Nutrition

7 Dietitian-Recommended Snacks for Every Kind of Craving

4 min read

Wondering "what should I eat?" These dietitian-approved healthy snacks have you covered.
Wondering "what should I eat?" These dietitian-approved healthy snacks have you covered.

Essential Takeaways

  • We get it—when your stomach starts rumbling, it can be tricky to indulge your cravings in a healthy way.
  • That’s why we asked dietitians for their go-to nutritious snacks—whether you’re jonesing for something salty, sweet, or all of the above.

It's mid-afternoon. You had lunch a few hours ago, but it's not quite dinner time yet. Your stomach, however, is protesting—so you head to the kitchen and open up the refrigerator and take a look in the pantry. Cue the age-old question: “What should I eat?”

We've all been there. In most cases, your fridge and pantry are likely stocked with lots of healthy food choices, but the inspiration to assemble a healthy snack versus reaching for junk food sometimes isn't quite there. So we solved this conundrum for you—by asking two dietitians to share their go-to healthy, homemade snacks for just about every craving. Better yet? They’re all vegan-friendly.

If you’re craving something savory…

Mediterranean hummus stuffed peppers

You can't go wrong with snacking on hummus for its good nutritional profile and irresistible flavor. But when you add in mini bell peppers, kalamata olives, onions, and tomatoes to make Mediterranean hummus stuffed peppers, and you're really in for a (nutritious) treat. "This delicious homemade snack is easy to prepare and full of flavor," says registered dietitian Brittany Modell, MS, RD, CDN. "The hummus provides some protein, healthy carbohydrates, and fat."

If you’re craving something salty-sweet…

Popcorn with dark chocolate chips

Whip up some popcorn and sprinkle in dark chocolate chips for a winning combo that requires minimal effort (and tastes great too). "It not only provides healthy complex carbs and fiber but also antioxidants from the dark chocolate," Modell says. Just be sure to watch your portion sizes. With a pairing like popcorn and chocolate, it's easy to get a little carried away—especially when you're distracted by a good movie. (1)

If you’re craving something refreshing…

Mango and greens smoothie

Smoothies: They’re not just for breakfast. You can definitely choose your own adventure here, but Modell recommends blending up a mango smoothie with bananas, baby spinach, chia seeds, and your choice of milk (non-dairy is fine). "The mango and banana provide carbohydrates and vitamins," Modell says. "Baby spinach adds some vitamins and minerals as well. And the chia seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids." Feel free to swap the fruit and greens, depending on what you crave and what you have at home.

What Should I Eat? - Green Smoothie

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If you’re craving something salty…

DIY kale chips

Satisfy the craving and get your veggies in by making kale chips. "Kale is a leafy green that provides a great source of vitamin C, A, and K, as well as manganese," says integrative dietitian and certified health coach Krista King, MS, RDN. "Vitamin A and C have immune-supportive benefits. Calcium and potassium help to support bone health. And vitamin K plays an important role in supporting blood health.”*

To make kale chips, cut your kale leaves into large pieces and add them to a bowl. Then massage them with avocado oil, sea salt, and lemon juice. Next, pop them in the oven on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

If you’re craving something crunchy…

Crispy roasted chickpeas

Healthy eating isn't complicated when you have chickpeas on hand. In addition to being filled with protein and fiber, "they are also low on the glycemic index, which can be important for supporting energy metabolism," King says. * (2)

Roasting chickpeas and adding spices takes them to another level. To do so, drain and dry some (already-cooked) chickpeas and drizzle some olive oil or avocado oil. Add salt, pepper, and your favorite spices. Then roast them in the oven at 400 F for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.

What Should I East? Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

If you’re craving something heartier…

Sweet potato toast

You're missing out if you've never experienced the deliciousness of sweet potato toast. "Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber and a rich source of both vitamin A and vitamin C, antioxidants that help provide immune support," King says.

Cut a sweet potato into slices and pop them into a toaster oven. Then slather on your choice of toppings. King suggests almond butter and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, and here's why: "Almond butter and pumpkin seeds are both good sources of zinc, magnesium, and healthy fats," she says.*

If you’re craving something sweet… Brown rice cake with Tahini and raspberries If you’re not feeling sweet potato toast, perhaps a brown rice cake might be more to your liking. King recommends adding your favorite nut or seed butter (think peanut butter, almond butter, etc.) or tahini onto the rice cake and then topping it with raspberries.

"Tahini is a ground sesame seed paste and a good source of healthy fats, as well as vitamin B6," King says. (Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble coenzyme that helps with protein metabolism.) "Tahini also has lignans, which are fiber-like compounds. Raspberries are a great source of fiber, which promotes healthy digestion, as well as antioxidants—specifically, raspberries are a rich source of vitamin C, which supports normal immune function.”* (3,4)

References:

  1. Crozier, S.J., Preston, A.G., Hurst, J.W. et al. Cacao seeds are a "Super Fruit": A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products. Chemistry Central Journal 5, 5 (2011).
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. “Glycemic Index for 60+ Foods.” Harvard Health.
  3. Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin B6.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  4. Papadakis, Emmanouil N., et al. “Effect of the Form of the Sesame-Based Diet on the Absorption of Lignans.” British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 100, no. 6, 2008, pp. 1213–1219., doi:10.1017/s0007114508978272.

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