Snack foods are often categorized as junk food. However they don’t have to be. To keep a snack healthy, be sure to review its nutrition facts. If those are woeful, there is always a healthful alternative that can easily be substituted. The key is to replicate shapes and textures, but opt for the healthier options.

If you want to eat:

GarlicPotato ChipsParmesan garlic flavored potato chips, serving size: 14 chips

  • 140 calories
  • 7 g total fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 160 mg sodium
  • 17 g carbohydrate
  • 1 g dietary fiber
  • 1 g sugar
  • 2 g protei

Then you should try:

Cale ChipsKale chips, homemade using only one bunch of kale, a tablespoon of oil and pepper. Nutrition facts come from self.com for kale and olive oil. Serving size: 2 cups. Batch makes about 8 cups.

  • 25 calories
  • 5 g total fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 5 g carbohydrates
  • 0g sugar
  • 1 g protein
  • .5 g fiber
  • 5 mg sodium

Kale chips are the better choice for a healthy snack as they not only have more volume in the amount of food that can be consumed, but fewer calories and less fat and carbohydrates. They also have about 10 times less sodium.

An easy recipe for them can be found here.

If you want to eat:

Gummy Fruit SnacksFruit snacks, serving size 26.66 g (2/3 of a snack package)

  • 130 calories
  • 0g total fat
  • 15 mg sodium
  • 31 g carbohydrates
  • 18 g sugar
  • 1 g protein
  • fiber not mentioned

 

Then you should try:

Fresh StrawberriesFresh strawberries, serving size: 1 cup

  • 49 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 2 mg sodium
  • 12 g carbohydrates
  • 3 g dietary fiber
  • 7 g sugar
  • 1 g protein

It’s a no-brainer that fruit is a better alternative to fruit snacks. One serving of generic fruit snacks can easily be held in one palm. However for fewer calories, less sugar, sodium and carbohydrates, people can choose 1 cup of halved, fresh strawberries. They are also a good source of vitamin C.

If you want to eat:

Pretzel SticksSalted pretzels, serving size: 12 pretzel sticks

  • 110 calories
  • 1 g. total fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 350 mg sodium
  • 24 g. total carbohydrates
  • 1 g. dietary fiber
  • 1 g. sugar
  • 2 g. protein

Then you should try:

Carrot SticksCarrots, nutrition information comes from the United States Department of Agriculture. Serving size: ½ cup, 12 2-3 inch sticks

  • 25 calories
  • 0 g. total fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 45 mg sodium
  • 6 g carbohydrates
  • 2 g fiber
  • 3 g sugar
  • 1 g protein

Carrots can easily replaces pretzel sticks in both shape and convenience. They contain less than a quarter of the calories found in salted pretzels. They also have seven times less the amount of sodium found in pretzels.

If you want to eat:

Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice CreamCherry chocolate chunk ice cream, serving size: a 4 fl oz. container

  • 250 calories
  • 16 g fat
  • 80 mg cholesterol (20 mg. sodium per oz.)
  • 45 mg sodium
  • 25 g carbohydrates (6.25 g carbohydrates per oz.)
  • less than one g fiber
  • 23 g sugar (5.75 g sugar per oz.)
  • 4 g protein

Then you should try:

Yogurt PopsLow-fat raspberry yogurt, serving size: a 6 oz. container, frozen into mini pops

  •  170 calories
  • 3g total fat
  • 15mg cholesterol
  • 110mg sodium (18.33 mg sodium per oz.)
  • 27g carbohydrates (4.5 g carbohydrates per oz)
  • less than one gram fiber
  • 27 g sugar (4.5 g sugar per oz.)
  • 8 g protein

Because the two serving sizes differed, nutritional aspects were divided to the ounce to keep ratios even between the compared snacks. With those changes, low-fat yogurt beat ice cream in terms of sugar, fat and overall calories. For those who are skeptical that yogurt can replace ice cream for dessert, try freezing it in ice-cube trays or ice-pop molds.

If you want to eat:

Chili Cheese Corn ChipsChili cheese flavored corn chips, serving size a 2 oz. (snack size) package

  • 320 calories
  • 19 g total fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 540 mg sodium
  • 30 g carbohydrates
  • 2 g fiber
  • 2 g sugar
  • 4 g protein

Then you should try:

Kettle PopcornKettle popcorn, serving size: a 1.5 oz package (unpopped) (mini size)

  • 190 calories
  • 10g total fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 160 mg sodium
  • 23 g carbohydrates
  • 4g fiber
  • 0 g sugar
  • 3 g protein

One snack-sized bag popped into about 4 cups of popcorn. Popcorn was the better option when compared to corn chips based not only on the difference in volume, but also the nutritional aspects. Kettle popcorn contained fewer calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates and had more fiber. The corn chips, when only the serving sizes are considered, had an additional ounce of protein.