Plenty of our favorite celebs are well aware of the importance of snacking to help them power through long days on set. They’re also not bad at choosing balanced bites that satisfy cravings and dampen hunger. Read on to discover the go-to munchies of A-listers like Jessica Alba and Tracee Ellis Ross—and how to make their snacks even healthier with tweaks from Health‘s contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD.
Jenna Dewan Tatum
Snack of choice: Fruit smoothie with apple, banana, raspberries, blueberries, and water
Make it healthier: Fruit is chock-full of vitamins and antioxidants, Sass notes. But if you copy Dewan Tatum’s smoothie, “stick to one cup of fruit to avoid excess carbs and sugar, and blend in some veggies,” she says. Also consider throwing in a healthy fat, like half of an avocado or a tablespoon or two of nut butter. “Adding a healthy fat source will also up the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants from the produce and boost satiety.”
Snack of choice: Hard-boiled egg
Make it healthier: Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein. “One egg provides 6 to 7 grams of high-quality protein and important nutrients, including vitamin D, in the yolk,” Sass says. To round out the snack, she suggests pairing an egg with vegetables and a healthy fat, like mashed avocado, olive tapenade, or tahini.
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Snack of choice: Diced watermelon with Tajin and lime
Make it healthier: While watermelon provides lots of vitamin C, when eaten by itself, it can spike blood sugar (it’s a high-glycemic food). “Stick to one cup and add a source of healthy fat or protein, like a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds, to blunt that effect,” Sass recommends.
Tracee Ellis Ross
Snack of choice: Boulder Canyon potato chips and olives
Make it healthier: “This brand rates well in my book because the ingredients are simple,” Sass says. Olives are also rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. She does warn that this snack combo may be fairly salty, “so it’s important to drink enough water to help the kidneys flush out excess sodium.”
Kim Kardashian West
Snack of choice: 1/2 of a small apple with 2 oz. of cheddar cheese
Make it healthier: Apples are a star source of fiber and antioxidants. The cheese provides protein, which helps support metabolism, balance blood sugar, and boost satiety. As for the type of apple to crunch on? “I would recommend organic apples, since this fruit is on the Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen list—produce with the most pesticide residues,” Sass points out. “And go for 100% grass-fed organic cheese, which contains more healthy omega-3 fatty acids.”
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Snack of choice: An apple pie smoothie, made with 5 raw almonds, 1 red apple, 1 small frozen banana, 6 oz. fat-free plain Greek yogurt, ½ cup of almond milk, and a ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Make it healthier: “This sounds like a great post-workout recovery smoothie or a snack to get through a longer stretch between meals,” Sass says. However, it might be too heavy of a snack if you sip it too close to a main meal, or for someone who is less active. (You can always drink half, and save the rest for later.)
Snack of choice: Popcorn with Himalayan sea salt and coconut oil
Make it healthier: Sass is a big fan of popcorn; the snack satisfies crunchy cravings, yet it’s a whole grain that provides antioxidants and fiber. Plus, you can eat a generous portion without racking up too many carbs or calories. The flavor boosters are OK in her book, too: “While the research on coconut oil oil is mixed, I am in favor of using it in rotation with extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oil; it’s a satiety booster,” Sass says. Just a little bit of Himalayan sea salt goes a long way, thanks to its powerful flavor. “But to prevent potential water retention and bloating, cut back on the salt and add black pepper or ground chipotle,” she recommends.
Snack of choice: Menounos makes “speedy egg salad” by smashing up a hard-boiled egg and mixing it with mustard and salt, and spreading it on whole-grain or gluten-free toast, or scooping it with celery sticks
Make it healthier: Mustard contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds, says Sass, and celery provides potassium, antioxidants, and fiber, all for very few calories. “For a little bonus protein in addition to the egg, fiber, and antioxidants, sprinkle in some pumpkin seeds or sprouted watermelon seeds,” she suggests.
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Jada Pinkett Smith
Snack of choice: Chocolate chip cookie dough Quest Bar
Make it healthier: Quest bars contain the artificial sweetener sucralose, a sugar alcohol that may cause digestive upset in some people. Instead, choose a protein bar with all-natural ingredients (including sweeteners) like Amrita’s Chocolate Maca bar, says Sass. Or, try this easy snack recipe for a sweet fix with bonus protein and fewer carbs: Chop up a few squares of dark chocolate and mix with a few tablespoons of almond flour and a dash of cinnamon into plain, organic, grass-fed Greek yogurt.