Many people snack at least once during the course of a day. What you eat matters to your gut and overall health, which means your snack choice is important. To help navigate the world of snacking, this list of what to eat and what not to eat will keep you satiated and your gut in optimal health. 

The Science of Snacking

The most common snack choices are cookies, chips, candy, popcorn, soft drinks, crackers, fruit, and yogurt, according to the 2020 Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council. 

This survey also reported that 25% of Americans report snacking multiple times a day, while 40% of Americans occasionally replace meals by snacking. While snacks can be an important part of a healthy diet, they should not replace whole meals. 

Snacking alone does not provide the essential nutrients your body needs for optimal digestive and whole-body health. As part of a comprehensive routine, snacking does have benefits, such as:

♦ Promoting healthy blood sugar levels
♦ Supporting normal energy throughout the day
♦ Helping curb your appetite to prevent overeating at the next meal 

Of course, your choice of snack can be the difference between supporting healthy digestion and not reaching your health goals. 

eat fresh fruits, not chips

Smart Snacking for Better Gut Health

Although snacks can be a regular and important part of a healthy diet, they can also work against long-term health goals. It is important to make smart choices when planning your snacks for the day ahead. Here's a list of snacks your gut wants you to avoid and the nutritious alternatives I recommend you should grab instead. 

Eat Fruit, Not Chips

Potato chips are among the most popular snacks in America. With so many varieties and convenient displays in most stores, it can be challenging to avoid grabbing a bag. But, potato chips are not doing your gut or overall health any favors. Yes, they are made from potatoes, but when fried, the high heat disrupts proteins and removes essential nutrients. Potato chips are also high in sodium and fat. 

Instead of potato chips, grab some fresh fruit instead. Fruit is just as convenient, and you don’t miss out on nutrients your body needs. Some of the best fruits for gut health include bananas, blueberries, kiwi, and apples. 

So, EAT some apple slices with almond butter or a berry and banana fruit bowl, NOT potato chips. 

Eat Yogurt, Not Cookies

Cookies are the go-to when it comes to sweet snacks, but the refined white flour and sugar ingredients can work against your healthy blood sugar goals. These ingredients also provide no nutritional value. 

Instead of cookies, you can indulge your sweet tooth with yogurt. Not only do you get probiotics to support the gut microbiome, but yogurt contains protein and several essential vitamins for overall health. When possible, opt for homemade yogurt, but if you get some from the store, just check the sugar content before you buy. 

So, EAT plain Greek or homemade yogurt with fruit, honey, or chia seeds, NOT cookies. 

eat yogurt, not cookies

Eat Veggies, Not Crackers

Crackers are often enjoyed with toppings or a dip, but even with a healthy dip like hummus, the crackers still have a lot of added salt, sugar, and fats. Many consume crackers to fill them up, but they contain very little fiber, and the high-salt content leads to the body retaining water, which increases hunger. 

Instead of crackers, slice up some of your favorite veggies to have with that dip. You get a quick snack on the go and several essential nutrients with every bite. Some of the best vegetables for gut health are leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. 

So, EAT some broccoli florets and hummus or baked sweet potato chips, NOT crackers. 

Eat Nuts, Not Candy

Stay clear of vending machines when the afternoon cravings strike. Candy is full of refined sugar, which is not doing your gut health any favors. Apart from the small antioxidant content of dark chocolate, candy has no nutritional value. 

Instead, grab a handful of nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds prove that good things come in small packages, as each is packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

So, EAT your own homemade trail mix with almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit, NOT candy.

Something Extra

Your gut is responsible for processing everything you consume, but even with a balanced diet, it can use some support. In addition to packing healthy snacks for your day, keep 1MD Nutrition® digestive health supplements on hand to ensure your digestive system has everything it needs.

1MD Nutrition's Complete Probiotics Platinum

Complete Probiotics Platinum® provides 51 billion CFUs of 11 robust probiotic strains to support the beneficial bacteria in your gut for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption and to help alleviate occasional indigestion.

Back your probiotics up with PrebioMD® to help rebalance your digestive microbiome and nourish probiotics, and EnzymeMD®, which includes 18 plant-based digestive enzymes that promote proper food breakdown to help reduce occasional gas and bloating.

Final Thoughts

Your food choices matter, not just to gut health but overall health too. Adding nutritious snacks to a balanced diet, regular exercise, and the 1MD Nutrition’s digestive supplements creates a powerful digestive health routine. So, eat these snacks, and not processed foods, for optimal gut and whole-body health.

Dr. David Kahana

Dr. Khana signature

Dr. David Kahana is board certified in Pediatrics and Gastroenterology through the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), as well as Medical Nutrition through the National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists.