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A Dietician's Snack Guide + 15 Healthy Snack Ideas

healthy snack on August 30, 2023

By Carly Armstrong, RD

My most FAQ! "Carly you're a dietitian! Do you have any good snack ideas?"

Heck yeah, I do. This blog post can be your guide to nutritious and delicious snacking! - What is the purpose/job of a snack? - What are the key components of a smart snack? - What are some snack ideas? - Do I need a snack?

I often ask clients: "What is a snack's job?"

Usually a snack's purpose is to keep us satisfied until our next meal. Therefore, we need to be smart about what we are snacking on.

In addition, your snack needs to be enjoyable. If you pack a 'meh' snack (ie plain veggies) in your bag and you have no desire to reach for it... it can't do it's job as a snack. You don't eat it - you show up to your next meal very hungry - you eat like a mad woman (or man) - you are now full and uncomfortable. All this because your snack was 'meh'.

Moral of the story: pack the ranch so you'll actually eat your carrot sticks. (The ranch is doubly important, you will see why next.) I need my snack to do its job. How do I do that? Well, I am glad you asked. Here is what I need you to remember:

3 components of SMART SNACKS:

  1. Tastes good (see my previous rant for why that is important)

  2. Includes at least two of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and/or fat).

  3. Ideally, it could be higher protein and/or fiber to keep you really full.

You want to build your snacks almost like 'mini meals'. I will use an example to explain why: Okay, an apple is a common snack. And you are probably like yeah an apple is a great snack! Well guess what you would be wrong (kinda).

An apple on its own is primarily carbohydrate (fruit). Which is a wonderful macronutrient to get energy. However, a simple carbohydrate like fruit is easy and quick to digest when eaten alone. (This is excellent if you are needing quick energy for a workout or sport btw, but we are aiming for lasting energy to get us to our next meal.)

Therefore, to maximize our snack we would want to add one of the other macronutrients (protein and/or fat)! This will slow down the digestion and help us get to our next meal without being ravenous. Add some peanut butter to our apple. Or ranch to our carrot sticks. Or Greek yogurt to our Blokes donut. Okay, give me the snack ideas! Okay! But remember the best snack you can have is the one YOU will reach for and enjoy! Here are some ideas:

  • Hard boiled eggs + dill

  • Cottage cheese + diced apple + cinnamon

  • Nuts (pistachios/cashews/almonds) + fruit/veggies

  • Apple slices + High Protein Apple Dip

  • Homemade muffins + cheese

  • Grapes + cheese

  • Trail mix

  • Cucumbers/carrots + hummus or tzatziki

  • Granola + Greek yogurt + berries

  • PB toast + banana + cinnamon

  • Canned tuna + tomato basil rice cake

  • No bake power balls

  • Chocolate caramel rice cakes + PB + hemp hearts

  • Beef jerky + cucumber

  • High fiber cereal + high protein milk

Do I need a snack? What could your snacking reveal about your overall eating habits?

Mindless evening snacking Are you fuelling enough earlier in the day? Do you eat breakfast? Do you have carbs for energy in your lunch? How are your stress levels?

Hungry for a snack less than 2 hours after a meal Perhaps you are missing a key component of a balanced meal (Don't know how to make balanced meals? Check out "Your Nutrition Empowerment Workbook" to learn more!) In addition, you may not be eating enough at your meals!

Very hungry for supper If you are often tempted by fast food on your drive home from work perhaps an afternoon snack could help you prepare more nutritious suppers at home.

If you often show up for supper very hangry and it feels bothersome to prepare a nutritious meal, perhaps an afternoon snack will help you show up more mentally prepared to cook. Reflecting on how and what you eat is huge. Your Nutrition Empowerment Workbook is a structured way to learn about your eating and set actionable goals. Check it out! Thanks for reading! Have a happy and healthy day.

Carly Armstrong is the owner of Empower Nutrition and Lifestyle. You visit her website at


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