10 Healthy Snacks to Have on Hand

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS

When the munchies hit, it's easy to reach for a quick junk food fix, especially if it’s habit and your cupboards lack healthy options. Luckily, there are plenty of smarter snacks, easy to opt for, that will leave you feeling satisfied—physically and in terms of taste. All it takes is a little prep and planning. Try having the following 10 snacks ready, so when your stomach starts growling, a healthy choice is natural for you to grab.

  • Popcorn
    If you’re craving salt and crunch, air-pop some popcorn. Not only is this satisfying snack whole-grain, meaning it provides you fiber that aids in fullness and healthy digestion, it’s also incredibly low-calorie (three whole cups have less than 100 calories). And air-popping the kernels means you get to add any flavor you like in a healthy, non-chemical way. Try sprinkling kernels with your favorite herbs, seasonings, or even a little brown sugar, chili pepper, or Parmesan cheese.
  • Nuts
    Whether you opt for a mixture or have a preferred nut, this nutrient-packed snack can satisfy a salt craving and hold you over until your next meal. Walnuts, almonds, and other nuts contain filling protein and fiber while providing heart-healthy benefits, and pistachios are among the lowest-calorie nuts. Try packing a portion of your favorite each morning, so it’s easy to grab for when hunger strikes, and consider unsalted, roasted versions if you’re looking to cut sodium.
  • Cheese and Crackers
    Cheese and Crackers
    Pairing cheese with whole-grain crackers provides a hunger-fighting helping of protein and fiber, which will keep you satiated between meals. This snack is easy to pack, as there are many individually packaged cheeses and crackers out there, and the process of putting cheese on a cracker can satisfy a need for something more satisfying than a pre-packaged snack. A bonus is that cheese provides you calcium, a crucial nutrient many Americans lack each day.
  • Fruit and Nut Butter
    Fruit and Nut Butter
    Find a combination you love, whether it’s banana and peanut butter, apple and almond butter, or some other pair, and you’ve got a satisfying snack. Adding nut butter to fruit makes the mini-meal satiating; you won’t be hungry in an hour as you would with just fruit, thanks to the nuts’ protein and healthy fats. Pick up individual servings of nut butter to bring on the go, and make sure they contain only nuts to avoid hidden sugar and trans fats.
  • Veggies and Hummus
    Veggies and Hummus
    Hummus makes a creamy addition to any veggie-based snack. The Mediterranean dip provides protein and heart-healthy fats, and it coats vegetables in some extra flavor. Some hummus brands now offer to-go sizes, which you can throw in your bag along with some baby carrots or snap peas. Make the choice easy for yourself by cutting up the vegetables at the beginning of the week, or buying them pre-cut, so they’re easy to reach for at snack time.
  • Hardboiled Eggs
    Hardboiled Eggs
    One thing many of these healthy snacks have in common is protein, which keeps you fuller longer, protecting against your stomach starting to growl again before your next meal. Hardboiled eggs make a smart snack because once you’ve done the prep work—say, boiling half a dozen at the beginning of the week—you can peel and salt one in less than a minute. Try jazzing up your egg with some avocado, salsa, or hummus for extra flavor.
  • Fruit-and-Nut Bars
    Fruit-and-Nut Bars
    Browse the bar section of the grocery store to find a flavor combination you like, whether it’s savory or sweet, as there are seemingly endless versions of bars filled with protein and fiber. Choose one that contains only real-food ingredients (no unpronounceable chemicals). And if you’re up for some time in the kitchen, it’s easy to make your own bars—great ones don’t require much beyond the dried fruit and nuts of your choosing.
  • Chips and Salsa
    Chips and Salsa
    Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean giving up chips and salsa, as long as you’re careful about quality. You can pick up lightly salted, organic tortilla chips, or even a baked brand if you’re looking to avoid fried foods. Salsa is low-calorie and nutrient-rich, as it’s made of tomatoes and other vegetables. Try increasing your salsa’s nutritional value—and flavor—by opting for one with fruit, like mango, and make sure you stick to a serving size of chips.
  • Roasted Coconut Slivers
    Roasted Coconut Slivers
    If you’re craving savory and sweet, give these a try. With the rich flavor of coconut and a chip-like crunch, these strips make a satisfying snack, as well as a good addition to trail mix or on top of yogurt. Coconut has a host of health benefits, and its naturally occurring fat makes it more satisfying than your average dried fruit. Choose a brand that has just a touch of salt, if any, and no added oils.
  • Yogurt With Toppings
    Organic Yogurt With Toppings
    If you’re craving something creamy and sweet, opt for some good-quality, unflavored yogurt. Pre-sweetened varieties can pack up to 20 grams of sugar per serving, which isn’t necessary since you easily can customize and sweeten the flavor yourself for a lot less sugar. Try mixing in some fresh berries, for flavor and fiber, or even some honey. Add some protein, crunch, and heart-healthy fats with a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, such as chopped walnuts or chia seeds.
10 Healthy Snack to Have on Hand | Healthy Snack Ideas
  1. 10 Snacks to Have on Hand at All Times. Cleveland Clinic. http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/food/FuelYourBody/Pages/10-snacks-to-have-on-hand-at-all-time...
  2. Basic Report: Nuts, Coconut Meat, Dried, Toasted. USDA. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3660?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=&sort=...=
  3. Calcium: Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institute of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/
  4. Calcium Intake in the United States from Dietary and Supplemental Sources Across Age Groups: New Estimates from the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey 2003-2006. Journal of American Dietetic Association. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21515114
  5. Chart of High-fiber Foods. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/high-fiber-foods/art-20050948
  6. Chia Seeds. Cleveland Clinic. http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/Features/Pages/chia-seeds.aspx
  7. Choose the Right Foods for Weight Loss. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/multimedia/low-calorie-foods/sls-20076175?s=5
  8. Dietary Protein: It’s Role in Satiety, Energetics, Weight Loss, and Health. British Journal of Nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23107521
  9. Extra Protein is a Decent Dietary Choice but Don’t Overdo It. Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/extra-protein-is-a-decent-dietary-choice-but-dont-overdo-it-20130...
  10. Nuts and Your Heart: Eating Nuts for Heart Health. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635
Was this helpful?
Last Review Date: 2021 Feb 17
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.