Whether you fall into the breakfast, lunch and dinner camp or prefer eating 4–6 smaller meals per day, everyone loves a good snack. So in the margins between meals, you might find yourself peeking in the fridge or running to the corner coffee shop for a little midday pick-me-up.
Depending what you choose to eat, those snacks can support or sabotage your dietary goals, so it pays to snack mindfully — and to watch the calorie count.
Keri Gans, RDN and author of “The Small Change Diet” says snacks “should be under or around 200 calories, include fiber to keep you full, protein to sustain energy and probably a little healthy fat so it feels satiating.”
So now that you’ve got your snacking marching orders, below you’ll find five nutritious snacks you can easily add into your own daily routine or turn to when you’re hungry and looking to make good decisions.
“I am all about crunch. Popcorn is great, but for the added value, I add roasted garbanzo beans and freeze-dried strawberries to provide some sweetness, tartness, fiber and crunch to my munch. Plus, the popcorn fills you up without filling you out, and it disperses the higher-calorie beans in a larger volume so our eyes feel satisfied.”
—Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN and owner of Active Eating Advice by Leslie
“I’m currently into the Gochujang and Thai almonds from Trader Joe’s because they are low in sodium (45–65mg per serving). Ideally, a healthy snack is a combination of a fiber-containing food and protein, like almonds and fruit. My go-to fruits are strawberries, blackberries or blueberries. I get whatever is on sale that week.”
—Louise Chen, Dallas-based registered dietitian
“My motto is that snacks shouldn’t be fussy: fresh or dried fruit, sliced veggies, nuts, jerky or dried seaweed. If I’m particularly hungry, I like to spike my hummus with avocado and use it to dip baby carrots.”
—Trinh Le, MPH, RDN and blogger at FearlessfoodRD
“Start your day or fuel your afternoon with this snack filled with fiber, protein and key nutrients like potassium. It’s built-in portion control, and it falls in that under-200 calorie range. You can’t go wrong.”
—Keri Gans, RDN and author of “The Small Change Diet”
“Cheese, crackers and fruit all the way for me! It’s easy to take to work and eat in the car. Plus, it tastes great. I often will swap in nuts, too. Protein is a key element to every snack, as it will help you stay full for a longer period of time.”
—Amy Goodson, registered dietitian and nutrition consultant
READ MORE WHAT DIETITIANS EAT