Best Snacks to Eat When...


The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Snacking is something humans do all the time, whether watching a movie, having a game night with friends, going through a summer reading list and even in the bath. But just because we can snack even late at night, that doesn't mean all foods are made equal for the task. For example, buttery popcorn during a game of UNO: talk about a greasy hand. Crumbly cake while soaking in the tub sounds less like an indulgence and more like a wet mess. But popcorn and movies will always reign and that delicious cake makes a nice treat while diving into a novel. With convenience, ease and taste in mind, here are some of the best snacks paired with our favorite activities.

  • 01 of 08

    Movie Watching

    Brezel soft pretzel recipe

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Queue up the latest action flick, romanic comedy or documentary, it's movie night. While popcorn will always be a classic snack while watching a movie, there are plenty of other tasty treats that can channel sitting in a movie theater, weekend nights enjoying a film with the family, and binge watching every Marvel flick in order. Think salty, sweet, and easy-to-share finger foods that only require a napkin for wiping butter-slicked and chocolate-tinged hands. 

    • White cheddar popcorn: For a fun take on the popcorn side, make white cheddar popcorn, a savory snack that gives the eater the sense that they just opened a bag of classic Smartfood cheese popcorn.
    • Pretzels with cheese: The ambitious movie goer can whip up some soft pretzels too, complete with gooey cheese sauce.
    • Butterscotch haystacks: On the sweet side, butterscotch haystacks are a great confection to have on hand, and offer a sweet and crunchy bite in between the cheesy popcorn.
    • Puppy Chow: Did you know that this classic treat is not only incredibly delicious but also super easy to make? Do what you will with this information.
    • Pretzel turtles: Or, try this recipe for pretzel turtles, the chocolate mixed with salty pretzels makes for the perfect movie time sweet that's better than dumping M&Ms into the popcorn bucket.
    • Craft apple soda: For the drink, sub the commercial pop for a hand-crafted apple soda made with fresh apple juice and sparkling water. 
  • 02 of 08



    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    Curl up with a good book while also nibbling away on foods that can be popped in the mouth one-handed without looking away from the page. That means nothing that drips or leaves fingers messy.

    • Fresh fruit: This situation can call for simple foods like fresh blueberries, slices of apple or pretzel sticks. 
    • Cookies: For sweets, cookies may be the easiest food to eat while reading, as long as they aren't too crumbly or sticky. Examples of good book cookies include peanut butter oatmeal, gingerbread and orange chocolate chip meringues
    • Pão de gueijo: If you're looking for a more hearty fare, consider baking pão de queijo, a fluffy Brazilian cheese bread perfect for snacking.
    • Homemade jerky: Make some jerky ahead of time so it's available for impromptu reading sessions, and then allow the dehydrated, spiced meat to soften slowly in the mouth with each page turn. It won't disappear as fast as chips and, since jerky can be made with just about any meat and spices, it's easy to tailor to your favorite flavors.
    • Bite-sized crackers with cheese can also be a nice reading snack, just as long as it's prepared before opening the book so you don't have to tear away from the page in order to smear some brie
  • 03 of 08

    Game Night

    shrimp empanadas

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Don't take a chance with sticky or really messy foods on game night, or the evening plans could be lost right away. After all, no one wants cheese dust all over the playing cards or to have the top hat stick to the Monopoly board. Players also don't want the whole table taken up by food, so putting out a large spread or making everyone need a plate isn't the best option.

    • Hearty, hand-held snacks: To start with, choose snacks that give substance enough to sink all the battleships, such as hand-held pizzas and shrimp empanadas.
    • Nuts: A bowl of honey roasted peanuts or other nuts are also a good option since it's a grab-and-go type of food.
    • Chips, too, work for this reason, though avoid getting ones with powdered flavor on them. Better yet, make baked avocado chips or Keto tortilla chips, which have plenty of nuances thanks to the cheese cooked right into them.
    • Dried fruit: Apple chips or another dried fruit can add a bit of sweetness to the mix and round out the salty and savory snacks.
  • 04 of 08


    Granola Bar Recipe

    Kristina Vanni

    Gardening is hard work, and snacks are needed when you're digging in the dirt, planting seeds, pruning hedges, and watering flowers. When choosing goodies, keep in mind that they will be sitting outside, so anything that can melt or needs to be refrigerated is off the table. And think about dirty fingers and soil-covered garden gloves, which make finger foods a bit tricky. Instead, think about long-lasting bites that hold up well to the outdoors and can be speared with a fork or tiny stick.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Soaking In a Tub

    Cookie Butter Truffles

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

    Taking a hot bath is supposed to be relaxing, and having a snack while indulging in this pastime can make it even better. That is, as long as the food doesn't drip into the tub or get soggy. This means no messy foods that will crumble when eaten, or snacks that can change in humidity.

    Truffles: One of the best things to eat in the bath are truffles, the sweet kind. Create an array of flavors or pick just one. The options are endless and include white chocolate citrus, matcha green tea, s'mores and basic chocolate, with a tingly kick, to name a few.

    Fruit: Fresh strawberries also work well as a bath time snack, as well as peeled orange slices, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and grapes, which are also tasty frozen.

    Unshelled nuts: For a savory snack add on a bowl of unsalted nuts, salted ones will make the water too alkaline. Just make sure any nuts aren't in a shell, nobody wants to peel pistachios with wet fingers. 

  • 06 of 08

    Cleaning the House


    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    When you're cleaning the house there better be some great snacks in the mix. To make a real party out of it, put together a charcuterie platter. That way, for every shelf dusted in the living room, there's a meaty and/or cheesy reward waiting on the kitchen table. In general any snack foods work for this sort of activity since it's inside. The treats can be placed out of the way of the chore, and you have easy access to the fridge. It's a good idea to skip foods that make you feel heavy and lethargic, since that's counterproductive to the task at hand, which can vary from person to person. And of course, don't prepare any snacks that involve making a big mess to clean up later.

  • 07 of 08


    Deviled Eggs

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

    Crafting has many layers, from wielding a hot glue gun to gingerly working a sewing needle to painting on colors with a brush. This kind of hobby doesn't leave a lot of space for popping to the kitchen and making an elaborate snack, it's much better to have goodies on hand. When considering what snacks to serve, avoid messy foods or ones that take a time and finesse to eat, such as a slice of pizza, gooey brownie or even a bowl of ice cream.

  • 08 of 08


    Crispy homemade tortilla chips recipe

    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic

    Video games suck people in and make them forget to eat, which is why having easy snacks on hand is key, both for the gamer and whomever they are playing on the screen. Make sure all food is non-greasy, nothing will get a digital hero killed off faster than a slipped finger on a controller.