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7 Healthy Snacks You Can Make for Less Than $10 Each


The importance of the three essential meals of the day cannot be overstated — but we also shouldn’t underestimate the crucial role of snacks. These quick bites can help rejuvenate us in the middle of the day or around exercising. When used wisely, they also can lessen hunger so that we may not require such large meals.

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But snacking, like everything else that is food related, can be expensive. According to a survey by Moonstruck Chocolate Co., Americans spend $479 a year on snacks. Surely the amount would go up astronomically if this survey were to factor in kids, who actually need snacks to thrive.

Snacking can be cheaper if you’re willing to sacrifice quality and nutritional value — which isn’t recommended. If you put in just a bit of effort, you’ll find that there are ways to snack both on a budget and with your and your family’s health top of mind.

Here are seven healthy snacks you can make for the whole family for $10 or less each.

Energy Bites

Cost: $3 for 12-15 bites

Jessi Holden MS, RDN, a culinary-driven registered dietitian who runs The Kitchen Invitation, recommends making energy bites.

To make these, you need dry oats, but the additional ingredients can vary and include peanut butter (or any nut butter), dried fruit, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, flax meal, honey, maple syrup, canned pumpkin or even chickpeas/garbanzo beans, Holden said.

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For prep, you’re best off with a food processor or blender, but Holden noted these bites also can be made by hand if using quick oats and adding ingredients that don’t need to be chopped further.

“These can provide whole grains, fiber, quality fats and protein,” Holden said. “Adding dried fruit can boost vitamin intake as well. These are the perfect versatile and tasty snack to help you save money and enjoy something homemade in under 10 minutes.”

Popcorn and Peanuts

Cost: $1.39 for six servings

“I recommend making your own popcorn using popcorn kernels and mixing with plain peanuts. This is a healthy source of fiber, particularly from popcorn as it’s a whole grain,” said Johna Burdeos, RD, a registered dietitian, health writer and blogger. “Whole grains support gut and heart health. Popcorn also has some protein, and the protein is boosted with the addition of peanuts.

“Protein is needed as a building block for muscles and tissues, and our bodily reactions need protein. Peanuts are also an excellent source of heart-healthy fat and vitamins and minerals, namely vitamin E — an antioxidant and B vitamins.  Lastly, protein and fiber promote fullness.”

To make popcorn from kernels, you need a big pot with a heavy bottom and a lid.

“You can also use a popcorn-making machine or a microwaveable popper bowl if you have those,” Burdeos said. “By choosing plain popcorn kernels and [plain] peanuts, you add your own ingredients — which is a lot healthier than movie-style popcorn and flavored peanuts that are laden with salt, sugar and fat.”

Sargento Balanced Breaks

Cost: $1.25 each at Dollar General

Some nutritionist-recommended affordable snacks come ready made, like these.

“We have been loving the Sargento balanced breaks that have cheese, meat and crackers,” said Emily Tills, MS, RDN CDN and registered dietitian. “I found them at Dollar General for $1.25 each — $5 for four people. This snack combines protein, fat and fiber between the cracker — carbs and fiber — plus protein and fat from the meat and cheese.”

Plain Yogurt and Bananas

Cost: $7.50 for 32 ounces of plain yogurt and one bunch of bananas

“Yogurt and bananas are the ultimate bone and gut health snack,” said Francesca Alfano, MS, CDN, CNS and certified dietitian nutritionist. “Yogurt is a great source of protein and probiotics, which are beneficial for digestive health. Yogurt is also rich in calcium, which offers protection for bones and teeth. Bananas are rich in potassium, which also keeps your bones healthy. They are also a great source of prebiotic fiber, which is essentially food for the healthy bacteria in our gut.”

Ants on a Log

Cost: $9 for one head of celery, one jar of peanut butter, one bag of raisins

Don’t worry, ants are not needed for this recipe. Instead, you’ll need celery, peanut butter and a bag of raisins. The bigger, the better.

“Wash celery and trim as needed,” said Amy Shapiro, MS, RD and founder of Real Nutrition NYC. “Spread one tablespoon of peanut butter in the middle and dot with raisins.”

Shapiro pointed out that this snack contains vegetables, healthy fat and protein. Plus, it’s super easy to make.

Yogurt Parfaits

Cost: Under $7 for a 32-ounce container of Greek yogurt, a bunch of bananas, cinnamon to sprinkle on top

“This snack is rich in protein and calcium, thanks to the yogurt and is made from whole foods,” Shapiro said. “Bananas are high in potassium and provide energy and fiber. Pair the protein and fiber together, which will keep you going for hours.”

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Cost: $2 to $7 for 12 eggs, depending on whether you go organic or not

Healthy snacks don’t get much simpler than hard-boiled eggs, which Shapiro recommends.

“Take one dozen eggs and add to boiling water,” Shapiro said. “Let cook for seven minutes. Remove from water and drop into an ice bath for one minute. Remove and peel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.”

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 7 Healthy Snacks You Can Make for Less Than $10 Each