When you're on the go, the ability to grab snacks that don't need to be refrigerated and to throw them in your bag can help keep you and your family happy and fed. Snacks that don't need refrigeration also work wonders in packed lunches, especially for school kids whose lunchboxes usually stay in lockers, cubbies or backpacks. These types of foods are also go-to items for road trips, camping trips and even emergency preparation. You can keep some types of these foods in your car or in your desk at work so you're never far from a snack.
There's no shortage of shelf-stable, non-perishable processed food. You can take your pick from potato chips, pretzels, popcorn or tortilla chips. Individually wrapped cookies, pies, brownies and snack cakes don't require refrigeration. You can also stock up on snack crackers, donuts, fruit snacks, candy, marshmallows and beef jerky. You can pack dried cereal into snack bags and munch on that or grab pre-packaged muffins, toaster pastries, cereal bars or quick breads.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are loaded with healthy fats and protein. They can stay fresh on the shelf for three months to a year depending on the type of nut or seed. Try peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans or cashews, to name a few. Mix different types together to make your own custom snack. Some snack food manufacturers have also begun creating flavored nuts that taste like chocolate, cheese or salt and vinegar, among other flavors.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables can survive for a limited time without refrigeration and make convenient, healthy snacks. Fresh apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, pea pods and celery can last in lunch boxes, purses or desk drawers for a short time. If you need them to last longer, such as for a camping trip, consider canned fruits and vegetables or even dried fruits and vegetables. Try mixing dried fruits with nuts for a custom trail mix or baking kale in the oven to create crunchy kale chips.
Some snacks do well for a short time without refrigeration, but can't survive indefinitely. Certain types of cheese, as well as certain fresh breads, non-packaged cakes and pastries can usually survive one to three days without refrigeration. This goes for some fruits and vegetables, too, especially those that are very ripe. Sliced vegetables, for example, don't keep as long as whole ones, so if you're craving cucumbers or tomatoes, wait until the very last minute to slice them.
If you need additional high protein snack options that don't need refrigeration, try peanut butter, or protein bars. The health food section of your local grocery store might also carry protein powders or powdered milk that you can mix with bottled water. You can also find shelf-stable meal replacement bars and shakes that can serve as a meal or snack on their own or compliment a sparse or poor diet. If you consider beverages to be snacks, try shelf-stable milk, almond milk, soy milk, fruit juices or bottled smoothies. Choose items from the grocery store shelves rather than the refrigerated sections.
- University of Nebraska Lincoln: Basic Foods for Cupboard, Fridge and Freezer: Create Your Own List
- Food Safety Wisconsin: Storing Food for Short-Term Emergencies
- American Heart Association: Homemade & Heart-Healthy Snacks for On-the-Go
- Lake Haven Utility District: Shelf-Life for Food Storage
- EatByDate.com: How Long Do Nuts Last
- Photo Credit olgakr/iStock/Getty Images
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