We all love snacks, but it’s important to have a good handle on our snacking habits before they get out of control. Research shows that snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods contributes to abdominal obesity, and when we snack absentmindedly, we may be consuming far more calories and carbs than we realize.

I set out to find and try several healthy snacks and provide a report. Believe me, if I can find snacks that I love but don’t break the calorie bank, you can too. There are plenty of healthier options out there, no matter what type of snack you love!

Try tossing one of these in your cart next time you’re wandering around the snack isle.

We asked a certified nutritionist to come up with general nutrition guidelines for snacks for people with diabetes. These are not hard-and-fast rules, but general tips to keep in mind:

A beginners guide to healthy snacking

• Less than 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving
• 1 gram of saturated fat (or less) per 100 calories
• 150 milligrams of sodium or less
• The more fiber, the better
• Limited added sugars

All of the following snacks can be found at Wal-Mart and other popular grocery chains. I categorized them and provided basic nutritional information. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it’s a good place to start.

Nuts

Almonds (natural, unsalted)
1 ounce or about 22 whole nuts
Carbs: 6 g
Calories: 160
Total Fat: 14 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 6 g
Sodium: 0 mg

Almonds are high in fiber, protein, magnesium, and vitamin E. They have been found to lower blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and reduce blood pressure.

Walnuts
1 ounce or about 14 walnut halves
Carbs: 4 g
Calories: 190
Total Fat: 18 g
Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 4 g
Sodium: 0 mg

Walnuts have high amounts of folate, melatonin, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. Research has shown they may also support brain health. However, be aware of their high fat content.

Pecans
1 ounce or around 15 pecan halves
Carbs: 4 g
Calories: 200
Total Fat: 21 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 3 g
Sodium: 45 mg

Pecans are high in manganese and are a good source of fiber. Pecans are also known to support heart health—they are high in antioxidants and may help prevent plaque formation in your arteries by lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. Again, take notice of the total fat content and snack responsibly!

Chips

Veggie Chips
1 ounce or about 38 chips
(based on Sensible Portions brand Garden Veggie Chips with Sea Salt)
Carbs: 15 g
Calories: 130
Total Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Fiber: less than 1 g
Protein: 1 g
Sodium: 250 mg

These chips have 30 percent less fat than standard potato chips and have 0 grams of trans fat and 0 milligrams of cholesterol. They are high in sodium, which is a drawback, but overall they still provide more health benefits than the standard chip. They are also certified kosher and vegan friendly.

Wheat Thins: Garden Valley Veggie Toasted Chips
1 ounce or about 12 chips
Carbs: 20 g
Calories: 130
Total Fat: 4.5 g
Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g
Sodium: 260 mg

These chips are higher in carbs and sodium, but contain less than half the total fat and double the fiber of Classic Lay’s Potato Chips.

Wild Sea Salt and Black Sesame Riceworks
1 ounce or about 7 crisps
Carbs: 19 g
Calories: 140
Total Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 2 g
Sodium: 110 mg

This snack is high in fiber, celiac-friendly, and contains whole-grain rice, which is high in fiber and magnesium.

Cookies

Nabisco Strawberry Fig Newtons
29 grams or 2 cookies
Carbs: 21 g
Calories: 100
Total Fat: 2.0 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 1 g
Sodium: 110 mg

With little fat and no high fructose corn syrup, these cookies can be part of your healthy snacking routine, though they do have a high carb count.

SnackWell’s Mini Chocolate Crème Sandwich Cookies
1 pack or about 11 cookies
Carbs: 23 g
Calories: 170
Total Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 1 g
Sodium: 115 mg

These cookies are made with no high fructose corn syrup and provide built-in portion control with their small size and packaging.

Popcorn

Skinny Pop Original Popcorn
28 grams or about 3 ¾ cups
Carbs: 15 g
Calories: 150
Total Fat: 10 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 2 g
Sodium: 75 mg

This popcorn is a good source of fiber and is gluten-free as well as preservative-free.

Orville Redenbacher’s Naturals Light: Garlic Butter and Sea Salt Classic Bag
About 4.5 cups popped
Carbs: 20 g
Calories: 130
Total Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Fiber: less than 3 g
Protein: 3 g
Sodium: 290 mg

This popcorn is made with 100 percent whole grain and makes the perfect addition to your next movie night.

Smartfood Delight White Cheddar
About 3 ½ cups
Carbs: 18 g
Calories: 130
Total Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 3 g
Sodium: 200 mg

This air-popped popcorn has no artificial flavors or preservatives and is also 100 percent whole-grain.

What are your tips for healthy snacking? Share your thoughts below.