Summer is here, which means that it is officially time for long road trips, picnics, and entire days spent lounging at the beach. Of course, that means that it’s officially snack time. But not just any snacks – healthy and portable snacks that can go without refrigeration for hours in the summer heat.
I know what you’re going to say. It’s probably something along the lines of how it isn’t possible to do healthy and portable snacks that are also delicious and flavorful. You’re going to tell me that healthy snacks typically spoil in the heat, or need so many additional ingredients that they will all end up weighing your backpack down like a ton of bricks.
You’re going to tell me that — and I’m going to tell you that you’re wrong.
Snacks that are both healthy and easily portable, but don’t skimp on taste and flavor, aren’t an impossible conundrum any more. There are many options for you to explore out there, but here are some of my favorites.
Healthy and Portable Snacks for Summer
Fruits make a great healthy snack whether they are fresh and whole, dried, or cut and served with a dip. Dried bananas are utterly delicious and are one of my favorites. Dehydrated strawberries mixed in with strawberry yogurt is one of my not-so-guilty pleasures. You can also slice apples (brush them with lemon juice to stop them from going brown) into rounds and sandwich two rounds with some peanut butter, topped with some granola or chopped nuts of your choice for added crunch (I like pecans). Try making this triple-layered apple sandwich for a decadent treat! You can also freeze grapes and cart them about with you in a snack box; they will slowly defrost through the day and will be a cold and refreshing snack.
Trail Mix and Alternatives
Trail mix is always a delicious option (it just is the most perfect snack ever). There are also some exciting alternatives available. You can make your own sweet and spicy nut mix (vegan), or you can opt for a pre-made classic, such as this one from Trader Joe’s. Other delicious crunchy options are these roasted chickpeas that are both salty and satisfying (not to mention ridiculously easy to make), these flavored sunflower seeds, and this sriracha roasted edamame recipe that is everything — garlicky, salty, and spicy! Also, you haven’t lived until you try this amazing carrot cake granola.
Seaweed is a delicious superfood that is rich in antioxidants. I like it best dried and baked into rice crackers, such as these savory seaweed-wrapped soy sauce rice crackers or in seaweed crisps that come in multiple flavors, such as these ones from Annie Chun.
You can make your own crisps to take with you in a snack box, and season them just the way you like them. While there are multiple recipes out there for oven-baked crisps, this recipe is one of my favorites. You can get creative as well because there are lots of options available to you. Kale is in on the act as well, still, in a big way. Kale crisps are delicious, I have to admit!
You have lots of healthy protein-packed snack options out there that are great fuel during the day and keep nicely on hikes or at the beach. Granola bars, those old staples, are one of these options. You can either make your own, or go with your favorite ones from the store. These peanut butter homemade granola bars are chewy, moist, and super portable, not to mention really filling. These easy spiced almond date balls aren’t exactly a bar, but they’ve got everything in them that granola bars do and are dense little energy balls filled with oats, dates, and almond butter. If you’d like to experiment further, here’s a list of 12 delicious no-bake energy bites recipes, including blueberry lemon energy bites and apple pie energy balls. Yes, please.
Of course, when nothing else will do but a piece of cake, a muffin, or a biscuit, there are plenty of options for healthy and portable snacks that you can turn to and that you can tuck easily into a snack box for a day out, or into a child’s lunch box for a post-lunch treat. This dense banana bread is a keeper, as is this gorgeous carrot cake recipe. Anybody will love these double lemon poppy seed muffins, and this is an amazing healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe that you will bake again and again.
I hope that this post has inspired you a little. I’d love to hear what you’re packing into your snack boxes this summer. Whatever you end up doing and wherever you end up going, I hope you and yours have a really good — and really delicious — summer!
Awanthi Vardaraj lives and writes in the port city of Chennai, in the south of India, where she runs her own small artisanal bakery and keeps a garden full of jasmine plants and herbs that she still cannot name. As a freelance writer, she mostly focuses on food, feminism, travel, mental health, and poverty. She also nurtures a deep love for the Oxford comma and the semicolon. Visit her website at www.awanthi.com and follow her on Twitter at AwanthiVardaraj.
What healthy and portable snacks are you making this summer? Share your favorites below or on Facebook and Twitter.