When it comes to snacking, we need to be careful with the foods we choose – especially if you’re looking to lose weight, manage your weight, or combat diabetes and control your blood sugar levels. Health professionals like Dr. Ali Ghahary recommend choosing snacks containing both fibre and protein – ideally 15 to 20 grams. The key to choosing healthy snacks is making sure they’re high in nutritional value and low in calories, fat, sugar and sodium.

First we’ll take a look at the snacks you should avoid…

Donuts and Cakes
Compared to some, chocolate-coated and powdered donuts and cakes contain a lare amount of saturated fats and are high in calories. A frosted donut, for example, can contain anywhere from 200 to 320 calories, 20 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of saturated fat. These types of snacks are also high in sodium, containing as much as 180 milligrams.

Microwave or Movie Theatre Popcorn
While popcorn might seem like a healthy snack, it’s still high in trans fat. Just 3 cups of popped popcorn can contain 4 to 5 grams. It’s also easy to eat a large amount of popcorn in one sitting, which means people often tend to double or triple that amount and can wind up consuming anywhere from 20 to 30 grams of fat.

Potato Chips and Cheetos
Things like classic potato chips, Cheetos, cheese puffs and sometimes even pretzels are not only high in calories (containing as much as 300 calories per 2 ounces), but also extremely high in sodium due to their salt content; and the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure, which can put a strain on your heart and put you at risk of developing heart disease.

Frozen Snacks
Things like pizza pockets, potato skins, and burritos often come frozen. While they may seem convenient due to their quick and easy cooking process, they’re quite unhealthy, being high in calories and saturated fat, as well as high in sodium. They also contain little nutritional value. If you want something to snack on, you should always opt for foods that are fresh and unfrozen.

Now what about the snacks you should eat?

Bean Dip and Vegetables
Bean dip is something you can easily make on your own with just a few simple ingredients – like kidney beans, garbanzo beans and chickpeas. Not only is this an inexpensive snack to make, but it’s also got a great combination of both protein and fibre, can boost your energy, and help keep your blood glucose levels under control as well as combat high blood pressure. You can also eat bean dip with raw vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and more.

You might think of this as something people only eat for breakfast, but it’s great to eat during any time of the day. Most oatmeal, in general, is high in soluble fibre, which is great for anyone with heart disease and diabetes. Consumption of high-fibre oatmeal can also decrease the risk of heart disease and obesity.

Yogurt – non-fat, Greek yogurt especially – is a very healthy snack. One small serving can contain anywhere from 12 to 25 grams of protein, which will help you feel full longer. It’s also a great product for individuals who suffer from high blood pressure.

For more healthy eating tips, follow Dr. Ali Ghahary on Twitter and Instagram.