Getting into healthy snacking habits can be hard.
What we snack on throughout the day plays an important role in your overall health, energy, and wellbeing. But especially in busy families, it can be hard to get into the habit of choosing high-energy, healthy snacks instead of reaching for a bag of chips or cookies.
One way to make healthy snacking an easy and enjoyable habit to get into is by creating simple healthy snack boxes that your family can use when snack cravings hit, whether that’s at home, at school, at work, or on the go.
Healthy Snack Box Ideas for Families
A healthy snack box is simply a box of snacks that parents keep filled with a variety of foods and snacks that their children are allowed to go to any time during the day to choose a snack from. Everything in the snack box should be something your child can access, open, and eat on his or her own.
Healthy snack boxes don’t need to be complicated, fancy, or very involved. In fact, one of the main benefits of creating healthy snack boxes for your family is that it makes it easy to encourage independence and self-sufficiency in snacking.
For parents, creating healthy snack boxes meet two important needs of your children.
- They help to form lifelong healthy eating habits by offering a variety of healthy fruit, vegetable, and snack food options.
- Helping them grow and mature by giving them the chance to exercise independence and choice over some of the foods they eat.
A self-serve snack box meets both of these needs. A self-serve snack box is simply a box, bin, or basket that you keep stocked with a variety of foods and snack options that your kids can get and eat by themselves, anytime throughout the day.
As the parent, you provide the options of snacks available in the box. Your child gets to exercise independence by choosing what they want to eat from the box.
There are no real rules or essential supplies for a healthy snack box. Whatever works for your family is best. Some basic supplies that we recommend to get started:
- Any medium-sized box, bin, or basket to keep the food in.
- A variety of containers for storage, including 8-ounce Mason jars with lids, baby food containers, plastic Tupperware, etc. These will allow you to store ingredients like peanut butter or hummus, as well as snacks like trail mix.
- Ziploc snack bags.
- Plastic forks and spoons (you can get reusable ones if you prefer) for snacks like yogurt.
You can keep a snack box on the counter or in the pantry, and a separate snack box in the refrigerator (for foods that require refrigeration). Include whatever healthy foods your family likes. If you need inspiration, check out the great starting snack ideas below.
- Baby carrots
- Cucumber slices/sticks
- Baby pepper
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cheese sticks
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Nut butter
- Leftover shredded pork or chicken
- Single-serve applesauce (unsweetened)
- Sliced cantaloupe or pineapple
- Boxes of raisins (or craisins)
- Dried apricots
- Whole-grain crackers or pretzels
- Oat bars
- Sugar-free cookies
- Leftover panic or protein muffins
- Granola or trail mix
Be creative, and mix it up! Below, you’ll find three of our favorite additions to any healthy snack box for families from Apricot Power, Garden of Life, and NOW Foods.
Organic Apricot Seeds by Apricot Power
Organic Apricot Seeds from Apricot Power contain fresh, high quality, raw, organic bitter apricot seeds. These apricot seeds have not been processed and thus retain their full nutritional value. Each seed contains approximately 20 milligrams of B17, also referred to as amygdalin, which comes from extracting natural B17 from apricot seeds. While apricot seeds taste bitter by themselves, they enhance flavor when combined with food. Try them ground up in meal form in your coffee or smoothies, chopped or whole in your steamed vegetable dishes, fruit, soups, salads, cold cereal, or yogurt.
Raw Organics Super Omega-3 Chia Seed by Garden of Life
Grown on family farms, Raw Organics Super Omega-3 Chia Seed from Garden of Life is perfect as a stand-alone snack, or as an addition to yogurt, smoothies, salads, and more. Chia seeds have a mild nutty flavor, and each serving of these chia contains omega-3 and omega-6, making this a delicious snack that also supports heart and brain health, healthy cholesterol and blood glucose, and healthy digestion.
Organic Pine Nuts by NOW Foods
Organic Pine Nuts from NOW Foods make a great stand-alone snack, as well as a great addition to any snack or meal, salad addition, or the base for a great homemade pesto sauce. Just one-quarter of a cup of these pine nuts contains 7 grams of raw protein and 15% each of thiamine and magnesium to support your health.
What are your favorite ideas for your family’s healthy snack boxes?