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Simple Healthy Snack Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Posted by MoneyKey on April 4, 2019
healthy snack ideas on a platter

We don’t need to tell you how important your diet is to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone to keep up with healthy eating habits. According to a 2018 report from the American Heart Association, around 23 million Americans now have Type 2 diabetes and poor eating habits contributed to 45 percent of U.S. deaths in 2012. These were primarily due to heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. What these numbers make clear is how important your diet is to living a healthy and happy life. But it’s not always so simple.

As much as you may want to improve your diet, hopping on the healthy eating bandwagon can feel out of reach if you’re trying to make ends meet. The products at health food stores are often more expensive than what you find at your typical grocery stores, and premium ingredients can be hard to fit in a tight budget. You might also have trouble keeping your grocery bill low in general. Even if you do manage to put together some healthy meals for the week, it’s hard to resist the temptation of the nearest vending machine when you’re looking for a quick snack. We’re here to tell you that cheap healthy snack ideas are available if you know where to look!

Let’s take a look at some tips and healthy snack recipes to help you started on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

You Won’t Find Cheap Healthy Snacks in the Vending Machine

One of the best ways to make sure you have healthy snacks available without springing for that $8 bag of dehydrated kale chips is to plan ahead and recreate your favorite snacks at home. It might be easier to grab something premade from the store and the price tag might not seem like much in a vacuum, but this can add up quickly if you make it a daily habit.

Whatever easy healthy snack ideas regularly catch your eye, see if you can recreate these at home with ingredients from the grocery store. Maybe you’re a sucker for roasted chickpeas, but don’t want to pay $4 for a small bag. Fortunately, a 500 gram can of chickpeas at the grocery will only set you back a dollar or two (sometimes less when they’re on sale), and there are plenty of simple recipes online for roasted chickpeas. Buying dehydrated chickpeas in bulk can be an even cheaper option.

While it might be a little more convenient to grab something from the store, bringing your healthy snack ideas to life at home with accessible ingredients from the grocery store can be much easier on your wallet.

Make Your Own Granola

berries and homeade granola are a great healthy snack idea

Cost = $0.10-0.25 per 1/2 cup serving. Makes 8 servings.

Granola bars can cost over $1.00 per bar, but this is an easy healthy snack that you can recreate at home for much less. Not only will they be delicious, but these bars are also packed with important nutrients and vitamins like Protein, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Calcium and healthy Omega 3 fats.

The great thing about making these at home is that you can use whatever nuts, dried fruit, or sweeteners you have on hand to avoid having to go out and buy additional ingredients. This makes it an affordable healthy snack idea that allows you to really cater to your personal tastes.

  1. Start with 3 cups of oats
  2. Add 1/4 cup of your nut of choice. While nuts can be expensive, you’re spreading them thin in this recipe.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of a mix of two types of seeds. Seeds are typically less expensive than nuts and are full of important nutrients. Consider seeds like sesame, chia, flax (milled not whole) or pumpkin seeds.
  4. Add 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  5. Add 1/4 cup coconut flakes (optional)
  6. Add a dash of cinnamon, tsp of imitation vanilla or other flavoring of choice.
  7. Add a pinch of salt

Mix it all together and let it settle in a container in the fridge. The great thing about this recipe is that a little goes a long way. Nuts and seeds are very nutrient-dense foods so they can fill you up and give you the extra boost you need to get through a mid day lull.

Get More Out of Your Popcorn

Cost = less than $0.10 per 1 cup serving.

When you think of popcorn, you may picture the overflowing bag doused in imitation butter and salt that you get at the movie theater. It doesn’t seem like this would be something that falls into the category of healthy snack ideas. The truth is that popcorn can improve digestion, lower your cholesterol, and help control your blood sugar levels. It’s also inexpensive and an easy healthy snack to make at home! Keep things clean and simple by avoiding butter and salt and trying out some healthy popcorn topping alternatives to dress it up:

  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic or onion powder
  • Curry powder, chili powder or cayenne
  • Turmeric
  • Crushed pepper flakes
  • Crushed nuts or seeds

Cheap and healthy snack ideas don’t have to be boring when there are so many ways to add a little spice to your typical snack foods.

Cheap and Healthy Snack Ideas to Make with Your Veggies

Vegetables are the basis of many healthy snack ideas

We don’t need to tell you how important fruits and veggies are to your diet. They’re full of vital nutrients and minerals, can promote healthy digestion, and can even provide protein. They also make very quick and easy healthy snacks. While not all fruits and vegetables are cheap, there are plenty of inexpensive and healthy options if you’re on a tight grocery budget. If you have a hard time sticking to your budget when you’re at the grocery store, take a look at our guide to help you save at the grocery store.

While it may be tempting to load up on these healthy snack alternatives, fresh produce tends to go bad much quicker than foods that are full of preservatives. The last thing you want to do is throw out the food you bought at the beginning of the week. Make sure to buy only what you know you’ll eat.

If you easily tire of plain raw vegetables and are looking for some slightly more interesting healthy snack ideas, try these combinations:

  • Two stalks of celery with natural peanut butter
  • Salt and vinegar cucumbers
  • Diced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers with a drizzle of olive oil

More Beans & Legumes

Beans are a great way of keeping your grocery bill low while still filling your cupboard with versatile and nutrient-rich foods. While you may think of beans as something that goes from can to pan, they can be a key component of several tasty and cheap healthy snack ideas or side dishes.

To cut the price down even lower, consider buying dried beans. While these require a little more time and effort to prepare, you’ll be able to buy your beans for even cheaper than you would if you’re getting them out of the can.

Try these healthy snack ideas if you’re looking for new ways to incorporate beans into your diet.

Black Bean Pico de Gallo

  1. 1 cup cooked black beans
  2. 1/2 cup diced tomatoes. Buy a small, firm tomato for easier dicing. Plum tomatoes work well.
  3. 1/2 cup diced onion
  4. 1/2 cup bell pepper
  5. 1/2 cup diced jalapenos. Remove the seeds and the white ridges if you don’t like spicy foods.
  6. Salt, Pepper, garlic and/or cumin to taste
  7. 1/4 a packet of taco seasoning (optional)
  8. Fresh cilantro (optional)

Serve with whole grain chips or crackers. It’s also great by itself or on lettuce or spinach. This makes 6 servings and will keep all week in the refrigerator.

Homemade Hummus

You’ll need a food processor or blender for this one.

an easy healthy snack platter of hummus and vegetables

  1. 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  2. 1/8 cup lemon juice
  3. 1/8 cup tahini (optional). While a jar of tahini can cost around $6-8, it’ll be enough to make this recipe several times over. Either way, you can make great tasting hummus without it!
  4. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  5. 2 TBSP Olive oil
  6. 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  7. 2 TBSP of water
  8. Salt and pepper to taste

Blend it all together until it gets to the consistency you prefer. Serve as a dip with carrots, celery or broccoli. We’ve already spoken about how inexpensive chickpeas are, but it’s also one of the most nutritious healthy snack ideas on this list – the best of both worlds!

Healthy Snack Ideas are Within Your Grasp

We know that eating healthy on a tight budget can seem tedious and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Keep these healthy snack ideas in mind the next time you’re putting together your grocery list and follow our tips to get started on your journey to healthier lifestyle!

What are some of your favorite healthy snack ideas? Let us know below!


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

Posted in: Lifestyle

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