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5 Snacks You Can Prep in a Pinch Using Ingredients You Already Have

Posted by Team Editorial Perfect Snacks on

When you’re staying at home with your family, you’re probably spending a lot of time in the kitchen, prepping three meals a day in addition to light snacks every now and then. But you might start to get bored seeing the same basic ingredients in the back of your fridge, freezer, or pantry. If your family stocked up on versatile kitchen essentials while following shelter-in-place guidance, and you’ve already eaten through your go-to meals and recipes, you may be hungry for new inspiration, too.

Feeling stuck in a snack rut? With our list of recipe ideas, you can transform the ingredients you have on hand into balanced and flavorful snacks for the whole family.

1. Ants-on-a-Log and Other Nut Butter Buddies

If you have some leftover celery from last night’s soup or stew, you have the perfect ingredient for this beloved, kid-friendly snack. To prepare the classic ants-on-a-log, swipe some organic peanut butter into celery slices and decorate them with raisin “ants.”

But if you don’t happen to have celery, no worries — there are plenty of other creamy-crunchy variations to try! You could try a banana-split-style twist with sliced bananas, cashew butter, and chocolate candies, or make a harvest-inspired version with sliced apples, almond butter, and dried cranberries. Food Network has some clever ideas like “berries on a branch” featuring blueberries, and “fish in a stream” with hummus and little fishy crackers. Chopped nuts and seeds work great as the “ants,” too, for a little extra plant protein.

Since these can be fiddly for parents to prepare, Two Healthy Kitchens had the amazing idea to turn your nut butter buddy preparations into a lively snack bar. Pull out a bunch of ingredient options and invite kids of all ages in your family to choose their favorite fruits or veggies, creamy spreads, and toppings. Snack time might just become the best part of your day!

2. Sweet or Savory Crêpes With Fruits or Veggies

You might be wondering what this fancy French food is doing on a list of easy at-home snack recipes. Well, here’s the secret: Crêpes are unbelievably easy to make and only require a few simple ingredients. Plus, whipping together a few all-natural ingredients can quickly become a family fun activity. The kids will love whisking the batter and everyone can customize their toppings to taste. It’s like making pancakes, but better and better for you!

This simple recipe from Delish uses all-purpose flour, eggs, and milk plus a pinch of salt. It’s completely sugar-free, but you can drop a teaspoon of vanilla extract into the batter for a sweeter flavor. Try using up your leftover whole-wheat flour for extra dietary fiber and low-fat milk to keep your crêpes lovely and light.

While they’re still warm, roll them up with fresh berries, organic preserves, or a simple squeeze of lemon juice and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Oven-roasted bananas and sautéed peaches or cinnamon apples sweetened with honey are also incredibly delicious with crêpes when prepared with coconut oil instead of butter. If you prefer the savory route, sautée your favorite veggies instead. You really can’t go wrong with tomatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms — even leftover chicken breast can get chopped up and tossed in.

Since your crêpes will contain fresh eggs and low-fat dairy, you’ll enjoy a burst of whole-food protein plus a variety of micronutrients from whichever organic, all-natural toppings you choose. One batch makes a satisfying breakfast for the whole family, or a nice afternoon snack with coffee for one. Refrigerate the leftovers and zap them in the microwave tomorrow.


3. Freestyle Smoothies

Nothing will break up the midday monotony quite like the whir of a blender and the first few slurps of a homemade smoothie. Smoothie-making is another entertaining snack-tivity that can help get your kids in the kitchen — as long as blender operations are left to the adults, of course!

While you’re at home with the little ones, challenge members of your family to create their ideal flavor combination and round up the ingredients. Then, drop everything in and watch it get pulverized. You could even turn it into a taste-test competition to see whose smoothie gets the highest marks.

When creating your smoothies, feel free to incorporate whatever ingredients you have on hand. As a basic starting point, choose a liquid base like fruit juice, plant milk, or low-fat yogurt. From there, select a few mix-ins like chopped fruit, leafy greens, seeds, or a dollop of nut butter. You can even add your favorite Perfect Bar, too! Try naturally sweetening your concoction with a touch of honey as well.

For inspiration, check out Wholefully’s list of basic smoothie recipes and make them your own. BBC Good Foods has also published tips for achieving the perfect smoothie ratio along with some all-natural ingredient ideas for reference.

4. “Cowboy Caviar” Bean and Veggie Salad

This crowd favorite will transform your basic back-of-the-pantry cans and veggie drawer leftovers into a perfect shareable family snack. It doesn’t take long to prepare before it’s ready to scoop up with whole-grain pita chips, crackers, or tortilla chips.

But what is cowboy caviar, exactly? Sitting somewhere in between a dip, salad, and salsa, it’s a flavorful, colorful, and nutritious snack that uses simple ingredients from the fridge and pantry. To make your own, Family Fresh Meals recommends using canned black beans and canned or frozen corn, along with organic fresh veggies like Roma tomatoes, red onions, and avocados. Toss everything together with a little light Italian dressing, and your work is done!

The resulting blend is packed with whole-food nutrition including omega-3s from the avocado and plant protein from the legumes. It tastes great with crunchy whole-grain crackers or chips, but it’s hearty enough to stand alone with just a fork. Just a few spoonfuls can make the ideal mid-afternoon snack if you’re feeling peckish, or a yummy study snack when your little learners hit the books.

5. Homemade Snack Mixes

Rather than watching your family argue over who gets the last handful of pretzels, why not get everyone involved in mixing up a family-friendly batch of your own DIY snack mix? Rifle around the pantry to see what ingredients you can find. Mixed nuts, dried fruits, and even the broken bits of whole-grain pita chips from the bottom of the bag are perfect candidates.

Even better, you can turn ripe fruit into dried fruit in the oven, using this simple trick from Taste of Home. It’s practically an at-home science experiment, so gather the kids as you check the dehydration progress and give the fruit a stir every so often.

Here’s One More Perfect Idea

We’re all in favor of a creative homemade snack. But if all the time you’re spending at home cooped up in the kitchen is starting to wear you down, we’ve got your back. Our team is ready to ship you a box of Perfect Bars right to your doorstep!

Tired-out taste buds will get a kick out of delicious combos like Cashew Blueberry and Chocolate Hazelnut Crisp. Each bar is made with delicious organic nut butter and a blend of 20 superfood ingredients. Our customers tell us they taste just as fresh as anything homemade — and we can’t disagree!