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Health library

Healthy choices for taming those snack attacks.

A man in a grocery store reads the label on a box. Text reads: Smart snacking. Try these tips.

Reviewed 6/13/2024

Smart snacking

Everybody needs a snack now and then. But those snacks don't have to be high in calories, fat or salt to be satisfying. These tips can help you handle snack cravings without upending your healthy eating efforts.

Snack mindfully

Before you grab a snack, take a moment to think about whether you're truly hungry or if something else is going on, like stress or boredom.

If you really are hungry, start with a small snack and eat it slowly. Pay attention to the textures and flavors, and notice how eating affects your hunger level. Turn off screens while you snack so that you're able to focus on what you're eating and how it makes you feel.

Choose smart combos

Eating high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products along with a protein will make you feel fuller. Ideas include:

  • Whole-grain crackers with cheese or a protein-rich nut butter.
  • Berries and/or whole-grain granola with unsweetened yogurt.
  • Sliced cucumbers, carrots or other fresh veggies with dip.
  • Sliced avocado and a hard-cooked egg. Try it alone or with whole-grain bread or crackers.

Stock snacks strategically

Keep your favorite healthy snacks handy wherever you're likely to get hungry, whether that's at work, at home or in the car. Having a healthy option readily available may help you beat those cravings for high-calorie or salty foods.

Leverage the labels

Look carefully at food labels on packaged snacks. That “healthy” nutrition bar may have more calories and sugar than a candy bar. To feel satisfied, seek out high-fiber and high-protein options that don't have lots of sodium or sugar.

Eat from a plate, not from the package

To avoid overeating, serve yourself a specific portion of a snack rather than eating straight from the package.

Choose beverages with care

A drink can be a great way to stave off a snack attack. But be aware that sodas and fancy coffee drinks tend to have a lot of calories. Healthier options include plain or sparkling water (add mint or citrus slices for flavor), unsweetened coffee or tea, or a small glass of 100% fruit juice.


Learn smart substitutes to help you avoid unnecessary calories.

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