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Published on August 16, 2022

10 Nutritious and Portable Snacks Under $1

two girls eating oranges

Do you think that it's too expensive, and takes too much time, to make a healthy snack for you and your kids?

As we head for back-to-school, you might want to consider Incorporating more nutritious snacks into your diet and your child's lunch bag as a simple way for your family to start eating healthier. It's also a good way to make sure your child isn't hungry at school and stopping by the vending machine for a candy bar.

Instead of viewing snacking as a poor decision, incorporate these foods into your family's diet to increase energy, help everyone eat less at mealtime and keep you all away from the vending machine!

With just a little thought and planning, nutritious eating can be simple and inexpensive.

Try these 10 nutritious and portable snacks that can be found for under $1 per serving.

1. Whole fruit 

Whole fruit is a great snack because it is readily available at gas stations, fast food restaurants and in cafeterias for typically $0.70 to $0.80 per piece.

Grabbing a banana, an apple or a pear will provide you with a surge of vitamins and minerals.

Fruit, due to its high water and fiber content, will help increase satisfaction and fullness and curb sweets cravings due to the natural sugar content.

2. Nuts and seeds

Almonds, cashews, walnuts or pumpkin seeds can be carried around for days without spoiling or becoming stale.

Nuts and seeds are jam packed with heart healthy fats, fiber and protein — all of which will keep you full with a relatively small portion.

If you struggle with boredom eating, try munching on sunflower seeds in the shell or pistachios to provide a built-in distraction that will slow down your eating.

For the cheapest options, look for bulk nuts, which average approximately $0.50 per one ounce (200 calorie) portion.

3. Popcorn

A non-butter-loaded variety of popcorn is a whole grain, rich in fiber, and can be eaten in larger volumes (for similar calorie content) than other snack foods such as chips and pretzels.

Both microwave snack size bags and pre-popped low fat popcorn are convenient to keep in the pantry and average between $0.40 to $0.70 per serving.

4. Low fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese

While dairy foods need to be refrigerated, both Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are packed with protein, calcium and vitamin D.

To stay heart healthy, choose low fat or fat free varieties. Prices range from $0.50 to $1.00, whether you choose bulk or individual containers.

5. Raw vegetables

Raw vegetables are a great snack for those who like crunchy bites and love dips.

Baby carrots, celery sticks, mini bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, or raw pieces of broccoli and cauliflower: they are all equally rich in fiber, potassium and many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene.

Raw vegetables can be purchased and cut up for pennies on the dollar, but for those who are in a time crunch, opt for a pre-cut vegetable tray. You can get a tray veggie tray for about $.43 per ounce.

6. Hard boiled eggs

While they do require a refrigerator or cold pack, hard boiled eggs are extremely portable and keep fresh for several days in the refrigerator when left in the shell after cooking.

Eggs are rich in vitamin B12 and high-quality protein, and only ring in at 70 calories for a large egg.

Not only cheap in calories, but eggs are also extremely cost-effective, with each egg costing as low as about $.14.

Pair the egg with a piece of fruit for a nutrient-packed snack!

7. String cheese

Like eggs, mozzarella cheese — the cheese most often sold as “string cheese” – is low in saturated fat, yet rich in protein.

Mozzarella is naturally lower in sodium than most cheeses as well, making string cheese a portable and tasty snack.

Whether you buy string cheese individually in a gas station, or in a large pack in the grocery store – they'll only set you back approximately $0.25 to $0.89 per stick.

8. Dry cereal

Whole grain dry cereals make an excellent snack on their own, or can be combined with milk in a cup for a quick crunchy bite.

When choosing dry cereal, look for a whole grain variety where the first ingredient listed contains the word, "whole."

Dry cereals containing fruit and nuts will provide an extra punch of flavor, without as much added sugar as other varieties.

Most boxes of cereal will provide at minimum 10 snack-sized servings, making this commonly overlooked option approximately $.60-$.70 per serving.

9. Dried fruit

Dried fruit is often overlooked; however, it remains shelf-stable for months and is a convenient way to continue including fruit in your diet when fresh fruit isn't available.

Look for dried fruit that doesn't contain sugar, and keep in mind the smaller portion size, due to the concentration of calories and sugar once water is removed from the fruit.

The smaller portion size of dried fruit make this a very affordable option, whether you buy a package of individual raisin boxes, or a large bag of dried apples and divvy them up yourself.

10. Peanut butter

Nut butters, whether they be peanut, almond or sunflower, are both delicious and extremely portable.

Nut butters provide the same fiber and heart healthy fats as whole nuts, yet can be slathered on an apple or pear — making fruit that much more delicious.

Whether you choose to portion your own one to two tablespoons (about the size of a golf ball at most) or opt for an individual packaged portion, nut butters range from $0.25 to $0.99 per serving.

With all these options (and the endless combinations of them together), nutritious snacking should be much simpler and easier, both on your wallet and on your time.

Keep in mind that many of these options are available at gas stations, convenience stories, airport kiosks or in the regular grocery store.

Try portioning out several snack bags at once to maximize both time and cost when buying in bulk.

Happy snacking!

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