It can be in the morning, afternoon, at night before bed, or heck, even at 3 a.m.
The craving (or need) to get a snack can hit at any point, and if you do this often enough (and you’re choosing the wrong items), it’s easy to pack on the pounds -- even though you’re eating smaller portions of food.
So, how can you avoid items such as potato chips and actually maintain a good health balance while snacking?
Try snacking on these healthier items, which the American Heart Association recommends.
- Apples or baked apples. These are good for your heart, weight loss, bone health, gut health and they can lower the risk of diabetes, according to Healthline.
- Pears. Consuming these can be good for your gut health, can lower the risk of diabetes, and can aid in both heart health and weight loss, according to Healthline.
- Bell pepper slices. These are loaded with an assortment of vitamins, including Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin E, Healthline said.
- Zucchini or cucumber circles. Both of these vegetables are great to snack on because they are rich in Vitamin K, potassium and magnesium, according to MasterClass.
- Roasted chickpeas. Only 46 calories per ounce, chickpeas are rich in plant-based protein and can help control digestion, blood sugar, weight and appetite, according to Healthline.
- Broccoli and cauliflower florets. Both are packed with fiber, Vitamin C and micronutrients such as folate, potassium, copper and manganese, Healthline said.
- Popcorn that’s air-popped and lightly seasoned. As long as it’s not topped with loads of butter and salt, popcorn can be a reasonably healthy snack if done right, because it’s low on calories and high in fiber, according to Healthline.
- Rice cakes. The crunch and low calories of rice cakes make them a popular snack, according to Verywellfit. They can also be a source for carbohydrates.
- Whole-grain crackers with canned tuna or salmon. Whole-grain crackers can be low in calories but still provide a source of fiber -- and they can be a great pairing with tuna and salmon that’s high in protein and vitamins such as vitamin D and vitamin B12, according to WebMD.
- Nuts and seeds. Healthy fats, protein, calcium, vitamins B1, B2 and B3, and vitamin E are just some of the nutrients these items contain, the BetterHealth Channel said.
- Whole-grain toast with peanut or almond butter. As long as it’s consumed in moderation, whole-grain toast is good to eat because it provides more fiber, vitamins and minerals than white bread, according to WebMD. Pairing it with peanut or almond butter that has a good amount of protein, vitamin E and healthy fats makes it a tasty and healthy snack.
- Low-fat or fat-free cheese. This is filled with protein and calcium, according to the American Dairy Association.
- Low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Similar to low-fat or fat-free cheese, this is low in calories but also provides protein, calcium and probiotics (healthy bacteria), according to Let’s Eat Healthy.
- A fruit and veggie smoothie. As long as there isn’t too much added sugar, a fruit and veggie smoothie is filled with protein, fiber and vitamins, and can help aid in weight loss, Healthline said.
- Canned fruit. While there might be fewer vitamins than there are in fresh fruit, canned fruit can still be a healthy snack because it contains minerals, fat-soluable vitamins, protein and carbohydrates, according to Eat Right.
- Raisins. The famed cartoon cat “Garfield” might hate raisins, but you might like them if you fully realize their nutritional value. Raisins contain a healthy amount of fiber, iron, calcium, boron and antioxidents, according to Healthline.
- Dates. Similar to raisins, dates are rich in fiber and antioxidents, and can aid in bone and brain health, Healthline said.
- Figs. Fresh figs are healthier than dried figs, but in general, figs are good source of copper and Vitamin B6, according to Healthline. Figs can also aid in digestion and vascular and heart health.
- Fruit salad. Individual fruits by themselves are packed with vitamins and fiber -- but combine many fruits into one serving and it only adds to the health benefits.
This story was first published in 2021. It has since been updated.
Which one of these sound good to you? Let us know in the comments below.