22 Healthy Snacks on the Go
On the go snacks are a great way to keep up your energy and satisfy hunger. They should be high in nutrients, including protein and fiber, but low in calories. Some snacks, including hard-boiled eggs and roasted chickpeas, can even reduce the risk of developing medical conditions, like heart disease.
In our article, we recommend some of the best healthy snacks on the go so you can focus more on the day’s activities instead of your appetite. They’re great for a day out or to take with you so you have a healthy snack at work.
Jerky is dried meat usually made with beef, chicken, turkey, or salmon. It’s a convenient and tasty protein source—there are over 28 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. Manufacturers trim the fat off strips of meat, dry it, then add sugar and seasonings for flavor.
Jerky is sealed in vacuum-packed bags for easy storage and on-the-go convenience. The bag also prevents the strong smell from permeating your car or purse.
Keep in mind that many jerky brands contain high levels of sodium and sugar to enhance the flavor. Be sure to pick up a low-sodium and low-sugar variety as a healthier alternative.
A trail mix contains a combination of nuts and dried fruit and sometimes includes chocolate chips or granola clusters. There are many trail mix varieties available in grocery stores, though you may prefer creating a homemade mix.
A 2-ounce serving has up to 8 grams of protein, but if you want to increase protein levels, add almonds or pistachios. Almonds and pistachios have 2 grams more protein than other nuts, like cashews and walnuts.
Trail mix is a good snacking option when on the go, but they can be high in calories, so try to limit a serving to a couple of handfuls. Some trail mix varieties are available in 1-ounce snack packs, perfect for single-size servings.
Trail mix is also on our list of best late night snacks.
A single serving of Greek yogurt provides 15 grams of protein—an impressive amount in 1 cup. Compared to other yogurts, Greek yogurt has the highest protein content, plus it’s a great source of calcium, which improves bone health.
When looking at different flavors and brands, check the nutrition fact labels for sugar and calorie content. Some varieties pack in extra sugar and calories, which can cause weight gain and sugar spikes. The best option is sticking with an unsweetened version that’s also low in fat. You can always add fresh fruit or honey as a sweetener—healthier alternatives to processed sugar.
Hard-boiled eggs are an easy snack when you’re on the go, at 85 calories and 7 grams of protein per egg. Eggs are high in B vitamins and contain other health benefits. Egg whites help maintain blood pressure and may lower the risk of heart disease. Egg yolks contain choline, a fat-fighting nutrient. Choline also helps with liver function, muscle movement, and metabolism.
Boiling a bunch of eggs at the beginning of the week gives you a handy snack as you go about your daily activities. Some grocery stores sell hard-boiled eggs already peeled for added convenience.
Eggs are also on our list of top healthy foods for kids.
Celery Sticks with Peanut Butter
Celery sticks with peanut butter are a classic childhood snack that’s also perfect on the go. Celery is low in calories and contains phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Phytonutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and enhance immune function.
Peanuts contain the most protein of any nut—about 4 grams of protein per tablespoon—so spreading peanut butter on celery helps you feel full between meals.
Energy bites are a high-protein snack containing oats, nut butter, seeds, and dried fruit. These small snacks are rich in protein and fiber, giving you the needed energy during the day.
You can find energy bites at your local grocery store or health food store. There are also recipes available online to make your own. If you don’t want to use the oven, try a no-bake energy bite recipe.
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are the base of hummus, but you can roast them for a delicious, crunchy snack in place of potato chips. Chickpeas are a good source of protein—a half-cup serving contains 7.5 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. They’re also high in iron, folate, and magnesium.
You can buy roasted chickpeas or make your own and add olive oil and seasoning to create your own flavor. Keep in mind that roasted chickpeas should never be stored in the refrigerator because they lose their crispness and turn soft.
Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, fiber, zinc, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and contain antioxidants, like vitamin E. The protein and fiber can satisfy those hunger pains, while polyunsaturated fatty acids may improve heart health by reducing cholesterol levels in your blood.
Pumpkins seeds are best roasted and seasoned with sea salt or cinnamon and sugar if you have a sweet tooth.
Sunflower seeds are good snacks, but many manufacturers load sunflower seeds with salt, turning this healthy snack into a sodium-packed nightmare. Generally, sunflower seeds contain polyunsaturated fat, a healthy fat that lowers blood pressure and maintains blood sugar. Sunflower seeds are high in iron, protein, folate, and vitamin E.
As a good rule of thumb, eat sunflower seeds in moderation, no more than a ¼ cup per serving. Sunflower seeds are also a nice addition to Greek yogurt, trail mix, and granola.
Baby carrots are a convenient, healthy snack and small enough to take anywhere. Unlike regular carrots, baby carrots are already washed, peeled, and cut in small shapes, making them ideal for adults and kids.
Carrots contain beta carotene, an antioxidant that promotes healthy skin and good eyesight. Carrots are a good source of potassium and fiber, helping moderate blood pressure and encouraging a healthy intestinal tract. Carrots can keep you full in between meals—one handful is under 100 calories.
Like apples, oranges, and bananas, fresh fruits are packed with essential vitamins and minerals and are high in fiber. Eating an apple can keep you full until mealtime and satisfy your sweet tooth without spiking blood sugar levels. Some unhealthy snacks, like chocolate bars, result in sugar spikes and crashes, leaving you unfocused and craving sugary junk foods.
Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Plus, fresh fruits are low in calories, so indulging in an orange won’t hurt your waistline.
Fresh Veggies and Hummus
Fresh veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals, promoting overall health. Pairing veggies with hummus is a tasty and healthy snack. Hummus is a dip made from chickpeas blended with olive oil and tahini. 2 ounces of hummus has 4 grams of protein and curb those hunger pangs.
Hummus comes in a variety of flavors and is also available in individual packs. Some manufacturers also make dessert hummus—dipping fresh fruit in dark chocolate hummus makes an easy dessert. You can also create your own homemade hummus thanks to hundreds of online recipes.
Cottage cheese is a filling snack high in protein—one half-cup serving size has 14 grams of protein. Cottage cheese is a good source of other essential nutrients, including vitamin B12 and calcium.
While cottage cheese is available with added fruit, it might be healthier to buy plain cottage cheese and add fresh fruit. Fruit-flavored cottage cheese contains extra sugars you don’t need and could lead to weight gain.
Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
Apple slices and peanut butter combine savory and sweet for a nutrient-dense snack, high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants. The fiber and antioxidants in apples reduce the risk of heart disease and improve gut health, while the protein in peanut butter keeps you full in between meals. Peanut butter also decreases bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL).
Protein bars are an easy source of protein; however, check the nutritional label before buying just any protein bar. Many companies load their protein bars with high-fructose corn syrup and preservatives, leading to weight gain and high blood sugar. Choose a protein bar high in protein (about 20 grams) and low in sugar (less than 8 grams).
It might be better to make your own protein bar, especially if you’re gluten-intolerant—many store-bought protein bars contain whole wheat flour.
Homemade granola is an excellent snack with up to 4 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving. This baked snack has rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts, and honey or maple syrup sweeteners, and is easy to make. Unlike store-bought granola, homemade granola isn’t full of added sugar, which causes the body to crave more sugar and gain weight.
Homemade granola is healthy in moderation but high in calories. Try to keep the serving size under ¼ cup. As a fun treat, layer homemade granola and fresh berries with Greek yogurt to create a dessert parfait in place of ice cream.
Nut butter is a quick and easy high-protein snack that provides healthy fats, vitamins, and trace minerals. 2 tablespoons of nut butter has 6 to 8 grams of protein.
Any type of nut butter is great on its own or paired with crackers, fruit, or vegetables. Some grocery stores sell nut butter snack packs for added convenience. Tear a corner of the package and squeeze the nut butter into your mouth or eat it with your favorite fruit, cracker, or vegetable.
Edamame is immature soybeans high in protein—about 1 cup contains 17 grams. Edamame is also rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin K. These plant compounds lowers cholesterol in the blood and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Edamame can be eaten fresh or steamed or even seasoned to enhance flavor.
Fruit and Nut Bars
Fruit and nut bars are a low-calorie alternative to granola bars. Instead of rolled oats, fruit and nut bars only contain dried fruit and nuts, making them a great choice if you’re looking to lose weight. Some manufacturers may add extra sugars to these snack bars, but other companies use natural sweeteners, like honey and dates.
Whole-Grain Crackers and String Cheese
Whole-grain crackers are high in fiber and low in sodium—other crackers lack nutritional value and are full of preservatives. Combining whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese, like string cheese, is an excellent way to get complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and calcium all in one snack.
Even though whole-grain crackers and string cheese are healthy snacks, they’re easy to overeat. Moderation is key. Try to limit consumption to 4 to 6 crackers and one string cheese per snack.
Popcorn with Parmesan Cheese
Popcorn is an excellent low-calorie snack and a good source of fiber, with about 4 grams per ounce. Try to avoid flavored popcorn because most are high in sodium. Instead, air pop popcorn or choose a plain microwave popcorn, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese adds 10 grams of protein and gives the popcorn a savory punch.
Tuna and Cracker Kits
Tuna and cracker kits are a tasty, protein-packed snack—one tuna snack pack contains 18 grams of protein. Tuna is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids or polyunsaturated fat. Some tuna and cracker kits come with flavored tuna, like ranch and lemon pepper.
Snacks to Avoid
Avoid snacks that contain unnecessary calories, salt, and sugar, like potato chips, cookies, and fruit snacks. Try to eat healthier snacks instead to curb those cravings and keep you going during the day.
Potato chips are high in trans fat, leading to cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and heart disease. Plus, potato chips have no essential nutrients and worsen hunger pains. You can eat a whole bag of potato chips before feeling remotely full, and even then, you may feel sick.
Roasted chickpeas are a good substitute for potato chips. You still get that savory crunch without excessive calories.
Cookies are an unhealthy snack because they leave you craving more and have no nutritional value. You could end up indulging in more junk food and have trouble focusing on daily tasks. Many packaged cookies are made with refined sugars and added trans fats, like shortening, increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Instead, choose whole fruit, trail mix, or a fruit and nut bar to curb those sugar cravings. These will satisfy you and give you a boost of energy, unlike a bag of chocolate chip cookies.
Fruit snacks may be low calorie, but they’re high in sugar. Many companies claim their fruit snack is healthy, but the sugar level could outweigh the vitamin content, making fruit snacks not much different than gummy worms—both have corn syrup and sugar as base ingredients. Some brands use natural sugar from fruits and veggies in their fruit snacks, but it’s better to eat fruit leather instead.
Fruit leather has three times the amount of fiber and two times more potassium than fruit snacks. Fruit leather is pureed fruit that’s been cooked, dried, and rolled out before being cut up and packaged. Fruit leather relies on natural sweeteners instead of added sugars.
Tips for Healthy On-the-Go Snacking
Eating on the go is never really recommended, as you tend to be rushed and/or stressed, which leads to poor digestion and hormonal imbalances. Especially eating in traffic or between meetings, which can lead to inadequate nutrient absorption and digestion, regardless of what the food is.
“If you do need to eat on the go regardless, I suggest choosing high-quality food,” says Brittany Ford, Registered Holistic Nutritionist. “Any meat should be grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic. Any seafood should be wild-caught. Any other snacks or produce should be organic and/or local whenever possible. This will greatly reduce the toxin load of these snacks and reduce your exposure to pesticides, herbicides, GMO’s, antibiotics, and added hormones.”
“Aside from this, mindful and intuitive eating is key. Try to take 5 to 10 minutes to properly chew and digest your snacks away from your computer, phone, or driving. Being present while eating and reducing any distractions can significantly help with the digestion process and reduce any accompanying stress that typically comes with being on the go too much,” says Brittany.
Even better, try getting some fresh air or nature while eating. Stopping on the side of the road by a park, going for a walk during your lunch, or eating outside on a balcony can promote better hormonal balance, stress response, and digestive functioning.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best things to eat at night are small but nutrient-dense snacks to boost your metabolism, like bananas, peanut butter on toast, or cottage cheese. These snacks provide the body with complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein needed for metabolic functions while sleeping. Snacking on these foods satisfies hunger pains without causing weight gain.
Some drinks can promote weight loss as you sleep, including water, chamomile tea, and kefir. Water contains no calories and has been linked to better sleep quality. Also, drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning can boost your metabolism and improve heart health.
Researchers found that drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bed improves glucose control and weight loss. There are four compounds in chamomile which modulate carbohydrate digestion and sugar absorption.
Kefir is a rich source of probiotic bacteria that maintains gut microbiota, healthy gut bacteria that promote fatty acid oxidation. This oxidation process breaks down fatty acids into energy, reducing body fat.
It’s not a good idea to go to bed hungry, but eating a heavy meal before bed could disrupt sleep. When you go to bed feeling hungry, you may struggle with sleep because your brain is alert. In the same sense, a heavy meal sits in your stomach longer and makes it difficult to fall asleep because the body is digesting.
The best thing to do is to eat a healthy snack with complex carbohydrates and protein so you feel full and you can get a good night’s sleep.
It’s okay to eat late at night as long as you’re eating healthy snacks. Foods like cheese and crackers, veggies and hummus, or a handful of almonds are great snacking options for those late-night cravings. Plus, these foods won’t cause indigestion, which can keep you up at night.
It may be tempting, but one of the worst things you can do when trying to lose weight is skipping meals, especially breakfast. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day because it gives your body the needed energy after fasting in sleep and keeps you going until lunchtime.
A healthy option is a protein shake. Combine bananas, chia seeds, and peanut butter into a healthy shake. It’s packed with plenty of protein and fiber to boost your metabolism and keep you full longer. You can also try a protein shake before bed.
Another healthy choice is a bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is low in calories but high in protein and beta-glucan, a fiber which balances blood sugar and improves heart health. Add some fresh berries with a little bit of honey for a sweet and tangy breakfast.
Healthy on the go snacks are perfect when hunger hits between meals because they provide essential nutrients to keep you moving through your day-to-day routine. Make sure to check the nutritional labels for store-bought healthy snacks and pay attention to the calorie and sugar levels—many brands may claim their product is “natural,” but the label reveals how much sugar, salt, and calories the product contains.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.