healthy snacks on a counter with a blue checkered background.

I’m an RD, and These 16 Snacks Won’t Blow Your Diet

Just say no to the Oreos.

30-Second Takeaway

  • A new study suggests indulging in processed, sugary snacks might undo the benefits of a healthy diet.
  • Not all snacking is bad. Study participants who ate high-quality, healthy snacks were more likely to have a healthy weight than unhealthy snackers or those who didn’t snack at all.
  • Look for fresh or packaged snacks with a few recognizable ingredients that include protein, healthy fats, and/or fiber to keep you satiated until your next meal.

Our product recommendations are selected by editors, tested first-hand, or expert-approved. We may earn a commission through links on our site.

If you’re into eating healthy meals, kudos—but how are your snacks looking these days? By powering down ultra-processed, sugary snacks, you may undo all the benefits of eating healthy, suggests a new study.

The study, which was recently published in the European Journal of Nutrition, analyzed the snacking habits of 854 people participating in the Zoe Predict study (1). Poor snack choices were linked with higher BMI (body mass index), higher visceral fat mass, and higher postprandial—the period after eating a meal—triglyceride concentrations, all of which are associated with metabolic disease such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, per the study.

But not all snacks are created equal. People who ate high-quality snacks like nuts and fresh fruit were more likely to have a healthy weight compared to unhealthy snackers or those who didn’t snack at all. “Eating every three to four hours is optimal for blood sugar balance and can help keep our hormones in check,” says registered dietitian Sarah Becker, M.S., R.D., “This is where snacks play a big role.”

The question is how to pick a healthy snack? “If it comes in a bag, look at the ingredients first,” says Becker. “Be on the lookout for added sugars, refined carbs and inflammatory oils. Over time these foods can make you feel pretty crummy, lead to weight gain and can contribute to an array of health issues.”

Becker prefers snacks that include protein, fiber, and healthy fats. “These products will prevent a crash and keep you full, satiated, and energized,” she explains. She’s also a proponent of packing your own unprocessed, non-packaged snacks like hummus and snap peas, or turkey roll-ups. “It’s just as easy to throw an apple and nuts in your bag as it is a bag of chips,” says Becker.

About the Expert

Sarah Becker, M.S., R.D. is an Integrative and Functional Registered Dietitian specializing in gut health, weight management, hormone health, thyroid health, fertility and the “unexplained” issues that other health providers aren’t able to figure out. She has a food-first nutrition philosophy rooted in evidence-based science, therapeutic strategies and treatments. She takes a personalized integrative and functional approach to nutrition and aims to treat the root cause of symptoms.


Healthy Snacks That Won’t Ruin Your Diet

It’s time to level up your snack game. Here are 16 delicious, and easy RD-approved snacks to keep you on the straight and narrow.

1. Wonderful Pistachios

Becker loves that pistachios are a good source of protein and healthy fats. Plus, they’re loaded with nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, manganese, thiamine, and copper. We’re fans of Wonderful’s No Shell Pistachios which are superior in situations when you need to be hands-free (i.e. driving or working at your desk). They come in three fun flavors: Roasted and Salted, Salt and Vinegar, and Chili Roasted.

2. Elemental Superfood Bars

Protein bars sure are tasty, but classics like CLIF bars are packed with way more sugar than you think. Any bar that has less sugar, higher protein, and more whole-food ingredients would be a better choice. Becker’s first choice is Elemental bars, which are sweetened with organic honey, and rely on nuts and seeds for protein and healthy fats.

3. Chomps Beef Sticks

Meat sticks tend to vary drastically in additives like nitrates, sugar, and sodium. Chomps are the healthiest meat stick options out there. Their grass-fed and finished beef sticks are keto, paleo, and Whole30-compliant and clock in at 9 grams of protein and 90 calories each. Plus, they come in fun flavors like Taco Seasoned Beef, and Jalapeno Beef. Don’t sleep on the Original Turkey, either, which has 10 grams of protein and only 60 calories per stick.

4. Peckish Eggs

At six grams of protein and only 60 calories a pop, eggs are one of the best sources of protein around. They’re also packed with high amounts of choline, selenium, and vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12—which can boost your energy levels and mood. If you can’t be bothered to make your own hard boiled eggs at home, track down Becker’s go-to: Peckish eggs. Each snack pack comes with two pre-boiled and cracked eggs and a fun seasoning like Everything, Ranch, or Fried Rice.

5. Gimme Seaweed Snacks

If you’re craving a salty crunch without additives and empty calories, seaweed snacks are the answer. These crunchy seaweed sheets are only 30 calories per serving, and have zero grams of net carbs—making them the perfect option for people following the keto diet. Plus, Becker loves that these use hearty-healthy extra virgin olive oil and are a great source of iodine, vitamin B12, and omega-3’s.

6. Karma Cashews

The benefits that come along with a handful of almonds are too good to ignore, but if you simply can’t stomach plain almonds (we’ve all been there) Karma Cashews are a solid bet. Becker loves that these cashews feature non-GMO ingredients, and are a solid source of healthy fats and protein. The flavors—like peri-peri, toasted coconut, cocoa dusted, and golden turmeric—are incredibly addicting, and keep the added sugar to a minimum.

7. Lesser Evil Popcorn

The palm oil found in popular microwavable popcorn (like Orville Redenbacher and Pop Secret) isn’t so great. Even Orville Redenbacher’s Avocado Oil Popcorn contains mono- and diglycerides, which is their sneaky way of still adding trans fats to their recipe. Rude. Becker prefers Lesser Evil Popcorn with Himalayan Sea Salt. You won’t find popcorn with a cleaner ingredients list—just organic non-GMO popcorn, organic extra virgin coconut oil, and Himalayan pink salt. Plus, three whole cups of the stuff only contains 120 calories and is a great source of fiber, at four grams per serving.


8. Simple Mills Crackers

When that box of Cheez-Its is calling your name, Becker recommends Simple Mills instead. Simple Mills swerves artificial ingredients, and uses simple ingredients like nut and seed flour to pack more healthy fats and proteins into their crackers, making it a more balanced choice.

9. Oloves

Olives are a good source of healthy fats and vitamin E, and may boost heart health, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Oloves are one of the easiest (and tastiest) ways to take your olives on the road. These little olive snack packs are only 40 calories per pack and contain only a handful of simple recognizable ingredients like olives, sunflower oil, and seasonings. Each pack comes in one of their four tasty flavors: Basil and Garlic, Lemon and Rosemary, Chili and Garlic, or Chili and Oregano.

10. Brami Beans

Feeling fancy? These Italian-inspired “Snacking Beans” by Brami will scratch the itch. Brami uses lupini beans, a bean they’ve dubbed “the Italian super bean” for its high protein content and zero grams of net carbs—making them both keto and vegan-friendly. “Beans are microbiome magic foods. Brami beans feed your good gut bugs and are not only high in protein but high in fiber too,” says Becker. The pickled beans are marinated with vinegar and simple aromatics like rosemary and chili peppers, and are the perfect topper for salads and bowls, or for snacking straight out of the bag.

11. Artisana Nut Butter Singles

Think twice before dipping your celery in Jif. Many nut butters contain hydrogenated oils (like soybean and cottonseed) or palm oil which are used to keep them from separating on the shelf. While convenient, these inflammatory oils are the exact thing Becker avoids. Look for organic nut butters that contain simple ingredients like nuts and salt, and avoid oils altogether, like Artisana Organics. Their nut butter snack packs come in Almond, Cashew, Walnut, and Pecan, and are perfect for stashing in your bag with an apple, or eating on their own.

12. Apple and Peanut Butter

12. Apple and Peanut Butter

Apples are filled with fiber while nut butter is packed with healthy fats. A combo sure to hold you over for hours. Since nut butter can be loaded with sneaky high amounts of inflammatory oils, Becker recommends looking for nut and salt blends only, and sticking to organic nut butters to avoid pesticides. Brands that pass the test include: Santa Cruz, Once Again, MaraNatha, and Kirkland Organic.

13. Hummus and Snap Peas

13. Hummus and Snap Peas

One of Becker’s go-to’s for plant-based protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats in hummus and snap peas. Plus, a generous serving of hummus (a few tablespoons) and a small pile of snap peas can keep you full for under 100 calories. Not a fan of snap peas? Sub them for cucumber, bell pepper, or carrots.

14. Rice Cake, Almond Butter, and Hemp Seeds

14. Rice Cake, Almond Butter, and Hemp Seeds

Rice cakes are one of Becker’s favorite ways to add crunch without the calories. They’re the perfect vessel for hummus, veggies, and everything bagel seasoning, or slathered in heart-healthy almond butter, and hemp seeds—which are a surprisingly good source of protein, at three grams of protein for only one tablespoon.

15. Turkey Roll-ups with Avocado

15. Turkey Roll-ups with Avocado

If you haven’t been introduced to turkey roll-ups consider this your primer. Turkey roll-ups are exactly how they sound: Rolling up a slice of turkey with some cream cheese and veggies in the middle. These little rolls are a high-protein, nutrient-dense way to stay full between meals. You’ll love Becker’s simple twist which subs the cream cheese for heart-healthy avocado. High in fat and fiber, avocados are known as one of the best ways to curb hunger (2).

16. Nuts and Seeds

16. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds provide the perfect balance of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They’re nutrient- and calorie-dense, so a small handful is all you’ll need to feel satisfied. Plus, some studies suggest that eating nuts in moderation may help you lose weight (3, 4).