Snacking is an opportunity to fuel your body between meals and add beneficial nutrients to your total daily intake. Many of us need convenient snack ideas — AKA grab-and-go options that are easy to eat wherever your day takes you, like work, school, sports practice, and travel.
Food store shelves are crowded with endless snack options for satisfying cravings for all sorts of flavors and textures—whether you’re in the mood for salty, sweet, fruity, crunchy, or chewy, there’s a snack for you. However, many store-bought snacks are full of empty calories, void of important nutrients, and may not be the greatest choice for supporting your health.
With a little planning and know-how, you can enjoy nutritious snacks that are easy to eat and take on the go. We’ve got a list of better for you snacks that don’t compromise on flavor or nutrition. Bookmark this list for adding better for you snacks to your next meal plan.
Better for You Snacks
Better for you snacks refer to foods that offer nutritional value and fit into a healthy lifestyle. Healthier options contain beneficial nutrients, such as fiber, healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Less healthy snacks contain “empty calories” from added fat and/or sugars, may be high in sodium, and don’t have much going for them in terms of nutrition.
Choosing snacks with fiber and/or protein is more filling, so your hunger is actually satisfied. Filling snacks can help curb unhealthy cravings and overeating. Snacks that contain these nutrients are also better at providing you with long-lasting energy. Unlike a bag of chips or a candy bar, better for you snacks help provide long-lasting energy so you don’t have energy-zapping blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Optimal snacks are single-ingredient foods or packaged foods with wholesome, minimally processed ingredients. They contain few to no unhealthy fats or added sugars and are free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Healthier snacks may include lean proteins, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or whole grains.
Better for You Snacks to Bring On-the-Go
It can be tempting to sacrifice nutrition when you’re in a hurry and need a fast snack. Whether you’re snacking at your desk, on your way out the door, or catching a flight, it’s possible to enjoy a tasty snack that both satisfies and delivers nutrition.
Here are 7 easy, better for you snack solutions to try.
String cheese isn’t just for kids. Individually wrapped cheese sticks are a convenient snack to grab on your way out the door or toss into a lunch box. They offer filling protein and calcium to support bone health. Pair a cheese stick with a piece of fresh fruit, almond flour crackers, or meat jerky for even more staying power.
Craving something sweet? Reach for fruit chips, which are made from just one ingredient: sliced fruit. There are several varieties, including apple, banana, coconut, and peach chips. The fruit is baked for a crisp, snappable texture that offers a delectable crunch and part-sweet, part-tart fruity flavor. Better for your fruit chips should be free from added sugar since fruit is already sweet.
Meat sticks are a good source of protein, making them an excellent snack for anyone trying to eat more protein or those following a low-carb diet. Look for meat sticks made with high-quality proteins and free from added sugar and chemical preservatives.
Chomps meat sticks are the ultimate choice for healthy on-the-go snacking. They’re individually wrapped, require no refrigeration, and are available in a variety of flavors and proteins, including grass-fed beef, free-range venison, and antibiotic-free turkey. All varieties contain 0 grams of sugar and about 9 to 10 grams of protein.
Chickpeas are part of the legume family, so they’re a good source of plant-based protein. They also contain fiber, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Roasted chickpeas are a fun way to get your fix: they’re crunchy, salty, and savory.
Roasted chickpeas are available in several flavors, like barbeque and ranch. Think of them as a higher protein swap for flavored chips and pretzels. You can also make your own by tossing a can of drained chickpeas with a bit of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, whatever seasoning you like, and baking till dry and crispy.
You may not think of sea vegetables when you think of your favorite snacks, but you should! If you’re a fan of sushi, you’ll probably enjoy seaweed snacks. Seaweed is a source of important vitamins and minerals, including iodine, which is important for normal thyroid function.
Paper-thin sheets of roasted and salted seaweed are a great alternative to chips for satisfying a salty snack craving. You can find seaweed snacks in individual serving size packages that are lightweight and easy to toss in a bag or lunch box. Seaweed snacks come in several flavors, including sea salt, wasabi, teriyaki, toasted sesame, chili lime, and Korean barbeque.
Single Serve Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is trending thanks to a few viral recipes, but you don’t need any special equipment or prep time to enjoy this protein-packed snack. One ½ cup of cottage cheese provides about 12 grams of protein and 10% of the calcium you need in a day.
Look for cottage cheese in single serve cups, so all you have to add is a spoon. Plain cottage cheese made with whole milk or reduced fat milk are the best choices since cottage cheese with fruit contains added sugar. Stir in your own fruit if you prefer it sweet.
Trail mix is an easy way to increase your intake of nuts and seeds, which are good sources of healthy unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Try almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds, which contain magnesium and iron to support muscle function and healthy blood cells, respectively.
Skip store-bought options, which often contain added sugars, oils, and salt. Instead, make your own with raw nuts and seeds. For a touch of sweetness, add a few dark chocolate chips or dried fruit.
Making Better Snack Choices
Snacking between meals doesn’t have to be synonymous with unhealthy choices. Snacks can help energize you, curb hunger, and provide valuable nutrients to your day. Choose snacks that are minimally processed and low in unhealthy fats and added sugars, such as Chomps meat sticks. Better for you snacks contain filling fiber and/or protein, plus vitamins and minerals to support good health whether you’re munching at home or on the go.