Anytime I see a new and interesting snack product at the grocery store, I always love to check the ingredients to see if it qualifies as real food. I mean, cooking from scratch is ideal, but I’m all for shortcuts if one exists! And with two hungry teens, the fewer snacks I have to make (and clean up) myself, the better. There are only so many hours in a day!
Not all of these healthy packaged snacks perfectly contain five or fewer whole ingredients, BUT many are close or include extras that aren’t too offensive. Of course, if you’re looking for perfection, you can cook up a storm and prep all your own snacks yourself. However, the point of this list is for those who want better-for-you alternatives, even if they aren’t perfect!
Healthy Store-Bought Snacks
The following items are all things we’ve bought and tried ourselves (nothing is sponsored) and the list is ordered from the least number of ingredients to the most to help you decide what’s right for your family.
Individually wrapped snacks can be super helpful when you’re in a massive hurry! I agree it’s not the best from a zero waste standpoint, BUT when your child is about to get their third tardy and be sent to Saturday school as a result … it’s nice to have an extra item you can quickly grab and add to their lunch bag to make sure no hunger pains take over during the day!
2. Dried Apricots
Of course, we can buy bags and bags of dried apricots (both the unappetizing-looking ones without sulfur dioxide and the ones that have been treated). But I got excited about these because the individually packaged sets are so great for travel and last-minute school lunch additions.
3. Whole Cashews
This is another handy individually wrapped snack when you need it for travel or school. I’m a big cashew fan myself and like how these have less salt than most … it’s honestly the perfect amount!
My oldest daughter is obsessed with this popcorn and takes it in her school lunch every week. We usually buy the big bag with 6 or so individually wrapped bags inside so it’s easy for her to grab and go. For the first time all school year though, I forgot to buy it at the store and thought to myself, it might be good for her to take a break anyway so she doesn’t get tired of it. But no, she was very upset all week to not have it!
5. Parm Crisps
These are literally just crispy pieces of baked cheese. Dip them in guac and call it a day!
I love how this is whole grain while still offering that satisfying salty crunch! And don’t just eat them plain … they’re great dipped in hummus, finished off with peanut butter and raisins, or covered in avocado and other toppings.
The ingredient list on this one is not perfect, but it is pretty short and they are roasted (not deep-fried)—score! I’m always a fan of better-for-you salty, crunchy snacks.
I’m not personally a beef jerky fan, but the rest of my family is, and this makes a great snack for travel or on the go! There are a lot of jerky options out there, but this is a clean one they all enjoy.
9. Trail Mix
If you don’t want to make your own little bags of trail mix, this is a pretty decent alternative (minus the little bit of refined oil) where all the work is done for you. And it’s made with raw nuts!
10. Whole Wheat Pita Chips
I was legit very excited when I first saw these in the store. I turned the bag around and was expecting the ingredient list to be LONG and yucky, but it was a handful of ingredients that we mostly cook with at home. It’s always fun to find something new to keep things interesting at home and in school lunches. My 14-year-old loves these dipped in hummus.
I do wish this ingredient list was shorter/better, but why is it so hard to find good whole-grain pretzels?? I do still love the Unique brand whole grain pretzels (and their ingredients), but sometimes your child just wants a normal looking skinny pretzel stick instead of a big honking twist as big as their hand.
These perishable snacks are currently our obsession. My daughters especially love the charcuterie plates with some whole-grain crackers in their school lunch! It’s also great for last-minute picnics or lunches on the go. If you try the salami-wrapped cheese while at home do me a favor and fry it in a pan for a few minutes before eating … to die for!
What new better-for-you store-bought snacks have you come across lately? If you have any good ones to share please tell us in the comments! :)