M&F readers have a pretty good grasp on what to eat in order to get and maintain a lean, muscular physique. Mealtimes are easy: protein galore, smarter carbohydrate choices, plenty of veggies and fruits, the right supps. But it is what you eat between those meals that can make or break your build. Take in the right snacks and you continue to power your body through to the next meal. The wrong snack, or mini-meal, can bring your metabolism to a crashing halt and leave you struggling to catch up the rest of the day.

The following is a strong list of M&F’s favorite healthy snack foods, with a short statement on why it makes the cut. Happy snacking!

Best Chips

Kettle Bakes Lightly Salted Potato Chips
Serving size: 1 oz.
120 calories, 3 g protein, 21 g carbs, 3 g fat, 2 g fiber
>> Not only are these light on the salt, but the fat, too.

Tostitos Multigrain Tortilla Chips
Serving size: 1 oz.
150 calories, 2 g protein, 18 g carbs, 8 g fat (1 g sat), 2 g fiber
>> More fiber than Tostitos regular tortilla chips.

Best Convenient Veggies

Green Giant Fresh Baby Cut Carrots
Serving size: 3 oz. (about 14)
40 calories, 1 g protein, 9 g carbs, 0 g fat, 2 g fiber
>> An easy way to satisfy your recommended veggie intake.

Best Cottage Cheese

Horizon Organic Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
Serving size: ½ cup
100 calories, 13 g protein, 4 g carbs, 2.5 g fat
>> High in protein, low in carbs and fat.

Best Fruit Snack

Mott’s Healthy Harvest Apple Sauce
Serving size: 1 cup
50 calories, 0 g protein, 13 g carbs, 0 g fat, 1 g fiber
>> If you prefer your fruit wet instead of dry. 


Best Jerky

Oberto Natural Style Beef Jerky
Serving size: 2 oz.
160 calories, 22 g protein, 14 g carbs, 2 g fat
>> Like cottage cheese (high protein, low carbs), only less perishable.

Best Low-Cal Dessert

Jell-O Sugar-Free Gelatin
Serving size: 19.5 oz. (1 individual container)
10 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g carbs, 0 g fat
>> The gelatin equivalent to Crystal Light – you can knock yourself out with this stuff when you crave something sweet.

Best Nuts

Blue Diamond Almonds
Serving size: ¼ cup
180 calories, 6 g protein, 6 g carbs, 14 g fat (1 g sat), 3 g fiber
>> The words “honey roasted” mean “more sugar.” When it comes to nuts, the plainer and less salty, the better.

Planters Dry-Roasted Unsalted Peanuts
Serving size: 28 g
160 calories, 8 g protein, 6 g carbs, 14 g fat (2 g sat), 2 g fiber
>> You can even find these at most gas stations. Now that’s convenience 

Best Peanut Butter

Power Butter
Serving size: 2 Tbsp.
182 calories, 16 g protein, 7 g carbs, 12 g fat (2 g sat), 3 g fiber
>> This blows away regular peanut butter with its added egg whites as well as flaxseed and flaxseed oil.


Best Popcorn

Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop Organic Popcorn
Serving size: ½ bag
120 calories, 4 g protein, 26 g carbs, 2 g fat, 5 g fiber
>> Orville’s regular buttered popcorn has 12 g fat per serving.

Best Pudding

Instone High-Protein Pudding
Serving size: 1
100 calories, 20 g protein, 2 g carbs, 2 g fat, 1 g fiber
>> Regular puddings don’t hold a candle to Instone in terms of protein and carbs.

Best String Cheese

Sorrento Stringsters Reduced Fat String Cheese
Serving size: 1
70 calories, 8 g protein, 1 g carbs, 4 g fat
>> Nice to know one of the best snack foods ever comes in low-fat form.

Best Trail Mix

Eden Trail Mix
Serving size: 3 Tbsp.
140 calories, 5 g protein, 10 g carbs, 11 g fat, 4 g fiber
>> Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, roasted almonds and more, all organic.