A Beginner's Guide To The Healthiest Snacks Of 2023

Snacking is a part of daily life for many of us, whether you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, grab a pre-workout protein boost, or just stay fueled between meals. According to the International Food Information Council's (IFIC) 2022 Food and Health Survey, around 75% of Americans snack at least once a day. 

Many of us turn to snacks when we're stressed or tired, too, with the IFIC report also revealing that those who reported high levels of stress over the past six months (29%) were more likely to snack at least three times a day. When we're busy, tired, or stressed, choosing healthy snacks to boost our mood and energy levels is even more important. But what constitutes a "healthy" snack, and how do you ensure you're making good choices?

According to MedlinePlus, the ideal snack is high in three things — fiber, protein, and healthy fat — which keep you satisfied between meals. Ideally, it's also low in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar, too. However, snacks don't need to tick every box to be considered healthy, and keeping a rotation of well-balanced options at hand for those sweet or savory cravings is a good idea. 

While homemade snacks and whole foods are often the healthiest choices, many of us don't have time to prepare them at home, or need something while on the go. Luckily, there are plenty of pre-packaged options out there. Here are some of the healthiest snacks you can find at a store near you.

Bigs Simply Salted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a super–healthy snack choice, packed with antioxidants, minerals, protein, and healthy fats, according to Medical News Today. The antioxidants in pumpkin seeds, such as Vitamin E, can help strengthen your immune system, and these little nutritional powerhouses are also rich in magnesium, which can help boost bone health, plus they're loaded with iron which our bodies need for growth and development.

Bigs Simply Salted Pumpkin Seeds have no added preservatives, flavorings, or other ingredients, just salt, for a delicious savory hit. You'll find they're high in fiber, too, with 8 grams per serving, great for improving your digestion and managing blood sugar, which could help you avoid that 3 p.m. slump. 

If you're looking for a high-protein snack, these seeds pack in 10 grams of plant-based protein per 37-gram serving. You'll also find Bigs Cracked Pepper Pumpkin Seeds in the snack aisle. Enjoy these as they are, or use them to top salads or soup.

Trader Joe's These Peanuts Go On A Date Bars

Who doesn't love going on a date? Trader Joe's These Peanuts Go On A Date Bars are made with just five ingredients, including a tasty blend of peanut butter, dry roasted peanuts, naturally-sweet date paste, flax seed, and sea salt to curb those sugar cravings.  

This perfectly sweet and savory combo not only tastes great but also has nutritional benefits. Flax seed is packed with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and Lignans, which are plant compounds that may help protect against cancer and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Healthline. Dates are loaded with antioxidants that may help protect against chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes, and they are packed with fiber to boost your digestive health. They're also a low GI food that can help control blood sugar to maintain your energy levels, making these bars a great snack to pack for busy days.

Chasin' Dreams Farm Sweet & Salty Popped Sorghum

Popcorn is already a pretty healthy snack choice, but sorghum is having a moment in 2023. Packed with iron and potassium, this antioxidant-rich grain is lower in calories and fat than popcorn, plus it's a natural source of fiber for a healthy gut. Sorghum is also a sustainable non-GMO crop, per Healthline

Chasin' Dreams Farm Sweet & Salty Popped Sorghum is a deliciously crunchy combo of salty and sweet, and, unlike popcorn, the popped kernels won't get caught in your teeth. It packs in high levels of magnesium for a healthy heart and strong bones, vitamin B6 to help maintain healthy hair and skin, and antioxidants, which can help lower inflammation. This popped sorghum is simply flavored with tapioca syrup, Pink Himalayan salt, and rosemary extract for freshness, and with just 66 calories and 0.3 grams of fat per 17-gram serving, it's a healthy snack choice that's as nutritious as it is delicious.

Solely Organic Mango and Orange Whole Fruit Gummies

Fruit is always a great choice for a healthy snack, but if you're bored chowing down on apple or mango slices, or just looking for a portable snack, why not mix things up with these fruit gummies? Crafted with organic mango and natural orange extract, and made with no added sugars, Solely Organic Mango and Orange Whole Fruit Gummies are an excellent choice for on-the-go snacking, and each pouch counts as one full serving of fruit! 

A naturally sweet way to satisfy your sugar cravings, these snacks contain vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals, plays a role in wound healing, and is needed to make collagen for healthy skin. Vitamin C also helps our bodies absorb non-heme iron found in leafy greens, which can help prevent iron-deficiency anemia, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. These gummies also come in mango and mango and guava flavors.

Stryve Original Beef Biltong

Craving a meaty snack? Biltong is the ideal healthy choice. This protein-packed, air-dried beef snack is popular worldwide, but has its roots in South Africa. Biltong originated as a method of preserving meat by marinating it, and Stryve Original Beef Biltong uses a traditional family recipe that dates back to the 17th century, with no nitrates, nitrites, or MSG, just vinegar and spices. 

Biltong is often confused with beef jerky, but the two are quite different. Beef jerky is first cured using a special solution, after which it's either smoked or slowly cooked, whereas Biltong is marinated with spices and vinegar, before being air-dried, so no heat is involved. It's also thinner and less chewy than its South American cousin. 

This savory, meaty snack is low in carbs, sugar-free, and packed with 16 grams of protein per serving, making it an awesome pre- or post-workout snack. It's also loaded with iron and zinc to boost energy levels and support your immune system. As well as the original variety, you can grab this biltong in a range of other flavors, including Hickory Seasoned, Teriyaki, Peppered, and Spicy Peri Peri.

12 Tides Organic Puffed Kelp Chips Everything

You've probably heard of kale chips, but if you're after that potato chip crunch, kelp chips are this year's must-have healthy snack. Loaded with savory, umami flavor, 12 Tides Organic Puffed Kelp Chips Everything pack all the flavors of an Everything bagel into one little bag of delicious chips. 

You might not expect seaweed to be the main ingredient in these light, crispy, nutritious snacks, but this isn't just any seaweed, it's organic kelp, considered a superfood thanks to its high mineral content. 12 Tides grows and harvests its organic kelp in Frenchman Bay, Maine, and the low-maintenance crop requires no fertilizers or pesticides — plus, it absorbs carbon from the ocean, helping sea life and plants to thrive. 

Kelp is one of the best natural sources of iodine for optimal metabolism and thyroid function, according to Healthline, and is loaded with vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A for healthy eyes. It's also one of the best plant-based sources of calcium to support healthy bones and muscle development, according to UCSF Health. Not a fan of Everything seasoning? You can also pick up these kelp chips in sea salt or chili flavors.

Sun-Maid Mediterranean Dried Apricots

Originally domesticated in China, apricots have become one of the most popular dried fruits for on-the-go snacking. An excellent source of fiber and low in fat, Sun-Maid Mediterranean Dried Apricots are plump, juicy, and naturally sweet, and they're a great way to reach your recommended daily servings of fruit. 

According to NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, apricots are naturally rich in vitamin A, for healthy vision and a strong immune system, and are packed with antioxidants and potassium. They are also a good source of calcium and iron. They can help lower cholesterol and improve digestion, too, according to WebMD.

Enjoyed as they are, added to a fruit salad, or used as a topper for your morning granola or oatmeal, these little fruits are bursting with flavor. They're also an excellent addition to couscous or North African dishes like lamb tagine. Sun-Maid also offers a range of other dried fruit snacks, including organic dried cranberries, organic dried mango, and California dried golden figs.

Biena Chickpea Snacks Habanero

Choosing healthy snacks doesn't have to mean compromising on flavor, as these Biena Chickpea Snacks Habanero prove. Loaded with spicy habanero seasoning, these delightfully crisp, little snacks are hard to resist. Made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans), they're low in fat and packed with 5 grams of plant protein and 5 grams of fiber per 28-gram serving. 

Chickpeas are not only an excellent source of dietary fiber that will help you feel full and keep your gut healthy, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, they're also packed with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium for a healthy heart. According to Medical News Today, adding chickpeas to your diet could even help lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol. 

Considered a low glycemic index (GI) food, chickpeas are digested slowly and can help prevent blood sugar spikes, so you'll feel fuller for longer. Their spicy, savory seasoning makes Biena's crunchy snacks the perfect antidote to snacking boredom, and you'll find several other flavors to choose from too, like Rockin' Ranch, honey roasted, and barbeque.

Oh! Nuts Trail Mix Cranberry Mix

Trail Mix is a classic mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit designed to provide hikers with an energy boost. Although generally a healthy snack, some popular trail mixes have added salt, sugar, and other ingredients. And, because it's also a calorie-dense snack, it's important to pay attention to serving size. 

You won't find any of these added ingredients in Oh! Nuts Trail Mix Cranberry Mix, just cranberries, peanuts, pepitas, sliced almonds, and black and golden raisins. They're also just 120 calories per 28-gram serving. There's no need to head off on a hike to enjoy this low-sodium, low-cholesterol snack either, but if you're after a pre-workout energy boost or refueling between meals, it's packed with 3 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbs. 

This trail mix also makes a great topping for cereal or oatmeal. If you're not a fan of cranberries, there are plenty of other flavors to choose from, like Cocoa Power, Nutty Mingle, and Body Boost.

Field Roast Chao Creamery Cantina-Style Queso

No list of healthy snacks would be complete without a classic dip, and there's nothing more classic than chile con queso. Though today it's made with processed cheese, the original dip used a bechamel sauce with tomato, paprika, cheese, and cayenne. You could make your own chile con queso at home, but for days when that's just not possible, there's a healthy version you can grab from the store.

Field Roast Chao Creamery Cantina-Style Queso is a plant-based cheese dip that's created with fermented tofu, rather than cashews, for a silky smooth texture and rich, smoky flavor. With bell peppers, paprika, tomato, and spices, this dip is suitable for vegans, low in calories and fat, and makes a super delicious accompaniment to veggies or kelp chips. It also tastes amazing as a burger or chili topping, or used in sauce for plant-based mac 'n cheese.

Dang Coconut Chips Original Recipe

When you think of chips, coconut probably isn't the first food that comes to mind, but toasted coconut is surprisingly crunchy, delicious, and nutritious. Sometimes considered a nut or a fruit, coconut is actually a type of fruit known as a drupe. 

Coconut is high in fiber and essential minerals, and, according to Everyday Health, around half of coconut's saturated fat comes from lauric acid, which can help boost HDL ("good") cholesterol, though it can also increase LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Coconut is good for you when consumed in moderation and can support healthy blood pressure, making these chips one of the healthiest snacks around. 

Dang Coconut Chips Original Recipe do have added sugar and salt, but they contain 50% less sugar than apple chips, are packed with fiber, contain no preservatives, and also come in a range of other flavors, including caramel sea salt and lightly salted. A delicious way to treat your sweet tooth, they're also a tasty topping for yogurt, smoothies, cereal, or oatmeal.

Brad's Crunchy Kale Original W/Probiotics

Though kale chips are a relatively modern craze, the dark green, leafy vegetable kale is actually a superfood that's been around since Roman times. While you could bake your own crispy kale chips at home, it can be hard to find time on busy days. When you need a kale chip fix on the go, Brad's Crunchy Kale Original W/Probiotics is at hand. 

No more boring, bland kale chips — these are made with chickpea miso and koji for a taste bud-awakening umami hit. Koji is a Japanese fungus that's used in fermented foods and is thought to be associated with longevity. These organic chips are packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients, high in vitamin K to help repair cell damage and vitamin B for a healthy brain and stronger bones, and are an excellent choice for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. As well as the original variety, you can grab Brad's Crunchy Kale in Naked, Radical Ranch, Vampire Killer, Nacho, and Cheeze it Up flavors.

Larabar Almond Cookie

Nutrition bars aren't always a healthy choice, but provided you pay attention to the ingredients and sugar content, you can find healthy options. Take this Larabar Almond Cookie, which is made with almonds, dates, apples, sea salt, and almond extract. Though it contains 13 grams of sugar, it's all-natural and comes from dates, and because dates are a low-GI food (via BMC Nutrition Journal), this bar can help you feel fuller for longer and prevent blood sugar spikes, helping boost your energy levels on busy days. 

The almonds in this Larabar also help control blood sugar thanks to their high magnesium content, plus they're loaded with protein and fiber. Almonds are one of the best sources of vitamin E and adding them to your diet could help cut your risk of heart disease, according to BMC Public Health.

Don't like almonds? Other healthy choices include Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, which has 19 grams of sugar, and Blueberry Muffin, which includes 17 grams of sugar.

Bada Bean Bada Boom Crunchy Broad Beans Buffalo Wing

Forget potato chips, broad beans are the new crunchy snack everybody's loving in 2023. Also known as fava beans, broad beans are a type of legume — a vegetable that grows inside a pod. These little beans are also high in protein and manganesefor strong bones, rich in fiber for healthy digestion, and an excellent source of iron.

Bada Bean Bada Boom Crunchy Broad Beans Buffalo Wing packs all the flavors of your favorite game day treat into a crunchy, plant-based snack. They're made with broad beans, rice flour, salt, and seasoning, and roasted with a little sunflower oil. They contain no saturated fat, and pack 45 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein into every 28-gram bag. 

Bada Bean Bada Boom Crunchy Broad Beans come in a choice of 10 flavors that can be eaten straight from the bag or included on your favorite dishes. Savory options like spicy wasabi or Zesty Ranch are great added to salads or sprinkled in soup, and Sweet Cinnamon is perfect as a morning yogurt or oatmeal topper.