Purchasing your afternoon snack from a convenience store every day is bad news for your waist and your wallet, so homemade is the way to go. Still, it doesn’t do much good to pack something perishable if your office doesn’t have a fridge or if you’re spending the day traveling. As long as you choose the right foods, though, no refrigeration is no problem. Get started with these easy recipes.
1. Cajun Trail Mix
For those who tend to reach for mixed nuts, this Cajun-spiced snack mix from Eating Bird Food will be a welcome change. It’s savory, spicy, and just a bit sweet. For a smoky flavor, swap ground chipotle for the cayenne.
- 1 cup raw peanuts
- ½ cup raw walnuts
- ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup raw almonds
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup raisins (optional)
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine nuts, seeds, olive oil, syrup, garlic powder, cayenne, thyme, onion powder, paprika, and salt in a large bowl. Toss to coat evenly, then spread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until golden and fragrant. Let cool completely, then stir in raisins. Keep stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
2. Peanut Butter and Honey Chewy Granola Bars
These peanut butter granola bars from Detoxonista are completely delicious and last for up to a week stored in an airtight container. Better yet, they’re made with just 4 ingredients and require no baking. Because they’re so simple, you can easily make some substitutions. Try maple syrup instead of honey or almond butter instead of peanut butter.
If you’re avoiding gluten, make sure your oats specify they meet the requirement. While they’re a naturally gluten-free grain, many oats are processed on the same equipment used for wheat.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup unsalted creamy, natural peanut butter
- ½ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
Directions: Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang to make removal easier later on. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring honey to a boil and let cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add peanut butter and salt. Stir to combine.
Place oats in a medium bowl and pour peanut butter mixture over top. Stir well to combine, then immediately transfer to prepared pan. Using greased fingers, press mixture into pan, compacting as much as possible. Transfer to fridge or freezer just until cooled and set. Cut into bars.
3. Smoked Paprika and Rosemary Olive Oil Popcorn
A bag of popped kernels smothered in butter at the theater might be a far cry from healthy, but this paprika-spiced popcorn from Cookin Canuck is a super smart snack. It’s low in calories, decently high in fiber, and brimming with flavor. You can even munch two servings for just over 200 calories.
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon crushed rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Directions: Using an air popper, pop kernels. Alternatively, place kernels in a paper bag, fold over top several times to hold in place, then cook on high until popping slows to 2 to 3 seconds between pops. Immediately transfer to a large bowl.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir olive oil, paprika, rosemary, and salt to combine. Microwave just to heat through, about 20 seconds. Drizzle over popcorn, toss to coat, and serve.
4. Coconut-Date Truffle Bites
Those who have a serious sweet tooth usually reach for cookies and candy when a craving for sugar hits. Instead of loading up on processed junk, try these healthy truffles from Cooking Light. They’re made with dates, almonds, and cocoa powder for a rich, fudgy taste that’s a lot lighter than any candy you’ll find at the store. If you’re in a hurry, you can even skip the chocolate coating and roll them in some extra coconut.
- ⅔ cup roasted, salted almonds
- 30 whole pitted dates
- ½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Directions: Add almonds to a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add dates and blend until finely ground. Add coconut, cocoa, coconut oil, and salt. Blend until well combined.
Scoop mixture into 2 teaspoon portions, then roll into balls. Place on a parchment paper-lined platter and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute and 20 seconds, or until melted, stopping to stir every 20 seconds. Add truffles, and stir to coat. Return to lined platter and let sit until coating sets.
5. Garlic-Parmesan Roasted Garbanzo Beans
If foods like eggs and yogurt are your usual choice to stay satiated until dinner, these protein-rich roasted garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) from Clean Eating are a great option. A good amount of garlic and a bit of Parmesan add tons of flavor while the cooking method ensures a crunchy texture. If you have any leftovers, they make a great stand-in for croutons on a salad.
- 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Spread chickpeas over several layers of paper towels and let sit at room temperature to dry for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, combine oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add Parmesan and stir to combine. Add chickpeas and toss until well-coated. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until chickpeas are golden and crisp.
6. Homemade Fig Bars
Fig Newtons are probably the least offensive cookie choice you can make for an afternoon snack. If you make your own, though, you can feel even better about satisfying your sweet tooth. Thankfully, these fig bars from Weelicious are super easy. For even more flavor, try adding a bit of grated orange zest to the fig mixture.
- 1 cup roughly chopped dried, stemmed figs
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add figs to a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for 10 minutes, then remove using a slotted spoon to a food processor. Add honey and 1 tablespoon soaking liquid. Blend until smooth.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and egg, and blend to combine. Add flour and mix on low speed just to incorporate.
Roll dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper into 2 12-by-4-inch rectangles. Spread fig mixture over half of each rectangle, leaving a border of ¼ to ½ inch. Fold dough over itself to encase fig filling, pressing edges to seal. Cut each log into 10 cookies, then transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
7. Mini Greek Pizza Muffins
With feta cheese, olives, bell pepper, and oregano, these mini muffins from EatingWell deliver all the flavor of a Greek pizza in an easy-to-eat package. Just toss a few into a zip-top bag, and they’re ready to hit the road. Want to up the nutritional value even more? Toss in some chopped, wilted spinach.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅔ cup finely chopped onion
- ⅔ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- ⅓ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup low-fat milk
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives
Directions: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk both flours, baking powder, oregano, sugar, garlic powder, and salt to combine.
Stir milk, feta, egg, tomato paste, and olives into onion mixture. Create a well in dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients. Stir just to combine, then scoop into prepared muffin cups, filling about two-thirds full.
Transfer to oven and bake until lightly browned, about 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
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