Soooo, Christmas, New Year’s, busy days of school and activities and our 12th anniversary celebration. Where on earth did the last month go?! I know the saying is true that as you get older, life goes by faster, but when you look back over 12 years and literally feel like it went by in a flash, you know you’re going to blink and miss it.

While life has been going along at a pretty good clip and we seem to have a fairly decent handle on our routines, there’s something that hasn’t been going very well. Namely, our tendency to reach for bad snacks. While I don’t like setting “New Year’s Resolutions”, it is always helpful to evaluate where you stand in certain areas – and for this year (or month, we’ll see how it goes :D), I’m tackling our snacking.

When things got busy through the fall and into Christmas, it got easier and easier to keep on hand the quick snacks I could grab as we were running out the door. Add to that the massive pile of candy our kids kept getting over the holidays (and still, what the what? Christmas is over y’all!) and we were going down in a big, ol’ sugary mess. The biggest culprit actually being, gulp, me. Now everyone says how disciplined I am and what good choices I make, but that’s in public :D Get me alone with a cupboard full of junky food and this ship is sinking! So February is the month to take a few steps back and get us all in a better place with snacks.

This is episode 1 of:

Breaking Bad {Snack Habits – How to Eat Healthy Snacks}

breaking bad snack habits

To turn this ship around, I asked my friends on Facebook how we can cut back on sugar and change our snack habits to include healthier food. Here’s what the experts had to say:

Focus snacks on protein and good fats, then you are satisfied and crave less. I would not eat sugar without my kids (I was indulging after bedtime and such). {Side note – DING DING DING! Help me here, this is where my trouble is!} This has been the best thing, because we still get to have sugar, but my desire for them not to have too much helps moderate my own consumption, and puts cookies back where they belong: as a treat, not an every day, or ever night indulgence. ~ Trina Holden, Kitchenwise


I have found over the years that the best way to eliminate {sugar} was to take my favourite recipes and make the adjustments (not finding recipes specific to the elimination). Specific recipes were horrible!! But taking my favourites and adjusting worked well. ~ My cousin and amazing baker, Jenn

Replace the sugar in recipes with honey or maple syrup (need to decrease the liquid by 1/4 cup). ~ Homeschool mom and friend, Nadine

My kids are BIG apple eaters. The easiest and most convenient snack for them is a washed whole apple! Almost no prep and its big enough that its pretty filling. You can also use dates to sweeten any recipes! I’ve made date-sweetened banana bread before and it was delicious, or the black bean protein brownies are sweetened with dates as well.  ~ My best bud, Jenn

itzy ritzy snack bagsLove these little snack bags for cutting waste and making snacks portable! There are loads of these available on Etsy.

Now that I know I don’t have to renovate our kitchen cupboards and research a bajillion new recipes (and add all these crazy ingredients we’ll probably use a couple of times before I throw my hands up in surrender) to help us stay on track with healthy snacking, it’s time to put this plan in action.

Fresh fruit

I always seem to draw a blank when the kids ask for a snack and I’m rushing to get us out the door to be somewhere on time, so Plan A is to prepare! IE do baking in advance (which I already do, just not the cookies so much!) and have it in the freezer. Cut the veggies up when they come through the door (oops, forgot that last night) and wash the fruit before it goes in the fridge.

Plan B is the snack ideas list. These will stay on our handy-dandy Trello grocery list so it’s a no-brainer trying to remember what food to keep on hand for good snacking.

Healthier Snack Ideas

  • Yogurt with applesauce with a bit of cinnamon/sugar, pureed banana, maple and brown sugar, fruit preserves, frozen berries, granola

homemade yogurt

  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Air-popped popcorn
  • Homemade granola and granola bars

granola jar

  • Raw veggies cut up

Veggies and Dip for a party

  • Boiled eggs
  • Cereal for snacks (stick with low sugar ones like Shreddies/Chex and Cheerios)
  • Muffins (use maple syrup, honey or coconut palm sugar to decrease or replace sugar)
  • Smoothies


  • Cheese and crackers
  • Snack bags of “trail mix” with mini pretzels, raisins, cereal, almonds or other nuts

And finally, my favourite step, the baking! These are some pretty simple, uncomplicated, tried-and-tested (by us and our friends) recipes with some replacement suggestions. For example, vanilla yogurt for oil and sugar, maple syrup or honey for sugar, applesauce for oil, etc.

Healthier Snack Recipes

How to substitute sweeteners – tips from Whole New Mom on how and when to use replacements for sweeteners.

gluten-free-carrot-cake-pictureGluten Free Carrot Cake Baked Donuts (can also be made into muffins)

nibble barsHomemade nibble bars – Gluten-free, dairy free, refined sugar free

morning glory muffinsMorning Glory Muffins – try subbing vanilla yogurt for oil and sugar; replace the brown sugar with 3/4 cup of maple syrup and use applesauce instead of the vegetable oil

whole wheat soaked oatmeal muffinsWhole Wheat Soaked Oatmeal Muffins – replace or decrease sugar and add in more fruits!

Quick-and-Easy-3-Ingredient-Scones-with-Grapefruit-Glaze-The-Miniature-Moose-1Quick Scones with add-in ideas  – only 2 tablespoons of sugar and you can use coconut palm sugar. (These would also make a great make-ahead mix to save the mess of mixing ingredients each time.)

simple bites granola barsDIY Granola Bars from Simple Bites – these granola bars have lots of anitioxidants, whole grain goodness,  no processed sweeteners and a lot less fat.

naturally sweet yogurtNaturally sweetened Greek yogurt – no sugar added, just the natural juices from fruit as it sits with the yogurt

banana coconut chocolate coveredChocolate Covered Banana Coconut Bars – WOOOOW! These could easily replace those sweet cravings! (Also, loads of great recipes on my friend Tiffany’s site, especially if your family deals with a lot of food allergies!)

fruit salsa cinnamon chipsFruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips – Cinnamon mimics sugar, so you could skip it all together, but you can also use coconut palm sugar!

That’s our plan for getting back into healthier snacking. I’d love to hear your ideas, please share them and any recipes with us in the comments!