You’ve probably heard that snacking can ruin your diet, but healthy low-calorie snacks have a place in a well-balanced meal plan. If you go too long between meals, you run the risk of overeating out of hunger. You know the feeling – you’d die for a jumbo candy bar and a large soda. To quell this urge, eat low-calorie snacks a couple of times per day to keep your unhealthy cravings at bay and satisfy your appetite without overdoing it on calories.
Did you know that popcorn counts as a whole grain and is one of the best low-calorie snacks out there? It does and it is! That’s because it’s loaded with nutrition. At the same time, it won’t derail all your healthy goals because three cups of air popped popcorn weighs in at under 100 calories. At that calorie count, you can afford to flavor your kernels with a bit of Parmesan cheese or a dab of melted butter.
2. Fruit and Yogurt
True, many brands of yogurt have astronomical calorie counts. That’s because many companies add loads of sugar to their products to make them sweet. Step away from those options and grab a container of plain low-fat Greek yogurt. Not only do you get way more protein with this choice, but you don’t get all that added sweet stuff, which only translates to more calories. Top a small scoop of plain yogurt with chopped berries to add natural sweetness and keep your calorie count under control. At just about 150 calories, this snack is ideal for movie night, to take to work or to nibble while you wait for the kids to finish soccer practice.
3. Grapes and String Cheese
There’s something about the sweet juiciness of grapes that pairs deliciously with string cheese. The two combined gives you an ideal mix of healthy carbs and protein to fuel you up and keep you going until your next meal. You’ll fill up on just over 100 calories and you can spend the rest of the day knowing you chose a virtuous snack instead of a junky one.
4. Cereal and Milk
This is a great snack to stash at work or to fill up on before you head to an evening activity. Choose a cereal low in sugar, but high in fiber and under 200 calories per serving. Top it with skim milk to keep calorie intake low and you have a tasty snack that isn’t the same old handful of crackers. It’ll also keep you from gorging on Cheetos or Doritos in the afternoon when hunger rears its ugly head.
5. Cucumber with Hummus
Talk about an easy and portable snack you eat while you work or while you’re stuck waiting for you new driver’s license. Half a cucumber and three tablespoons of hummus weigh in at under 100 calories. You can’t compete with that! Plus, cucumbers are mostly water, so they’ll help keep your thirst under control too. And we all know that being thirsty can trick you into thinking you’re super starved.
6. Chips and Salsa
Yep, you read that right! You can still eat chips if you’re watching your calorie intake. The trick is to stay away from greasy potato chips and any loaded with artificial flavors. Instead, grab a small bag of black bean chips or low-calorie baked corn chips. Pair them with a small scoop of tomato salsa, which is virtually calorie free. The combination of chips and salsa only sets you back about 200 calories and that’s something you can feel good about!
7. Bread with Radishes and Cream Cheese
This is a portable snack you can eat while you walk, while you work or while you hang out at the park with your kids. Simply spread a tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese on a slice of rye, pumpernickel or sourdough bread and top it with a thinly sliced radish. This snack only has about 100 calories. Delicious!
What’s your favorite low-calorie snack? How do you balance snacks with the rest of your day’s meals?