Healthy Ways to Snack Smarter
Eating healthier doesn't mean you have to give up snacking. In fact, snacking can be an excellent way to curb cravings and keep you satisfied between meals, as long as you snack smart. These lighter, healthier options are the perfect way to enjoy your favorite types of treats without blowing your calorie budget.
First up, Popcorn Balls!
This sweet and salty sphere is sure to please every age in your house. You can easily leave the peanuts out if allergies demand.
Frozen Yogurt Blueberry Bites
Frozen blueberries are absolutely delicious, and when dipped in creamy Greek yogurt and frozen again, they make for a delightful snack or slightly sweet dessert.
Sweet Potato Tots
Take a break from sweet potato fries and try out tots instead. Oven-baked until they're brown and crispy, these tots will satisfy your wildest savory cravings without overloading you with calories and fat. Served with a zippy jalapeño ranch dipping sauce that's loaded with protein and fresh herbs, these cute sweet potato tots make for the perfect appetizer or mid-afternoon snack that your kids will devour.
It's a quick snack to make before dinner. Throw all the ingredients into a food processor, give it a whirl, and presto–you've bought yourself an hour to make a meal. Healthy dippers include baby carrots, radishes, jicama, and sugar snap peas.
Crispy and Spicy Snack Mix
When shopping for ingredients for this zippy snack mix, choose crunchy crackers and cereals made with whole grains. This irresistible snack mix satisfies all the savory cravings, without the added fat and calories of a greasy bag of potato chips. Go ahead and add dried fruits for a sweet, chewy counterpart. This kid-friendly mix makes for a great party appetizer for guests to snack on, or the perfect road trip snack.
Avocado Sushi Snack
Such an easy and nutritious snack. Truly the simplest roll and once you master this one, feel free to add any additional ingredients you think would pair well such as crunchy cucumber and cooked shrimp.
Apple Pie Energy Bites
Sesame Seaweed Snacks
Prized for its oceany umami flavor in sushi and miso soup—and now a popular packaged snack item—nori is dried Japanese seaweed that offers new possibilities for cooks. Its papery texture makes it easy to crisp in the oven and crumble over veggie sides, noodle bowls, and stir-fries for a little briny kick. These are easy, portable snacks that kids and adults will love. If you need a salty fix, replace potato chips with these briny, crispy nori sheets toasted in the oven. They can last up to four days in an airtight container so they are a great road trip snack.
Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Corn Chips
A common craving among CookingLight.com users is chips; our homemade tortilla chips keep fat and sodium in check. This snack quells an oft-cited yearn for Mexican fare and has protein, complex carbs, and fiber.
No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars
These bars are a perfectly portable snack you can prep on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week. Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge. The bars will continue to firm up as they chill.
Cheesy Cauliflower Tots
Thai Sesame Edamame
Enjoy a favorite bar snack at home in a matter of minutes. Salty and satisfying, edamame is a nutrient-dense, between-meals bite you can feel good about. Look for whole edamame pods in the freezer section of your grocery store.
Sea Salt and Vinegar Zucchini Chips
Crunchy and salty, while being slightly addictive, these chip recipes can curb you off the store-bought stuff while exploring the various veggies and seasonings that make the perfect chip. Light, crisp, and just as good as their junk-food counterparts, these zucchini chips are a revelation. Malt vinegar is made from fermented ale and is mildly sweet. If you prefer a sharper flavor, substitute cider vinegar or white vinegar. The best way to get uniform slices? Use a mandoline.
Almond Butter- and Yogurt-Dipped Fruit
Sweet strawberries and chewy dried apricots benefit from the tasty addition of creamy Greek yogurt and almond butter. Optional toppings: shredded coconut and chopped nuts. You can enjoy the fruit immediately, by using the Greek yogurt as a dip, or you can freeze the fruit to create a shell similar to dark chocolate covered strawberries.
- 1 pint fresh strawberries
- 1 cup unsweetened, dried apricots
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 cups 2% Greek Yogurt
- 1/3 cup unsalted, creamy almond butter warmed in the microwave
Mix honey with yogurt. If not freezing, mix in the almond butter straight into the yogurt and eat. If freezing, dip the fruit into the honey-yogurt mixture then add another layer by dipping the fruit into the warm almond butter. Add toppings or freeze for 20 minutes.
CALORIES 161; FAT 7.2g (sat 1.46g); PROTEIN 7.8g; FIBER 3g; SUGARS 15.5g; SODIUM 45mg;
Nutty Parmesan Herb Scones
Our portable protein-packed pastries won't send you into midmorning nap mode. Store scones in an airtight container for three to five days, or freeze up to one month.
Ramen Cups with Cabbage and Pork Slaw
Sometimes, you just need your ramen in a handy handheld package. For those occasions, try our muffin-tin ramen cups bursting with sesame-flavored slaw and savory roast pork tenderloin.
Zesty Green Goddess Dip
Because fresh herbs are increasingly available, you can make this tangy, peppery dip year-round. So skip the baked, greasy dips and replace them with a dip that highlights fresh veggies. The best part: you'll never have to turn on your oven.
Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites
These bite-sized snacks pack in everything you love about pumpkin spice with natural warm flavors and fresh pumpkin puree. Don't stress making a pumpkin pie and save on the calories with these energy bites. Enjoy these as a grab-and-go breakfast or snack all throughout fall.
Creativity is endless with frushi - any fresh fruit will do and add a little honey to make sure the fruit sticks to the coconut rice. Make it at home for breakfast, a snack or dessert served with some vanilla yogurt.
Spiced Apple Chips
Berry Swirl Pops
Layers of color and flavor collide in this refreshingly fruity pop. Two types of berries swirl into vanilla yogurt for a dreamy treat that is reminiscent of a parfait, but satisfying enough to be dessert. Best part? At only 48 calories per pop, you can get away with getting seconds.
Spiced nuts are usually baked; this stovetop version speeds up the process. The smoky-spicy snack will store well in an airtight container for several days.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
This is a salty, sweet pick-up dessert that works as well for a snack as it does for a party.
Chewy Caramel Apple Cookies
These chewy cookies are actually gluten-free, but you can't even taste the difference!
Smoothies are a great opportunity for kids to add their own personality and get creative. The yogurt adds a dose of calcium. Be sure to use frozen fruit—it eliminates the need for ice.
Orange-Hazelnut Snack Muffins
Hazelnut flour (often called meal) is full of heart-healthy fats, fiber, and protein.
Roasted Sweet Onion Dip
Serve this dip with gluten-free rice crackers or mixed fresh vegetables. Making the recipe a day ahead allows the flavors to meld.
Toasted Barley and Berry Granola
Though rolled barley flakes look nearly identical to rolled oats, they pack more fiber. Look for them in whole-foods shops or supermarket bulk food bins. Serve over plain low-fat yogurt.
This recipe calls for gluten-free ingredients, but you can just as easily use other pretzels or chocolate if gluten isn't a concern.
Baked Mozzarella Bites
Serve this quick after-school snack to your kids as an alternative to traditional fried cheesesticks.
Baked Pita Chips
These crispy chips are a great choice for after-school tummy satisfaction.
The food processor makes quick work of this easy guacamole that's rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. We like the heat from the jalapeño seeds, but you can seed the pepper for a milder guac. Serve with tortilla chips or crudités.
Treat yourself to a snack with this rich, super creamy butterscotch pudding.
PB, Banana, and Oat Cookies
At just 82 calories a pop, these gluten-free cookies are a healthy indulgence packed with peanut butter, bananas, rolled oats, and chocolate minichips. Pack one or two in your lunchbox for a yummy midday pick me up.
You're only 2 minutes and 5 ingredients away from enjoying this fruit-packed, energy-boosting smoothie.
Peanut Butter-Banana Spirals
Peanut butter is the star in this recipe, supported by banana, yogurt, and, for crunch, wheat germ.
Coconut-Date Truffle Bites
Pop a couple of these chocolatey bites in your mouth for a sweet and satisfying afternoon pick-me-up.
Piña Colada Pops
Ultra creamy and tangy, with a faint hint of vanilla, these tropical-inspired pops taste like summer. Indulgent enough to be dessert, but light enough in calories to be a small snack, Piña Colada Pops are worth the freezer space. To make a more adult version, and to stay more true to the name, feel free to add a dash of rum when whisking.
Roasted Garlic, Poblano, and Red Pepper Guacamole
You can use this guacamole liven up a turkey sandwich or as a condiment in a vegetable wrap. If time is tight, simply serve it with store-bought baked tortilla chips. When storing, press plastic wrap against the surface to help keep it from oxidizing and turning brown.
The trick to getting kids to eat trail mix: Add just a little bit of the sweet stuff to the nutritious stuff so it tastes like a treat. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with magnesium and zinc, and the cranberries are chock-full of vitamin C and fiber.
These healthy muffins get their unique flavor from chai tea blend and roasted chopped pistachios.
Granola with Honey-Scented Yogurt and Baked Figs
The granola itself is a star player, but the yogurt and figs take it to a whole new level of delicious.
Fudgy Oatmeal Bars
Satisfy the whole family's chocolate cravings with these delicous fudgy oatmeal bars.
Vanilla Honey-Nut Smoothie
Start with creamy frozen yogurt and add peanut butter, milk, and honey for a nutty, sweet treat. Silken tofu and ground flaxseed help this smoothie stick with you throughout an afternoon of running errands.
Parmesan-Rosemary Flatbread Crackers
These sweetly-salty crackers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Nutty Whole-Grain Granola
If you can find blue corn tortillas, they'll add a pop of color. Store in an airtight container.
Our readers rave about these classic oatmeal cookies. This version is lightened, but you'd never know it.
Blueberry-Peach Ice Pops
An icy-fruity blueberry layer sandwiches creamy summer peach mousse for a stunning and delicious treat that children and adults will love.
Cucumber, Apple, and Mint Cooler
Each serving of this smoothie offers 1/2 cup of vegetables, plus a little fruit.
These sweet, chewy brownies get their rich flavor from both cocoa and dark chocolate, but they're lower in fat than traditional brownies because the recipe calls for low-fat milk, fewer eggs, and less sugar and butter.
Spicy Maple-Cashew Popcorn
For a more kid-friendly version, omit the ground red pepper. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Quinoa-Granola Chocolate Chip Cookies
Use an already-made batch of our Nutty Whole-Grain Granola to whip up these scrumptious cookies.
Creamy Spinach and Feta Dip
Bright and tangy non-fat Greek yogurt helps save 100 calories and 3g sat fat in this delicious, creamy dip. Sharp feta cheese adds a punch that complements beautifully with the fresh herbs. Perfect for game day, this appetizer is a surefire crowd pleaser that serves well with vegetables, pita chips, or tortilla chips. It requires almost no preparation, and is ready to serve immediately.
Chewy Oat Squares
These hearty squares are simple to make and wonderfully portable—they are perfect for packing in lunch boxes or for snacking in the car.
Spicy Almond-Pumpkinseed Snack Mix
This snack mix is a great choice for an office pick-me-up. It stores well for up to a week in an airtight container.
Depending on how sweet your mangoes are, you can add more or less lime and more or less simple syrup. To make simple syrup, combine equal parts water and granulated sugar in a saucepan; stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool before using.
Strawberry-Avocado Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
Make the chips in advance, cool completely, and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Salty-Sweet Pine Nut Bars
These bars are sweet, salty, and nutty—the perfect craving buster. Pine nuts can be expensive; pecans are a less pricey but equally delicious alternative.
Monkey bars are moist snacking cakes that might remind you of banana bread.
Mixed Berries with Orange Mascarpone Cream
Summertime means berries and stone fruits. Take advantage of the abundance and low prices of the season, and serve them for a quick and easy dessert. Any combination of berries will work; you can even add a sliced nectarine or two.
A heatproof spatula works best to combine and spread the ingredients into the pan. Kids may prefer this without the red pepper. Store in an airtight container for up to a week at room temperature.
These chips are crispy, crunchy, salty, and so easy to make. Opt for them instead of potato chips next time you're craving a salty snack. For a different flavor, try sprinkling the kale with grated Parmesan, red pepper flakes, or sweet paprika before baking.
Creamiest Chocolate Pudding
This recipe earned our Test Kitchen's highest rating. A combination of cocoa powder and dark chocolate offers acidity and floral notes. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days. For a pretty presentation, dip mint sprigs in water and gently dredge in sugar; let dry on a wire rack.
These tomato turnovers impress, whether served as a snack or a party appetizer.
Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Dip
Use a mandoline to cut the potato for the best results; hand-cutting is less likely to produce sufficiently thin and uniform slices. If you have any leftover chips, store them in an airtight container for up to a week. You'll need to bake them for 2 minutes at 450° to recrisp before eating.
Peanut-Almond Snack Bars
Featuring pretzels, marshmallows, peanut butter, almonds, and even a little hint of chocolate, is there any snack attack this bar can't beat?
A package of almond paste— which you'll find on the baking aisle— makes this loaf incredibly moist and dense, almost like a pound cake.
Berry and Banana Smoothies
Pop the sliced peeled banana in the freezer the night before so the next morning's prep is quick and easy.
Tuscan Lemon Muffins
Enjoy these lemony treats for a sweet snack. Ricotta cheese ensures a light and fluffy texture.
Banana Split Sundaes
Believe it or not, banana splits are a great way for children to have a well-balanced sweet treat. The secret? Go heavy on the fruit!
Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
The mashed ripe banana adds just the right amount of sweetness, allowing you to use less sugar and butter than you might normally use.
Honey-Roasted Nuts and Fruit
Use any variety of mixed nuts or seeds you like in this trail mix. Dried fruit is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and the nuts add healthy fats and protein, which makes this an excellent on-the-go snack.
Avocado Ice Pops
Avocados are a fruit and creamy-rich–perfect for freezing on a stick.
Zucchini Mini Muffins
These work as a tasty snack, or even for breakfast! For equal portions, use a small ice-cream scoop to spoon the batter into the muffin cups.
Look for air-popped popcorn with no added ingredients, or pop your own. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top for a yummy, family-friendly treat.
Keep a stash of these savory biscotti in your desk drawer for a quick snack. They'd also be good with soup or chili. They'll keep for up to a week stored in an airtight container.
Black Bean Hummus
This Middle Eastern dip is made with black beans instead of the traditional chickpeas. And for a bit of extra flavor, stir in some jalapeño pepper and lime juice.
Gluten-Free S'more Bars
For those with gluten intolerance, it's important to create a few desserts that taste as good as the real thing. This one sure does. Try Cup4Cup flour and S'moreables gluten-free graham crackers for the best results.
Apple-Toffee Hand Pies
Look for toffee chips near the chocolate chips on the baking aisle. Be sure to chill the butter beforehand to make it easier to cut into small cubes.
Chewy Coconut Granola Bars
Super-easy to make, these are perfect for breakfast, the car, or a snack.
Sweet Chipotle Snack Mix
Have this addictive mix on hand for nibbling all week long. Ground chipotle pepper and chili spices combine with sugar to coat this three-part combo of pepitas (pumpkinseeds), almonds, and cashews. You can even make it ahead of time to bring with you to work.
Peppery Pepita Brittle
Boost brittle to a whole new level with this mildly spicy treat.
Classic Banana Bread
We love this bread's moist texture and simple flavor. Banana bread should form a crack down the center as it bakes—a sign the baking soda is doing its job.
For those with a serious sweet tooth, one or two of these tasty treats will do the trick.
Canned pumpkin offers the same health benefits as fresh but is more convenient. It contributes both color and moistness to these fruit-filled muffins.
Blueberry-Passion Fruit Smoothie
With plenty of fruit, fiber, and protein, this quick shake is a sweet snack you can feel good about. You can also enjoy a larger serving as a healthful breakfast. Look for canned passion fruit nectar with other bottled and canned juices or in the Latin food section of your grocery store. If you can't find it, substitute pineapple juice.
Walnut Coffee Cake
Great for a midmorning pick-me-up, this classic cake has a sweet streak of brown sugar and warm cinnamon with the nutty crunch of walnuts inside. Chop the walnuts to the size of small peas to ensure they are evenly distributed in the cake. Substitute pecans for walnuts, if desired.
These flavorful nuts make a convenient, portable snack. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.
Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
Just enough butter for caramel goodness and peanut butter for heart-healthy richness.
Banana Snacking Cake
This moist cake is a perfectly sweet snack that's sure to please every member of your family.
Sweet and Spicy Nut and Pretzel Mix
Don't forget to set a timer to remind you of the nuts toasting in the oven.
Sweet and Spicy Pumpkinseeds
Once you've carved out your Jack-o-Lantern, don't even consider throwing out those seeds, as they can be roasted for a delicious Halloween treat. This crunchy snack packs a ton of heat and flavor that's the perfect solution to your strongest savory craving. If you're serving it to a crowd that's shy on spice, scale back on the red pepper for a salty toasted seed that everybody can enjoy. For even more kick, add an extra 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper.
Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Smoothies
The classic combination of peanut butter, banana, and chocolate is an easy sell with most kids. Parents will love that these smoothies are full of potassium, fiber, and protein.
Rosemary Roasted Almonds
Fresh rosemary gives wonderful fragrance and flavor to this roasted almond recipe, and chili powder provides just the right amount of spiciness. Serve at a party or as an everyday snack.
Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies
As the name suggests, you can put just about anything in these cookies. Chocolate chips and walnuts are definitely some ingredients that you won’t want to leave out.
Banana Fluffer Nutters
Make a peanut butter and marshmallow creme sandwich between two slices of a banana for a lightly sweetened late-night treat.
Gingery Lemon Curd Sundae
Make the smart choice and switch from traditional ice cream to nonfat frozen Greek yogurt. By making the swap, you save more than enough calories to add toppings on your FroYo, such as prepared lemon curd and gingersnaps.
Boiled edamame sprinkled with sesame seeds and a dash of salt packs in 8g of protein in a half cup serving. Try this staff favorite sautéed or roasted, too.
Smashed Avocado on Toast
A smashed avocado on a piece of whole-wheat toast is a great snack before a run or workout. With the perfect combination of healthy fats and carbohydrates, this snack will keep your body energized without weighing you down.