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Budget-friendly snack ideas

Snacks can be good for you! They can boost your energy between meals, keep your blood glucose (sugar) stable and supply nutrients that your body needs. Eat one to three snacks each day and remember to snack only when you are hungry.

Each snack should have between 100 to 300 calories. Watch the portion sizes to stay on track with your budget and your weight. Try these tasty, better-for-you snack options:

Frozen bananas - 100 calories, 36 cents each

Peel bananas and store in the freezer in a resealable container or bag. You can also dip bananas in yogurt, roll them in crushed cereal or nuts and then freeze. This snack provides vitamin B-6, potassium, vitamin C and fiber.

Almonds - 167 calories, 55 cents per 1-ounce serving

Buy raw or dry-roasted, unsalted almonds in bulk. Stick to one-ounce portions (22 almonds) to get your money’s worth. This snack provides vitamin E, niacin, iron, fiber and heart-healthy unsaturated fat.

Apple slices with peanut butter - 189 calories, 85 cents per serving

Top one sliced apple with one tablespoon peanut butter. If possible, buy natural peanut butter because it is usually lowest in sugar. This snack provides heart-healthy unsaturated fat, vitamin E and vitamin C.

Yogurt and fresh fruit - 154 calories, $1.46 per serving

Top six ounces of fat-free, plain yogurt with one-fourth cup fresh or canned fruit. Buy fruit canned in water or natural juices. Save money by buying a large tub of yogurt instead of single serving containers. This snack provides calcium, protein and vitamin C.

Baked potato and salsa - 178 calories, 67 cents per serving

Top a medium-sized baked potato with one-fourth cup salsa. Buy a large bag of potatoes to save money. Store-brand salsas tend to be cheaper and just as tasty as name brands. This snack provides vitamin C, potassium, fiber and lycopene.

Trail mix - 206 calories, 49 cents per serving

For one portion of homemade trail mix, combine two tablespoons raisins, ¼ cup whole-grain cereal and two tablespoons of peanuts, almonds or other nuts. To save money, buy each ingredient in bulk. This snack provides vitamin E, fiber, heart-healthy unsaturated fat and iron.

Cereal and milk - 200 calories, 59 cents per serving

Mix three-fourths to one cup of whole-grain cereal with three-fourths cup of fat-free or low-fat milk. Buy milk by the gallon to save money. This snack provides calcium, vitamin E, potassium and protein.

Veggies and dip - 120 calories, 42 cents per serving

Slice and dip raw vegetables in two tablespoons of your favorite dressing, such as ranch or French. To save money, choose in-season vegetables. This snack provides fiber, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene.

Turkey roll ups - 179 calories, 66 cents per serving

Spread one teaspoon mustard on two slices of deli turkey. Add lettuce and sliced cucumber to each turkey slice. Roll up and enjoy! Check at the grocery deli to see which brands of turkey are on sale. This snack provides protein, niacin and selenium.

Bean soup - 150 calories, 23 cents per serving

Beans are affordable, easy to use and last for up to one year in the pantry. For a tasty snack, try this simple bean soup recipe. It provides calcium, zinc, iron and fiber.

Simple bean soup

Makes 4 servings


  • 15-ounce can of pinto, navy or black beans
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup small-shaped pasta
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Drain and rinse beans to reduce salt. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peas, beans, carrots, salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes more. If desired, top soup with 2 tablespoons shredded cheese per serving.