An apple with peanut butter. Greek yogurt with berries. Avocado toast. These are the kinds of snacks that can transform a very average day into a wonderful one, all while keeping your energy up so you can effectively tackle the day.
However, as you may know, not all snacks are innately healthy and balanced. And that especially goes for pre-packaged snacks, which can be loaded with enough sugar and sodium to bring your energy level to a screeching halt. If one of your goals this new year is to have a healthier 2020, finding a truly healthy daily snack can make that resolution all the more possible, in addition to brightening your day with a dose of tasty nutrients. Because hey, just because something is healthy doesn't mean it shouldn't taste great.
How to choose a healthy snack
So, what constitutes a good, healthy snack? "Ideally, snacks should be minimally processed, with either protein or fat paired with a carbohydrate," Brittany Modell, founder of Brittany Modell Nutrition and Wellness, says. Protein, fat and fiber are the keys to feeling satiated, says Monica Auslander Moreno, founder of Essence Nutrition, but many snacks on the market lean heavy on carbs, which, without other nutrients, can leave you even more hungry than when you started.
When you're browsing through endless snack options, there are few criteria to keep in mind. Start by reading the snacks' ingredients. The fewer, the better.
"Snacks should incorporate real and wholesome ingredients," Moreno says. She says "added sugar" is another part of the nutrition label you'll want to focus on (all packaged foods will clearly note the grams of added sugar by the middle of 2020). While many nutritious foods are naturally high in sugar (like dried mango, for example), you'll want to stick to snacks that have little to no additional added sugar.
Another label line to keep an eye on: Fiber. "Fiber keeps you full, helps balance blood sugar and assists in cholesterol metabolism," says Moreno. "I like to find a snack that has at least 4 grams of fiber per serving."
There's no doubt that browsing snack options online can be as overwhelming as it is exciting; bursting with flavor and possibility, the task of picking a nutritious nibble can be daunting. With assistance from nutritionists, we've put together a list of 15 snacks on Amazon that are just as delicious as they are healthy and nutritious.
Whisps Cheddar Cheese Snacks ($11.17; amazon.com)
These taste like crackers, but they're grainless, says Moreno. With just 1 gram of carbohydrates and 12 grams of protein per serving, these cheesy crisps will keep you full — as every good snack should.
RSP Whole Bar, 12 Pack ($34.97; amazon.com)
"This sturdy bar — no wafer-thin, little granola bar here — has a chocolate flavor that is smooth and velvety," Moreno says. The stats on its nutrition label, which include 11 grams of protein, 18 grams of fat, 10 grams of fiber and zero grams of added sugar, are just as impressive as the bar's taste.
Emerald Nuts Variety Pack (starting at $9.49; amazon.com)
Healthy fat and a solid protein count are the reasons why nuts sit on top of the healthy snack totem pole. But their addictive, salty goodness can make portion control tough. Emerald's 100-calorie packs of walnuts, almonds and cashews mean you don't have to try.
Artisana Organic Raw Pecan Butter Single Serve Tear-Open Packs, 10 Pack ($19.99; amazon.com)
No shade to peanut or almond butter, but sometimes your taste buds just need a break. These portable packs of pecan butter, which contain no extra oils or flavors, make the perfect pairing with a piece of fruit, a couple of crackers or directly with your mouth.
Mission Meats Grass Fed Beef Sticks, 12 Pack ($21.95; amazon.com)
"A lot of jerky has added sugars — this brand has none," Moreno says. Each stick contains 7 grams of protein to sustain you to dinner.
Rhythm Superfoods Beet Chips, 4 Pack ($14; amazon.com)
For potato chip lovers who seek a healthier alternative, these dehydrated beet chips pack a surprising amount of protein and fiber (4 and 7 grams, respectively) for such an unassuming nosh. The snack's ingredient list is impressively brief, as the only ingredient is organic beets — really!
Siggi's Low-Fat Yogurt Tubes, 8 Pack ($4.79; amazon.com)
All of Siggi's yogurts are notably low in added sugar, and Siggi's yogurt tubes are notably edible without a spoon. Yes, they need to be refrigerated, but these sleek, tasty tubes provide five grams of protein with just 50 calories. You may buy them with the intention of serving them to your kids, but you will find yourself slurping yogurt from a tube sooner than you may care to admit.
Peeled Snacks Organic Dried Fruit Variety Pack, 4 Pack ($18.98; amazon.com)
Unlike many dried fruit snacks that sneak in a disappointing amount of added sugars, this product relies wholly on the natural sweetness of the fruit. When your sweet tooth is tingling, one of these four flavors should do the trick.
Wild Friends Classic Creamy Peanut Butter, 30 Pack ($29.70; amazon.com)
When has peanut butter ever steered you wrong? The two bullet ingredients list — just peanuts and sea salt — and the healthy fat and protein count makes each packet a satiating option, whether you decide to drizzle it on toast, smear it on a banana or squeeze it straight into your gullet.
RX Bars Variety Pack, 24 Pack ($42.99; amazon.com)
RX protein bars rose to veritable fame for their "no b.s." ingredients list. Each bar contains 12 grams of protein, with egg whites, dates and nuts as its foundation. Store a couple in your bag, a desk drawer or your car, as they're sure to come in handy in any snack emergencies.
Kind Bars Nuts and Spices 12-Bar Variety Pack ($10.99; amazon.com)
Another beloved bar that you can find anywhere from the gas station to the bookstore, Kind Bars are a great option for snackers in a hurry. Kind's line of low sugar bars offer a just-sweet-enough crunch that won't spike your blood sugar.
Seapoint Farms Sea Salt Dry Roasted Edamame, 12 Pack ($10.69; amazon.com)
It is so easy to snack with the intention of just having a handful of something, only to come to the realization that you've accidentally housed multiple servings and given yourself a stomach ache. These single serving packs of dry roasted edamame cut out the guesswork in portion control, and they satisfy a salty craving with the simplicity of soybeans and salt.
Enlightened Bada Bean Bada Boom, 24 Pack ($18.13; amazon.com)
Perhaps you never considered yourself the type to snack on beans. But here we are. These adorable snack packs are filled with protein- and fiber-rich broad beans that come in three varieties: sea salt, sweet sriracha and mesquite BBQ. Don't knock the small but mighty bean: Each 100 calorie serving of this snack boasts 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
Hippeas Chickpea Puffs Variety Pack, 12 Pack ($19.99; amazon.com)
Speaking of beans, the humble chickpea is a super snack, whether in the form of hummus or a crunchable version like Hippeas Chickpea Puffs. The nutritionally-void cheese doodle is no match for the protein-packed (6 grams), fiber-filled (5 grams) bean-based competitor, which comes in fanciful flavors like sriracha sunshine, bohemian barbecue and vegan white cheddar.
Mary's Gone Crackers Original Crackers, 6 Pack ($25.68; amazon.com)
If you snack for texture, look no further than these seedy snacks. Made with brown rice, flax and sesame seeds, the whole grain, gluten-free cracker will make you wonder why you've eaten every cracker before it. With 5 grams of filling fat and 3 grams of both protein and fiber, Mary's, like any conventional cracker, is fun to eat while performing the job of a truly functional snack.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.