Make Ahead Healthy Snacks

It’s not always easy to eat healthy when you’re busy. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to whip up a healthy snack or even chop some vegetables. And when your kids are hungry, then they need food right away. Asking them to wait just doesn’t work.

The secret to healthy eating in a hurry is to always have a few healthy snacks on hand!

Here’s a few reasons why it’s worth stashing some healthy homemade snacks in your fridge, freezer and cupboards:

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• If you make it yourself, you get to control the amount of sugar and salt.

• Homemade food is usually preservative free compared to their commercial counterparts.

• The packaging on commercial snacks just adds up in the landfill, whereas homemade snacks are zero-waste!

• It’s also a lot more affordable to make your own snacks.

These energy balls were a treat that my mom made when I was growing up. We always had them to take on camping trips or for long walks. They are full of healthy, sustaining energy. Have your children help roll the balls and coat them in whatever topping they want.

1 cup of Medjool dates, pits removed

1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes

1 cup of almonds

2 Tbsp of cocoa powder

1⁄2 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

Toppings: flaked coconut, slivered almonds, cocoa powder

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender. Just keep scraping all the ingredients down so they get finely chopped.

2. Once everything has been mixed into a smooth paste, scrape it into a bowl and place it in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

3. Remove from the fridge. Using a teaspoon, grab a spoonful of the energy ball mix, then roll it into a small ball. (This is a great time to get your kids to help out).

4. Then roll the ball in one of the toppings and set aside while you finish with the rest of the mix. You should have between 10–20 balls, depending on how large you make them.

5. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy them. They should last for at least a month.

Did you know that you can make popcorn in a glass bowl in the microwave? You don’t need to spend money on wasteful and expensive packaged microwave popcorn. Just invest in a large bag of popcorn kernels!

Microwave popcorn is a quick after school snack. Or you can pop a large batch and store it in an air-tight container in the cupboard. It should stay fresh for up to a week.

1⁄2 cup of popcorn kernels

1⁄2 cup of butter or oil (I usually do a 50/50 mix)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp dried dill

1⁄2 tsp salt, to taste

1. Add the popcorn kernels to a large glass bowl and top with a dinner plate.

2. Microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, until most of the popcorn is popped. The exact timing will depend on the wattage of your microwave.

3. Use oven mitts to remove the bowl, it will be very hot.

4. Melt the butter in a small bowl. It will take about 20 to 40 seconds in the microwave.

5. Drizzle the butter and/or oil over the popped corn. Then sprinkle on the seasonings. Toss to fully mix the seasonings. And enjoy!

6. Ranch is our favourite flavour, but feel free to experiment with other flavour options.

When my kids were young, my husband and I used to prepare a big bag of mixed vegetables. It was chopped up and ready in the fridge whenever we needed a snack. Now that my kids are older, they are responsible for preparing the grab and go vegetables.

Wondering at what age you can get your kids chopping vegetables? I recommend starting early. My daughter was helping with her school lunch right from kindergarten. Though she still can’t chop carrots, she’s used to the expectation that she’s going to help out. So eventually, she’ll be able to prepare the grab and go vegetables all on her own.

The secret to these make ahead vegetables is the seasoning! They won’t dry out and curl up at the edges like typical vegetable sticks. They’re also flavourful enough that they don’t need a dip! How easy is that?



Small head of cauliflower and/or broccoli


Coloured peppers

Green beans and peas

1⁄2 tsp salt and pepper, to taste

1 bunch of fresh herbs

1. Wash and slice your favourite snack vegetables. I recommend a mix of whatever is seasonal. However, cucumbers don’t hold up well to being prepared in advance. So don’t include those in your mix.

2. Lightly season the vegetables with salt and pepper, to taste. Place the vegetables in a large zip-top bag or a container with a lid.

3. Wash and dry the herbs. Then scrunch them up and put them on top of the vegetables. They are just there to infuse the vegetables with flavour, so remove before serving. I recommend mint and basil; parsley and chives; or whatever you have that’s handy.

4. Store the vegetables in the fridge and enjoy within 3–4 days.

Emillie Parrish
Emillie Parrish
Emillie Parrish loves having adventures with her two busy children. She lives in Victoria and is the author of the fermentation-based blog