Let’s get real for a second. One of the most difficult things to overcome in our clean food journeys has been forgetting to pack snacks or adequately plan meals when leaving the house for the day. The results have been (*ahem*) trying, to say the least. We’ve found ourselves staring sadly at one another in desperation, reading every label, praying for a damn piece of fruit more times than we can count.
Having some go-to snacks is just plain essential, and to be honest, preserves our sanity and feelings of “normalcy” in our everyday lives.
Clean snacks are important for travel, long work days, days you’re just feeling a little extra hungry, and for times when you know the gap between meals will be a little long than you can handle. For many people, 3 meals a day will never be the right scenario, and snacks are the essential building blocks to a well rounded day’s worth of meals.
We all know that your standard crudités spread of raw veg is a winner, as is most fruit– but we’ve found it essential to have shelf stable, long lasting stuff available for purses, desk drawers, road trips, and flights. We can’t always DIY it and knowing which products are available to grab at a convenience store or in the airport can help soothe the hangry voices and get you back on track.
Here’s a few of our favorites! Got any you love? Hop in the Clean Made Community Facebook Group and share away!
Aside from their decision to fight food waste and use “imperfect” bananas and other produce for their products (well done!) I love how clean and simple the products are. Most of their products tap out at 4 ingredients or less. Shelf stable, super purse friendly, and easy to find in airports and convenience stores (score!), these bites have saved me more times than I can count. I often keep a couple of bags in my purse and laptop bag ‘just in case.’ I love the Organic Coconut Banana Bites and the Apple Cinnamon Banana Bites especially. I got to try their new gingersnap banana brittle and their plantain chips, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed.
- Nick’s Sticks
Talking about ‘meat sticks’ is going to sound dirty no matter what I do, isn’t it? Oh well. *wink* Just lean in.
I love meat sticks. I’ve tasted them all and I’m partial to Nick’s. In close second for accessibility’s sake– Chomps, but the flavor and quality of Nick’s is truly the best we’ve found. Nick’s leaves out all of the junk we can’t stand and serves up well seasoned flavors that somehow taste fresh… I’m partial to the Free Range Turkey Stick that somehow manages to taste like a turkey pot pie in all it’s glory.
- An assortment of dried fruit, seeds and nuts tossed into a mason jar – DIY Trail Mix! It’s one of my favorite things to play around with and an easy option to make in bulk. Not to mention, it’s always nice to have a sharable snack. I love this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo. Just be sure to keep an eye on your intake… while seeds, nuts, and dried fruit make a good snack, they’re pretty calorie and/or sugar dense and best enjoyed as only an occasional snack. I find the best deal on dried fruit and nuts at costco, but Trader Joes is another great option if smaller quantities are better for your household. (Pro-tip… you can order online at costco.com without a membership and have things delivered directly to your door. Woot!)
- Rx Bars
Before I realized I couldn’t have eggs, Rx Bars were my go to. They’re so clean, simple, and while the texture could get a little oily sometimes, I genuinely enjoyed them. Alas… eggs are simply a no-go for me now, but I for those who can tolerate them, Rx Bars are a fantastic option. I particularly like the chocolate sea salt flavor.
- Terra Plantain Chips
Just about everyone remembers when Terra made colorful root veg chips a thing in the 90s, right? But their recent plantain chip is worth a second look at the brand. In two varieties to suit your mood – Sea Salt and Sweet Plantains – with just two or three simple ingredients: plantains and coconut oil, or plantains, coconut oil and sea salt, you can’t go wrong with these. Where other processed plantain chips have left me wondering what was really in there (like questionable vegetable oils) these have never done me wrong. These only come in larger bags packing 5 servings, so portion them out yourself, and beware the binge! Find these everywhere Terra products are sold, including most major grocers.
- The Real Coconut by Daniella Hunter, Sea Salt & Vinegar Coconut Tortilla Chips
Often times it seems like there aren’t nearly enough savory snack options out there for that grain free life. Doubly so if you’re also vegan. Enter The Real Coconut tortilla chips. I’ve been a fan of the super crunchy plain chips with guacamole since stumbling across them at Whole Foods, but flavors like Salt & Vinegar, Beach Barbecue and Golden Curry satisfy just about any craving. Each serving packs 5g or about 20% of your daily fiber (and quality prebiotic!) too. But, buyer beware, these do contain xantham gum if you’re sensitive.
- Trader Joe’s ‘Nothing But Fruit and Nuts’
Sweet tooth? Trader Joe’s recently launched this line of limited ingredient treats with a few signature flavors: Fig and Walnut, Apricot and Almond, and Date, Hazelnut, Cacao. The pretty bags are resealable and handy, the single servings are great, and I’m just a little obsessed with popping these individually wrapped discs that are more fun than the typical bar. Plus, they’re small enough (coming in at 70-80 calories each) to enjoy more than one, and they’re sized to fit into the smallest date night clutch or laptop bag zipper pouch. And did I mention, delicious? These are cheapest in store, but if you don’t have a TJ’s nearby, you can find them online too.
- Kale Chips
Who doesn’t love some kale chips? Some of my favorite brands include Brad’s Raw Crunchy Kale Snacks nacho flavor, Made in Nature’s Rosemary Truffle, and Trader Joe’s Seasoned Kale Chips made with cashew butter and tahini. They’re even more delicious and nutritious when you make your own at home. Plus, you’ll save a few bucks. Just be sure you have a mirror and some floss handy after munching these!
- EPIC Maple Bacon Pork Cracklings
Is sweet and savory your thing? Do you love maple flavored anything? For those of us who enjoy some humanely and sustainably raised proteins in our diet, and know the nutritional value of good dietary fat and cholesterol, these are a serious treat. And the individual sized serving bags cannot be beat. Find these just about anywhere Epic products are sold or buy direct from Epic or a site like Thrive for the greatest options. If you can find ’em, the Texas BBQ flavor is pretty darn good too.
- Dried Chili Mango
I’m pretty sure this is another one of nature’s best sweet-savory snacks. You can find these on the shelf, but more often than not, cane sugar is the second ingredient, which is no bueno in my book. Luckily, this is another snack you can easily make at home, store and have ready to roll when you need it. If you’re looking for a reason to break out your dehydrator, this is a good one, but these can easily be made in a low oven on a lazy weekend too.
- Dates, Dried Figs and Nuts
Sometimes you just need to keep it simple and DIY a snack on the go. I always have some good quality dried figs, dates and nuts on hand to munch when I’m low on fuel and out the door. These travel well in a Ziploc baggie too. Just don’t overdo it. Portions are key when it comes to sugar and calorie packed dried fruits and nuts.
They Both Love
Who doesn’t love a Lärabar? They’ve been our trusty travel companion for years. Seemingly indestructible in nature, even when they’ve been crushed at the bottom of our bags, they’re totally satisfying. We keep these in our purses, cars, desks and travel bags for all of those “how did I forget to eat again” moments. With a great self life and so many flavor options made with different nuts, it’s easy to pick and choose depending on your needs and mood. Cashew sensitive? No problem. Shawna’s favorite flavors – Cherry Pie and Cinnamon Roll – are both cashew free.