Say good-bye to midday munching disasters with these nutritionist-approved fast bites that’ll satisfy any craving.
It's no secret that snacks can make or break a diet, but when that 3 p.m. hunger hits, it’s easy to find yourself reaching for the vending machine cheese puffs. The solution: Have an arsenal of ideas for simple, healthy nibbles that you can either buy on the fly or pre-prep and keep handy in your bag or office fridge. “The key is making sure the snack contains protein so you stay sated,” explains Brittany Kohn, RD, a dietitian in New York City. “Otherwise you’ll just keep picking.” We asked a few RDs to share their faves for grazing on the run.
Starbucks Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal
“This is a hearty snack. Skip the brown sugar and use half the nuts and dried fruit (save the rest for another snack) and it comes in at around 250 calories. The dried fruit—a mix of raisins and dried cranberries and cherries—can satisfy your sweet tooth while offering some extra fiber.”
—Sally Kuzemchak, RD, author of Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide
Amrita Chocolate Maca
“I love this vegan bar for its simple ingredients—no artificial sweeteners or isolates. It has the texture of a brownie but boasts 15 grams of plant protein.”
—Cynthia Sass, RD, Health’s contributing nutrition editor
Starbucks Protein Bistro Box
“You get a hard-boiled, cage-free egg, apple slices, grapes, cheese, and multigrain muesli bread with honeyed peanut butter. For a better balance of fats, protein, and carbs, save the peanut butter for later. This way, you can enjoy the fiber, protein, and healthy fats this bistro box provides for under 300 calories.”
—Leah Kaufman, RD, a dietitian in New York City
”I often fill a little container with oven-roasted chickpeas, Mediterranean olives, and cut veggies, like cucumber and red bell pepper. They’re all finger foods, which is fun for snacking. And since there’s a fair amount of chewing required, the combo feels substantial, although it’s not high in calories. Plus, it’s rich in nutrients and fiber, and it leaves me energized.”
Chick-fil-A’s Greek Yogurt Parfait
“One of these has just 100 calories and 6 grams of protein.”
Stonyfield Organic Plain 0% Fat Greek Yogurt
“Greek yogurt is the diva of all yogurts. Along with giving you 20 percent of your daily calcium, many Greek yogurts are low in sugar and offer more than 10 grams of protein per serving, so you feel fuller longer. Stonyfield is made with all organic ingredients and no fat, and it’s low in carbs. Adding your own fresh fruit bumps up the fiber.”
—Maria Elena Rodriguez, RD, diabetes program manager at The Mount Sinai Health System in New York City
Salted or unsalted nuts and a piece of fresh fruit
“You can grab this protein- and fiber-rich combo almost anywhere, including convenience stores and even some drugstores.”
Jamba Juice Berry UpBEET Smoothie
“I love that this smoothie has so many fruits and veggies, such as spinach, kale, and berries, and also contains 9 grams of fiber to help you feel full and satisfied. Ask for a Pumpkin Seed Boost to add protein—7 grams!”
—Megan Roosevelt, RD, founder of the video series Healthy Grocery Girl
Orgain Organic Nutrition Plant Based Protein Shake
"In my opinion, this shake is nutritionally one of the best on the market. It has no artificial ingredients and is high in plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. It is also gluten-free, soyfree and dairy-free."