The Best Snacks, According to a Dietitian

Snack smarter with the dietitian-approved BIENA Chickpea Snacks

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A nutritious snack is a great way to keep you energized between meals and to keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day. Smart snacking can be a great strategy to promote optimal health, and it can keep you from getting over-hungry at mealtimes. The best snacks are packed with a balanced profile of macronutrients and fiber to help keep you full.

Reviewed & Approved

The BIENA Chickpea Snacks are the best overall because they're nutritious, individually packed for convenience, and tasty. We also love Justin's Maple Almond Butter Squeeze Packs because they're versatile and affordable.

You should also look for snacks that are minimally processed, meaning the ingredient list should be with foods in forms closest to how they're found in nature. Checking for low sodium and no added sugar is also a great tip. We researched various snacks, considering ingredients, nutritional value, packaging, convenience, taste, availability, and price.

Here are the best snacks to fuel your day, according to a dietitian.

Best Overall: BIENA Chickpea Snacks

4.7
BIENA Chickpea Snacks

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Simple, whole food ingredients

  • Non-GMO

  • 8 grams of protein and fiber

Cons
  • Higher in sodium

A good snack option should contain protein, fiber, and a bit of good fat, and that's why Biena Roasted Chickpea Snacks take the top pick. The tasty product contains a ton of natural plant-based protein and fiber from crunchy baked chickpeas.

The individual packages are available in Honey Roasted, Ranch, or Sea Salt. The Sea Salt flavor contains only three ingredients—chickpeas, sunflower oil, and sea salt—and packs an impressive 8 grams of plant-based protein and fiber with no added sugars. However, it does have a higher amount of sodium at 230 milligrams per serving. The Honey Roasted contains a bit less protein and fiber, with a bit of extra sugar from honey, but they are a delicious, sweet, crunchy, and salty snack to satisfy sugar cravings.

The single-serve snack packs provide a great portion and make the tasty treat easy to take on the go. The non-GMO, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan snack is delicious straight out of the bag or as a crouton alternative in salads and soups. It's also produced in a peanut-free facility, so it's great for packing in school lunches.

Serving size: 1 pouch (34 grams) | Calories per serving: 140 | Fiber per serving: 8 grams Sodium per serving: 230 milligrams | Protein per serving: 8 grams | Sugar per serving: 1 gram

Best Budget: Justin's Maple Almond Butter Squeeze Packs

Justin's Maple Almond Butter Squeeze Packs

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Versatile

  • 5 grams of protein

  • Non-GMO

Cons
  • Slightly lower in fiber

For a delicious protein-packed snack on the go, these maple almond butter packs from Justin’s are hard to beat. Each 1.15-ounce pouch has 5 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. Keep in mind that nut butters are a significant source of fat—one pouch provides 17g of healthy fat which can help keep you full and satisfied. The convenient packets are perfect for pairing with fruit or crackers, mixing into yogurt or oatmeal, or just eating right from the pouch. An added bonus: they don’t need any refrigeration.

Justin’s also offers other nut butter flavors including classic peanut, honey peanut, classic almond, honey almond, vanilla almond, and chocolate hazelnut. When you buy these squeeze packs in bulk, they're a super affordable way to fuel up midday. The packets contain only natural, non-GMO ingredients including sustainably sourced palm oil, and are also vegan, gluten-free, and kosher.

Serving size: 1 pack (32 grams) | Calories per serving: 210 | Fiber per serving: 2 grams Sodium per serving: 90 milligrams | Protein per serving: 5 grams | Sugar per serving: 5 grams

Best Bar: The YES Bar Dark Chocolate Chip

The YES Bar Dark Chocolate Chip

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Simple, whole food ingredients

  • Allergen friendly

  • Non-GMO

Cons
  • Higher in saturated fat and added sugar

It can be challenging to find a bar that checks all the nutrition boxes and still tastes great. With whole food ingredients and delicious cookie-like taste, the Yes Bar meets both criteria. The Dark Chocolate Chip flavor tastes like a chewy chocolate chip cookie and contains 5 grams of plant-based protein. It's made from ingredients that you can read, including almonds, dark chocolate, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and cashews.

Each bar contains 3 grams of fiber and 8 grams of sugar from natural ingredients such as maple syrup and coconut nectar. While the bar is primarily made from nuts and seeds, it is free of gluten, grains, dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, eggs, and refined sugars. It's vegan and paleo-friendly. The tasty, convenient bar comes in other delicious flavors such as Salted Maple Pecan and is the perfect, quick snack any time of day.

Serving size: 1 bar (40 grams) | Calories per serving: 220 | Fiber per serving: 3 grams Sodium per serving: 90 milligrams | Protein per serving: 5 grams | Sugar per serving: 8 grams

Best Chips: Siete Foods Sea Salt Grain-Free Tortilla Chips

Siete Grain Free Tortilla Chips
Courtesy of Target.
Pros
  • Five simple ingredients

  • Flavor variety

  • Non-GMO

Cons
  • Only 1 gram of protein

  • Slightly lower in fiber

If you crave crunchy, salty snacks, Siete's Grain-Free Tortilla Chips are a healthier-for-you version of your favorite chip. These chips are lightly coated with sea salt and provide a satisfying crunch. Made from only five ingredients —cassava flour, avocado oil, coconut flour, ground chia seed, and sea salt—these chips are packed with just as much nutrition as taste. Each serving contains 2 grams of fiber.

The crave-worthy chips are baked, then lightly fried in avocado oil. Avocado oil is known for its heart-healthy monounsaturated fats , high smoke point, and neutral flavor. This oil is a preferable alternative to highly processed vegetable oils used to make corn-based tortilla chips. Cassava flour is a naturally vegan and gluten-free flour that is great for those with food sensitivities and allergies. If you want even more flavor, the chips come in a variety of flavors including nacho, no salt, chipotle bbq, lime, and ranch.

Serving size: 1 ounce (28g/about 15 chips) | Calories per serving: 130 | Fiber per serving: 3 grams Sodium per serving: 150 milligrams | Protein per serving: 1 grams | Sugar per serving: 1 gram

Best Popcorn: LesserEvil Organic Himalayan Pink Salt Popcorn

Lesser Evil Organic Popcorn
Courtesy of Thrive Market.
Pros
  • USDA Organic and non-GMO

  • 5 grams of fiber

  • Three simple ingredients

Cons
  • Only 2 grams of protein

Lesser Evil's classic, organic, 100% air-popped popcorn uses high-quality extra virgin coconut oil, non-GMO popcorn, and a sprinkle of Himalayan pink salt to create the perfect salty and crunchy snack with a hint of coconut sweetness. The Certified Organic popcorn is made from clean, sustainable ingredients, creating a treat that's healthier and tastier than your typical popped corn.

One serving of Lesser Evil popcorn, or 3 cups, contains 5 grams of fiber. It's also free of added sugar and sweeteners as well as vegan, kosher, and soy-free. If you're looking for more flavor in your popcorn, Lesser Evil makes a salty-sweet "Sweetness" flavor as well as "Himalayan Gold" butter-flavored popcorn.

Serving size: 28 grams (3 cups) | Calories per serving: 110 | Fiber per serving: 3 grams Sodium per serving: 190 milligrams | Protein per serving: 2 grams | Sugar per serving: <1 gram

Best Pretzels: From the Ground Up Cauliflower Sea Salt Pretzel Sticks

From The Ground Up Cauliflower Pretzels
Courtesy of Thrive Market.
Pros
  • Includes a vegetable blend

  • Non-GMO

  • Certified gluten-free pretzel option

Cons
  • Higher in sodium

  • Only 1 gram of protein

Pretzel sticks are a go-to snack for all ages. From The Ground Up boosts the nutrition of the family favorite snack, creating pretzel sticks made from nutrient-rich cassava and cauliflower flours. The large serving size, about 40 sticks, provides 3 grams of fiber. It also provides about 10% of your daily value for vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B6, and thiamin.

The Certified Gluten-Free version of the typical pretzel is a great snack option to be enjoyed dipped into hummus or on its own. The easy-to-digest flours provide a 100% vegan, gluten-free alternative for those with allergies or sensitivities. The distinct savory, umami flavor comes from the vegetable blend powder made from spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and shiitake mushrooms.

Serving size: 28 grams/1 ounce (40 pieces) | Calories per serving: 110 | Fiber per serving: 3 grams Sodium per serving: 330 milligrams | Protein per serving: 1 grams | Sugar per serving: 1 gram

Best Jerky: The New Primal Classic Beef Meat Stick

The New Primal Classic Beef Jerky

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished beef

  • 8 grams of protein

  • Simple ingredients

Cons
  • 0 grams of fiber

  • Higher in sodium

Beef jerky is an easy, portable, protein-rich snack; however, many companies use poor quality meat and tons of extra salt and sugar to make their jerky. The New Primal Classic Beef Meat Sticks takes the top pick for healthy beef jerky, as the company uses 100% grass-fed beef, gluten-free tamari, honey, and organic pineapple and lemon juices to flavor the chewy, mouthwatering product.

Each bag contains two 1-ounce servings which contain 8 grams protein and 360 milligrams sodium. Although it contains less sodium than many of the other jerky options on the market, this might not be your best snack option if you are watching your sodium intake. It also does not contain many calories or carbohydrates and has no fiber, so it might be a good idea to finish your snack off with a piece of fruit.

Serving size: 28 grams/1 ounce | Calories per serving: 90 | Fiber per serving: 0 grams Sodium per serving: 360 milligrams | Protein per serving: 8 grams | Sugar per serving: 1 gram

Best Cookies: Simple Mills Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Simple Mills Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Courtesy of Thrive Market.
Pros
  • Certified gluten-free and diary-free cookie option

  • Non-GMO

  • Simple ingredient list

Cons
  • Higher in saturated fat and added sugar

  • Only 2 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber

Simple Mills' Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with plant-powered ingredients and are portioned perfectly for snacking. The simple ingredient list—mostly made up of almonds, coconut, and flaxseed blend—contains no artificial ingredients. The small, wholesome cookies are naturally sweetened using unrefined coconut sugar.

The grain-free, paleo-friendly cookies are a family favorite and are especially loved by those looking for a delicious gluten-free and dairy-free cookie. Each serving of four cookies contains 6 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein.

Serving size: 29 grams (4 cookies) | Calories per serving: 150 | Fiber per serving: 1 grams Sodium per serving: 130 milligrams | Protein per serving: 2 grams | Sugar per serving: 7 grams

Best Nuts: Blue Diamond Almonds 100 Calorie On The Go Raw Almond Bags

Blue Diamond Almonds 100 Calorie On The Go Raw Almond Bags

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Contains just almonds

  • Inexpensive

Cons
  • Only 2 grams of fiber

If you're looking for an easy, nutritious snack to take with you on-the-go, nuts are a great option. Blue Diamond's Whole Raw Almonds are perfectly portioned and are an incredibly nutritious snack. In fact, a review study published in 2018 showed that whole almonds are a heart-healthy snack that can help to reduce cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease. Eat them straight from the bag or pair them with a piece of fresh fruit for a balanced, wholesome snack.

Many nut mixes contain artificial ingredients and flavorings. Blue Diamond's packs contain only one ingredient: almonds. Each 0.625-ounce package provides 4 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat. Each serving of almonds also provides 30% of the daily value of Vitamin E.

Serving size: 1 package (18 grams) | Calories per serving: 100 | Fiber per serving: 2 grams Sodium per serving: 0 milligrams | Protein per serving: 4 grams | Sugar per serving: 1 gram

Final Verdict

If you're on the lookout for a healthy snack that is crunchy and packed with protein, try Biena Chickpea Snacks. The sea salt flavor satisfies your savory cravings, and the honey flavor is perfect for a day when you crave a sweet and salty combo.

How We Selected

We reviewed several products and brands available at top online retailers and consulted with trusted peers in dietetics, including our team of Registered Dietitians.

We considered availability, price, nutrition, convenience, and taste. Nutritionally, we looked for products that contain some combination of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Additionally, we looked for minimally processed options, containing simple, whole ingredients with limited sodium and added sugar.

What to Look for in a Healthy Snack

Macronutrients

There are three macronutrients, or the nutrients that provide our bodies with energy: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Choose a snack that contains two of the following: protein, plant-based fat, or fiber-rich carbohydrate.

If you have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes and need to pay attention to your carbohydrate intake, take note of the total carbohydrates on the food label, and choose snacks that are higher in protein and fiber. If you are physically active, it is especially important to make sure your snacks contain enough carbohydrates. Consider pairing a snack that's rich in protein or healthy fats with foods that are higher in carbohydrates. For example, slather a nut butter packet onto a slice of whole-wheat toast instead of eating it on its own.

Fiber

Dietary fiber can help to promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction. Check your snack food label, as even a few grams can help you reach your daily fiber goal.

Sodium

Many snack foods contain high levels of sodium for taste and as a preservative. Check the food label to see how much sodium is in each serving, and balance that within the daily recommended value of less than 2300 milligrams per day.

While sugar naturally occurs in some foods, like dried fruit, read the label to ensure that there is no or low sugar added. Opt for snacks sweetened with natural sources like fruit or maple syrup. However, if you have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes and have a sweet tooth, try foods with artificial sweeteners or opt for a snack that has less than 2 grams of sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What makes a snack healthy?

    A healthy snack should include some combination of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and plant-based fats, and is ideally made from ingredients that are as close to their natural form as possible. Incorporating all of these elements ensures fullness and satisfaction between meals.

  • How important is snacking?

    Since many people feel hungry every 3 or 4 hours, snacking is important for bridging the gap between meals and keeping blood sugar stable. Snacking provides increased energy between meals and can prevent eating beyond fullness at the next meal. When choosing nutritious foods such as fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, and whole grains, snacking can increase vitamins, minerals, and fiber in the diet. 

  • What are the best snacks to eat before bed?

    Some snacks that might help promote better sleep include whole wheat bread with peanut butter, cheese and whole wheat crackers, cereal with milk, yogurt, cherries, almonds, and bananas, while spicy foods and foods that are higher in caffeine, added sugar, and alcohol may make sleep more difficult.

  • What is the best snack to eat after a workout?

    "Immediately after working out, it is most important to get enough carbohydrates to replenish your muscles' carbohydrate stores. While it is not necessary to get protein immediately after a workout, I do recommend including some protein in your post-workout snack to optimize muscle recovery. Adding in a source of fiber and fat can help with lasting fullness and satisfaction," says Autumn Rauchwerk, MS, RDN, RYT. "Try a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; a smoothie with banana, greek yogurt, and almond butter; or whole grain crackers and hummus."

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN is an author and registered dietitian with her masters of science in clinical nutrition from New York University. She has a lifelong passion for health and wellness and a background in marketing, nutrition private practice, and clinical nutrition. She has covered nutrition topics for a wide variety of media outlets and currently serves as the senior editor of Verywell Fit.

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4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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