Muffin Cups | A Sassy Spoon
2. Veggie Egg Muffins | Spend with Pennies
3. Healthy Egg Muffin Cups | Show Me the Yummy
4. Make-Ahead Egg & Veggie Muffins | SkinnyMs.

4. Energy bites

You may also know them as “energy balls” or “bliss balls”. The idea is the same. It’s basically dried fruit, nuts, nut butter, seeds, etc. all blended together and rolled into convenient, snack-sized little balls.

These are a few of my favorite energy ball recipes:

Crispy Sunflower Seed Butter Balls | @holyhealth (pictured above, I subbed peanut butter)
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie Bites | @bewellwithcl (pictured above, I added dates)
Matcha Pistachio Bliss Balls | Downshiftology
Classic Almond and Cacao Energy Balls | Deliciously Ella

5. Fruit and cheese

We’re getting fancy here. This classic party platter item is also a great snack. Fruit alone won’t keep you full long, but pair it with protein-filled cheese and you have a tasty AND filling snack.

Tip: For ultimate finger foodiness (read: no utensils required), cube your cheese and use berries, grapes, or other small fruits.

6. Seasoned nuts

Plain nuts can be a bit boring, so seasoning and roasting a sheet tray of nuts can be the perfect way to spice them up a little. There are recipes out there for both sweet AND salty nuts, so check out a couple of the ones I found online;

Rosemary Garlic Almonds and Maple Cinnamon Pecans | Center Cut Cook
Spicy Nuts (Paleo + Whole30) | Real Simple Good
Spicy Smokehouse Almonds | Sometimes Homemade
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts | Frugal Living NW

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7. Energy bars

Energy bars literally have “energy” in the name so you know they’ll help you get through your school day/work shift.

If you go store bought, choose one that isn’t too sweet. Energy bars can be sneaky little sugar bombs. I like Larabars and Clif Bars.

They are also fairly easy to make at home, especially if you make a big batch. I love making these mint chocolate power bars from Green Kitchen Stories. The only downside to homemade bars is that they can be a bit crumblier than store bought but I think the savings, flavor, and control over ingredients are worth it.

8. Hard boiled eggs

One of the easiest snacks on this list. You literally just put an egg in some boiling water (although I'm sure I didn't need to explain that. Here’s a guide for how long to boil your eggs from Delicious meets Healthy. I like to use my little egg-shaped timer that changes colors based on how long it has been in hot water to indicate how cooked your eggs are.

Cut your boiled eggs in half, top with some salt and pepper for flavor (I also added Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel seasoning), and you have a delicious, savory, and filling snack.

Conclusion

All of these snacks can be prepped ahead of time to save time and stress. Try to set aside some time on the weekend to at least make a batch of energy bars and cut up some fruit and cheese. You’ll definitely be thanking yourself later when you have healthy snacks to reach for in the fridge!

Another tip: I’ve learned to bring a few more snacks than I think I will actually need. You might not get home at the time you think you will, or you might just be super hungry for some reason (it happens). You also might be able to save your hungry friend by sharing some of your snacks ;)


That’s all for my snack tips! I hope you enjoyed and found some tasty ideas to bring with you to school or work. 

Let me know in the comments - what’s your favorite thing to snack on at school/work? For me, it'd probably be grapes and chocolate!

Happy Monday!
Beatrice

What I Eat in a Day #1

Hello friends!

I am writing this post on Saturday night (and I’m feelin alright… is that a song because it just popped into my head?). Anyways, I just finished my blog redesign, am SO happy with how it turned out, and am now quite excited to write my first blog post on this brand spanking new site. Also, I only recently found out that Lightroom CC is a thing and so I started using it today. PLUS I have no homework because this week was finals week. It’s a terrific triad that has left me feeling more pumped about blogging than I’ve been in a while.

Today’s blog post will hopefully be the first of a series, which is why I’m giving it the honorable title of “number one”. What I Eat in a Day, a little food diary of sorts. An honest look at what goes into a real life human girl’s stomach in one day. The reason I hope to make this a series is because every day is sooo different. You’ll notice I ate pretty healthy that day. Cool. And then yesterday my period started and I cocooned in my bed after my last final, texting a friend for 1.5 hours, and eating milk chocolate with crispy flakes. Also cool. Self-care, amirite? Having multiple days on record will provide a more complete picture. And what I hope that picture shows is a balanced, healthy life.

Why am I doing this? I like seeing what other people eat in a day. I think it’s interesting to see the kind of food that other people eat, especially when you’re like me and start having the same meals over and over and feel like you’re living in a box. Seeing the variety of meals out there opens your eyes a bit, and might give you some ideas for what you could make, or new snacks to buy and try out.

DISCLAIMER: I do not make a judgment of this day of eating as “good” or “bad”. It is neither an example to follow, nor a… non-example. Only you and your doctors know what and how much you need to be eating. This is what ***I*** eat in a day.

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Breakfast

Turmeric oats

My breakfast was made for finals and for winter. A big bowl of oats that would warm me up AND fill me up. I made some beautiful turmeric oats, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, all the good stuff. Cooked in almond milk with vanilla, raisins, and flax seeds (one of the superfoods I wrote about in my 9 superfoods post). Then topped with pecans, quark cheese, and chocolate (which just melts riiight in). If you haven’t tried “golden oats”, just go ahead and do it. I’m not a fan of turmeric lattes but for some reason turmeric oats hit the spot.

Matcha latte

Paired it with a matcha latte because this girl needs to be alert for finals. Not that this girl wasn't well-slept, but you do everything you can when you've got an important test.

Snack

Potluck plate

Nothing better than an unexpected potluck, eh? I showed up to my second final and everyone was filling a table with food. I felt kinda bad because I didn’t bring anything. I’d been gone the week before so totally forgot and wasn’t there when they signed up, but I promise I’ll bring something next semester! I had a blueberry bagel with lotsa cream cheese, strawberries and blackberries (a rarity in the winter so of course I had to have some), carrots, grapes, and broccoli. Yum yum.

Lunch

Leftover oats and leftover dinner

When I got home I first went to the fridge to grab the rest of my turmeric oats, which I wasn’t able to finish in the morning (I’m sorry that this photo is so ugly. No amount of editing can mask the ugliness of half-eaten leftovers). Then I had a plate of leftovers: chicken, garlic green beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and of course half of an avocado. Ah, I get hungry just thinking about it.

Chocolate

I finished the meal with chocolate, as per usual. My drug of choice is the 88% bar by Endangered Animals Chocolate. They are American-made, fair trade, and they donate 10% of their proceeds to the preservation of species around the world. How awesome is that? Do I dare to say even a little more awesome than eating chocolate? Yes, yes I do.

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Snack

Dharma Bar

I had volunteering that afternoon. I do this thing called Meals on Wheels where we deliver meals to seniors. I had a Dharma Bar before I left because I was already craving a snack and it usually takes us about 1.5 hours to do the route. I chose the endurance bar, meant as a pre-workout but hey ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Volunteering is a workout of the heart? You can quote me on that.

The ingredients in these bars are kuh-razy, only 6 in this one. And it’s all organic, except the salt, but can salt be organic? Not sure. The texture reminds me of Larabars, which I love. I totally prefer the more grainy kind of bar over ones like Rx Bars which feel kinda gummy to me. I also like that the ingredients aren’t totally pulverized, so I can taste little pieces of almond and date. They tasted great, very chocolate-y, which for me, is always a plus.

Apple

While in the car (I was the passenger seat navigator), I had a sliced apple. Didn’t take a photo but who needs a photo of an apple anyways?

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Dinner

Salmon and salad

Dinner was baked salmon and a salad: spinach, arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, quinoa, toasted almonds, dried cranberries. I believe that is all, my dad made it, so I’m not entirely sure. And half of an avocado. That’s right, ANOTHA ONE. On the cruise there was no avocado, believe it or not, and I’m still making up for that lack of the most beautiful food in the world.

Chocolate

Then more chocolate!


And that, my friends, is what I ate on a finals Thursday one normal week. As I said before, this is just one day. By no means are my dinners that healthy every day, by no means do I have bagels every day. Every day brings new and different food and I think that’s beautiful :)

Which of the above meals would you want to have? And what food could you not survive a week without?

Happy Sunday everyone!
Beatrice