Best Healthy Snacks to Keep You Lean Reviewed & Rated
Body weight is at once the most personal and the most visible trait someone has. It is also one of the most difficult to control, at least for most people. This is due in part to the myth that exercise is the best way for people to control their weight when, in reality, diet plays an incredibly important role. Diet, in this case, does not refer to calorie restrictions or carbohydrate eliminations. It refers only to a person’s eating habits. Every person has different eating habits and they affect each person differently but there are a few constants that hold true for most humans. One such constant is that the food a person eats can easily outstrip the energy they are able to burn through exercise, especially in today’s world of packed schedules and convenience meals. There are, thankfully, some foods that are delicious, easy to travel with, and will either help keep a person slim or keep them from eating food with a worse impact on their bodies.
- Munk Pack Oatmeal Squeeze
- Low Mess
- Harmony Valley Hummus Mix
- Easy to Make
- Snack or Meal Component
- Smartfood Popcorn
- Easily Portable
- Low Maintenance
Some snacks, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, are iconic. Everyone knows that grabbing an apple or a handful of carrot sticks is a better option than a sugar-loaded granola bar or a bag of high-fat low-nutrition potato chips. Iconic, unfortunately, does not always mean accessible or convenient. Some people do not have time to shop for, wash, rinse, cut, and package fruits and vegetables. Some fruits and vegetables are inconvenient for people always on the go because they make a mess or are better when warm. And then there are the occasions where a handful of carrots won’t curb a person’s craving for salty or sweet foods, so they end up eating the carrots and the snack they wanted. Sidestepping these issues is not easy but that is what this list aims to do. Every item listed below is easy to transport, requires minimal preparation, and the list as a whole covers flavors from salty to sweet, spicy to savory. It is important to note that a doctor or nutritionist should be consulted before making drastic dietary changes, particularly for people with blood sugar, blood pressure, or other potentially diet-related issues.
10 Best Healthy Snacks
1. Munk Pack Oatmeal Squeeze
Squeeze pouches have become very popular lately and for good reason. They allow perennial favorites like oatmeal, applesauce, and other fruit purees a new kind of versatility and mobility that they have not experienced before. They allow people with physical limitations to enjoy certain foods that they previously could not, and they are very easy to throw in a bag and take along on any adventure or mission that happens to come up.
Squeeze pouches are also low-mess, so long as they're not handed to particularly small children. The exit point allows for a controlled flow and most pouches come with resealable caps so that they can be resealed if they are unfinished. There is no spoon to clean up, no drips to wipe away, and the pouches themselves are sometimes recyclable for an added boost of waste reduction.
Cost and Value
Some buyers might not like the idea of a throw-away pouch but there are times when the design is incredibly useful. These oatmeal fruit pouches are great for hectic mornings or mid-morning pick-ups when a person's energy is already low. They're sweet for a treat between lunch and dinner and are easily transported on busy days. Their relatively inexpensive which means that they pack a lot of punch per dollar.
Variety of Flavor
2. Harmony Valley Hummus Mix
Harmony Valley makes their hummus mix easy. Their customers only have to add water and olive oil to create a delicious chickpea-based dip that can be added to sandwiches or wraps, meats or cheeses.
Good as a Snack or Meal Component
Hummus is one of the most versatile foods on this list. It makes a great dip for anyone who wants a snack, ideal for pieces of bread or vegetables, even meats, and cheeses. Its rich, mild flavor is a great compliment to almost any food and that extends into mealtime as well. It can be a great addition simply as a dipping sauce or it can be added to sandwiches, wraps, and meats for an added burst of flavor and texture.
Cost and Value
This mix is a great value based on the convenience factor alone. It would be more cost-effective to make hummus from scratch but that is not always ideal depending on a person's schedule and specific needs. In those cases, this dehydrated mix is an affordable option that gives buyers the great taste of hummus with a little more ease in preparation.
Easy to Make
Goes with Lots of Things
Good as a Snack or Part of a Meal
Made from Scratch Might be Cheaper
3. KIND Sweet and Spicy Bars
More and more products are being labeled as gluten-free, almost to the point where the term is applied to products that should inherently be gluten-free. KIND's bars are not those sorts of products, however. They are fairly processed which, in this case, is not a bad thing. But it does open the door for some companies to add in gluten. KIND opted not to and makes a point of that fact in their advertising.
As mentioned above, KIND offers some amazing flavors. This sweet and spicy Roasted Jalapeno flavor is only one example in a wide array of flavors and flavor combinations. Some of their products have familiar flavors like peanut butter and chocolate while others are more adventurous like these bars.
Cost and Value
KIND bars are not the most affordable option when purchased one-at-a-time in a store. Their prices are more reasonable when bought in bulk, however. This option is certainly one of the more affordable on this list and the high nutritional density, as well as the unique flavor, really packs the value into this item.
Nut Allergy Hazard
Some people prefer plant protein, but for many people, there is no protein quite like animal protein. There is a reason that jerky endures as a favorite snack despite the havoc it can have on teeth and the energy required to actually enjoy a good piece of jerky. The protein density in a piece of jerky is an important factor in its popularity as well as its place on this list. Protein is a key element in abating hunger and giving food more bang for its caloric buck, and jerky usually offers a high amount of protein for fewer calories than expected.
Another part of jerky's appeal is that it is so shelf-stable and portable. Its origins stretch back a thousand years or more, well before refrigeration. It had to survive for a long period of time after being prepared without going bad, all while keeping people alive while they hunted or traveled. Its entire point is to be portable and that is no less important today than it was when the first jerky was created.
Cost and Value
Jerky is usually really affordable, though its quality tends to drop as its price does. Jack Links does an excellent job of balancing quality and price, giving customers a great amount of value for their product. Some flavor options have more salt or sugar than others which can be an issue, but as long as those factors are kept in mind, this is a great healthy option.
Lots of Flavors
5. Starkist Pouch Tuna
Protein is one of the most important factors to consider when determining if a snack is healthy or not. Not only is it a building block for muscle but it also takes more energy to digest than carbohydrates and so requires more calories in order for your body to break it down. Protein also provides a feeling of satiety when enough of it eaten. This feeling is key to preventing people from continuing to eat when they are no longer hungry.
Tuna's flavor is so mild that there is almost no end to what it can be mixed with. Sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, or light mayonnaise are all good bases for a tuna salad, as are healthy oils and vinegar. It can be mixed with pasta sauce or macaroni and cheese for an added shot of protein. And it can be formed into cakes and cooked for a slightly more involved spin on the food. This versatility means that it is easily a staple item that can be turned to again and again without getting bored of it.
Cost and Value
Tuna in incredibly affordable. Pouch-packaged tuna costs a little bit more than canned tuna does, but it also comes with less extra water and, some feel, a better quality of tuna. No amount of affordability will get someone to eat it if they don't like fish, but most people will be able to get a lot of protein and lasting satisfaction out of a pack of tuna.
Good for Meals and Snacks
6. Siggi's Icelandic Yogurt
Dairy has a bad reputation for being high in calories but this it not always the case. Siggi's yogurt is fairly low in calories and the calories that it does have are well worth it in terms of protein and other nutritional offerings that this yogurt brings to the table. Calories aren't always bad, so long as the calories aren't empty and Siggi's certainly are not.
Good as a Snack or Meal Compoent
Skyr has been a staple of Icelandic cuisine for several centuries for a good reason. It can function as a stand-alone snack, particularly when combined with berries or nuts. But it can also be included as part of a meal. Americans don't typically view yogurt as something to have with a meal, but many cultures around the world would beg to differ. Siggi's is a good starting point for anyone who wants to try out the versatility of yogurt because of its creamy texture and mild flavor.
Cost and Value
Siggi's might seem expensive when compares to store-brand American-style yogurt but that comparison quickly falls apart when the ingredients lists are compared. Siggis has far less sugar than most comparable yogurts. It also offers far more protein and often has fewer ingredients which means less potential product effects or reactions. Each container is a great value all on its own and that value only grows when the cups are purchased in bulk.
Goes Well With Most Items
7. Smartfood Popcorn
Nobody likes stale popcorn, but Smartfood has found the secret to keeping pre-popped popcorn tasting fresh. This makes their products ideal for taking on-the-go so that they can keep salty cravings at bay. Popcorn might not be the most protein-packed or nutritionally valuable food on this list but it will help people avoid foods like chips which are more calorie-dense, fat-intensive, and offer just as little nutrition.
Salty and Crunchy
It's a bit redundant but it bears repeating: popcorn is a great alternative to chips. This is especially true of fried chips such as classic potato and corn chips.
Cost and Value
This item was given the title of "Best Value" on this list not only because popcorn is affordable but because it helps curb one of the most common cravings: salt. Satisfying a salt craving without turning to fried foods can be hard but Smartfood makes it easier with their on-the-go popcorn products. The food itself can also be topped with several spices and flavors to help it meet more specific cravings which is another reason this food is such a great value.
Convenient on the Go
Salty and Crunchy
Low Nutritional Value
8. Quaker Oats Real Medleys
Oatmeal is not a traditionally portable food. One could always carry their bowl of oatmeal out of the house but then they have to keep track of both bowl and spoon while going about their day. Quaker took care of that issue with their deep-cup packaging, however. The oats can be prepared at home or while out and the high-walled container keeps the contents from spilling. Once the food has been eaten, the container can be thrown away and there is no more mess to worry about.
Real Fruit and Nuts
These cups just don't contain oatmeal, though that is a filing food all on its own. Quaker added real nuts and fruit to the mix. Not only does this add new flavors but it also adds new textures and nutritional elements to the meal. The finished product contains a fair amount of sugar but it is likely still a better option than a fast-food alternative.
Cost and Value
These cups are surprisingly inexpensive given their convenience and contents. It might be less expensive to make the same blends from scratch but that would require time to get the mixes right as well as containers that are either portable or disposable which is an additional cost. The convenience and nutritional value come together to make these cups fantastic options for slimming snacks.
Real Fruit and Nuts
High in Sugar
9. Wonderful No Shell Pistachios
These pistachios are so easy to eat. There is no shell to worry about, no mess to clean up except a potentially empty bag. The bag itself is rather large which means that it will last for some time, even if the pistachios find their way into both snacks and meals.
Good for Salty Cravings
Pistachios have a very mild flavor. So much so that the main things most people notice about them are their crunch and their salty flavor. The no-shell pistachios have a slightly more toasted flavor that some people don't like, but others find it to be an excellent layer of flavor that is much more welcome than an inedible shell.
Cost and Value
Pistachios are fairly inexpensive. They're not actually nuts despite the fact that they're commonly shelved with nuts. Rather, they are the seed of the pistachio tree which might explain their affordable pricing as nuts tend to be more expensive. Either way, these no-shell pistachios are easy to eat, flavorful, and an excellent option for light snacks between meals.
Easy to Eat
Good for Salty Cravings
Some Feel They Are Overcooked
10. Sahale Snacks Nut Blends
As mentioned before, protein is an important element of helping people feel fuller longer so they won't overeat. Nuts are generally considered to be a high-protein food and these nut blends bring a wide variety of flavor to the table in addition to their high protein levels.
A lot of people try to cut down on fats in order to lose weight, but some fats are good. Nuts are one such source of healthy fats and Sahale Snacks really does offer the best blends out there on the market. Their flavors and mixes make every calorie count, elevating them above other nut mixes and labeling them as an ideal snack.
Cost and Value
Sahale Snacks' price tags are lower than one might think, given the quality and variety of their products. Their price might be at the high end of this list but that is still relatively low for most budgets and the variety in each multipack - in addition to the nutritional offerings - gives them a ton of bang for their caloric and monetary buck.
Filling Without Too Many Calories
Not everyone likes to snack, but if someone really needs a pick-me-up between meals, these are some of the best options on the market. They cover nearly every flavor craving and most are easily paired with proteins and produce to build full on-the-go meals. Losing weight or staying slim is not easy for most people but it is a little bit easier when healthy and delicious alternatives are available when they find themselves reaching for less healthy snacks. Moderation is important even with the healthiest of snacks, but the products listed here should give buyers a little more wiggle room when hunger hits.
Criteria For Evaluating the Best Healthy Snacks
Does it Taste Good?
Healthy food is only effective if it tastes good. Egg whites, boiled chicken, and dried oats is a diet that would help a lot of people lose weight but it just doesn’t sound appetizing and most people would revolt if they were told to cut flavor from their diet. That is why this list has such a variety of flavor options. Sweet oatmeal that is hearty and filling, sweet and spicy KIND bars, and salty nut mixes are all healthy options that might have more calories, sugar, and carbs than boiled chicken but also pack in flavor to keep people interested and on track with their healthier eating habits.
What Craving Does it Fulfill?
Snacks are usually used to fulfill a craving between meals. Otherwise, people would be better equipped to wait until they sat down at the table again. Some trainers and nutritionists have advised against snacking in general but everyone knows that sometimes a craving hits and ignoring it is more frustration than they can handle. That is where this list really comes in handy. There are snacks on this list to fills craving from spicy to sweet to salty to savory.
Is it Filling?
There are a lot of snacks on the market that cater to fad diets. Some of them are alright but others have little in them to keep a person full and wind up leaving the person hungry again before their next meal. Not only does that mean that the snack did not serve its purpose while adding unnecessary calories, carbs, and sugars to a person’s diet, but the person is going to end up snacking again and just repeating the process. This is a nasty cycle that can quickly lead to eating more calories than the person would have if they’d just had the less healthy but more filling option. Nobody wants to be caught in that cycle so this list is comprised of products that will help their buyers feel fuller, longer.
Is it High in Nutrients?
Each person’s nutrient needs are different but there are a few things that everyone shares a need for. Things like protein, calcium, healthy fats, and a healthy level of salts. Most of the products on this list cover several of these needs though some do it better than others. Some products may offer other nutrients as well, though it varies from item to item. A truth that spans the list, however, is that these snacks give a person a lot of return for their share of calories, carbs, and sugars.
What is its Calorie Impact?
Each product on this list is different, so it is hard to say. All the products offer a lot for their calorie cost, however, and this was done by design. They are filling, usually protein-packed, and will help keep a person fuller, longer on a minimal number of calories.
Is it Portable?
Snacks are often eaten on the go and this is a pitfall that leads a lot of people to unhealthy options. They are drawn in by the convenience of the item and don’t realize that the product is causing nutritional issues until much further down the line. And while some people would prefer things like cut fruit and vegetables, it is better to have a healthy pre-packaged alternative than no healthy alternative at all.
How Much Waste Does it Generate?
Some of the snacks on this list produce very little waste while others have a larger footprint that might make some buyers uncomfortable. It is hard to balance a low-waste lifestyle with portable snacks but many of these items strike a good balance, allowing the buyer to have healthy options on-hand when they need something portable which reduces their stress so they can focus on low-waste options in other areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What impact will these foods have on blood sugar or pressure?
A: This is impossible to say with certainty because those levels are affected by a complex array of factors. If blood sugar or blood pressure is a concern, it is always best to consult a medical professional.
Q: What if I’m allergic to these foods?
A: People will allergies should try to get a nutritionist’s input, especially one who works with allergy-hazard foods. There are some nut-free and dairy-free options on this list, but hazardous allergies vary deeply from person to person so talking to a professional is the best way to be sure the food being eaten is safe.
Q: Can’t I just “burn off” the food I eat?
A: It takes about half an hour of bicycling to burn off 100 calories. That might not seem like a lot, but one slice of Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza is 320 calories. That means that burning off one slice of pizza would require about an hour and forty-five five minutes of bike riding. So while it is technically possible, it would require eating very little food exercising almost constantly.
Q: Can these be made into a meal?
A: Most of them, yes! Products like tuna or hummus are easy to incorporate into a meal. It is also important to remember that a meal does not have to be complex or hyper-involved. Cheese, bread, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and a little bit of meat on a plate can be an amazing meal if the components work together.
Q: How much exercise would be needed to burn off one of these products?
A: Each product is different but a good guideline is that burning 100 calories requires about 30 minutes of bike riding, 15 minutes of cardio dance class, or 10 minutes on an elliptical machine to burn off.
Q: There’s a really healthy option you didn’t mention!
A: There are lots of healthy options out there but these are the ten that best fit the idea of portable snacks that would help keep people slim.
Q: Are there waste-free options?
A: There are, but many are less portable or are more time-intensive than the options on this list. The trade-off in waste for convenience will allow buyers to focus their waste-reduction efforts elsewhere and may lead them to be able to reduce waste in this area at a later date.