very very very frequently when people are asking me for healthy eating advice, it isn't for dinner recipes or tips on staying on track while eating out. it's always about SNACKING.
before you get going with the juicy stuff, please note that the best cost-saving and calorie-saving tip i can give when it comes to snacks is
remember, smaller portions = fewer calories per sitting + longevity of your groceries.
teach yourself how to enjoy without overindulging.
scroll through the gallery above for a look into my cabinets and fridge!
here is a grocery list of a few of the easy, healthy and cheap snacks i go for:
A/M - available at any/most grocery stores
TJS - available only at trader joes
WF - available at whole foods
SP - available at sprouts
CHIPS + CRACKERS
$4 or less per item
- hint of sea salt almond nut thins (A/M)
- good thins rice crackers, simply salt (A/M)
- mary's gone crackers, original (A/M)
- seasnax jalapeno roasted seaweed snack (A/M)
- rice cakes (A/M)
- savory thin mini rice crackers, multiseed with tamarind soy sauce (TJS)
- organic stone ground blue corn tortilla chips with sprouted amaranth, quinoa + chia seeds (TJS)
- jackson's honest organic blue corn tortilla chips (WF, SP)
- beanitos (black bean and white bean) (WF, SP)
- moon cheese (cheddar and pepper jack) (WF, SP)
let me go ahead and say that chips are chips and crackers are crackers. even if you buy the best of the them with the most organic, simple, healthy ingredients they aren't terribly nutritional. that being said, chips and dips are two of my favorite things and i indulge frequently. the above mentioned items are the best chips/crackers i've found, keeping in mind simple, wholesome, nutritional ingredients.
tortilla chips are a fun little topic. next time you're at the grocery store looking for chips, take a minute to flip the bags over and read the ingredient lists. the first time i did this, i was surprised to see how different a simple thing like a tortilla chip can be between brands. additionally, chips are made with a variety of oils, sometimes including canola, soybean, or blends.
the jackson's honest tortilla chips were a recent find, which i was happy to see are made up of just organic blue corn, organic coconut oil and salt. they definitely have the fewest, simplest ingredients.
beanitos are great too, as they are made up of simple, protein-rich ingredients, and win the award for lowest net carb count per serving.
i also enjoy finding wheat-free cracker options that incorporate nuts and seeds, because those can be things i don't always reach for or seek out. i'm not the type to make a smoothie with a handful or flax and chia seeds and whatever else, but i know i'll be snacking on some chips throughout my week. the trader joes chips with sprouted amaranth, quinoa + chia seeds are so tasty and truly don't taste like anything weird is going on. the mary's crackers are a bit more earthy tasting. they definitely have a strong and specific flavor, and are delicious alone or with cheeses.
i know the seaweed snacks aren't technically chips, but they are crispy little seaweed squares so i'm putting them here. i don't love the other flavors i've tried, but the jalapeño are so so good to me, and very easy little packages to pack up and take to work or send with lunch for your kiddos.
i also know moon cheese is cheese, and not a chip or cracker. however, the way these little bites are dehydrated makes them crunchy so here we go. moon cheese was a recent find at whole foods. it's so yummy and too convenient. do you love cheese and wish you could take it with you everywhere? yes? same. now we can. this is easily packable, so take a bag on your next hike, road trip, pack it up with your lunch, etc.
lastly, i know rice cakes are boring. but get them anyway. they're crunchy, filling, and make a great base for a little nutella when i want something sweet and satisfying. i don't eat these often, but they stay good forever when stored properly so they're nice to have in the back of your pantry for every now and then.
FRUITS + NUTS
$7 or less per item
- roasted + salted rosemary marcona almonds (TJS)
- roasted + salted truffle marcona almonds (TJS)
- roasted + 50% salted whole cashews (TJS)
- raw unsalted whole almonds (A/M)
- dark chocolate covered almonds (A/M)
- organic blueberries + raspberries (A/M)
- watermelon (A/M)
- mango (A/M)
- grapes (purple or black) (A/M)
- avocado (A/M)
- spicy olive blend (A/M)
i continue with my trader joes obsession as i recommend you try their marcona almonds with either rosemary or truffle oil. typically i eat these as a snack on their own, but i imagine they'd also be great on a salad, crushed up and added to pastas, etc. marcona almonds can be very out of my budget, but when i buy them from trader joes in the flavored varieties they offer, it's much more affordable and i CRAVE these things.
i also like the cashews there because i don't find a lot of salted nut varieties that offer a half-salted option. while sodium isn't something i monitor too terribly closely (as opposed to protein, carbohydrates and fats) i still enjoy opportunities to enjoy a snack i love and know its slightly better for me.
let's be honest, raw, unsalted nuts are just boring. hence my flavorful, chocolate covered, salted recs.
nuts are also easy to take with you to work, take camping, pack for a road trip, take on a hike, or put out as a fun party snack at your next game night. i highly highly recommend portioning when it comes to nuts. once you find a variety you enjoy, it can be very easy to overindulge in these tiny, popable little snacks. buy tiny tupperware or snack sized ziplock bags to only bring a serving size along wherever you go.
as for fruits, i don't go for them often. call me crazy, but in all my foodie experience and education, i've stepped back from fruits as they are such a source of sugar, albeit naturally occurring. avocado is the only fruit i reach for daily. otherwise, i will occasionally (1-2 times per week) reach for half of a grapefruit, some fresh blueberries, raspberries or grapes, or sliced mango or watermelon.
i'm also putting olives in this category. one of my favorite things is a spicy olive blend. if spicy isn't your thing, try any olive. green? black? stuffed? i love them all. i cook with them too (cold pasta salad, hello) but also love to just have a little dish of them as a part of a cheese plate, on the side for dinner, alone, whatever. the best olive bars i've found seem to be at whole foods and nelsons, but you can also find good ones jarred.
SAUCES + DIPS
$5 or less per item
- herdez guacamole salsa (A/M)
- spicy guacamole (try homemade!) (A/M)
- olive tapenade (A/M)
- hummus (A/M)
- hatch valley salsa (TJS)
- chunky artichoke and jalapeno dip (TJS)
- the honest stand nacho dip (mild or spicy) (WF/SP)
- spicy gouda dip (WF/SP)
anyone who knows me knows i am obsessed to the max with dips and sauces. i am the girl who always wants pizza with extra sauce, buffalo wraps with extra buffalo sauce for dipping, more guacamole than chip, and so on. and so, my fridge is always stocked with dips, salsas and sauces.
herdez guacamole salsa is super nostalgic to me. i discovered it while living at lake of the ozark a couple of summers ago, and my friend sarah and i would literally go through 2 jars of this per week. it was our go-to snack, and all i wanted with my red wine on bachelor mondays. amazing with chips, but my favorite is pairing this dip with broccoli.
i make my own guacamole (recipe coming soon!), but you can definitely find some amazing store-bought guacs. same thing with salsas. i like a fresh pico-style salsa, but i am obsessed with the hatch valley salsa from trader joes. i buy two jars every time i'm in there.
i go through phases with hummus. i know it's a quality dip, usually pretty high in protein and fiber, but i haven't landed on a particular brand or flavor i love. regardless, i eat it pretty regularly. best with carrots or broccoli.
three dips i have to obsessively rave about right now are the spicy gouda dip at whole foods, the honest stand's nacho dip and trader joes artichoke and jalapeño dip. they are all so. ridiculously. great. try them all. also, yes, i want the spicy version of the nacho dip but whole foods has been disappointing me lately. pro-tip with the nacho dip: heat it up.
$3 or less per item
- organic radishes
- organic baby carrots
- organic broccoli
- organic celery
- organic red bell peppers
- organic asparagus
- organic cherry tomatoes
i am one of the weirdos who genuinely loves vegetables, and these are a few of my favorites. i used more than this short list, but for the sake of keeping this list to what i like for snacking, here we go!
as i have mentioned before and will continue to shove on you, to keep costs down with produce do not buy pre-cut, pre-sliced produce. baby carrots are really my only exception here.
while shopping, buy good-looking, in season, colorful produce that smells fresh, take it home, and prep it yourself. it doesn't take a lot of time, and with proper storage you'll ensure you have easy access to fresh snackables when you get hungry.
let's start with adorable little cherry tomatoes. i love to snack on these, they're so sweet and delicious. i will sometimes mix up a baggie of nuts, cherry tomatoes and grapes as a to go snack. it's not weird. trader joes usually has a nice mini heirloom variety, but any grocery store will have a package of the good old fashioned red guys.
personally, i cut radishes, asparagus and celery, discarding the leafy green parts, stems and any other inedible parts, and then i store them in water in the fridge. this keeps these items crunchy and plump, instead of letting them go limp and deflated. i swear this method keeps my veggies fresh and crispy and plump for WEEKS sometimes. it's crazy.
i think broccoli, radishes (cut into rounds, like chips) and red bell peppers make for the best dippers. i can eat all my dips with these particular veggies because the broccoli "tree tops" soak in/catch dip, the radishes are a nice, sturdy, crunchy chip-like choice, and bell peppers have that rounded, hollow end that is great for scooping.
i'm not saying switch out your chips for vegetables, that would be a tough transition for us all. i love chips. i'm just saying next time you want to have some salsa or cheese dips or hummus, make yourself a plate that is 1/3 chips/crackers and 2/3 a variety of colorful, beautiful, fresh, sliced up veggies and prepare to feel satisfied, happy, healthy and impressed with your new spread.
$2 or less per item
- la croix
- hot brewed tea
everyone loves la croix for a reason: it's legit. i love the plain/non-flavored and the grapefruit/pamplemousse best, but they have so so so many flavors and blends, so go try some and find what you like. la croix is zero calorie, zero sodium, zero everything, so refreshing and light. i am obsessed and always have them around.
as many of you will know if you ever watch my insta stories, i love tea runners. most mornings for me begin with some brewed black, green, oolong, herbal, etc. tea. i typically drink it as-is, but will occasionally sweeten it up with some raw honey or lakanto monk fruit sweetener.
fresca is something i don't always always have around, but i go through phases of buying a 12 pack of this for three or four grocery trips in a row, and then i won't touch the stuff for a year. can't explain this. i never mind when the obsession starts back up though, because fresca is grapefruity, zero calorie and only 1 carb per can.
$2 or less per item
- bumble bee spicy thai chili tuna packets (A/M)
- siggi's vanilla yogurt (A/M)
- nonfat plain greek yogurt with 0% milk fat (TJS)
don't turn your nose up at tuna! as far as calories vs. protein content go, tuna is AMAZING, and once you find your flavor, or make your own tuna salad, it is a mother f-ing game changer.
the bumble bee spicy thai chili tuna packets are my absolute favorite pre-seasoned tuna ever. i have tried many of these little packets, and this one always comes out on top. they sell this with crackers as a to-go lunch type thing, but i say skip that because those crackers are shitty. buy the cheaper packets (they sometimes go on sale for $1 per! what!) and pack your own crackers to pair so you know what you're getting. i always eat mine with the lightly salted nut thin crackers. i basically lived on this that summer at the lake i mentioned before, as they are super convenient if you're on the go, very tasty, cheap, and high protein (aka great around workout time). highly recommend.
i'm not a huge fan of yogurt, because it usually means sweet and i prefer savory. that being said, when i need a punch of protein with my lunch, as a snack, or after a workout i don't mind the siggi's brand vanilla yogurts. they're pretty low sugar, and a great source of protein. also, they aren't overly sweet.
if you're looking to save money, i'd also recommend getting a big tub of the trader joes nonfat plain greek yogurt (0% milk fat) (this is actually $5-6 per jug) and making your own blends. this yogurt is the best mash up of fat to protein to sugar/carb content that i've found (you know by now i love to stand in aisles looking at labels). if you buy your yogurt in bulk, you can pack yourself a tupperware of it with your own toppings, which means more control of your portions, the quality of your ingredients, and your spending.
my favorite way to eat this, which really keeps the sweetness in check for me, is about a cup of the greek yogurt topped with fresh pineapple, a little bit of raw honey, and a big shake of cayenne.