Healthy Snacks for Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Ideas for Quick and Easy Bites | MyMSTeam

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Healthy Snacks for MS: Ideas for Quick and Easy Bites

Medically reviewed by Johna Burdeos, RD
Updated on January 22, 2024

  • There is no diet proven to cure or slow multiple sclerosis (MS), but choosing healthy snacks can improve your overall health and energy levels.
  • Look for snacks high in fiber, protein, and nutrients. Consider fresh fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, and whole grains.
  • Try to limit food linked to inflammation, including red meat, refined sugar, and fried and salty foods.

Figuring out what to eat when you have MS can feel like solving a riddle. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all MS diet, what works well for one person can cause flare-ups in another. Many people with MS carefully read ingredient lists and are wary of trying new foods. But what about when you just want a quick bite to eat?

Members of MyMSTeam have said snacking is essential to keep them going throughout the day. As one member said, “I definitely cannot skip eating! I get weak and don’t feel too good if I do. I always have snacks with me.” Another shared, “I noticed that as soon as I eat, my weakness gets better. I will definitely have a snack on me from now on.”

Taking the time to figure out your trigger foods and find safe, go-to snacks can take the guesswork out of snacking with MS. Here are some suggestions to help you build a list of snacks to promote your overall health, wellness, and quality of life with MS.

Nutrient-Dense Snacks for MS

Nutritious snacks can help combat the unwanted weight gain sometimes caused by MS treatments such as steroid medications. Because gaining weight with MS can put added stress on your joints and raise the risk of heart and lung problems, which in turn can affect MS prognosis, it’s crucial to snack wisely. Focus on protein and fiber in snack foods to boost satiety (feeling full) and promote a healthy weight. Getting enough fiber every day may also help reduce constipation, something many people with MS deal with.


“I noticed that as soon as I eat, my weakness gets better. I will definitely have a snack on me from now on.”
— A MyMSTeam member

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High-Fiber Snacks

Many processed foods are low in fiber, so choosing a healthy diet based around whole foods (even for snacks) is a sound recommendation for healthy eating. And as new research emerges on gut bacteria and the immune system, it appears fiber may play an increasingly important role in the diets of people with MS.

Fiber is found in plant-based foods, so opt for fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Fortunately, plant-based foods are also good sources of anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Healthy snack ideas include:

  • Fresh fruit, including citrus, pears, and berries
  • Homemade oatmeal raisin cookies, replacing some sugar and oil with applesauce
  • Low-fat popcorn
  • Roasted garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Veggies with hummus or black bean dip (try cucumber slices, celery, or carrots for crunch)
  • Whole-grain or flaxseed crackers with guacamole for healthy fats


Choosing a diet based around whole foods (even for snacks) is a sound recommendation for healthy eating.

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High-Protein Snacks

Although protein shakes and bars are OK once in a while, getting your protein from unprocessed whole foods is generally better for maximum nutrition. Legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), nuts, and seeds generally provide fiber and protein. You could try these options:

  • Boiled eggs
  • Cold cuts of lean meats, such as low-sodium turkey and chicken
  • Edamame or tofu
  • Nuts, such as unsalted pistachios and almonds
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • A spoonful of peanut butter or another nut butter
  • String cheese, fresh mozzarella balls, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt (if dairy doesn’t make your symptoms worse)
  • Fatty fish, including tuna, sardines, and smoked salmon (for anti-inflammatory, polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids)

Avoiding Common Trouble Foods

Research points to diet-related inflammation as a possible underlying cause of MS symptoms and progression of MS. Foods associated with high inflammation include the following, which may be best to avoid:

  • Saturated fats found in animal products, such as bacon, butter, full-fat dairy products, and the skin on chicken
  • Red meat
  • Refined carbohydrates, including sugary drinks and sugary foods and white flour
  • Salt
  • Trans fats, including hydrogenated oils in some processed foods like margarine, which have also been shown to increase cholesterol levels

“Too much sugar makes me ill, but I’ve found that I can tolerate dark chocolate in small amounts.”
​​— A MyMSTeam member

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Members of MyMSTeam echo the benefits of avoiding these foods:

  • “After I eliminated dairy completely, my sinuses and MS have been much better!”
  • “The ‘no dairy, meat, sugar, or bread’ diet is hard, but it’s working.”
  • “Sugar is like poison to my body. It makes me feel awful. I do splurge and eat a bit of sugar at times, but I pay for it the next day.”
  • “Too much sugar makes me ill, but I’ve found that I can tolerate dark chocolate in small amounts.”
  • “I ate a bunch of gummy bears tonight. Stupid because I feel like crap now. Sugar is the devil.👎”

Avoiding processed snack foods can help you cut back on salt, sugar, and trans fats. Keeping a food diary and logging your symptoms of MS is a great way to help you identify potential trigger foods that may keep you from feeling your best. As you learn more about your body, you’ll be able to expand your options gradually and enjoy the health benefits of a balanced diet that isn’t needlessly restrictive.

Swap Foods To Overcome Cravings

If you have a sweet tooth, cutting back on added sugar can be a big challenge. One member of MyMSTeam knows the struggle too well: “I don’t drink or smoke, but I have an addiction to sugar,” they said. “My neurologist told me that sugar is one of the worst things you can put in your body because it is a powerful inflammatory substance. How do I kick this addiction?”

It may help to cut back your sugar intake day by day and replace it with a healthier option that you like. “It’s important that you don’t feel like you are depriving yourself,” a member noted.

Healthier sweet treats may include:

  • Frozen cut fruit
  • Dates
  • Prunes
  • Nuts covered in dark chocolate
  • Strawberries drizzled with dark chocolate
  • Pumpkin puree with a dash of maple syrup
  • Baked apples with cinnamon

Experiment by making baked goods using almond flour instead of white flour and cutting back on the sugar. Incorporate warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and other flavor enhancers such as vanilla extract and citrus zest. By creating treats from scratch, you’ll have more control over the ingredients.

For those who prefer salty, fried foods that are high in fat (think french fries and potato chips), other options can satisfy your cravings without making your MS symptoms worse. Consider crispy dehydrated vegetable snacks, like beet or kale chips. With an air fryer, you can make your own sweet potato fries with a fraction of the salt and oil.

Changing snacking habits can be hard on anyone, so it may also help to have extra help. Consider asking your health care provider for a referral to a registered dietitian who can support you in making positive dietary changes.

Were you recently diagnosed with MS? Read Just Diagnosed With MS — Now What? 9 First Steps.

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyMSTeam is the social network for people with multiple sclerosis and their loved ones. On MyMSTeam, more than 206,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with multiple sclerosis.

If you have MS, what are your favorite go-to snacks? Share your suggestions in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

    Updated on January 22, 2024
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    Johna Burdeos, RD is a registered dietitian and freelance health writer. Learn more about her here.
    Anastasia Climan, RDN, CDN is a dietitian with over 10 years of experience in public health and medical writing. Learn more about her here.

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