Healthy and Portable Snacks That Don't Need Refrigeration

Summer is a tough time to stick to a smart eating plan. Even though studies show that our appetite decreases in the heat, we are more likely to be active outdoors during the warmer months, so packing healthy snacks that don't need to be refrigerated is essential in the summer.

You're probably not going to find a wide variety of nutritious foods at beach parties and barbecues, and if you simply want healthy snacks for a busy day of errands or a lengthy car trip, you're likely to end up with limp, soggy, or spoiled food if the car gets too hot. 

So how do you stay healthy and satiated when the heat hits the roof? These are some of the most healthy portable snacks that need no refrigeration. Pack a few for a day on the road or combine several for an afternoon at the pool or a picnic at the park. 


Kale Chips

Kale chips

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Up your veggie game by snacking on healthy kale chips when you're on the go. You can buy salted or seasoned ones in the store or make your own at home.

Simply drizzle kale leaves with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 400F for about ten minutes or until the chips get crisp.

Kale is low in calories, full of fiber, and is an excellent source of nutrients including vitamins A, K, and C.


Peanuts in the Shell

Peanuts in the shell are easy to carry and fun to eat. If you're trying to control portion sizes, peanuts are perfect. It's hard to overeat mindlessly when you have to remove the shell from every peanut. The legume is a good source of protein, fiber, monounsaturated fat, and also provides resveratrol, an important antioxidant.

A single 28-ounce serving of peanuts provides 160 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and almost 7 grams of protein.


Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

If you love to carry sweet snacks in the heat, bake a batch of healthy oat cookies and pack a few for a snack between meals. They're made with all natural ingredients like bananas, almond butter, and omega-3 rich flax and chia seeds.


Edible Pea Pods

Sugar snap peas

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Delicious pea pods are easy to carry and the crunchy snack needs no refrigeration. Sugar snap peas (or snow peas) also provide a healthy dose of nutrition.

A 1 1/3 cup serving provides 35 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrate, and 2.04 grams of fiber. Sprinkle them with salt or potassium chloride (a salt alternative) or eat them plain.


Homemade Energy Bars

Energy bars are easy to find in any convenience store or roadside market. To avoid a mess in the heat, you'll want to avoid the ones coated with chocolate (they are usually higher in fat and calories as well). Brands like KIND make bars that are less messy and provide transparent nutrition labeling so you know exactly what you're eating.

You can make your own energy bites at home with healthy ingredients like chia seeds and peanut butter.


Frozen Grapes or Melon Balls


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Grapes are the perfect sweet treat for any occasion, but in the heat, you can freeze them to help you refuel, rehydrate, and cool off at the same time. Simply toss loose frozen grapes in a baggie and throw them in your backpack or beach bag.

Allow them to thaw and eat them on the go. If you like melon, freeze a few melon balls and add them to your water bottle to keep it cool and add a little bit of clean sweetness. 


Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Pumpkin seeds (without any added oil, butter, salt, or seasonings provide a nice boost of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat (also known as "healthy fats"). Of course, you can buy pumpkin seeds at the store, but you can also make roasted pumpkin seeds at home to control the amount of added salt and fat.

They are low in sodium and relatively high in protein, especially for a snack food. A single serving (28 grams) contains 126 calories.


Veggie Muffins

Even though they are easy to carry in the heat, sweet store-bought muffins usually don't top the list of nutritious snack foods. Many are high in fat and high in sugar. But did you know that you can make healthy muffins from nutritious ingredients like spinach or mango? They are easy to bake and even easier to pack and eat. Make mini muffins if you're trying to keep calories under control.


Roasted Chickpeas


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are nutritious and low in calories. Roast chickpeas at home to get a crunchy, savory snack that won't melt in the heat. Experiment with flavors like Cumin-Lime Roasted Chickpeas or blend spices that you enjoy. 

A 1-cup serving of chickpeas provides 210 calories, 10.7 grams of protein, 9.6 grams of fiber, and 3.8 grams of fat.


Banana Chips

Banana chips

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Thankfully, the myth that bananas cause weight gain has been debunked. A medium banana (7-8 inches) contains about 105 calories and it provides a nutritious dose of heart-healthy potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. Carrying a banana on a hot day can be a disaster, so why not choose banana chips instead?

Make your own at home or buy them in the store. Just be sure to check the Nutrition Facts label if you buy them to make sure that the chips don't contain too much-added sugar.




Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Homemade popcorn is one of the easiest snacks to carry and eat on the go. Air pop your own batch and make 100-calorie snack packs to grab. Sprinkle with a spice blend or top it with parmesan cheese for a savory taste.

A 3-cup serving of popcorn will add less than 100 calories to your daily total and the whole grain food provides 3.6 grams of fiber.


Tuna and Healthy Crackers


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

If you need a snack that is more substantial, grab a pouch of tuna or salmon and a few healthy whole grain crackers for a complete, healthy mini-meal. Seafood pouches by brands like StarKist do not need to be refrigerated and are less messy than canned tuna.

Both tuna and salmon are excellent sources of healthy fat and protein.


Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet potato chips

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

If regular potato chips are your go-to guilty pleasure, consider grabbing sweet potato chips instead. One medium sweet potato provides 112 calories and 26 grams of carbohydrate. The food is rich in fiber and contains nearly three times the daily recommended intake of vitamin A.​

Store-bought sweet potato chips may contain too much fat and added sugar, but you can bake your own sweet-potato chips at home to save money and calories.

(Hint: you can also make chips from delicious veggies like zucchini and beets using the same method).



Beef Jerky

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Beef jerky has gone gourmet in recent years. In fact, you may also see turkey jerky or even salmon jerky on some store shelves around the country. Brands like Field Trip make a wide range of flavors for active hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Even though this snack is often higher in sodium, it stands up to the heat, is packed with protein, and is easy to throw into a purse, a backpack, or beach bag.


Savory Grain Salads

Another smart mini-meal solution is a whole grain salad with rice, quinoa and crunchy vegetables. Green and red peppers hold up well in the heat. Green beans and carrots are smart additions as well because they stay crunchy even in warm temperatures. Carry the salad in a resealable plastic container or a mason jar.

Use wild rice or a healthy grain like quinoa, then add crunchy veggies for flavor. If you prefer a sweeter salad add pomegranate seeds or citrus fruits like mango or tangerine.


Trail Mix

Trail mix

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Trail mix (sometimes called GORP—good old raisins and peanuts) is popular among hikers because it's a quick and easy source of fuel that stands up to the heat. You can buy trail mix, but the store-bought varieties often contain less healthy ingredients and some even contain candy.

Make a big batch of trail mix at home. Try recipes like Nut-Free Trail Mix (for those with tree-nut allergies) or Pumpkin Pie Spice Roasted Almond Trail Mix.


Tropical or Citrus Fruit


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Tropical fruits and citrus grow in the heat so they hold up well in the summer sun. Varieties like pineapple, mango, papaya, and kiwi will help you to stay hydrated and also provide a healthy dose of nutrition.

Pineapple, for example, is an excellent source of vitamin C and thiamin, and kiwis have more potassium than a banana. If you snack on a mango in the heat, you'll benefit from nearly three grams of fiber for just 100 calories.


Rice Cakes With Avocado

Rice cakes with avocado

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

For a savory snack that satisfies cravings for both creamy and crispy foods, pack a few rice cakes and an avocado. Rice cakes are very low in calories. They also keep their crunch in the heat.

Avocados provide a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat or MUFAs come from plant sources and may be helpful in lowering your LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

The dark thick skin of the avocado will protect it when you transport the fruit in warmer temperatures. Peel and spread the avocado on your rice cakes immediately before eating.


Whole Grain Cereal

In a pinch, one of the quickest and easiest snacks to pack is whole grain cereal. Throw a scoop of a nutritious fiber-rich cereal in a baggie and you're good to go.

Be picky about brands, though. Not all whole-grain cereals are healthy.

Shredded Wheat, Fiber One, Corn Chex, Cheerios, Wheaties, and Honey Bunches of Oats are top picks among nutritionists.


Bell Peppers

Red Bell Pepper

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and orange bell peppers not only stay crunchy in warmer temperatures, but the spice tastes better in the heat as well.

Peppers are a very good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and manganese and are an excellent source of vitamin C.

And the best part is that you can eat a whole pepper for only about 39 calories. See if you can find mini bell peppers, too.​


Almonds, Apples, and Carrots


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Some of the most popular healthy snacks that you're likely to pack in the fall or the winter are also good snacks for the summer. Easy-to-find fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples are easy to throw into a beach bag.

Almonds are always a good standby because they provide a quick dose of healthy fat and protein. Enjoy your snacks with smart beverages to stay hydrated.

Drink water or ​flavored water that you make at home, and remember to avoid overconsuming alcohol or caffeinated beverages in the hot sun to stay active and energized all summer long.

11 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. FoodData central. Raw peanuts. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  3. FoodData central. Sugar snap peas. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  4. FoodData central. Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central.

  6. Bananas, raw. USDA FoodData Central.

  7. Vitamin A fact sheet for health professionals. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements.

  8. Mangos, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  9. Labonté MÈ, Jenkins DJ, Lewis GF, et al. Adding MUFA to a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods reduces apoAI fractional catabolic rate in subjects with dyslipidaemia. Br J Nutr. 2013;110(3):426-36. doi:10.1017/S000711451200534X

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  11. Pepper, sweet, red, raw. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Additional Reading

By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.