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Its philosophy is based on nutritious foods like whole grains, nuts and produce. And it's linked to better heart health, lower LDL cholesterol levels and a reduced risk for diseases such as diabetes, per a March 2019 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research.
Nutrition experts favor this diet for its proven benefits and for its focus on eating fresh fruits and vegetables regularly. But because fresh produce isn't always available — like during snack-time — we've rounded up packaged products that fit nicely within the Mediterranean diet's guidelines that making healthy noshing simple.
Nutrition experts break down the best Mediterranean diet snacks that will come in handy when hunger strikes (and when you don't have time to prep an elaborate Greek salad).
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1. HIPPEAS Organic Chickpea Puffs, Vegan White Cheddar
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 oz): 130 calories, 5 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 140 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbs (3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar), 4 grams of protein
"These chickpea-based puffs are packed with plant-protein and fiber, so they keep you fuller for longer," Carissa Galloway, RD, says. "HIPPEAS snacks are also organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and totally delicious."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $17.99 per pack of 12
2. Real Food From The Ground Up Pretzels
- Nutrition facts per serving (20 pretzel twists/40 pretzel sticks): 110 calories, 1.5 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 330 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbs (3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), 1 gram of protein
Galloway recommends grabbing this pretzel duo made with plant-based ingredients such as cauliflower and butternut squash. "Because they are Non-GMO Project-Verified, Gluten-Free Certified and plant-based, they are a great way to sneak in veggie nutrition in a convenient, savory snack."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $23.99
3. KIND Almond & Coconut Bars
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 bar): 180 calories, 12 grams of fat (5 grams of saturated fat), 10 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbs (2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar), 3 grams of protein
Offering a trio of protein, fiber and healthy fat, Amy Gorin, RD, says these KIND bars are a great go-to when you're running out the door, as they keep you satiated without too much sugar or calories. "The combo of fruit and nuts is so Mediterranean, and this snack bar features that with coconut and almonds," she says.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $14.22 for a pack of 12
4. Wonderful Pistachios, Roasted & Salted
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 bag): 130 calories, 10 grams of fat (1.5 grams of saturated fat), 110 milligrams of sodium, 6 grams of carbs (2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar), 5 grams of protein
The Med diet encourages eating plant-based proteins and pistachios are one of the highest-protein nuts at 6 grams per quarter-cup without the shells, Rania Batayneh, MPH, says. "The plant protein, better-for-you fats and fiber is a winning combination that can help to keep you feeling fuller, longer."
And while there are many shell-free pistachio snacks on the market, Batayneh recommends eating them in-shell, as the shells provide a visual cue for portions, allowing you to curb your intake and keep you full until your next meal.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $6.94 for a pack of 9
5. Natierra Nature’s Organic Freeze-Dried Blueberries
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 bag): 140 calories, 1 gram of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbs (6 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar), 1 gram of protein
Dietitian Lauren Manaker, RD, realizes that getting fresh produce isn't always doable, which is why she recommends freeze-dried fruit.
"Blueberries are a sweet and satisfying heart-healthy treat that can improve cardiovascular health, especially as part of an overall healthy lifestyle," Manaker says. In fact, eating just one cup of blueberries a day is linked to better heart health in people with metabolic syndrome, per a May 2019 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
And while you may think fresh blueberries have a nutritional edge over their frozen counterparts, there's no significant difference in antioxidant levels between fresh, dried and frozen blueberries, according to an older 2004 study in the Journal of Biomedical and Biotechnology.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $7.38
6. Perfect Bar, Peanut Butter
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 bar): 330 calories, 18 grams of fat (3 grams of saturated fat), 60 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbs (4 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar), 17 grams of protein
Because the Med diet emphasizes eating whole foods, Tracy Lockwood-Beckerman, RD, says this portable bar comes in handy when munchies creep on, as it's made with almonds, peanuts and other standout ingredients.
"This bar made from nuts and packs more than 20 superfoods like kale and spinach into each bar," she explains. "One bar will give you a boost of antioxidants alongside a dose of plant-based protein."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $2.99
7. Enlightened Bada Bean Bada Boom Crunchy Broad Beans
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 oz): 100 calories, 3 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 130 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbs (5 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), 7 grams of protein
Beans and legumes are important plant-based proteins linked to weight loss, decreased inflammation and diabetes prevention, Lockwood-Beckerman says.
While you can certainly enjoy these fiber- and protein-rich beans on their own, Lockwood-Beckerman suggests pairing them with meals to add a flavorful crunch. "I recommend replacing salty and non-nutritious croutons with these crunchy beans as a healthy and improved salad topper," she says.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $19.10 for 6 bags
8. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cup With Flax and Chia
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 container): 210 calories, 1 gram of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 160 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbs (7 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), 7 grams of protein
This classic breakfast staple can also serve as a hearty snack, as oats contain a unique fiber called beta-glucan, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you satiated, Lockwood-Beckerman says.
This oatmeal cup gets added points for including flaxseed. "These seeds douse the body with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with longevity, improved brain health and positive mood," Lockwood-Beckerman says. "I like to have one of these oatmeal cups between meals, so I have enough energy to organize and prepare dinner."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $2.39
9. Angelic Bakehouse Harissa Green Chile & Sweet Potato Crisps
- Nutrition facts per serving (14 crisps): 120 calories, 5 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 280 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbs (3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar), 4 grams of protein
These whole-grain crackers are made with fiber-filled ingredients including wheat berries, quinoa, millet and barley, Gorin says.
"Whole grains are a big part of the Mediterranean diet," Gorin says. "Per 14 crisps, you get a good source of fiber as well as 4 grams of protein — both nutrients that will help keep you full."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $15.79 per pack of 3
10. Divina Green Olives Stuffed With Sundried Tomatoes
- Nutrition facts per serving (2 Olives): 30 calories, 2.5 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 220 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbs (1 gram of fiber, 0 gram of sugar), 0 grams of protein
Olives are king when it comes to providing heart-healthy unsaturated fats along with vitamin E, which is known to have antioxidant powers, Rachel Fine, RD, says.
"Sun-dried tomatoes boost the overall load of antioxidants in this snack. They're high in lycopene, an antioxidant associated with a lowered risk of certain cancers," she says.
Buy it: igourmet.com; Price: $7.99
11. Hilo Life Crispy Cheddar Cheese and Almonds
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 package): 250 calories, 21 grams of fat (8 grams of saturated fat), 260 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbs (2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), 12 grams of protein
Snack mix can definitely hit the spot when that potato chip temptation comes on strong. This one is brimming with protein and complex carbs, keeping you full until your next meal, Fine says.
"This snack offers a great balance of unsaturated fats and complex carbs from the nuts," Fine says. "The addition of cheese adds a dose of protein to help keep blood sugar at bay until your next meal."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $14.98 for a pack of 6
12. Three Bridges Spinach and Bell Peper Egg Bites
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 egg bite): 280 calories, 22 grams of fat (11 grams of saturated fat), 340 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of carbs (1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), 17 grams of protein
When it comes to following the Mediterranean diet, getting your fill of veggies is key. And since these egg bites contain bell peppers plus eggs and cheese to fill you up, Gorin says it's a good grab-and-go snack to reach for when you're on a time crunch.
"On the Mediterranean diet, you can have eggs and low-fat cheese in moderation," she says.
Buy it: Target.com; Price: $3.99
- U.S. News: "U.S. News Reveals Best Diets Rankings for 2020"
- NCBI: "The Mediterranean Diet: From an Environment-Driven Food Culture to an Emerging Medical Prescription"
- Heart: "Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids"
- Gut: "Mediterranean diet intervention alters the gut microbiome in older people reducing frailty and improving health status: the NU-AGE 1-year dietary intervention across five European countries"
- Clinical Nutrition: "Blueberries improve biomarkers of cardiometabolic function in participants with metabolic syndrome—results from a 6-month, double-blind, randomized controlled trial"
- Biomedicine & Biotechnology: "The Change of Total Anthocyanins in Blueberries and Their Antioxidant Effect After Drying and Freezing."
- NIH: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids"
- Food Science & Technology: "Lycopene – a bioactive carotenoid offering multiple health benefits: a review"
- Advances In Nutrition: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life"