The 10 Best Healthy Snacks According to Nutritionists

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Walking down the snack aisle can make your head spin. From new veggie-based snacks (cauliflower everything, we see you!) to front-of-pack health claims like “low sugar,” it can be hard to decipher what’s actually good for you and what might actually be good marketing.

But your snacking habits can significantly impact your day. “If you go more than four to five hours between meals, snacking is a great way to tame hunger. To create a satisfying snack that keeps you feeling full between meals, aim for protein , fiber, and fat (or at least two of the three).

Snacks are also an opportunity to “increase your intake of nutritious food groups like fruits and vegetables, as well as key nutrients like fiber . ” While whole foods are a surefire way to increase your nutrient intake, many packaged snacks can also provide important nutrients and stave off hunger pangs.

To help you stock up your kitchen, we’ve rounded up some of the best (and easiest!) options, ready to go.

1. Apple or pear with nuts or nut butter

This powerful combo is a popular go-to snack for several nutritionists we interviewed, and for good reason. “Apples and pears contain fiber, especially if you eat the skins, and nuts are rich in a mix of plant-based protein, healthy fats, and fiber, so they do a great job of satisfying your appetite while keeping your blood sugar in check,” he said. Almost any fruit that’s in season offers similar benefits — seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds also make great nut substitutes.

Nutritional benefits aside, apple and nut butter is more affordable, super convenient, readily available, and easy to carry, unlike many trendy packaged snacks .

2. Popcorn

Craving something crunchy? “This high-fiber whole grain is the ultimate snack because it’s inexpensive, easy to prepare, and packed with the perfect crunch,” she adds. Whole-grain snacks such as popcorn can increase fiber intake and add vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins and iron.” Replacing refined grains with whole grains can also lower cholesterol, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and glycerol Triesters,”

Popcorn is versatile and can be enjoyed as a sweet or savory snack. But watch out for those toppings! A heavy hand with butter, salt, or caramel can quickly take it from healthy to indulgent.

When buying by the bag (or box), look for options that are lower in added sugar (<4 grams per serving) and sodium (<200 mg per serving), and use vegetable oil instead of butter for flavor. Quinn Snacks Popcorn, Lesser Evil , and Skinny Pop are three brands that have a great selection.

3. Chickpeas

“Chickpeas are a great snack because they pack a satisfying triple-nutrient: fiber, protein, and slow-digesting carbohydrates,” says plant-powered nutritionist Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN. A can of chickpeas is cheap and can be turned into a variety of snack options. Roasted chickpeas satisfy a crunchy craving—like popcorn, which can be sweetened with cinnamon and maple syrup or savory with herbs or spices. “You can also add hummus to dips, hummus, or even as an ingredient in homemade bars,”

Try our Roasted Buffalo Chickpeas or our Air Fryer Crispy Chickpeas. You can also find roasted chickpeas in the snack aisle as an easy grab-and-go plant-based snack.

4. Beet Chips

Beet slices are great for dipping and are a great way to boost your vegetable intake in a more interesting way than raw. Beets are not only high in fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium but also contain inorganic nitrates, which have been linked to many health benefits, including lower blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health. Unlike many vegetable chips and vegetable straws , beet chips actually The top is made with beets.

Look for beet chips in the snack aisle or make our beet chip recipe at home .

5. Walnuts

Need to boost your afternoon mood? Grab a handful of walnuts.  A recent study suggested that people who eat walnuts may have lower rates of depression, and other research suggests they may improve your mood. While all nuts (and seeds) are a healthy snack, “the reason why walnuts stand out is because they are the only tree nuts that are an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA,” said Dr. They also contain fiber and protein, providing everything you need to stay satisfied between meals.

6. Cottage cheese with fruit or vegetables

Cottage cheese, a dairy product that is often pushed aside, is a healthy and satisfying snack. It’s rich in protein and a good source of calcium, B vitamins, and selenium. However, it’s relatively high in sodium, so consider how it fits in with the rest of your day.

While the high protein content already helps fill you up, full-fat cottage cheese may be more filling because the fat slows digestion. Some studies suggest that dairy fat may not be as problematic for heart health as other saturated fats, but It is still recommended that you consider it in your daily allotment or opt for the low-fat option.

For a balanced snack, pair cottage cheese with fruit or vegetables—try our cottage cheese salad. It can also be used to boost the protein content of dips, like our Creamy Spinach Dip .

7. Energy bars

The bar is the perfect grab-and-go snack for busy days. But not all nutrition bars are created equal—many masquerading as health can offer as much sugar as candy bars.

Whether you make your own or buy it, choose foods that are made primarily of whole foods, have 5 grams or less of added sugar, and a mix of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

8. Greek yogurt

You might only think of yogurt for breakfast, but it’s also a great snack. “It’s filling because it’s high in protein and also has calcium,” pair it with nuts or seeds for some healthy fats, and suggests plain Greek yogurt with frozen berries. “The juice from the fruit (when melted) naturally sweetens the yogurt,” she notes.

In addition to the typical yogurt parfait, use plain Greek yogurt for sweet or savory dips and serve with fruit, vegetables or graham crackers.

9. Popsicles

During the warmer months, there’s nothing quite like a popsicle. Popsicles promote hydration and, if made with fruit juice, can add important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to your day. Manaker makes his own with 100% orange juice (yes, that’s it!) It’s a no-added-sugar snack that satisfies my sweet tooth while also filling me with vitamin C, folic acid, thiamine, and a host of other nutrients , “.

It’s super easy and fun to make your own and get creative in the kitchen . Popsicles may not be as filling as some other snacks, but they are fun to eat and a great option on a hot day.

In the frozen aisle, look for options that contain 100 percent fruit juice or no added sugar.

10. Chia Pudding

These tiny seeds have great health benefits. Just one ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) contains 9 grams of unsaturated fat (including some omega 3s), 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and is a good source of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, as well as many antioxidants . The high fiber content may also help balance blood sugar , promote gut health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease .

Chia seeds create a tapioca pudding-like texture when mixed with liquid, making them a snack that feels like dessert. There are dozens of flavor combinations, so get creative or try one of our favorites, like Chai Chia Pudding, Apple Cinnamon Chia Pudding, or Mango Coconut Chia Pudding (pictured above).

Snacks can be part of a healthy diet, whether you make your own or rely on what’s in the package. Choose options made primarily of whole foods, pair with meals that include protein, fiber, and fat, and limit added sugar and salt to keep you energized between meals while meeting your health goals.

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