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Who doesn’t love a good snack? Reaching for a nutritious snack can be just what you need to tide over in between meals or give a boost of energy in the middle of a busy workday. But not all snacks are created equal. Walk down the snack aisle at your local supermarket and you’ll find that most options are ultra-processed and sneak in excessive amounts of calories, fat, sodium and added sugar.
“The main goal of a snack is to provide energy and help us stay full until our next meal, but it’s important that we find something that satisfies our tastebuds too,” says Chicago-based Registered Dietitian May Zhu, MBA, RDN, LDN and founder of Nutrition Happens. Zhu recommends finding an option that provides a combination of lean protein, fiber and healthy fats. “These components can help you feel more satisfied for longer,” she adds.
Our team of registered dietitians in the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab add that the quality of your snack is just as important as the quantity. Snacks that are naturally rich in fiber and protein will help keep you full and keep portion sizes in check, which can support healthy weight loss. While there isn’t one food or snack that will lead to weight loss, incorporating these nutrient-dense snacks as part of a balanced diet can help promote a healthy weight alongside adequate hydration and an active lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for something crunchy or savory, we’ve rounded up the healthiest snacks to incorporate into your routine.
Editor’s note: Weight loss, health and body image are complex subjects — before deciding to go on a diet, we invite you gain a broader perspective by reading our exploration into the hazards of diet culture.
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Bursting with vibrant flavor, this fruity smoothie bowl is a rich source of fiber but only has 180 calories. Fiber-rich foods like fresh fruit can help keep you satiated. A star ingredient in this bowl is frozen mango, which provides more than half your day’s worth of vitamin C in just one cup. Top it with chopped almonds and shredded coconut for even more fiber and a dose of healthy fats to help round out the snack and keep you full.
One of the healthiest vegetables, kale is low in calories but high in water content, vitamins and minerals. These crispy “chips” are the ultimate low-calorie and low-carb snacking option but are packed with nutrients and fiber. Munch on the chips by themselves or pair them with low-fat buttermilk ranch. If you are choosing the store-bought kind, look for as few ingredients as possible. Kale chips (similar to potato chips) should contain just kale, oil, salt, pepper and some seasoning like garlic and onion powder.
This protein-packed dip uses Greek yogurt for a creamy, smooth consistency. At only 120 calories per serving, it’s perfect with a toasted multigrain flatbread or your favorite pita chips.
Choose Greek yogurt that is plain and unsweetened, and check the ingredient list to make sure there are at least five strains of bacteria added. One of the best foods for gut health, Greek yogurt contains probiotics which can help build up your body’s beneficial bacteria and support digestion, immunity, weight management and more.
Often considered one of the best sources of protein available, eggs can supercharge your diet since they are an inexpensive and nutrient-dense food. “Regardless of whether you like them hard-boiled or scrambled, eggs are a versatile and excellent snack that provides protein and fats to help stabilize your blood sugar,” Zhu says. “One large egg provides less than 100 calories and 6 grams of protein.”
We like hard-boiling them, then scooping out the yolk and filling it with guacamole or mashed avocado and a sprinkle of everything bagel seasoning.
“This is a great option for a filling snack since it has both protein and fiber,” Zhu says. “It’s also a complete source of plant-based protein, which provides all the essential amino acids our bodies only obtain through food.” One cup of shelled edamame only contains 188 calories. Plus, the de-shelling can help serve as a fun distraction while you munch.
Try topping a cup with a pinch of cayenne pepper and sea salt for a tasty snack. Better yet, sprinkle on a bit of coconut aminos and toasted sesame seeds for even more flavor.
Raspberry Chia Jam with Yogurt
Chia seeds are good sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that has been linked with a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. This incredible source of healthy fats can be easily incorporated into your diet by adding them to salads, smoothies and yogurt.
This fruity chia seed jam only has four ingredients. Per tablespoon, it only has 20 calories but packs in two grams of fiber. Spoon a tablespoon or two on your favorite low-sugar yogurt for an irresistible snack packed with fiber and protein.
These beautiful rolls are delicious, simple and refreshing. Plus, they’re super easy to prepare and are veggie-packed to support healthy weight loss. Use low-fat cream cheese and enjoy any of the flavorful recipe variations, from red pepper-basil to zippy pear. They also provide a dose of beneficial antioxidants, including vitamin C.
A delicious and festive snack, it’s packed with plant-based protein. They are loaded with tons of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making them nutrient-dense. Opt for raw and unsalted pepitas when possible. You can roast them to perfection at home with just some high quality extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. For even more flavor, try them Cacio e Pepe style — add a bit of Pecorino Romano cheese and cracked pepper and roast to perfection.
Open-Faced Rice Cake Sandwiches
Rice cakes are a light, crunchy and low-carb base for any sort of sandwich. Top with nut butter for a healthy fat and protein source to keep you full, and then add fresh berries instead of jelly for a naturally sweet twist. You can even mash the raspberries first and then spread them on top for a jam-like texture. This yummy combo is also free from added sugar but can still help curb sweet cravings.
Veggie “Fries” & Hummus
Veggies are always a good idea! They can support healthy weight loss since they are a high volume food rich in fiber and water. You don’t need to only opt for the usual veggie sticks like celery. “Pair hummus with water-rich vegetables like carrots, bell peppers or sugar snap peas to satisfy your craving for something crunchy while getting an extra serving of vegetables (and fiber!) in,” Zhu says.
You don’t need to sacrifice flavor when trying to reach your health goals. This vibrant, earthy dip only has 115 calories per serving but packs a serious nutrition punch. The star ingredient is beets, which get their rich red pigment from betalains that function as antioxidants and ease inflammation. Try it with multigrain pita chips or veggie sticks for dipping.
Feta Watermelon Sticks
This refreshing snack from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen is bite size and features a great balance of flavors.
Cut one small seedless watermelon into 1-inch cubes (about 40). Top with one (1-pound) block of feta cheese, cut into 1-inch squares (1/4 inch thick) and one cup of basil leaves; secure with toothpicks. Transfer to a platter; sprinkle with three tablespoons of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serves 10.
Smooth & Creamy Artichoke Dip
You’ll love this delicious fiber-packed dip developed by the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen. White beans add a dose of protein and add creaminess but cut the saturated fat in this healthier take on artichoke dip.
In a blender, puree 14 ounces of artichoke hearts (rinsed and patted dry), one packed cup of baby spinach, ½ cup canned white beans (rinsed), one scallion, two teaspoons of grated lemon zest and two tablespoons of lemon juice, ¼ cup grated Parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper until finely chopped. Serve with your favorite veggie sticks.
Packed with plant-based goodness from beans and veggies, cowboy caviar is the ultimate healthy party dip and makes for a great snack at any time of day. Enjoy this healthy and hearty make-ahead dip with your favorite whole-grain veggie chips or use bell peppers as the perfect veggie “chip” for scooping. Got any leftovers? Pro tip: add a scoop to your morning omelet for a burst of flavor and nutrition.
These popular seaweed sheets are roasted and lightly salted for crunchy, savory goodness. You can typically find them in the cracker and pretzel aisle. They are naturally low in calories and some brands season them with teriyaki or wasabi for extra flavor.
Cauliflower packs a serious nutritional punch for a small amount of calories. The cruciferous veggie is high in fiber and water content. This simple recipe combines cauliflower florets with spices like turmeric and garlic powder plus some grated parmesan cheese for veggie-packed goodness.
Cucumbers are made up of over 95% water, making them a healthy hydrating snack option that offers a satisfying crunch. Simply top cucumber rounds with hummus, a sprinkle of crumbled feta, black pepper and basil for a last minute healthy snack option. You can even scoop out the seeds to create boats for your filling of choice.
Tired of fresh fruit just sitting in the fridge? Fruit crisps are a shelf-stable option that can help you meet your produce quota. Look for dehydrated, air-dried or baked fruit crisps with no added sugar. You can even make them at home on your own too — just slice your fruit and assemble the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon, allspice or your other favorite seasonings. Bake low at 200F for about two to three hours or until they reach your desired level of crispy perfection. Eat as a snack on their own or add to trail mix for a fiber boost.
You’ll love this simple, low-carb turkey roll-up that takes just a few minutes to assemble but is packed with lean protein and flavor. Lay one slice of deli turkey breast on a plate and spread one tablespoon of hummus over it. Sprinkle one tablespoon of feta on top, then add two baby spinach leaves and one sliced tomato. Roll up the turkey breast, cut in half and enjoy!
We like to call fruit nature’s candy — it’s full of wholesome fiber and tons of natural nutrients and can be enjoyed on-the-go, making it the ultimate form of healthy “fast food.” Fruits that works great for stowing in your bag include apples, bananas, oranges and clementines. Add a handful of nuts to compliment the fruit and round out the snack with healthy fats and added protein to help keep you full.
Spring Crudites with Herbed Cheese Dip
At only 105 calories per serving, this aromatic herbed dip is filled with parsley, mint, chives and lemon zest for serious flavor. Herbs are a great way to add flavor without added fat and salt. Pair it with fiber-packed and water-dense veggies like radishes, carrots, endive, snap peas and cucumber for the perfect crunch.
Strawberries Dipped in Yogurt
Yogurt-covered pretzels and raisins may seem like a healthy choice, but they actually tend to contain more sugar than even chocolate-coated options. Opt for a portion controlled handful of pretzels or a few pieces of fruit (like strawberries) and dip it into vanilla yogurt for a far less sugary option than the yogurt candy varieties.
Roasted Artichokes with Caesar Dip
Celery is a low-calorie, water-rich veggie packed with vitamins and minerals. Fill the sticks with low-fat cream cheese, then sprinkle on everything bagel seasoning for extra flavor. You can even do this with other vegetables like bell peppers. The crunch of the celery in each bite is super satisfying.
At only 10 calories per serving, this salsa delivers bold flavor and a ton of nutrition and antioxidants thanks to its star ingredient the tomato. Make a batch and enjoy it as a snack with veggies and some whole grain chips and spoon some on your meals like grilled chicken or grain bowls throughout the week for extra flavor. Salsa is a flavorful low-calorie addition to omelets and more.
Ranch Seasoned Popcorn
Believe it or not, popcorn is considered a whole grain and is a good source of fiber. It can be one of the best foods for weight loss since it’s a volume-rich food, meaning you get to enjoy a large serving size for just a small amount of calories. Opt for air-popped or lightly oil-popped varieties. In a separate small bowl, mix together ½ teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, dried dill and dried chives. Then, add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on your popcorn for a ranch-inspired twist.
Chocolate Filled Raspberries
All berries are nutritious, but raspberries have higher fiber counts than any of its berry counterparts. They are also surprisingly low in sugar given their sweet taste — one cup contains only five grams of sugar. Portion out a tablespoon of mini dark chocolate chips and fill each raspberry with a piece for a tasty treat.
“One serving of oatmeal is right around 150 calories and also provides around three to four grams of fiber to support healthy digestion,” Zhu says. “I love adding a tablespoon of nut butter for an extra source of healthy fats that helps with both overall satiety and flavor.”
The fiber in oats can help keep you full longer and enhance satiety, which is an important weight management tool. Just half a cup of oats has at least four grams of fiber, making it a great choice. Not only does the soluble fiber in oats help to reduce LDL cholesterol, but weight loss can lower LDL cholesterol as well, making this a winning combination.
RELATED: Oatmeal Health Benefits
Simply Seasoned Avocado
Research suggests that eating avocado regularly can help lower levels of the bad LDL cholesterol. The perfectly ripe avocado can make for a yummy and creamy snack option. Plus, a half is about 160 calories and is packed with healthy fats and filling fiber. Slice one in half, and sprinkle on lemon or lime juice, pink Himalayan salt and fresh cracked pepper. Enjoy with a spoon!
Tots just got a major veggie makeover with these delicious zucchini tots from the GH Test Kitchen. They are baked instead of fried and made with just a few simple ingredients. Step aside zoodles — these cheesy bites might be our new favorite way to use up surplus summer squash.
Roasted Shelled Pistachios
“I love that pistachios are a complete source of plant-based protein that contains fiber and healthy fats as well,” Zhu says. “Plus, one serving is around 49 pistachios (the most out of any tree nut).” Just having to crack the shell open on pistachios can help you slow down and eat a bit more mindfully, which can lead to better portion control. Pistachios also give you more nuts per serving (about 49 pistachios, compared to 23 almonds or 18 cashews).
“There are so many versatile ways to eat chickpeas — in the whole form by itself, as an addition to salads, or turned into hummus,” Zhu says. “Chickpeas can also help with satiety since it provides both protein and fiber. Protein and fiber work together to slow down digestion, which helps promote fullness.”
Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished Jerky
This portable snack is a loaded with protein and is typically a low-carb option too. Jerky is an ideal protein snack when on-the-go since it has a longer shelf life compared to other protein snacks like hardboiled eggs. It’s usually made from leaner cuts of beef, which keeps saturated fat relatively low. Look for jerky options that are grass-fed and grass-finished, and don’t forget to check sodium counts.
RELATED: The Best Beef Jerky Brands
Zucchanoush with Veggie Sticks
A summery twist on baba ganoush, it swaps out eggplants for zucchini and features other bright, fresh ingredients like lemon juice and mint leaves. At only 125 calories per serving, this dip pairs great with assorted veggie sticks or your favorite crackers.
Soup always makes for a warm and hearty meal, and it’s a fantastic way to sneak more vegetables into your diet. Since soup contains a ton of water, this can also help fill you up with fewer calories. But pay attention to ingredient lists and sodium counts, especially on canned soup options. Opt for broth-based soup over creamy ones if you are trying to lose weight.
Parmesan Cheese Crisps
Baked cheese crisps are not only low in carbs but they are high in protein too. Most have robust flavor and make for an incredible crunchy and delectable snack. What’s more, they are high in calcium and are perfectly savory. Look for options with minimal ingredients when you can.
Minty Pea & Pecorini Finger Sandwiches
These adorable mini finger sandwiches are perfect to have on hand for a nutritious snack or light lunch. They are packed with flavor from mint and chives and incorporate wholesome ingredients like Greek yogurt and peas for a protein boost. Level up by using a 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat bread instead of white.
Chocolate Dipped Banana Pops
Greek Yogurt with Berries
“This is a great high-protein option that can help you stay full — pair it with some berries (or your favorite fruits here) for extra fiber and some natural sweetness from fruit,” says Zhu. A sprinkle of cinnamon will help add some flavor too.
Whole Grain Waffle with Nut Butter
The waffle aisle is growing and offering many nutritious choices that are convenient and delicious. Look for whole grain waffles with wholesome ingredient lists and at least three grams of fiber and five grams of protein per serving. Top it with a tablespoon or two of your favorite nut butter for an even more satiating treat.
RELATED: 20 Easy Healthy Frozen Meals
Swap sugary store-bought ice pops for ones that you can make at home. Use a vibrant tea, like hibiscus, as your liquid for tons of refreshing flavor without the sugar. Next, add in your favorite pieces of fruit or layer different pureed fruits. This fun treat can be especially delightful in the warmer months and also provides a dose of hydration.
Low-Sugar Granola Bars
Bars are a great fallback, if you know what to look for! Opt for ones with real food as the first ingredient — whether it’s fruit, nuts or oats — and the smallest amount of added sugar possible. They should fall in the 150 to 250 calories range and three grams of fiber and protein per bar.
RELATED: The Best Healthy Granola Bars
If you’re looking for a little heat, keeping wasabi peas on hand for that afternoon slump can be a perfect solution. They are crispy and crunchy, plus packed with flavor and fiber. You can even add them to your lunchtime salad or soup too. Spicy foods may actually help you cut back on calories because certain compounds in then may slightly increase your body’s release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and speed up your ability to burn calories.
This protein powerhouse is extremely filling and can have a great savory flavor. Just opt for a low-sodium variety. Sprinkle on za’atar and grated cucumber or chopped roasted peppers and garlic infused olive oil for a savory twist. Not crazy about the texture? Consider whipping cottage cheese in the blender for a smooth and creamy consistency.
Endive with Beet Tapenade
Zesty beet tapenade is the perfect sweet pairing to bitter endive in this healthy flavorful snack from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen.
From one orange, grate 1/4 teaspoon zest and squeeze two tablespoons of juice. In a food processor, pulse 2/3 cup pitted green olives; 1/4 cup packed basil; one clove garlic; and orange juice and zest until chopped, scraping the sides. Add four ounces of cooked beets, blotted dry and chopped; 1/4 cup of olive oil; 1/8 teaspoon of salt; and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Pulse until just chopped, scraping the sides again. Makes 1 1/4 cups. Refrigerate, covered, up to one day.
“One cup of grapes clocks in at just under 70 calories and fits into any lifestyle goals, including weight loss,” Zhu says. “This is the perfect option for when you’re craving something cold and sweet. Plus, frozen grapes take a little bit longer to chew, so this might help you slow down while you eat to promote mindfulness and tune into our natural hunger and fullness cues.”
RELATED: 7 Grape Health Benefits
Filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, this low-calorie smoothie clocks in at only 90 calories. Plus, low-fat yogurt adds creaminess and some protein. Smoothies can be a great way to pack in tons of produce and nutrition, especially if you’re in a rush and don’t have time for a proper sit-down meal or snack.
Apples are extremely fiber-rich and filling. Slice them laterally into rings, then core out the center so it mimics a donut shape. Top with a hit of protein and healthy fat, like almond butter with pomegranate seeds and chia seeds or cottage cheese with pineapple and unsweetened coconut flakes.
Craving something salty and crunchy? Baked chips typically have a fraction of the calories and saturated fat than their fried counterparts. You’ll still get that crispy goodness without the trans fat. Baked potato chips aren’t the only solution either — change things up with cassava chips and other unique baked options.
Looking for more healthy snack ideas?
Is eating snacks good for weight loss?
The short answer: it depends. The research is mixed, but a balanced, nutrient-dense snack can provide a sustained energy boost, stabilize glucose levels and prevent overeating at the next meal. That being said, too much snacking or excess portions can lead to weight gain.
Our experts say that if snacking is replacing meals entirely, you may be missing out on important nutrients. Too much snacking may also be a sign that you aren’t eating enough at your meals, so don’t be afraid to amp up mealtime with extra veggies, whole grains and lean protein.
Ultimately, the type of snack you reach for determines whether or not it can support your weight loss and health goals. Try to limit ultra-processed snacks that are laden with excess sodium, added sugar and saturated fats. Instead, opt for nutrient-dense snacks that contain fiber, protein and healthy fats (or a combination of all three). These healthier options will help keep you fuller longer and also contribute a slew of beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Having been through her own weight loss journey and providing nutrition counseling to patients and clients for the past eight years, Stefani Sassos, registered dietitian and Deputy Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab, is passionate about sustainable weight management and healthy eating practices. Stefani currently handles all of GH’s nutrition content, product testing and evaluation. She stays up to date on the latest research to provide evidence-based reporting on all things diet and nutrition, and also runs large-scale tests and analyses for products ranging from protein bars to supplements.
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