Many people snack at least once during the course of a day. What you eat matters to joint function and overall health. This means your snack choices are important. To help navigate the world of snacking, here is a list of my recommendations for what to eat and what not to eat, so you can stay satiated and maintain optimal joint health. 

The Science of Snacking

A snack is generally defined as any food eaten between main meals, but it is not uncommon for people to replace meals with snacks. The 2020 Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council reported that 40% of Americans replace meals occasionally, and 25% skip meals entirely. 

Snacking has several benefits to your health, such as supporting healthy blood sugar and energy levels throughout the day and helping curb your appetite. This does not mean they should replace meals. When you choose healthy snacks, you can add additional nutrients to your diet to promote optimal health. 

Unfortunately, the most common snack choices in the U.S. are crackers, chips, cookies, candy, popcorn, and soft drinks. To best support your joint and overall health, you need to skip these snacks and opt for those that can help you reach your health goals. 

Smart Snacking for Better Joint 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 my list of snacks to avoid and the nutritious alternatives you should grab instead. 

eat veggies, not chips

Eat Veggies, Not Chips

Potato and veggie chips may seem like they would be good for you, given the vegetable names. Unfortunately, there are very few vegetables in the products, and the frying process to make them strips essential proteins and nutrients. Chips are also high in sodium and fat.

To ensure you get all the nutrients that vegetables offer, stick with the fresh version instead. You get the same crunchy snack and a host of health benefits. Cruciferous and root vegetables are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, which help reduce occasional oxidative stress and promote proper calcium absorption. 

So, EAT some homemade baked sweet potato chips with turmeric, broccoli florets with hummus, or some carrot sticks, NOT processed potato chips.

Eat Nuts, Not Pretzels

Many opt for pretzels instead of potato chips. Pretzels may contain less fat than chips but still contain high amounts of sodium and offer very little fiber or nutritional value. 

Instead of pretzels, grab a handful of nuts, seeds, or both. Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and deliver powerful omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce occasional oxidative stress and can support connective tissue health. 

So, EAT some homemade trail mix with joint-supportive walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, and pine nuts, NOT pretzels.

eat nuts, not pretzels

Eat Fruit, Not Cookies

In the same way that fresh vegetables are better than fried vegetable chips, fresh fruit is a healthful alternative to cookies. When you’re craving something sweet, the natural sugar in fruit is a healthier alternative to the refined sugars in cookies. 

Cookies also offer no nutritional value. When you pack fresh fruit for your snacks, you get a host of antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, and fiber. Berries, cherries, avocado, and oranges offer anthocyanins and vitamin C, which can help reduce occasional oxidative stress and joint discomfort. 

So, EAT some avocado toast, a bowl of cherries, or a berry fruit salad, NOT cookies.

Eat Yogurt, Not Candy

Another common snack is candy, and with vending machines everywhere, it can be challenging to avoid the temptation. Instead of refined sugar that works against your health goals, bring yogurt along with you for a smarter snacking choice. 

Yogurt is full of beneficial probiotics, protein, and vitamins that can support overall health. Plain yogurt that is free of added sugars is a healthful option to replace candy, and you have the option to flavor it with your favorite fruits. 

So, EAT plain Greek yogurt with fruit, granola, chia seeds, and honey, NOT candy. 

1MD Nutrition's MoveMD

Something Extra

Your joints keep you moving all day long, and they need specific nutrients to get this job done. Even with a balanced diet, it can be beneficial to get additional support. In addition to packing healthy snacks for your day, keep 1MD Nutrition’s MoveMD® on hand to make sure your joints have everything they need.

MoveMD® can support joint health and mobility and help reduce everyday joint aches with the comprehensive formula that includes clinically-studied AprèsFlex® Boswellia serrata and Zanthin® Natural Astaxanthin along with advanced collagen and hyaluronic acid. With regular use, you can help maintain connective tissue health and promote range of motion, so you don’t miss out on the activities you love.

Final Thoughts

Your food choices matter, not just to joint function but to overall health. By adding nutritious snacks to a balanced diet, performing regular exercise, and taking 1MD Nutrition’s joint supplements, you will create a powerful joint health routine. So, eat these snacks, not processed foods, for optimal immobility, flexibility, and whole-body health.

Dr. Adam Kreitenberg


Dr. Adam Kreitenberg is dual board-certified in both rheumatology and internal medicine. He completed his internal medicine internship, residency, and rheumatology fellowship at the University of Southern California and Los Angeles County Medical Center.