As a business owner on-the-go, I don’t have a lot of extra time. I practice a balanced lifestyle, so my mornings often consist of getting ready in 10-20 minutes just so I can carve out the time to meditate, go for a bike ride, read a book, or stop by the farmer’s market. You can hear more about my minimalist lifestyle on this podcast. Packing lunches is a must to save money, but wherever I can simplify is gold. Those 30 minute weeknight meals are where it’s at! When it comes to meal prep, for us it usually consists of making one huge dinner that we can use for lunches the rest of the week and making sure our fridge is stocked with fresh produce so we can cook throughout the week and don’t end up going out.
For some reason, right around mid morning and mid afternoon, I’m always ready for a snack. I like to keep light snacks around to munch throughout the day - that way I’m not distracted by a growling stomach halfway through a meeting ; ). My sailing team actually nicknamed me Shark because I'm always hungry. Sometimes that means eating a granola bar as I’m walking in to a meeting place or grabbing a cheese stick as I leave my house.
But now that I’m pursuing a zero waste lifestyle, I can’t justify those little plastic wrappers they come in. Prepared (read: processed) snacks have been the hardest thing for me to give up. They’re a time saver, they’re easy, and they’re what I’ve grown accustomed to. And as an athlete, they’re super easy to grab when I’m running out the door to sailing practice or a big race. But they’re not worth the countless single use plastic packages that they come in, and I’m starting to understand just how toxic plastic packaging can be.
I’ve been struggling over the last year to stop buying things like granola bars and cheese sticks, while still maintaining my healthy lifestyle among the chaos that is running a business. To motivate myself to truly cut that habit, I decided to put together a list of healthy snacks that are quick, easy to take on the go, and don’t come in plastic packaging.
My top requirements for package free snacks are:
They are primarily from the produce section or the bulk section
They don’t take a lot of time to make or prepare, and
They can easily be tossed in my big purse or my pannier
You can find our sturdy, airtight food storage jars here.
I thought I’d share my snack inspiration list in case it helps any of you get out of a similar rut. Almost all of these snacks are Vegan and many of them are gluten free too. Most are quick to prepare, but there's a couple really yummy ones that take some weekend prep to fit into my routine. Happy snacking!
50 of my favorite healthy, quick, easy zero waste snacks:
- Bananas, whole or cut up with nut butter
- Almonds, cashews or other nuts from the bulk section
- Trail mix in a cotton bag, bought from the bulk section - this is an easy one to toss in your bag, car, or desk and munch on throughout the week
- Kale chips
- Homemade chips and guacamole (try chopping up 4 large avocados and mixing with juice from one lime and a teaspoon of salt; add cayenne pepper or cilantro to add a little extra flavor)
- Dried apricots
- Berries - especially blueberries as an antioxidant
- Carrots and hummus (it really is easy to make - try this hummus recipe from Minimalist Baker)
- Celery and peanut butter
- Roasted chickpeas
- Snap peas
- Apples and nut butter (almond or cashew are delicious, and easy to make at home! or get bulk PB from your local grocer)
- Pumpkin seeds - or skins! Use the whole pumpkin when you make your pumpkin pie this fall with this recipe from Zero Waste Chef
- Raisins, cranberries, dates, or figs
- Muffins - try these banana muffins from Going Zero Waste
- Homemade granola bars
- Smoothies - try cacao banana, green smoothies, flax seed vanilla, or the Zucchini Blueberry one from the #yayforearthchallenge
- Energy balls - my all time favorite snack recipe
- Chocolate covered almonds
- Pretzels or chips from the bulk section
- Watermelon cubes
- Peaches or plums
- Almond ricotta
- Dried mangoes
- Nice cream - blended frozen fruit! A vegan alternative to ice cream or sorbet
- Trail mix cookies
- Peanut butter cookies - 3 ingredients, no baking!
- Roasted vegetable peels (sweet potato, carrot or potato)
- Sunflower seeds
- Wasabi peas
- Dried apple rings
- Dark chocolate chips
- Coconut slices
- Chocolate bark (love this 5 minute recipe from Mama Eats Plants)
- Pears, oranges or other whole fruits you can toss in your bag
- Plantain chips with garlicky guacamole
- Chia pudding made in a portable mason jar (chill chia seeds in your choice of milk or nut milk overnight to make)
- Brownie Bites
- Coconut Yoghurt
- Fig bars from the bulk section
- Granola - homemade or bought in bulk
- Fresh pepper slices - red orange and yellow tend to be the sweetest
- Other raw veggies like cucumber slices or broccoli
- Rice cakes
- Beef jerkey - to find it in bulk, try gas stations or liquor stores
- Avocado halves
- Peanut butter cups
How do I store these zero waste snacks on the go?
Bee's Wrap, stainless steel food container or a cotton bag are my go-to's. Check out the photos below for inspiration.
Bee's wrap keeps your snacks fresh and locks in the moisture. Perfect for fresh veggies, nut cheeses, or fruit.
Stainless steel food containers are the perfect travel container. They never leak, they can be reheated on the stove top, and they're lightweight without having the toxic quality of plastic food containers.
Our produce bags are a very versatile size for restocking in the bulk section or taking a snack with you on the go.
We are proud to be your local zero waste store in Seattle, and we will continue to be a resource for the sustainable lifestyle, with more ideas like this. Got something you want us to write a blog about? Tell us in the comments!