50 Package Free Snack Ideas

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:

  1. They are primarily from the produce section or the bulk section

  2. They don’t take a lot of time to make or prepare, and

  3. They can easily be tossed in my big purse or my pannier

Glass Jars for a Zero Waste Lifestyle

You can find our food storage containers 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: 

  1. Bananas, whole or cut up with nut butter
  2. Almonds, cashews or other nuts from the bulk section
  3. 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
  4. Kale chips
  5. 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)
  6. Dried apricots
  7. Berries - especially blueberries as an antioxidant
  8. Carrots and hummus (it really is easy to make - try this hummus recipe from Minimalist Baker)
  9. Celery and peanut butter
  10. Roasted chickpeas
  11. Olives
  12. Snap peas
  13. Apples and nut butter (almond or cashew are delicious, and easy to make at home! or get bulk PB from your local grocer)
  14. Popcorn
  15. Pumpkin seeds - or skins! Use the whole pumpkin when you make your pumpkin pie this fall with this recipe from Zero Waste Chef
  16. Raisins, cranberries, dates, or figs
  17. Muffins - try these banana muffins from Going Zero Waste
  18. Homemade granola bars
  19. Smoothies - try cacao banana, green smoothies, flax seed vanilla, or the Zucchini Blueberry one from the #yayforearthchallenge
  20. Energy balls - my all time favorite snack recipe
  21. Chocolate covered almonds
  22. Pretzels or chips from the bulk section
  23. Watermelon cubes
  24. Peaches or plums
  25. Almond ricotta
  26. Cherries
  27. Dried mangoes
  28. Nice cream - blended frozen fruit! A vegan alternative to ice cream or sorbet
  29. Trail mix cookies
  30. Peanut butter cookies - 3 ingredients, no baking!
  31. Roasted vegetable peels (sweet potato, carrot or potato)
  32. Sunflower seeds
  33. Wasabi peas
  34. Dried apple rings
  35. Dark chocolate chips
  36. Coconut slices
  37. Chocolate bark (love this 5 minute recipe from Mama Eats Plants)
  38. Pears, oranges or other whole fruits you can toss in your bag
  39. Plantain chips with garlicky guacamole
  40. Chia pudding made in a portable mason jar (chill chia seeds in your choice of milk or nut milk overnight to make)
  41. Brownie Bites
  42. Coconut Yoghurt
  43. Fig bars from the bulk section
  44. Granola - homemade or bought in bulk
  45. Fresh pepper slices - red orange and yellow tend to be the sweetest
  46. Other raw veggies like cucumber slices or broccoli
  47. Rice cakes
  48. Beef jerkey - to find it in bulk, try gas stations or liquor stores
  49. Avocado halves
  50. Homemade 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.

Carrots in Bee's Wrap from Eco Collective

Bee's wrap keeps your snacks fresh and locks in the moisture.  Perfect for fresh veggies, nut cheeses, or fruit.

Apples in Stainless Tupperware from Eco Collective, a Seattle Zero Waste store

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!