Snacks for healthy, real food happy hour nibbling! What is it about summer that begs for happy hour? Maybe it’s the warm weather, the outdoor get-togethers, or afternoons by the pool or lake. Even if you don’t drink, a late afternoon happy hour is the perfect time to relax and do a little snacking.
There’s only one little problem. The snacks can often be heavy, overly-processed, and just downright full of junk. But not to worry, I’ve rounded up some great real food happy hour snack ideas just for you! Make one or assemble an entire spread. All of these dishes travel well, too, so you’ll find some great ideas to add to your Fourth of July festivities this weekend. Happy snacking!
Salty Crunchy Bites
Roasted salted nuts are always a big hit, are easy to prepare, and can be made in one big batch to be split over several snacking occasions. This Smoky & Spicy Nut, Sesame, and Coconut “Bacon” Nut recipe from Oh She Glows is sure to please.
Or, for something a little sweeter, try these Spiced Candied Walnuts from 101 Cookbooks.
There’s nothing quite like homemade popcorn. You can top it with any flavor combo you like, or just serve with some salt and maybe a little butter. This Lemon Parmesan and Black Pepper Popcorn from Cookie and Kate hits the mark and makes plain popcorn extra special.
Whipping up a quick batch of creamy dip is super simple and always a crowd pleaser. Serve with sliced veggies (carrots, bell pepper, cauliflower, jicama, fennel, radishes, broccoli, you name it!). I most often serve plain hummus for happy hour, since I always have it on hand. You can always serve store-bought, just check the ingredients and avoid any product where you don’t recognize the ingredients. Or try any of these tasty variations.
Love the flavor of Buffalo chicken? Then this Buffalo Hummus from Oh She Glows is for you. Looking at the recipe makes me want to make this right now!!
Or how about this Moroccan Spiced Carrot Hummus from Dishing Up the Dirt. I would eat the whole bowl by myself.
Speaking of eating the whole bowl, I love, love, love this Smokey Sweet Potato Hummus from Dishing up the Dirt. The girl knows her hummus!
If you have a can of beans, a clove or two of garlic, some lemon juice, and olive oil, you can make a really delicious dip. If I’m not making hummus, I go for a white bean dip. This White Bean Lemon Rosemary Dip from The Baker Chick is a snap to make.
I’m pretty sure I could live on guacamole alone. It’s probably the number one happy hour staple in our house, and I guarantee if you make it there will be none left. Feel free experiment with ingredients and make it your own. I like this basic Guacamole recipe from 101 Cookbooks as a reference.
Want something a little more traditional? Try this Caramelized Onion Dip from 101 Cookbooks in place of the processed packed stuff. It’s soooo much better!
Do you (or your kids!) love ranch dip? This Greek Yogurt Ranch Vegetable Dip from A Couple Cooks is super good, and made of all read food ingredients.
As a bonus, check out this post on Favorite Summer Snacks for Super Healthy Kids from 100 Days of Real Food. She offers some great ideas. I’m going to try the Creamy Lemon Dip for Elle!
Baked or Grilled Chips or Fries
Another favorite happy hour food has to be chips and fries. There are a ton of real food options out there, and if you haven’t tried kale chips, now’s the time. Even if you don’t like kale, you’ll probably like it in chip form. Check out these 6 Tips for Flawless Kale Chips from Oh She Glows to get started.
We make sweet potato fries all the time as a side or appetizer at our house. These Crispy Cornmeal Sweet Potato Fries from My New Roots make the fries extra crispy. Yum!
Want a straight forward French fry? These Crispy Baked French Fries from Cookie and Kate are for you.
Is your garden exploding with zucchini, or did you pick up a bunch at the farmer’s market recently? These Baked Zucchini Fries are the perfect use up, and happy hour approved. I see a lot of zucchini fries in our future!
If you don’t want to turn on the oven, you can always use the grill. Try these Grilled Salt and Vinegar Potatoes for a smoky, crunchy happy hour addition.
Deviled eggs are often a party and happy hour staple, so here are two real food options to try. This classic Deviled Egg version from 101 Cookbooks. Or these Pickled-Beet Deviled Eggs (Mayo Free) from Dishing up the Dirt. My favorite!
Looking for more ways to get your Buffalo chicken fix? Check out this Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Dip from A Couple Cooks recipe. Total winner!
Edamame is a super easy happy hour hit, since you need do little more then defrost the frozen beans and add a little salt. This Garlic Edamame recipe from A Pinch of Yum kicks it up a couple notches with the addition of garlic.
Finally, sometimes you just gotta have bruschetta. You can even crisp up the bread on the grill if it’s already on. Try this Tomato Peach Avocado Bruschetta from Love and Lemons for a seasonal treat.
And for a classic, check out this Bruschetta recipe from The Pioneer Woman.
I hope you’ll find a recipe or two to try this holiday weekend, or to spice up happy hour any night of the week. Cheers!