| |

15 Easy and Healthy Snack Plate Ideas

Spread the love

As a mom, dietitian, and business owner, I know the importance of finding fast, easy, and healthy snacks and meals that are filling and satisfying. One of my favorite solutions—especially when I’m low on energy, time, and ideas (or didn’t have a chance to meal plan)—is the humble snack plate. 

Snack plates are not just for snack time; they can easily be transformed into a satisfying meal—for both kids and adults. Best of all, you can pull one together in a matter of minutes as long as you have the right ingredients on hand.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what snack plates are, how to build one that’s healthy, balanced, and filling, and give you 15 ideas to get started.

This post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase items from my links I may receive a small payment, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Sarah Gold Nutrition, LLC.

snack plate with veggies, olives, hummus, chickpeas, with overlay of title

What is a Snack Plate?

A snack plate is essentially a selection of various small food items served together on a plate. Some of the items might be seen more traditionally as snack food, but not always.

Unlike traditional composed meals that require cooking, snack plates usually require little-to-no prep or cooking. You basically just assemble the plate with ready-to-eat items.

They typically include a collection of different foods with a variety of flavors, textures, and tastes. 

What are the benefits of a snack plate?

Snack plates are a great eating solution for both kids and adults, and offer many benefits including: 

They’re quick to make 

Snack plates come together in a matter of minutes, and usually don’t leave much of a mess, meaning cleanup is easy. This makes them perfect for when you’re strapped for time or don’t feel like cooking. 

They include a variety of foods, textures, and flavors 

This may be helpful if you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for or your appetite is a bit off. 

It’s easy to adjust portions 

Whether it’s just you, or you’re feeding a whole family, it’s easy to adjust the portion sizes up and down without extra effort. 

Plus, they allow you to really tune into your hunger and fullness cues, which can be harder if you’ve served yourself a big meal or took a lot of effort to prepare it and you don’t want it to go to waste.  

They’re meal prep (or not) friendly

If you like to meal prep, you can prepare a bunch of ingredients on a weekend and have them ready to toss on your plate when it’s time to eat. 

Not a meal prepper? You can buy everything you need prepared and ready to go (or prep it when it’s meal or snack time). 

Snack plates may help picky eaters

If you have a picky eater who doesn’t love composed dishes or is still learning to like a variety of foods, snack plates can be an effective way to expose them to new foods and even encourage trying new tastes and textures. 

But don’t overwhelm them with too many new foods at once, and always include at least one, if not a few, safe foods so they have something to eat. This also helps them feel more comfortable and increases the chance they’ll try new foods.

Can a Snack Plate Be a Meal?

Absolutely! Snack plates, when done right, make the perfect quick and easy meal. 

The key is to ensure that your snack plate contains enough calories, protein, carbs, and fat to satisfy your hunger and provide sustained energy. Otherwise you may end up feeling like you can’t stop snacking.

A well-rounded snack plate can be just as nourishing as a traditional meal if you include the right components. Keep reading for my no-fail formula for building a filling and satisfying snack plate. 

How to Build a Satisfying Snack Plate

Whether you’re serving your snack plate for a meal or a snack, I recommend including a source or protein, fiber-rich carbs, produce, healthy fats, and flavor.

This no-fail formula will fill you up, satisfy your taste buds, and keep you full for hours.

infographic with list of ingredients and formula to build a balanced snack plate

Protein ideas for your snack plate

Protein helps fill you up, keep you full, and balance your blood sugar so that you have consistent energy throughout the day. But it’s often missed on snack plates, because protein-rich foods may not come to mind when you think of snacks. 

Easy protein ideas for your snack plate:

Other protein ideas that require heating or a little prep:

  • Chicken sausage, sliced
  • Fish sticks
  • Chicken nuggets or tenders
  • Mini frozen meatballs
  • Canned fish salad (salmon or tuna)
  • Turkey, beef, or bean burgers cut into bite-size pieces

Fiber-rich carb ideas for your snack plate

Carbs provide you with energy, and play an important role in helping you feel full and satisfied. Fiber-rich carbs are digested much more slowly than refined carbs, which helps keep you full longer and balances your blood sugar. 

Ready-to-eat fiber-rich carb ideas: 

  • Whole grain crackers such as Mary’s Gone, Okmok, or Triscuits
  • Whole wheat pita bread
  • Leftover roasted potatoes 
  • Dried chickpeas or other beans
  • Hippeas and other bean-based snacks
  • Popcorn
  • Fresh fruit like berries, apple slices, or pear

Choose carbs that complement the other foods on your snack plate like dips, nut butter, or cheeses. 

Healthy Fats to Include on Your Snack Plate

Fat is the most slowly digested macronutrient, which means that it will help you feel full for a long time. It will balance your blood sugar, and like protein, help you have more consistent energy in the hours after you eat. 

Plus fat is satisfying. It adds flavor and either creamy or crunch texture. And when you’re satisfied, you’re less likely to keep snacking after you’re full.

Fat can be found in some of the protein-rich foods like cheese, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt if you choose the full-fat version. Or, you might add it with some of the following ingredients:

  • Nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, or pistachios
  • Seeds like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • Hummus, babaganouj, and other dips
  • Guacamole
  • Sliced avocado 
  • Pesto for dipping 
picture of cheese, pepperoni, veggies, crackers, hummus, olives

Produce Ideas for Your Snack Plate

Fruits and veggies are a must for boosting the nutrition content of your snack plate. They not only give you vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but also add fiber, which will help you feel full and support good digestion. 

Vegetables for your snack plate: 

  • Baby carrots
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Snap peas and snow peas
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Leftover roasted vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, or cauliflower 
  • Canned artichoke hearts 
  • Roasted red peppers 

Fruits for your snack plate: include any fresh seasonal fruit you like. 

The importance of adding flavor to your snack plate

Let’s be honest, a plate full of raw veggies, deli meat, and some plain crackers is kind of unappealing for most adults (and many kids, too!). 

Flavor plays an important role in both the enjoyment and satisfaction of eating. This is key to helping you be able to stop eating when you’re full and to reduce cravings later in the day. 

Here are some fun ways to add flavor to your snack plates:

  • Dips like hummus, guacamole, salsa, tzatziki, peanut butter yogurt dip, ranch dressing, onion dip, olive tapenade, or others
  • Sauces like pesto, tomato sauce, miso ginger peanut sauce, barbecue, and more
  • Chocolate covered nuts
  • Dried fruit like figs, dates, apricots, raisins, or cherries 
  • Dark or milk chocolate
  • Jam 
  • Tortilla chips, pretzels, and other snack items that add a little extra fun to the plate

15 Snack Plate Ideas

You can mix-and match any proteins, carbs, fats, produce, and fun flavors to make your own snack plate. But if you’re looking for inspiration, try some of the combos and themes below. 

  • Breakfast style: hard boiled eggs, smoked salmon, sliced avocado, whole grain crackers or mini whole grain bagels, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese or cream cheese
  • Italian style: mini meatballs with marinara for dipping, whole grain bread, leftover roasted veggies, fresh mozzarella slices or balls
  • Charcuterie: sliced deli turkey or pepperoni, sliced cheese, sliced raw veggies, olives, whole grain crackers, dried figs or apricots
  • Pizza inspired: pepperoni, cheese stick, pretzels, baby carrots, cucumbers, bell pepper, ranch dressing for dipping
  • Deli sandwich deconstructed: sliced deli turkey or ham, sliced cheddar cheese, pickles, cherry tomatoes, whole grain crackers or pita bread, your favorite dip or dressing
  • Caprese: rotisserie chicken, mini fresh mozzarella balls, sliced roasted pepper, marinated artichoke hearts, olives, whole grain pita or bread, pesto 
  • Mediterranean inspired: roasted chickpeas, hummus, olives, whole grain pita bread or crackers, stuffed grape leaves (or try this Sheetpan Mediterranean Mezze Platter)
  • Tex-Mex flavors: roasted chickpeas or rotisserie chicken, monterey jack cheese, whole grain tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, sliced bell pepper, cherry tomatoes 
  • Sushi inspired: edamame, brown rice crackers, sliced cucumbers and carrots, snap peas, sliced avocado, roasted seaweed snacks, tamari almonds
  • Deconstructed tuna melt: tuna salad, sliced cheddar, whole grain crackers, sliced cucumber or pickles, cherry tomatoes 
  • PB&J: mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, strawberries, raspberries, peanut butter chocolate almonds or cashews like Skinny Dipped
  • Burger upgraded: cooked turkey, beef, or bean burger cut into bite size pieces, guacamole, tortilla chips, salsa, sliced bell pepper, cherry tomatoes. 
  • Sweet and savory: Cottage cheese, pineapple, cucumbers, honey roasted peanuts 
  • Everything but the bagel: Cottage cheese sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning, cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, whole grain crackers, olives
  • BBQ: Sliced rotisserie chicken, BBQ flavored roasted chickpeas, baby carrots with ranch dressing, sliced apple, BBQ sauce (for dipping the chicken)

How to Come Up with Your Own Snack Plate Ideas

Choose an ingredient you need to use up

Scour your fridge for ingredients that need to be eaten in the next day or two and build a plate around that food or condiment by using the above formula and combining flavors and textures that sound appealing. 

Deconstruct Your Favorite Meals

Think about some of your favorite meals or flavors and consider how you can break them down into bite-sized ingredients on a plate. 

Choose your Favorite Cuisine 

If you like a theme like me, you can always use your favorite cuisines for inspiration. 

Mix and Match Your Favorites

Don’t overthink snack plates. Just pick a few of your favorites from each category and run with it. 

Making Your Snack Plate Kid-Friendly

One of the best things about snack plates is how easy they are to adapt for kids. Presentation can make all the difference in getting your kids excited about eating a variety of foods.

Here are some tips to make snack plates even more appealing for kids:

muffin tin filled with different foods to make up the snack plate
  • Serve it on something novel. I like to use muffin tins, sheet pans, or cutting boards.  Changing up the serving platter makes it more exciting for the kids
  • Cut things into bite-sized portions so your little ones can literally pop it in their mouth safely. 
  • Include their favorite snack foods alongside other nutritious foods. Bringing these foods together helps kids develop a healthy relationship to all foods. Plus when there are foods they are excited to eat, they’re actually more likely to eat the other foods on the plate, too.
  • Use fun toothpicks or utensils: This not only builds kids fine motor skills, but the novelty of using an animal-head toothpick or a colorful tong helps keep them engaged with all the foods. 
  • Cut Foods into Different Shapes: Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes out of cheese, fruits, vegetables, and even mini sandwiches.

These small changes can make snack and mealtime more enjoyable and help encourage children to try new foods.

Final Thoughts

Snack plates can be a great way to pull together a quick snack or meal for adults and kids. Aim to include a mix of protein, fiber-rich carbs, produce, and fat to help you feel full and satisfied. And don’t forget some fun flavor to make it enjoyable. 

Use the ideas in this post or mix and match your own. With snack plates, the possibilities are endless.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.