Snacks are the key to keeping everyone happy through busy and stressful days. They keep your hunger at bay and your metabolism running, so you can make day-to-day decisions with a clear and focused mind. But the sad options from convenience stores won’t do, meaning you need the recipes you can make ahead of time. Check out these six homemade snack recipes that are perfect for busy people. They’ll keep your satiated and energized to take on anything that comes your way.
Trail mix is the perfect portable snack as every handful promises a different mixture of flavors. Instead of buying the mix in bulk, make it at home with this recipe from Eating Well. You’ll avoid the unpronounceable ingredients that are often found in store-bought trail mixes, and you’ll save yourself money and calories, too. This healthy trail mix is simply composed of almonds, peanuts, cranberries, dates, and chocolate chips. It’ll take you minutes to make, then you’re good to go. Make sure to multiply the recipe to make the number of servings you need.
- ½ ounce whole shelled (unpeeled) almonds
- ¼ ounce unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
- ¼ ounce dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon chopped pitted dates
- 1½ teaspoons chocolate chips
Directions: Combine almonds, peanuts, cranberries, dates and chocolate chips in a small bowl.
2. 3-Ingredient Energy Bars
Next are these three-ingredient energy bars from The Kitchn. To form your bars, you’ll process the ingredients in a food processor, then mold them into the desired shape. Let them set in the refrigerator, then cut into individual servings. Wrap each one in plastic wrap, that way you can grab one whenever you need to run out the door.
- 1 cup nuts
- 1 cup dried fruit
- 1 cup pitted dried dates, preferably Medjool
Directions: If desired, roast the nuts at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Allow to cool before using.
Combine the nuts, dried fruit, and dates in a food processor. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times just to break them up. Separate the dates if they start to clump together. Process continuously for 30 seconds. By this point, the ingredients should all have broken down into crumb-sized pieces. Scrape the edges of the bowl and beneath the blade to make sure nothing is sticking. Process continuously until a ball is formed, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue processing for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the ingredients form a ball.
Press into a thick square and chill. Lay a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on your work surface and dump the dough on top. Press the dough with your hands until it forms a thick square, roughly 8-by-8-inches in size. Wrap and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
Divide into bars. Unwrap the chilled dough and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into eight large bars or 16 small squares, as desired. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap or wax paper. Store the bars. Store the bars in the fridge for several weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.
3. Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Protein Balls
These cookie dough peanut butter protein balls from Ambitious Kitchen are perfect for those with a serious sweet tooth. They only require six ingredients and will yield a dozen snacks you can enjoy any time you’re get hungry. One serving is only 135 calories and boasts more than 5 grams of protein. Who knew cookie dough could be so healthy?
- ¾ cup all natural drippy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour, plus more if necessary
- ½ cup protein powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk, plus more if necessary
- 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
Directions: In a large bowl, add all ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix together using a wooden spoon until ingredients are well combined and resemble a soft cookie dough. Stir in chocolate chips, then roll into 12 tablespoon sized balls. Transfer to an airtight container and store in fridge. Makes 12 balls.
4. Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Muffins can be secret calorie bombs, but you can make them a bit more nutritious when you bake them at home. These mini banana chocolate chip muffins from Six Sisters’ Stuff are made with baking staples and serve a crowd. Make them whenever you have 20 minutes to spare, and then you’ll be able to pop one whenever the craving kicks in.
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup mashed bananas
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups mini milk chocolate chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat. Add bananas, milk and lemon juice. Stir well to combine.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and add to wet ingredients. Stir until just combined, then fold in chocolate chips.
Spray mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray and fill with batter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool.
5. Butter Toffee Popcorn
Skip the vending machine and go for this sweet treat from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. If you’re a fan of Cracker Jacks, you’ll love this homemade version even more. Toss a few handfuls into a zip-top back to make the snack perfectly portable.
- ¾ cup unpopped popcorn kernels, white or yellow
- 2 sticks butter
- 2¼ cups light brown sugar
- ¾ cup dark corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 to 3 cups roasted, salted peanuts
Directions: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two large rimmed baking sheets and set aside.
Pop the popcorn kernels on the stove or with an air popper. When finished, sort through to remove any unpopped kernels.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. STirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will bubble as you stir Pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix slightly. Add the peanuts and mix well but gently until the popcorn is evenly coated and the peanuts are distributed through the mixture.
Quickly transfer to prepared baking sheets and spread into an even layer. Bake the popcorn for one hour, stirring and tossing every 20 minutes. Halfway through, switch baking sheet positions. The popcorn will deepen in color and harden a bit as the caramel bakes and sets. Cool the popcorn to room temperature. Store in an airtight container.
6. Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies
More dessert than snack, these brown sugar oatmeal cookies from Food Network‘s Ree Drummond are sure to keep your taste buds happy. The recipe makes 24 cookies, meaning everyone can get their hands on one. You might never purchase baked goods from the store again.
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the brown sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each one.
Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add it into the creamed mixture in 2 to 3 batches, mixing until just combined. Mix in the oats until just combined.
Use your preferred size cookie scoop to drop portions of dough onto baking sheets, spacing them a couple inches apart. Bake until dark and chewy, 12 to 13 minutes.