Snacking can be a great way to bridge the gap between meals and increase your nutrient intake. What’s more, choosing different combinations of snacks can keep blood sugar and energy levels stable to help you feel and perform your best.
A classic combination, a banana with a tablespoon or two of peanut butter offers a filling mix of carbohydrates and protein. Better yet, it clocks in at less than $1 per serving, making it one of the most affordable snack options.
Hard-boiled eggs are a great way to satisfy hunger between meals. Boil a dozen at the beginning of the week for an easy, grab-and-go option that can come out to less than 20 cents per serving (depending on the type of eggs you buy). Eggs also offer B-vitamins, choline, vitamin D and 6 grams of protein each. Pair them with a piece of fruit for some extra fiber and antioxidants.
This combination of fiber from the apple, and fat and protein from the string cheese, keeps you full and satiated. Plus, both are portable, and together they clock in at less than $2.
For those with savory taste preferences, cheese and crackers are a tried and true snack option, with a satiating combination of carbohydrates, fat and protein. Choose whole-grain crackers or add some berries for more fiber and antioxidants. You can easily find a box of crackers and small block of cheese for $8 or less, which together provides several snack servings.
With Greek yogurt, you’ll get a dose of gut-friendly probiotics along with filling protein and calcium for bone health. A 32-ounce container of Greek yogurt can last you several days for less than $7. Enjoy it on its own or make your own parfait by adding layers of fruit and granola for a satisfying combination of carbohydrates and protein. Keep it seasonal and add berries in the summer, pumpkin in the fall and pomegranate seeds in the winter.
Like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese can be a fantastic way to get more protein from a snack. You can mix your own fruit in or add some crunchy granola for a sweet or savory snack option, complete with protein, fiber and carbohydrates. A 24-ounce container costs roughly $4.
Brands like Bada Bean Bada Boom offer single-serving packets of broad beans for just over $1 each. Each serving offers 7 grams of protein, and comes in flavors like cocoa dusted, spicy wasabi or sweet cinnamon. They’re great for satisfying the craving for something crunchy, and pair well with a piece of fruit or veggies.
If you’re struggling with getting enough vegetables each day, adding them in as a snack can be a great hack. Buy single-serving packets of hummus and pair with some baby carrots, cucumber slices or raw broccoli for a filling combination of healthy fat and fiber. To lower costs, try making your own hummus with canned chickpeas for around $8.
For an affordable and personalized snack option, buy ingredients in bulk and mix and match to create your own trail mix, which averages out to roughly $5 for 26 ounces. Nuts and seeds offer healthy fats, protein, fiber and other micronutrients like magnesium, vitamin E and B vitamins. Mixing in dry cereal or fruit can also provide carbohydrates for energy.
With many different protein and snack bars on the market, they’re not all created equal. Still, they can be a healthy option when you’re in a pinch and cost around $3. Look for a protein bar that has no more than 250 calories and contains at least 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. If you have a sensitive stomach, you may want to avoid ingredients like xylitol and inulin, which are added fibers that can cause GI discomfort for some. When in doubt, look for a bar with ingredients you can recognize and pronounce.