By Lisa Abbay, MBA, RDN, LDN, FAND 

Most Americans like to snack. According to Food Insight, a recent health survey revealed that three in four respondents reported snacking at least once daily. So, what is considered a snack? A snack is generally defined as any food eaten between main meals. As with anything, there are pros and cons to snacking. We don’t need to stop snacking; we just need to reevaluate or rethink what we eat and how much we eat. 

Here are a few benefits and pitfalls for mindless snacking: 


  • It boosts energy if several hours pass between meals and blood glucose levels drop. 
  • It helps curb your appetite to prevent overeating at the next meal. 
  • Provides extra nutrients when choosing certain snacks, like fresh fruit or nuts. 
  • It can help maintain adequate nutrition if one has a poor appetite but cannot eat full meals due to an illness. 
  • Pitfalls 
  • Unwanted weight gain if portions or frequency of snacking is too much, adding excess calories. 
  • Regular intake of ultra-processed hyperpalatable snacks that contain added salt, sugar, and fats but are low in nutrients and high in calories can increase a preference for these types of foods, leading to a change in eating behaviors and diet quality (e.g., a higher intake of hyperpalatable snacks along with a decreased intake of healthful foods). 

These are some low-calorie snack options, but be mindful to follow the serving size: 

  • Low-fat or plant-based yogurt with a few nuts 
  • Mini protein snack bars 
  • Beef Jerky 
  • Nut and seed trail mix 
  • Cottage cheese with berries or pear 
  • Veggie chips, snap peas, or kale chips 
  • Crunchy Chickpeas 
  • Almond flour crackers with natural or organic peanut butter 
  • Hard-boiled egg with celery, carrots, or cherry tomatoes 
  • Hummus and veggies 
  • Greek yogurt frozen bars 
  • Celery with natural or organic peanut butter 
  • Apple slices with almond butter 
  • Cheese stick and small apple 
  • Egg wrap with cheese and spinach 

As with any meal, be mindful of the serving size, prioritize protein and fiber, and be a mindful snacker. Be present while you snack, and try not to multi-task. Happy Snacking! 

Lisa Abbay, MBA, RDN, LDN, FAND, has over 24 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian in clinical nutrition, regional food service, and as a senior leader in Talent Acquisition. She is a freelance writer and speaker.