Everyone loves a salty or sweet snack every now and then; it's a great way to curb your appetite and gain a little extra pep to get you through the day. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to grab the nearest quick fixes, and too many of those are loaded with refined sugars and flours or unhealthy fats, which provide a false sense of nourishment. Take snacking to a healthier level by indulging in bites made with wholesome, unprocessed ingredients that keep blood sugar in check and boost energy. These handy snacks — ideal for movie watching, backyard parties, or a midday pick-me-up — supply the body with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients that hit the spot when you need a lift.

vegan: Agave Popcorn Balls

Makes 16-20 / No toy surprise with these healthy Cracker Jack imitations — the reward comes from a deliciously sweet treat with no refined sugar, butter, or artificial ingredients. Because they contain no granulated sugar, these are softer than caramel corn. View Recipe...

quick: Three-Minute Sushi Rolls

Makes 12 / Both kids and adults love these simple rolls that can be made in minutes. Ingredient tip: Look for seaweed sheets in the Asian section of your natural foods market. View Recipe...

staff favorite, quick, vegan: Kale Chips

Serves 8 / These mineral-rich, pop-in-your-mouth crunchies are a low-carb alternative to popcorn, potato chips, or french fries. The winning formula? Salty, sour, and sweet. View Recipe...

quick: Chicken Nugget Dippers

Makes about 24 / These make perfect lunchbox stuffers or a high-protein after-school snack. Serving tip: Any dip will do; try Thai peanut sauce, ketchup and mayo, Asian dipping sauce, or even fruit preserves. View Recipe...

Healthy grab-and-go snacks:

Almond- or garlic-stuffed olives
Healthy and unique.

Broccoli hearts
Don't throw away those broccoli stems! Slice away the thin, fibrous skin to uncover the tender heart underneath. Eat them raw with your favorite dip.

Nut crackers
Great on their own or with a spread. Try Blue Diamond gluten-free nut thins.

Seaweed chips
Crispy and delicious; even kids love them. Look for Yamamotoyama Seaweed Snack Chips or Sound Sea Spicy Nori Strips in the Asian section of well-stocked markets.

Trail mix
Make your own, with raw or roasted nuts, dried fruit, coconut flakes, soy nuts, and more; or look for Himalania Goji Berry Trail Mix where you find packaged nuts.

vegan: No-Bake Apple-Butter Pecan Balls

Makes about 20 / Rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbs, these take-along treats are even healthy enough for breakfast. Ingredient tip: Find oat flour in the bulk or baking section of natural foods markets. View Recipe...

vegan: Roasted Yam and Onion Dip (photo on page 35)

Makes about 2 cups / A rich melding of yams, onions, and garlic make a perfect all-season dip for vegetable crudités or whole-grain crackers. View Recipe...

Alison Anton is a nutritional chef, cooking instructor, and food writer. Read her natural cooking blog at wholegourmet.com.

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