Updated March 13, 2015.
Sometimes, only a sweet or salty treat will do. When you or your child craves one of these often unhealthy items, substitute a more nutritious version, like one of these healthy snack ideas.
Healthy Snack Ideas for Salty or Starchy Cravings
If you swap baked items for fried and choose whole grains, your snack will still offer a savory crunch, but with less fat and more fiber. More fiber also means more filling, so you don't need to eat as much.
Look for whole-grain, low-salt, and/or baked versions of these favorites; then pair with protein, fruit, or vegetables for a healthy, well-rounded and satisfying snack.
- Crackers (read a review of a rice cracker fortified with nuts)
- Chips (such as multigrain tortilla chips)
- Tortillas or wraps
- Popcorn—it's a whole grain and has lots of fiber, but skip the butter and salt
- Pumpkin or sesame seeds
Healthy Snack Ideas to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth
Look for recipes, preparations, or versions that use fruit as a sweetener and contain low-fat dairy products or healthy oils (such as olive oil). Again, pair with fruit, vegetables, or protein to boost your snack's nutrient content. While these treats should still be eaten in moderation, they are sweet enough to prompt a smile.
- Yogurt (check label for sugar content and artificial flavorings)
- Pudding made with low-fat milk
- Fig bars
- Oatmeal cookies
- Animal crackers
- Graham crackers
- Fruit leathers made with fruit juice/purees only
- Freeze-dried fruit
- Muffins or quick breads loaded with fruit or vegetables (e.g., zucchini bread; you can also swap unsweetened applesauce for oil when baking)
- Trail mix—but skip the candy! Stick with dried fruits, nuts, and seeds