The Best Pre-Packaged Real Food Snacks
When my family first began eating a real food diet, I made all of our food from scratch. We stopped eating out and spent a large portion of my time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up after cooking. I was a stay-at-home mom then, and although I was busy, I still had time to spend a day each week cooking extra batches of homemade snacks and meals to store for later.
When I began working outside of the home almost three years ago, I finally understood why a real food diet seemed so overwhelming to some of my mom friends. Suddenly, I didn’t have my “cook day” each week. My freezer stock of homemade snacks and meals diminished and I was pressed each day just provide a healthy, real food breakfast and dinner, with leftovers for lunch. Planning and preparing a real food diet for a family is hard work!
Real Food Help for the Busy Family
As much as I believe in the benefits of feeding my family a real food diet, it isn’t always practical to make everything from scratch. I make as many snacks as I can, like my maple chocolate fudge, nutrient dense vanilla pudding, fruit juice gelatin and more. I like to know what ingredients are in the foods that I’m feeding my children and I like those ingredients to be as simple and as close to their unprocessed form as possible.
I know that’s important to you, too. But, I also know what it’s like to be so busy with my family and my other responsibilities that there just isn’t always time to spend a Saturday morning whipping up snacks for the week. I know that one day my life won’t be so busy as I work toward a simpler, more abundant lifestyle, but until that day comes, sometimes I just have to survive by doing the best I can in the busy times.
Especially during the school year (even though we homeschool, it’s soccer season for us from August-June) I need help to feed my growing family. On practice nights or when we travel for sports, I need quick, I need easy, I need fast. But, I demand quality, nutrients and freedom from loathsome processed ingredients.
Fortunately, as the word has spread that consumers are demanding healthy, real food, companies have taken notice. There are many different real food snacks on the market today. I’m grateful that they help me fill in the gaps between meals for my kids, who need the extra energy to support their active lifestyles. They are also a fun break from my yummy, but admittedly limited repertoire of homemade snacks.
My Favorite Pre-Packaged Real Food Snacks
Whether you’re looking for on-the-go snacks, lunchbox fillers or after school snacks, my list of pre-packaged real food snacks will come in handy during the busy seasons of your family’s life.
LaraBar — We love LaraBar. The ingredients are few, simple and real. They are filling and they come in so many different flavors.
Raw cheese — First of all, check this out on Amazon as a reference, but note that you can probably buy it cheaper at your local health food store or chain store. I love cheese as a convenient snack. It can be cut into cubes the night before and put in a glass container or a baggie, if you prefer to take on the go. I don’t worry about raw or aged cheese being left out of the fridge for a few hours, either.
Potato Chips — Potato chips cooked in avocado oil or coconut oil are a wonderful alternative to conventional potato chips cooked in soybean oil. These are easy to throw in the van for everyone to snack on when we’re traveling or as a quick carb snack before a practice.
Nick’s Sticks — Grass-fed beef sticks are an easy way to get healthy protein into your children’s bodies. These pre-packaged real food snacks are easy to toss into a lunchbox or sports bag for a quick snack.
Organic Apple Sauce — Applesauce or other organic fruit puree pouches are great for the little ones. They are perfect for on-the-go snacking and are fun to eat!
Caveman Cookies — Because sometimes you just need a cookie! Caveman cookies are paleo-friendly and, therefore, great for kiddos who are gluten-free.
Raw, Organic Pumpkin Seeds — I love pumpkin seeds on my salads. They provide such a nice, light crunch as a salad topping. They are great eaten alone, as well. There are so many nutrients in these tiny bites.
Raw Cashews — Cashews make a healthy, real food snack that’s easy to transport in a snack bag or small glass container. Soaking them for a few hours in water and drying them is optional, but recommended for optimal digestion.
Fruit Leather — You probably already make use of this quick and easy snack! Whose kiddo doesn’t like fruit leather? It really satisfies the sweet tooth without added sugar. (Although, it’s still important not to overindulge with snacks made from concentrated fruits and fruit juices.)
Organic Popcorn — Organic popcorn, sunflower oil and sea salt = a simple snack for a busy family. This is more of a fun snack for those times when the kids aren’t really hungry, but are feeling snack-y.
Dried Bananas — Dried bananas are the next best thing to potato chips. With a light hint of sweetness and a satisfying crunch, these really hit the spot on busy afternoons.
Relax and Enjoy!
Remember not to get so caught up in the real food way of life that you become inflexible and anxious over food choices. We strive for 80/20, which helps us to strike a mentally healthy balance in a world where real food is no longer the norm. Relax, eat well and enjoy life!