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21 sweet and savory healthy snack ideas

Who says that nutritious can’t be delicious?

Done properly, snacking is a powerful strategy for hunger management and weight control. That is, of course, if we snack on the right foods. 

Here are some ideas of healthy and delicious snacks for the whole family. They are low in calories, rich in fiber or protein, and packed with vitamins and minerals, so they’re all filling, healthy, and enjoyable.

Learn about the right way to snack with our 13 tips for healthy snacking. Don’t forget that healthy snacking isn’t just about what you eat; it’s also about how you eat it. 

Photo by Lindsay Moe on Unsplash
Photo by Lindsay Moe on Unsplash

Savory (salty) snack ideas

1. Mixed unsalted nuts

Nuts are highly nutritious and incredibly tasty. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, healthy oils, and fiber. And they’re easy to carry wherever you go!

Some dry-roasted nuts that you can snack on include peanuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, and brazil nuts. You can enjoy them alone or in a nut mix. 

Just remember to choose unsalted, unflavored nuts for maximum health benefits.

2. Veggie sticks with cottage cheese

Veggies and soft cheese are a match made in heaven. You can pick any firm vegetables to cut into sticks, like carrots, celery, cucumber, or bell peppers. Cherry tomatoes are also a great option.

Veggie sticks are refreshing, nutritious, flavourful, and low in calories. On the other hand, cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and phosphorous.

If cheese isn’t your thing, you can try a variety of healthy dips like hummus or tzatziki. They are equally delicious.

3. Homemade popcorn

Did you know that popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks ever? We aren’t talking about heavily-flavored microwave popcorn, of course. And cinema popcorn doesn’t count either.

Popcorn in its pure form, meaning air-popped and with just a pinch of salt, is rich in fiber and antioxidants and low in calories. Perfect for an easy office snack.

4. A hard-boiled egg, alone or with fresh veggie sticks

Never underestimate a humble hard-boiled egg. Eggs are a fantastic source of high-quality protein, B vitamins, and healthy fats. They are also filling and easy to prepare in advance: unpeeled hard-boiled eggs last for up to a week in the fridge. 

Despite their cholesterol content, eggs are unlikely to harm your health if you eat them in moderation

5. Canned sardines on a slice of whole-grain bread

Canned sardines, herring, or mackerel are a convenient and nutritious snack, rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals.

We know what you’re thinking: canned food isn’t usually healthy. But the downsides of canned sardines are minimal, especially if they are canned in water instead of oils.

However, keep in mind that this is a snack to consume in moderation. Canned sardines are high in sodium and can increase your levels of uric acid. People at risk of high blood pressure, kidney problems, and gout should refrain from this snack. 

6. Steamed or oven-roasted broccoli florets

Broccoli is known as a superfood, thanks to its incredibly high and varied nutrient content. This veggie is especially popular with kids, who love the idea of eating miniature trees, dinosaur-style 😉

You can enjoy it steamed or oven-roasted with a teaspoon of olive oil, grated cheese, grounded nuts, lemon juice, or low-fat mayonnaise, to name a few.  

7. Edamame beans

Edamame beans are immature soybeans. They’re delicious and a rich source of protein, which makes them great for vegans and vegetarians

On top of that, edamame is super easy to prepare: just steam or microwave them for a few minutes, and add a pinch of salt. Pack them in a container and you’re good to go. Literally.

8. Pickled vegetables

Fermented vegetables are long-lasting and highly nutritious. They’re are rich in antioxidants and probiotics, “friendly” bacteria that offer numerous health benefits.

Pickling veggies at home is super easy. You can choose any veggies you like and keep them for months! Of course, you can also buy them for convenience’s sake.

To snack on pickled vegetables, pair them with a slice of whole-grain bread, a slice of cheese, half a hard-boiled egg, or a scoop of brown rice.

9. A piece of cheese, alone or with some veggie sticks

A variation of snack #2, but with emphasis on a piece of hard cheese like cheddar or Swiss.

Cheese is a tasty snack and an excellent source of protein and calcium, but watch the portions: hard cheese is usually high in sodium and calories from fat

10. A small portion of salad

Salad topped with some nuts or seeds is the perfect savory snack for a hot day. Our dressing recommendation is a splash of olive oil & vinegar with a pinch of salt. 

Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash
Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

Sweet snack ideas

11. Mixed nuts with dried fruits

Take snack #1 in the list and toss in some dried fruits like cranberries, raisins, prunes, dates, figs, or apricots. You’ll have a snack that’s sweet, nutritious, and yummy. 

Dried fruits will give you a fiber boost and they are packed with micronutrients and antioxidants. But watch the portions; they are high in calories. 

Be sure to stay away from candied fruits (coated with added sugars). Read the list of ingredients to make sure that there’s no added sugars.

12. Plain yogurt with whole-grain cereal

Unsweetened yogurt is a superb food. It is rich in protein and it contains almost every vitamin and mineral that your body needs, including large amounts of calcium. Low-fat and probiotics add even more health benefits.

Yogurt’s creamy texture is the ideal match for a spoonful of crunchy and wholesome cereal. Pay attention to the cereal though, as most are junk food in disguise – heavily sweetened and flavored. Always choose low-sugar, high-fiber mixes. 

13. Plain yogurt with fresh fruit chunks

If you find plain yogurt boring, you probably haven’t mixed it with fresh fruit yet. You can use virtually any fruit – or fruit combo – that you like: banana, berries, kiwi, mango, dragon fruit, apple, you name it!

Whichever combination will be a luscious low-calorie snack, full of essential nutrients. 

And how about topping it with a healthy granola? Yum!

14. Fruit slices with peanut butter

Creamy peanut butter is the perfect match for crunchy fruits like apples and pears. Not only is peanut butter yummy, but it is also healthy. That is, of course, if you pick an all-natural peanut butter: no added salt, sugars, or oils

If you are not a fan of peanuts, try other nut butters like almond, cashew, or hazelnut. They are all mouth-watering and loaded with protein, healthy fats, and vitamins.

Nut butters are a bit on the high-calorie side, so don’t exaggerate when digging into the jar. Remember that small portions are one of the secrets to healthy snacking!

15. Home-made frozen fruit bars

Refreshing, nutritious, colorful, and fun to make, natural fruit popsicles are hard to beat. Just avoid adding too much sugar: take advantage of the intense flavors and natural sweetness of fresh ripe fruits for maximal health benefits. 

The fruit combinations are endless; just check the internet for ideas. You can use whole fruit chunks or blended smoothie-like juices. Children are guaranteed to love any of your creations.

16. A piece of fresh fruit

Most fruits are so tasty on their own, they actually don’t need any additions. We don’t have to tell you why this is a healthy snack, now do we?

17. Overnight oats

We can’t stress this enough: oat is one of the healthiest grains on earth! The health benefits of eating oats are well-studied and include protection against weight gain, high blood sugar levels, and heart disease.

If you enjoy creamy, pudding-like desserts, you’ll love overnight oats. It takes only 5 minutes to prepare a whole batch, and it’ll keep well in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. You can enjoy them cold or hot.

Experiment with healthy toppings made of fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, or dried fruits. You can even add some yummy spices like cinnamon or cocoa powder. 

18. A square of dark chocolate

Chocolate is one of the best sources of antioxidants known to man. However, only dark chocolate (70% of cocoa or higher) delivers the heart and brain health benefits that we should aim for. 

Now, we aren’t saying that you should eat large amounts of chocolate every day. Chocolate, even if dark, is still loaded with calories. But a square or two every now and then, is definitely not too much. Pair it with some unsalted nuts for a perfect crunchy balance. 

Please note that only good quality chocolate can be considered healthy. How can you tell? Take a quick look at the list of ingredients: cocoa must come first and be at least 70%. Other than that, the list shouldn’t be much longer: no milk, no artificial flavorings, no high amounts of sugar, and no trans fats.

19. Cottage cheese “dessert”

Cottage cheese is a low-calorie cheese packed with proteins and other nutrients. It is an athletes’ favorite as it promotes muscle and bone health.

The creamy texture and mild flavor of cottage cheese make it an ideal dessert-like snack. You can top it with any healthy ingredients of your preference like nuts, fruits, or seeds. You can also sprinkle spices like cocoa powder, nutmeg, or cinnamon. Get creative and enjoy!

20. A slice of cheese and a portion of fruit

Hard cheese and fruits are meant to be together. Refer to snack #9 and just replace the veggies with any of your favourite fruits.

21. A low-sugar, high-fiber granola bar

Granola bars can be tasty, nutritious, and filling, but be aware: they are not always healthy. Some granola bars and other “health foods” are just plain junk food, with sugar amounts that can compete with candy bars.

The nutritional value of a granola bar depends on the quality – and quantity – of its ingredients. Always look for low-sugar, naturally tasty bars that have high fiber or protein contents. 

If it has sugar within the first 3 ingredients on the list, or it provides more than 250 kcal per serving, you can forget about that granola bar.

 

Take-home messages

  • Healthy snacking can be a delicious strategy for hunger management and weight control
  • Foods that are low in calories and rich in fiber or protein make for excellent healthy snacks
  • Don’t make it stressful: It’s perfectly OK to allow unhealthy treats once in a while. Just balance them up with a nutritious ingredient like fresh fruit or unsalted nuts. 
  • Don’t make it boring: come up with your own creations to keep things interesting! As long as your snacks are enjoyable, filling, and nutritious, you’re on the right track. 

Looking for more healthy-snack options? Check our Grain Forest recommendations for nutritious and delicious options for the whole family!

Use the comment box below to share your own snack ideas.

And feel free to share this post with your friends and help us spread our healthy word. Sharing is caring!

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