Woman siting on a stool, eating apple in kitchen, white countertops, light brown cabinets

10 Healthy and Quick Snack Ideas

We all know that feeling: breakfast was super early in the morning, and lunch is still several hours away. But you can’t seem to keep your mind on anything else but your grumbling stomach!

Or maybe you had a good lunch a few hours ago, but you have a workout planned for right after work. You know if you don’t eat something, you’re not going to have the energy you need to make it to dinner.

In these situations, it can be very tempting to just grab something like a donut, a bag of chips, or a candy bar. While these options are certainly fast and easy, they’re definitely not the healthiest choices! They contribute to caloric intake but offer nothing in the way of nutritional value.

If you’re into fitness and have healthy eating goals, you don’t have to let convenience win out over nutrition. Why not make your snacks work for you, rather than against you? Snacking can be a way to add more nutrition to your diet, and more fuel for your workouts.

Keep reading for some snack ideas that are fast and easy, and also healthy!

1. Yogurt

White bowl of yogurt, topped with blueberries and granola

Yogurt is a great choice for a snack, but there are some things to watch out for. Most of the popular yogurt brands are loaded with sugar, fillers, and other undesirable additives.

Take a look at the nutrition label before buying, to be sure you are getting the purest product possible. The only ingredients should be milk and live probiotic culture strains. There shouldn’t be any added sugar (there will be natural milk sugars, but nothing added).

A few brands I recommend are Nancy’s Organic Probiotic Yogurt, and Stonyfield Organic Probiotic Yogurt. Be sure to get the plain unsweetened versions, rather than the vanilla, which has added sugar.

Some things you can add to make your yogurt even more delicious:

  • stevia (for a little healthy sweetness)
  • fresh berries
  • protein powder
  • cocoa powder
  • sprinkle of granola
  • nuts
  • coconut flakes

2. Trail mix

nuts and dried fruit in clear glass bowl, on pink background

Look for a pre-packaged or bulk trail mix that has simple ingredients. Again, check the nutrition label for added sugar, preservatives, or any weird words you can’t pronounce (which are usually chemicals).

It’s really easy to make a batch of trail mix yourself, to portion out for snacks. It’s less expensive than buying pre-packaged mixes, and you can be sure the ingredients are high quality. For some yummy DIY trail mix ideas, see this article from The Food Network by registered dietician and certified athletic trainer Dana Angelo White.

Since nuts and dried fruit are calorically dense, it is important to keep the portion size of 1/4 cup in mind. Remember, this is a snack, not a meal!

Something that makes trail mix the perfect snack is portability. It doesn’t require refrigeration, and it’s so easy to toss snack-size ziplock bags into your purse or backpack.

3. Peanut butter

jar of peanut butter, background of whole unshelled peanuts

It’s hard to beat peanut butter when it comes to healthy, quick snacks. You get quite a lot of nutrition and energy in this calorie- and nutrient-dense food! Just a small serving size of 2 tablespoons supplies 7 grams of protein, and it’s also packed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

Peanut butter is very versatile and can be eaten in so many different ways. If you’re really in a hurry and don’t have a lot of time to prepare your snack, it’s great by the spoonful, right out of the jar!

If you have a few extra minutes for prep, you can also get in some healthy carbs by spreading it on whole-grain toast, or crackers. It’s also good with a piece of fruit, like an apple or a banana. In this case, it’s a good idea to keep your serving size of peanut butter to 1 tablespoon, to keep it as a snack portion.

4. Nutrition bars

Nutrition bars can be a wonderful snack option! They are very convenient to take with you and don’t require any refrigeration, prep time, or utensils. With the right ingredients, they have just the right balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats.

The key with bars, as with any other packaged food, is to thoroughly check the ingredients label. Sadly, most of the “nutrition” bars on the market are chock full of processed sugar, and very unhealthy fats! They masquerade as healthy snacks but are really no better than a candy bar.

There are, however, 2 nutrition bars that I can enthusiastically recommend: Larabars and IQ Bars! These brands both contain very clean and natural ingredients.

Most of the Larabar flavors are only made from nuts and dried fruit. There are a few flavors that do contain added sugar, though, so be sure to check the label.

All of the IQ Bar flavors are free of added sugar, and sweetened with only 2 g of natural sugar and stevia. Another bonus is that they have 12 g of protein per bar, so you are getting a perfect balance of nutrients, with very little sugar.

5. Hummus

Black bowl of hummus, surrounded by pita bread and veggies

Hummus has to be one of my all-time favorite foods! It’s a healthy addition to any meal and also makes a wonderful midday snack.

A snack-size portion is about 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup. Use a couple of pita bread triangles to scoop it up, or spread some on a piece of whole-grain toast. Hummus is also delicious with fresh veggies, like cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, or zucchini.

There are a few good packaged ones you can buy at the store. One I particularly like is Hope hummus, because they only use pure olive oil (not canola or sunflower seed oil, like most of the other brands).

Hummus is actually very easy and inexpensive to make at home! Make a batch, and it will last in the fridge for a whole week of snacks. If you have a blender, you can make this recipe in 5 minutes!

6. Cottage cheese

cottage cheese, raisin, dried apricots

Cottage cheese is a great snack option for any time of day. It has a very mild flavor, and can be jazzed up in lots of different ways! At 14 g of protein per 1/2 cup serving, it packs quite a nutritional punch.

Some toppings to try:

  • fresh berries
  • granola
  • nuts or seeds
  • cinnamon or pumpkin spice
  • dried fruit (like raisins, cranberries, apricots)
  • coconut flakes

In addition to eating it out of a bowl, you can also use it as a spread for toasted whole-grain bread or crackers. It’s also great as a dip for fresh veggies, dusted with spices like turmeric, cumin, paprika, or chili flakes. Add some color and flavor by sprinkling on herbs like oregano, chives, or cilantro.

7. Fruit & Nuts

fruit and walnuts

The winning combination of fruit and nuts is just about the easiest and healthiest snack you could hope for! Easy, because so little preparation is needed. And healthy, because what is more nutritious than unprocessed food, straight from the earth?

Fruit is such an excellent choice for a snack because it is delicious and naturally sweet. You get sugar the way nature intended, as a whole package along with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Read here to find out how our bodies metabolize fruit sugars quite differently than processed sugar, which is devoid of nutrients.

Pairing nuts with fruit makes for a more filling snack. Nuts are high in healthy fats and contain protein and fiber. Combining them with fruit makes your snack digest more slowly, which keeps you feeling full longer than just eating fruit alone.

Some easy fruit and nut combinations to try:

  • apple & walnuts
  • pear & almonds
  • banana & walnuts
  • peach & hazelnuts
  • strawberries & macadamias

8. Chia pudding

chocolate chia pudding with strawberries on top, in a clear dish
chia pudding

Chia pudding has been all the rage these past few years, and for good reason. It’s easy to make, tastes delicious, and chia seeds have so many health benefits!

Just one 2-tablespoon serving of these powerful little seeds contains protein, healthy fats (mostly ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid), and plenty of fiber. It’s also packed with a good dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Something interesting about chia seeds is that when they are added to a liquid, they swell up and become very gelatinous, similar to tapioca. This is what makes them so perfect for making into a pudding!

Chia pudding lasts in the refrigerator for about 5 days, so it can be made ahead of time to keep on hand for snacks. It’s very easy to make, but it does require some time to sit while the seeds soak up the liquid (between 2 hours to overnight).

For a single serving of chia pudding:

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup liquid (water, milk, kefir, or non-dairy milk)
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener (honey, maple syrup, or a few drops liquid stevia)

Mix ingredients together in a small dish, and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Alternatively, you can mix everything together at night, and your chia pudding will be ready for you in the morning.

If you like chocolate, try this recipe for Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding, by The Minimalist Baker. Or if you’re a green tea lover, try this one by Emilie Eats for Matcha Chia Pudding.

Just like with yogurt and cottage cheese snacks, adding toppings to chia pudding makes it all the more nutritious and delicious! Try some of these ideas:

  • nuts or seeds
  • fresh berries
  • coconut flakes
  • granola
  • cacao nibs (what are these?)

9. Hard-boiled eggs

3 halfs of hard boiled eggs on a brown background

Hard-boiled eggs are a delicious and nutritious snack, for any time of day. At 156 calories and 12 grams of protein for 2 eggs, they are a nutritional powerhouse!

Since they keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, why not boil up a batch to have on hand for quick snacks throughout the week? Unpeeled eggs can be stored in an open container. If peeled, be sure to keep them in a ziplock bag to keep them fresh.

I have a tried-and-true way of cooking hard-boiled eggs, and it works perfectly every time!

Place your eggs into a pot, and cover them completely with water. Put them on the stove, and once it comes to a boil, cook them for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside for 13 minutes. After 13 minutes is up, put your eggs into an ice bath until they have cooled completely.

Once you have your eggs cooked, you are good to go on snacks for the next week! They’re so easy to quickly grab out of the refrigerator. You can eat them simply, with just a bit of sea salt and pepper. Or you might choose to sprinkle them with Tabasco or soy sauce.

10. Roasted chickpeas

Bowl of roasted chickpeas

These little gems have been a snack go-to for me for many years! They’re so tasty, and 1/2 cup gives you 6 grams of protein. You can eat them just by themselves, or they can also be added to trail mix.

You can make them, but I honestly usually just buy them packaged. A few different brands to try are Biena, Saffron Road, and The Good Bean. I tend to stick with the basic sea salt version, and if I want a little sweetness, I will add a few raisins.

Here’s a tip: if you have a middle-eastern market in your neighborhood, you can often find roasted chickpeas in the bulk section. They will be a lot less expensive than the packaged ones, and there’s usually a choice between salted and unsalted.

The bottom line

It’s normal to get hungry between meals, but we don’t have to let our snack choices derail our healthy eating goals. All it takes is a little planning to keep our kitchen stocked with foods that are not only yummy but also healthy and quick!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of my snack suggestions. I’d also love to hear about some of your favorite healthy and quick snacks! ?

Assorted Colorful Vegetables Arranged on Round Stainless Steel Plate

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