A person with a bowl of popcorn and a tv remote.

What does your favorite Amazon or Netflix show have in common with a potato chip? You think you’re going to have just one, but then one inevitably turns into two, three, four, or even the whole bag—or season.

Being sedentary for long periods of time on a regular basis is linked to a whole host of ills, and you can compound those effects with mindless eating. 

Not to fear: We’ve got expert ideas for healthy, satisfying snacks

Plan Ahead

One of the best ways to avoid unhealthy snacking is to make sure you don’t watch while hungry.

“If you are watching TV at night, be sure you had a healthy dinner to prevent snacking through the whole show,” says a Consumer Reports nutritionist, Amy Keating, R.D.

More on Binge Watching

Ginger Hultin, M.S., R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Seattle-based nutritionist, says: “I tell people to avoid temptation by stocking your kitchen with healthier snacks if you plan to stay in for an extended period of time, so that when you reach for something to eat, it's lighter in calories and higher in nutrients.”

And get plenty of sleep. A lack of sleep is a risk factor for obesity, and some preliminary research suggests that sleep deprivation may even intensify cravings for unhealthy food. 

Below, some healthy, snackable binge-watch foods.

Become a member of Consumer Reports to get access to our TV Screen Optimizer, which will help you get the perfect picture on your TV in just minutes.
Join today to get started.

Binge-Watch Snacks

  1. Popcorn. Instead of buttered or caramel popcorn, pretzels or potato chips, which are packed with sodium and fat, try air-popped popcorn, which can satisfy your urge to munch. “Air-popped popcorn is a minimally processed whole-grain snack with fiber and other nutrients,” says Keating. If that’s a bit too bland, Hultin suggests try seasoning your air-popped popcorn with curry powder, garlic powder, or lemon-pepper to give it a kick.
  2. Raw veggies. If you’re looking for a more substantial snack, Hultin suggests cutting up carrots, peppers, celery, or any of your favorite veggies. This makes a filling, savory snack that also delivers plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  3. Nutrient-rich dips. Want to add something a little more filling to those veggies? Try one of our healthy dip recipes. If you're choosing something store-bought, hummus is usually a smart bet, in moderation. It's a good source of dietary fiber, at 15 grams per cup, and includes other nutrients such as folate and magnesium. But with about 100 calories per cup—half of which come from fat—it's best to keep the portions modest.
  4. Fruit. “Filling, fiber-rich fresh fruits are always a good idea. Everyone should be eating more of them,” says Keating. She especially recommends strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, which are especially high in antioxidants and can make healthy swaps for any dessert as well.
  5. Water (not soda). Binge-watching can be thirsty business, so make sure you clear your fridge of colas, sodas, and juice drinks and stock up on sparkling water or, even better, ice water infused with flavorful sliced lemons or oranges. Water has zero calories, while a 12-ounce can of cola packs 140 calories and a whopping 39 grams of sugar, the equivalent of nine teaspoons. 

How to Super-Snack

There’s no denying that most people love to snack. On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports expert Amy Keating explains to host Jack Rico how a few simple steps can take your healthy snacking to the next level.