The snack business just never stops growing. With hundreds, if not thousands, of choices spanning many of the aisles of the grocery store, it can be hard to know what to eat between meals when hunger strikes. When working with clients, I always recommend whole foods first (or snacks made primarily from whole foods).
There are two reasons for this. First, snack time is an opportunity to add more nutrients to your day, and whole food ingredients typically offer more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than processed foods. Second, whole foods typically contain more protein, fiber, and healthy fats — the trifecta to feeling full — than processed foods. These three nutrients keep your blood sugar stable, giving you more consistent energy between meals. Plus you’re less likely to overeat whole foods than you are a bag of chips.
Here are 10 of my favorite go-to snacks that are convenient, nutritious, and sure to satisfy:
- Apple with nut butter: The fiber in apples combined with the protein and fat in nut butters make this powerful duo oh so energizing. All nut butters offer similar benefits, so choose your favorite. Just look for ones that only contain nuts and a little salt. Skip the ones with added sugar and oils.
- Plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and walnuts. This protein packed snack is perfect for days when you’re a little extra hungry between meals. I recommend 2% or full-fat yogurt over fat-free, because the fat makes it more filling. Craving something a little sweet? Try crumbling half a BeBOLD bar over the yogurt for an afternoon treat that will be sure to satisfy.
- Dried chickpeas. Whether you make your own (here’s a super easy recipe) or buy pre-packaged, this is the perfect snack to satisfy a crunch craving. Chickpeas are naturally filled with fiber and plant-based protein, and can be enjoyed as either a sweet or savory snack.
- Energy bars made from whole food ingredients. Energy bars are the epitome of a convenient snack. But not all bars are created equal. Look for ones made from real food ingredients (skip the protein isolates and artificial sweeteners, please!) and contain a good mix of protein, fiber, and fat. BeBOLD bars not only check all these boxes, but also taste great. Read more about what makes BeBOLD bars good for you.
- Whole grain crackers or veggies with hummus. When you’re in the mood to dip grab your favorite hummus for a source of healthy fats and a little protein. Pair it with some fiber-rich veggies or a whole grain cracker (if you’re a little hungrier) for an easy and nutritious snack. Look for crackers that list “whole grain” or “whole wheat” as the first ingredient.
- Green smoothie. When I’m craving something cool and sweet (and need a boost of extra nutrients!), I’ll blend up a fruit and veggie packed smoothie. Make sure to include a protein source like Greek yogurt, silken tofu, hemp seeds, chia seeds, or even chickpeas (don’t knock it till you try it!). You can even turn it into a smoothie bowl and crumble a BeBOLD bar over it or drop a BeBOLD bar in the blender with some nut milk, bananas, and nut butter, and enjoy a BeBOLD smoothie – Grab recipes for a few of my favorite smoothies here.
- Edamame. Another perfectly packaged snack that contains protein, fiber, and healthy fat, that will fill you up. Cook up a batch at the beginning of the week to keep in your fridge to grab-and-go. Top with sea salt, a squeeze of lime, and some chili pepper for a little kick!
- Chia pudding. When you’re craving something sweet and creamy, chia pudding is a great solution. Those tiny black (or white) seeds expand when mixed with liquid, creating a tapioca-pudding-like texture that’s packed with fiber, protein, and fat. Add a touch of honey or maple syrup plus cinnamon and vanilla and top with your favorite fruit.
- Roasted veggies with dip. Sometimes raw veggies just won’t cut it at snack time. Roast up a batch of veggies like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, or asparagus, and pair with a dip for flavor and extra nutrition. I like Greek yogurt-based dips for the boost of protein as well as tahini or avocado-based dips for healthy fats.
- Trail mix. Portable, delicious, and sure to keep you full — what’s not to love? Make your own with a mix of your favorite nuts and dried fruit or buy pre-packaged for convenience.
Feel like you can’t stop snacking? I shared my best tips on how to stop that habit over here.
Sarah Gold Anzlovar, MS, RDN, LDN is a registered dietitian and the owner of Sarah Gold Nutrition, a virtual private practice and nutrition communications consulting business in the suburbs of Boston. She empowers busy moms to learn to eat to feel their best without the stress.