30 Healthy Snack Foods No Adult Has to Feel Guilty About Eating
Snackaholics, rejoice! Beat between-meal blahs with a month’s worth of tasty and creative healthy snacks for adults.
Snacking should be as mandatory as breakfastistock/knape
Dietitian Rachel Beller, a nutritionist on The Biggest Loser, told Redbook magazine that grazing during the day has big impact. If you get too hungry between meals, that can deplete your willpower and make you consume more calories overall. The trick to healthy snacking? Choose nutrient-rich healthy snack foods and filling combos of protein and fiber, like these popular picks from top dietitians and weight-loss bloggers. Some of these healthy foods are even more nutritious than you realize.
Baked sweet potato friesistock/BajnociP
This vitamin A-rich snack is a healthy-kid favorite, but there’s no reason you can’t also enjoy this Parenting recipe that swaps bad carbs for good ones: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut four sweet potatoes into 1-inch-wide wedges, place flesh-side down on a roasting pan, then brush with a mixture of 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, turning once, for 20-25 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
Krispy kale chipsAnjelikaGr
This unbelievable source of vitamins K, A, and C may become your new go-to late-afternoon healthy snack foods. From Self: Place 1 large bunch raw kale leaves, stems removed, on a cookie sheet, then drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Love it? Check out more creative kale recipes.
Popcorn with a kickistock/PamelaJoeMcFarlane
A favorite, family-friendly snack for dietitian and Real Mom Nutrition blogger Sally Kuzemchak is popcorn—a surprising source of fiber and antioxidants. (That’s just one reason why you NEED popcorn in your diet.) Among her favorite toppings: garlic, parmesan cheese, and sugar/salt.
Homemade kettle cornBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock
DIY kettle corn can eliminate some of the artificial chemicals from processed versions. Greatist recommends tossing 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of Stevia with 2 cups of freshly popped popcorn. Shake in a paper bag for even distribution. (You can swap the Stevia for 1 teaspoon of honey plus 1 teaspoon of water, microwaved for 20 seconds to thin it out.)
Health nachosistock/Julie Bazinet
Though she admits that she’s not a big snacker—“I really like to be hungry for meals”—Cara Eisenpress of Big Girls Small Kitchen says her favorite snack is healthier nachos: 3 to 4 Food Should Taste Good Multigrain chips, a few pinches of cheddar, a zap in the microwave, and a dollop of guacamole or sprinkle of scallions. Add more chips and cheddar, and you’ve got an easy Mexican appetizer anyone can make.
Brown rice bonanzaistock/Sasha Radosavljevic
Feedmeimcranky’s Annabel Adams makes a big batch of brown rice on the weekends, and for weekday healthy snack foods, heats up a small bowl and tops it with salsa, hummus, or Trader Joe’s ‘Cowboy Caviar,’ a mix of black beans, peppers, and roasted corn.
Low-carb turkey wrapZoeytoja/Shutterstock
Make a snack out of a turkey wrap, which is one of Dr. Oz’s top snacks—and only 75 calories. Spread 2 teaspoons of honey mustard on 3 thin slices of turkey; top with 1/4 cup sliced apple and wrap in lettuce. Here are the 50 best healthy-eating tips of all time.
Cinnamon-spiced baked applesistock/Lauri Patterson
These are quick, healthy snack foods and a favorite of Diane Carbonell, founder of the Fit to the Finish blog. Core a crisp apple (such as Granny Smith or Fuji) and put the wedges in a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, then toss to cover. Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe plate and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on high. Carbonell will sometimes add raisins or a dollop of nut butter after the apples cook. The apple is less than 90 calories and provides 3 grams of filling fiber; raisins also add more iron, vitamin C, and fiber. Try these apple pairings for more ridiculous health benefits.
Chocolate-drizzled fruit kebobsistock/5second
Health magazine skewers 1 strawberry, 2 blueberries, 1 piece each kiwi, cantaloupe, pineapple, and then drizzling with 1 teaspoon Hershey’s chocolate syrup for a filling, fruit dessert that quenches a chocolate craving too. Don’t miss these next-level chocolates with insane health benefits!
Try Prevention’s easy way to sweeten up strawberries: Drip 10 medium strawberries into 1 fat-free pudding cup for a light and healthy filler. Since this combo is a proven aphrodisiac, it’s best eaten with your significant other. These are the healthy snack foods that nutritionists love, too.
Goat cheese bruschettaistock/Anna Kurzaeva
Try one of Real Simple‘s healthy snack foods: Top 5 halved cherry tomatoes with 2 tablespoons fresh goat cheese, then sprinkle with chopped herbs (chives, basil, or parsley) that you can grow right in your home garden.
Gouda-topped apple slicesshellystuart/Shutterstock
Thinly slice 1 ounce of smoked Gouda cheese on honey crisp apple slices for an ideal balance of protein, carbs, and fat, recommends Christine Avanti, chef, nutritionist, and author of Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food.
Give boring nuts (the best disease fighter in your pantry) a healthy boost with Sweetish Nuts from nutritionist Brooke Alpert, which are sugar-free but still manage a natural sweetness from the spices. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive in a large bowl. Add 4 ounces shelled raw walnut halves, 4 ounces shelled raw pecan halves, and 4 ounces raw cashews. Massage in the spices well, then place on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Store in an airtight container once cooled.
Bagel with ricotta and strawberriesistock/dana2000
Sink your teeth into Real Simple’s tasty take on bagels for healthy snack foods: Spread half of a small toasted whole grain “flat” bagel with 2 tablespoons fresh ricotta, then top with 1/3 cup sliced strawberries and drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar. (Incorporate these healthy breakfast ideas into your diet, starting today.)
Try one of Self magazine’s healthy snack foods: top a whole grain waffle with 1 teaspoon low-fat cream cheese and ¼ cup blueberries. (Here’s why you should always top cereal with blueberries.)
Oatmeal, with its whole grains, fiber, and protein, is a perfect all-day healthy snack food. Glamour recommends mixing one packet of the plain, instant kind with 6 crushed almonds, then sprinkling with cinnamon. You’ll want to try some of these healthy snack foods for kids (and adults!) too.
From theKitchn: A half-cup of boiled or steamed shelled young soybeans are rich in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants—and are only 100 calories, making it a great choice for healthy snacking. Splitting the pods open to nibble on the beans helps you eat more mindfully, which can reduce overall calorie consumption.
Ginger-tossed cole slawAnna-Hoychuk/Shutterstock
For her favorite snack, Keri Glassman MS, RD, author of The New You and Improved Diet, tosses pre-sliced cabbage and carrots with a ginger dressing and wraps the salad in a sheet of seaweed (nori). Try these healthy snack foods if you’re trying to lose weight.
Tuna seaweed wrapkcablephoto/Shutterstock
Nutritionist Rachel Beller loves nori too, telling Glamour that it’s “chock-full of folate, iron, calcium, and potassium.” Talk about healthy snacking! She recommends rolling it around salmon or tuna salad for an omega-3-rich snack.
Banana oatmeal walnut cookiesISTOCK/Irina-Kupenska
Gina Homolka, of skinnytaste.com, makes three-ingredient “guiltless healthy cookies” that are a great source of heart-healthy whole grains, good fats, and potassium. Combine 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed, 1 cup uncooked quick oats in a bowl, then fold in ¼ cup crushed walnuts. Place tablespoon-sized scoops on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
Chia seeds, a great source of omega-3s and fiber, are in this tasty tapioca-like pudding from NYC nutritionist Brooke Alpert’s new book The Sugar Detox. Place 2 and 1/2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk, 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally, until it has a pudding-like consistency. These guilt-free healthy snack foods have just 100 calories.
Always have avocado around to add a healthful fat for a filling snack, recommends Annabel Adams from feedmeimcranky.com. They’re a good source of heart-healthy and belly fat-blasting monounsaturated fat. Adams loves mixing blackened tempeh—a good source of protein and probiotics—with the green flesh.
Avocado rice cakesZoeytoja/Shutterstock
Avocados also make for a great rice cake topper, says greatist.com. Top an unsalted brown rice cake with 1/4 of an avocado, mashed, then sprinkle with black pepper and paprika. Did you know avocados also had these powerhouse benefits?
Yogurt-dunked berriesistock/Lauri Patterson
Blogger Caffeinated Chronicles of a Supermom uses a toothpick to dunk individual blueberries one at a time into a container of Greek yogurt; a second toothpick helps push the berry off onto a baking sheet. Freeze for one hour, and store any leftovers in the freezer. These 49 healthy snack foods satisfy any craving.
Pumpkin spice yogurtYulia-Davidovich/Shutterstock
Perk up your go-to yogurt with this version from Greatist: Combine 1/2 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree (a low-fat way to boost fiber and flavor). Sweeten with Stevia, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pumpkin pie spice blend or cinnamon. Try these healthier ways to top Greek yogurt for breakfast.
Nutty watermelon fruit cupistock/SilviaJansen
This Real Simple salad refreshes: Toss 2 cups of watermelon cubes with 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and ½ teaspoon grated lime zest, then sprinkle with cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons chopped unsalted roasted pistachios. This is what nutritionists eat when no one is watching.
From registered dietitian Cynthia Sass’s new book S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim: Fold whole corn tortillas with organic strawberries (or any of the healthiest fruits for your body), edamame, ripe avocado, cilantro, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Raspberry banana bitesSigne-Leth/Shutterstock
Satisfy a sweet tooth with Health magazine’s treat: top three, 1-inch banana slices with ¼ teaspoon Nutella and 1 raspberry. That combo also makes a deliciously healthy fruit smoothie.
Stuff mini whole wheat pitas (about 2 inches in diameter) with different tastes, such as salsa; cashew butter; low-fat cheese; or hummus with cucumber and tomato, recommends Samantha Heller, RD, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Cancer Care Center at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Connecticut.
Next, don’t miss these so-called “healthy” snack foods that are ruining your body.