Best Healthy Snacks for Active Individuals

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Best Healthy Snacks | Best Keto Snacks | Best Gluten-Free Snacks | Best Healthy Snacks to Buy | Best Running Snacks | Best Low-Calorie Snacks | Best High-Protein Snacks | Best Low-Carb Snacks | Best Vegan Snacks | Best Calorie Counter Apps

Active individuals need adequate daily calories to fuel their bodies for training and maintaining energy levels for exercise and life responsibilities beyond sport. Packing large amounts of food into the body at three main meals can present a logistical and physical challenge given the limited window of opportunity for eating—especially when you're trying to leave ample time for digesting and metabolizing food between training sessions and bedtime.

Snacking between regular meals can be a great way to keep your body fueled and repairing itself throughout the day. Healthy snacks can provide nutrient-dense calories for anyone, especially those with high energy and macronutrient needs for protein, fats, and carbs.

For active individuals expanding meal frequency, eating multiple smaller meals or including snacks daily can also be a benefit in additional ways, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN). In the ISSN Position Stand, increasing meal frequency has been shown to decrease hunger and improve appetite; have a positive effect on blood markers of health including cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL,) and insulin; and preserve lean muscle mass in low-calorie diets with adequate protein.

Learning how to prepare quick and portable healthy snack recipes can also be an economical way to have ready-to-eat fuel—you can save money by purchasing bulk ingredients and avoiding impulsive snack traps that can lead to overeating or selecting on-the-fly processed foods potentially detrimental to your health and performance.

But it doesn't have to be this way. With a little prep and packing, you can have healthy snacks available all the time. So, we're giving you the ultimate list of healthy snacks from high protein to vegan to healthy sweet-treat alternatives, and everything in between.

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Getting Started

While there are no rules on what a snack should include, active individuals can benefit from selecting foods and beverages that enhance performance with healthy carbs, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, or electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Sound snacking should attempt to avoid anything excessive, including added sugars and sodium, and eliminate all things artificial, including preservatives, coloring, and flavors—anything that can potentially sabotage performance and overall health.

One place to start for snacking portion guidance is with the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) which recommends choosing snacks that are between 200 and 300 calories depending on the level of activity. The Academy also recommends having snacks planned and portioned out ahead of time.

Knowing your daily overall calorie needs and fitting snacks into the total budget is one way to ensure and manage overeating.

Healthy Snack Recommendations


Hard-Boiled Egg

Vital Farms Hard Boiled Eggs

A simple store-bought or homemade hard-boiled egg is probably one of the most nutrient-dense foods available—and the perfect snack to eat anytime. For flavor, dust with ground pepper and sea salt for a 6-gram protein boost, small portions of fat, and essential vitamins and minerals like A, D, Bs, folate, selenium, and choline in one savory bite. It's also a healthy snack for weight loss, with less than 100 calories.

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Cottage Cheese with Strawberries

Good Culture Cottage Cheese

With less than 80 calories, a half cup of low-fat cottage cheese with strawberries is a high-protein, high-fiber, antioxidant-rich snack. It is also high in calcium, making it good for your muscles and bones. The saltiness and texture of the curds are a nice alternative to smooth yogurt blends, while the strawberries add some sweetness and are loaded with vitamin C, folate, fiber, and the electrolyte potassium.

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Organic Baby Food Veggie Pouch

Mamma Chia Organic Vitality Squeeze Snack

With a range of 30-80 calories, baby food pouch veggie or veggie fruit blends are an unusual but practical healthy snack. The pouches are portable and easy-to-consume whether in class, at work, or on a plane, these pouches are a nutrition bargain rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and often protein.

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Crunchy Broad Beans

broad beans

A great alternative to nuts, especially when you have the urge to crunch, these dried Bada Bean Bada Boom broad beans are a delicious healthy snack high in protein, iron, and fiber.
A dried chickpea snack or dried edamame snack is another high-protein, high-fiber, low-fat alternative to nuts. Hippeas, Biena, or the Good Bean are options for chickpea snack, while Seapoint Farms are an option for dried edamame.

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Hummus

Pearls Classic Hummus

This high-protein, high-fiber dish is a satisfying low-fat savory snack. Hummus is rich in calcium, iron, zinc, and B vitamins, and can easily be expanded on or mixed up by eating it with toasted pita chips or your favorite veggies, or spreading a dollop onto a whole-grain tortilla.

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Plant-Based Tuna Pouch with Rice Crackers

Good Catch Plant-Based Tuna

A pouch of Good Catch Plant-Based Tuna with rice crackers is a 100-calorie low-fat snack rich in iron, DHA, and essential omega-3 fats, and has a whopping 17 grams of protein per serving. This plant-based authentically-tuna-flavored mix is delicious in plain, Mediterranean, or oil and herbs flavors on plain crackers.

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Krave Grilled Teriyaki Jerky

Krave Grilled Teriyaki Jerky

I love the Krave Teriyaki Jerky, as it is one of the lowest in sodium of their flavor options. With just 100 calories and 9 grams of protein, it's a quick savory snack on its own or an easy salad topper to a plain bowl of greens.

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Louisville Vegan Jerky

Louisville Vegan Jerky

For vegetarians, my go-to jerky is Louisville, with less than 80 calories per serving, 240 for the entire package, you get a whopping 21 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and very little fat. The flavors like smoked black pepper add a powerful boost to any dish, salad, or sandwich.

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Raw Unsalted Natural Almonds with Apple Slices

Blue Diamond Almonds

There's nothing better than the clear, fresh taste of a natural almond with the clean refreshing crunch of a fresh apple. Almonds provide fiber, vitamins and minerals, a small amount of protein, and a dose of omega-3s, while apples are high in the compound quercetin which combats inflammation.

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Protein Oatmeal with Dried Blueberries

Kodak Oatmeal

Oatmeal is good for the heart, rich in fiber, and gluten free, and there's nothing quite as comforting as a warm bowl of oatmeal. Preparing it with Good Karma Flax Milk adds valuable essential omega-3 fats, and adding a scoop of protein powder after the cooking process boosts the protein content. Dried blueberries provide fiber and valuable phytonutrients and antioxidants essential for peak performance.

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Greek Yogurt

365 Whole Foods Market Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurts can be a snack or a meal depending on the quantity consumed and grams of protein included. There are several varieties on the market that offer 10-25 grams of protein with lots of flavors from plain to coconut to fruit. Greek yogurts are also versatile as they can be added to parfaits with fruit, cereal mix-ins, or savory dips like tzatziki.

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Mozzarella Cheese Stick with Organic Dried Apricots

365 Whole Foods Market String Cheese

A good source of calcium, mozzarella cheese sticks are low in fat and pair nicely with sweet apricot halves for a boost of fiber, vitamins A and E, and simple sweet carbs for quick energy.

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Shrewd Food Protein Puffs

Shrewd Food Protein Puffs

These delicious 12-gram boosted protein puffs can be a sweet or savory low-calorie snack. From strawberries and cream to brick oven pizza, there is sure to be a favorite flavor for everyone.

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Yoga Pops

Yoga Pops

These Ayurvedic-inspired puffs are a unique low-calorie snack made with popped water lily seeds, which are known for their health benefits. They are a fun and unique twist on snacking, with flavors such as Caramel Jaggery and Truffle Tantra, just to name a few—a nice change for the culinary curious. These gluten-free, non-GMO puffs can be eaten on their own as a quick snack or added as a "crouton" to salads and dishes.

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Orgain Protein Snack Bars

Orgain Protein Snack Bars

This protein bar is well under 200 calories, making it suitable for a low-calorie snack or a side to a piece of fruit. These protein bars are certified organic, only have 150 calories, offer 10 grams of plant protein, and are gluten free and low in sugar.

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Ben's Original Whole-Grain Brown Ready Rice

Ben's Original Whole-Grain Brown Ready Rice

This low-sodium snack is a hearty 200 calorie cup of ready-to-serve brown rice which offers 4 grams of protein and is a great low-fat snack. It's perfect for when you want a whole-food savory dish versus a quick snack. Also, it's great to replenish your carbs after a first (or before a second) workout later in the day.

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Healthy (and Easy) Snack Recipes

Super Greens Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups spinach
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup Good Karma Flax Milk
  • 1 scoop of whey or plant-based protein

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

This power-packed smoothie is a great way to recover from your morning workout or prepare for your afternoon session. For those who do not like veggies, this is a great way to hide them, as you will barely be able to recognize the leafy greens.

Chocolate Nut Butter Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup low-fat Better'n Peanut Butter
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Scoop 2 tbsp of mix and roll into balls, then place on the baking sheet.
  4. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

To prevent sticking, you can roll in unsweetened cocoa powder. These healthy sweet snacks are low-fat and gluten-free!

Best Healthy Snacks | Best Keto Snacks | Best Gluten-Free Snacks | Best Healthy Snacks to Buy | Best Running Snacks | Best Low-Calorie Snacks | Best High-Protein Snacks | Best Low-Carb Snacks | Best Vegan Snacks | Best Calorie Counter Apps

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