Snacking refers to the intake of foods during the day other than your main meals. Snacks typically consist of smaller food portions distributed between meals.
While research on whether snacking aids weight loss is mixed, some evidence suggests that increasing your meal frequency through snacking may help manage hunger and improve blood sugar regulation (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
Additionally, snacking can help you increase your intake of nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables — and most people are not eating enough produce (3Trusted Source).
By planning ahead and focusing on nutrient-rich foods, snacks may support your weight management goals by managing hunger and keeping you satisfied between meals (6Trusted Source).
While no one snack will lead to weight loss, these snacks may help promote weight loss as part of an overall healthy eating pattern.
Here are 29 healthy, weight-loss-friendly snacks to add to your diet.
Nuts are an ideal nutritious snack, providing the perfect balance of healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
Aside from being tasty, they’re linked to numerous health benefits and very filling. Studies also suggest that despite their higher calorie and fat content, eating nuts in moderation may help you lose weight (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
There are plenty of nuts you can choose from, including walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, and pistachios.
Because they don’t require refrigeration, they’re a great choice for snacking on the go. Be mindful of your portion size, and aim to stick to about 1 ounce or 1/4 cup.
The combo of red bell peppers and guac gives you plenty of nutrients that help keep you feeling full for hours.
Although all bell peppers are nutritious, red varieties are particularly high in antioxidants. On the other hand, guacamole is a rich source of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins A, B, and C, and minerals like phosphorus and potassium (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Pairing 1 large red bell pepper with 3 ounces (85 grams) of guacamole combines the best of both foods while keeping this snack’s calorie count under 200 (12Trusted Source).
Plain Greek yogurt and berries make a delicious, nutrient-dense snack.
Add a mixture of differently colored berries to your yogurt to get an array of nutrients — and a mix of their sweet and tart flavors.
Apples and peanut butter are a match made in heaven — both nutritionally and flavor-wise.
On one hand, apples are a fiber-rich fruit. On the other hand, peanuts provide healthy fats, plant-based protein, and fiber — pretty much all of the filling nutrients you should look for in a snack (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
By combining apples with peanut butter, you’ll enjoy a crisp and creamy snack. Try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon for an added flavor boost.
Note that many store-bought peanut butter brands contain added sugars and oils. Check the ingredient list and choose one that only contains peanuts and salt.
Cottage cheese is high in filling protein, boasting 24 grams in just 1 cup (17Trusted Source).
Pairing cottage cheese with fruit complements the cheese’s protein and fat content with the fruit’s fiber, resulting in a sweet, creamy, and filling snack.
The combination is exceptionally good when combining the cheese with tropical fruits such as pineapple, papaya, or watermelon.
Celery sticks with cream cheese are a classic low carb snack that can help keep you feeling full.
This duo will have you enjoying a fiber-packed snack that combines a crunchy texture from the celery with creaminess from the cheese. Try celery sticks with peanut butter or almond butter for another crunchy and creamy combo.
It’s also a good source of minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus. It has a lower level of oxalic acid, an anti-nutrient that impairs calcium absorption, than many other leafy greens (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
Pairing kale with olive oil not only makes more delicious and crispy chips but also a more balanced and filling snack.
This easy recipe for kale chips provides about 150 calories:
- 1 cup (20 grams) of bite-sized kale leaves
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoons (1.5 grams) of salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place kale pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 10–15 minutes, until crispy and starting to slightly brown. Watch them closely, as they can easily burn.
Dark chocolate and almonds are a fantastic pair. The rich chocolate flavor paired with the crunchy nuts is a powerful flavor and health duo.
The two make a great combo for a heart-healthy, satisfying, and portable snack. Try a couple of teaspoons of dark chocolate chips or a square of dark chocolate with a handful of nuts.
Cucumber’s fresh flavor and crunchy texture go very well with the rich creaminess of hummus.
You can also pair them with some whole grain crackers or pretzel sticks for a heartier snack.
Healthy snacks don’t need to be complicated. Just a single piece of fruit can be incredibly satisfying.
Portable, easy-to-eat fruits include bananas, apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, and oranges.
Fruit contains fiber and minerals and makes a great small snack. To make it more satisfying, pair your fruit with nuts or yogurt.
Tomatoes and mozzarella cheese are a nutritious and yummy way to add more veggies to your diet.
Mix tomatoes with mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil for a snack with protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
This tasty and fresh snack can also double as a side salad for your next meal.
Chia seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses loaded with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and plant-based protein (28Trusted Source).
Although they don’t have much flavor, chia seeds take on a jelly-like consistency when soaked in liquid, making them a great ingredient for puddings.
Try this simple recipe for a healthy snack to enjoy at home or on the go:
Chia seed pudding
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of chia seeds
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) of a dairy or nondairy milk of your choice
- 1/2 tablespoon (8 grams) of cocoa powder or peanut butter for flavor
- 1/2 cup (75 grams) of mixed berries
- 1–2 teaspoons sweetener, like maple syrup or honey, if desired
Combine chia seeds and a liquid of your choice in a small bowl or jar. Cover the jar and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Stir in cocoa powder or peanut butter and sweetener, and top it with the berries.
Although their high cholesterol levels gave them a bad reputation for years, recent studies suggest that moderate egg intake — defined as 3–4 eggs per week — may benefit arterial stiffness, a risk factor for heart disease (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
Additionally, hard-boiled eggs are a convenient way to enjoy a high protein snack while on the go. Keep the yolk to get important nutrients like vitamin D and choline (30Trusted Source).
Baby carrots with blue cheese dressing are the perfect snack for when you crave something savory.
In addition, it’s a good idea to pair carrots with a creamy salad dressing or dip, as aside from keeping you fuller for longer, fat increases your absorption of carrot’s fat-soluble micronutrients, such as carotenoids (33Trusted Source).
While blue cheese dressing on its own isn’t nutrient-rich, it may help you eat more carrots (or other veggies).
Cheese is a delicious, high protein food that’s filling enough to be a snack on its own. However, pairing it with whole grain crackers or a piece of fruit adds some fiber to your snack.
Go with the cheese you’re in the mood for or try mozzarella, ricotta, or feta. Cheese delivers protein and calcium, but the amounts of those nutrients vary slightly depending on the type you choose (36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source).
You could spread a bit of cheese on your favorite whole grain crackers or opt for string cheese with a piece of fruit for a convenient on-the-go option.
Beef jerky or beef sticks make excellent high protein, portable snacks. That said, depending on the brand and flavoring, some are higher in added sugar and sodium.
Look for jerky with as few added ingredients as possible. Although all jerky can be high in sodium, the flavored jerky tends to be higher in sodium, so check the nutrition facts panel to find an option without too much salt.
Look for jerky with less than 300 mg of sodium per serving, which accounts for 13% of the Daily Value (DV) of the mineral (39Trusted Source).
Most beef jerkies and sticks contain about 7 grams of protein per ounce (28 grams).
A protein smoothie can be a filling snack for when you need something substantial until your next meal.
They’re an easy and convenient way to increase your protein intake. You can add just about any other ingredient to the mix, from fruits and veggies to healthy fats like avocado, nut butter, or chia seeds, for a nutrient-rich snack.
While you can choose from a wide array of protein powders to find the one that suits you best, you can also try Greek yogurt or silken tofu to boost the protein content of your smoothie.
Canned fish, such as canned salmon, sardines, and tuna, may not be the first food that comes to mind when you think of snacks, but it’s a fantastic option that requires no refrigeration.
Topping a piece of whole wheat toast with canned fish will give you a highly nutritious snack that will leave you feeling full until your next meal. For something smaller, try a few whole grain crackers with tuna or salmon.
Edamame is a dish of steamed unripened soybeans that makes a great snack for anyone following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
It’s a fiber-rich food that’s considered a complete, plant-based protein source (42Trusted Source).
Oatmeal is a truly versatile snack that you can enjoy hot or cold — at home or on the go. Just whip up a slightly smaller portion of oats than you might for a meal.
Oats are a nutritious whole grain that provides a good amount of fiber and higher protein content compared with other cereals (44Trusted Source).
What’s more, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with oatmeal topped with fruit, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips, or go for a savory version by adding eggs, avocado, and veggies like mushrooms or tomatoes.
Make a trail mix by combining dried fruit and nuts for fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Choose fruits without added sugar and get creative with flavors. Try dried mango with cashews, dried apples with almonds, and dried cherries with peanuts.
While homemade trail mix is perfect for on-the-go snacking, stick to a modest portion size, as dried fruit and nuts are calorie-dense.
Turkey roll-ups are delicious and nutritious.
Turkey contains high quality protein, which helps you feel satisfied and is linked to beneficial effects on weight management (47Trusted Source).
Try rolling up a slice of turkey with a slice of cheese and some vegetables for added crunch and nutrients.
Olives are one of the nutritious staples of the Mediterranean diet.
They’re very high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and provide powerful antioxidants (48Trusted Source).
Combine olives with feta cheese for a Greek-inspired snack that’s rich in protein and healthy fats. You could eat them by themselves or serve them over whole wheat bread to complete your snack with some complex carbs.
Sprinkle half of a medium avocado with salt and a dash of cayenne pepper for a savory, filling snack under 120 calories (50Trusted Source).
But think air-popped popcorn — not the movie-theater kind doused in butter and salt.
Popcorn delivers filling fiber and less than 100 calories in a generous 3-cup serving (51Trusted Source).
Add flavor with a little bit of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, or nutritional yeast.
Roasting chickpeas helps turn them into a crunchy and delightful snack.
Chickpeas are a source of fiber and plant-based protein (52Trusted Source).
You can make your own or look for roasted chickpeas in the snack section of your grocery store.
Cantaloupe is a nutritious, delicious fruit delivering fiber and vitamins A and C (53Trusted Source).
Combining cantaloupe with prosciutto (dry-cured ham) creates a balanced, sweet-and-salty snack.
One great way of taking advantage of your leftovers from a nutritious lunch or dinner is by having them as a snack.
By getting a smaller portion of a previous meal, you’ll enjoy a complete and balanced snack in seconds.
Just make sure to store your leftovers in the refrigerator to keep them from spoiling quickly.