Healthy Snacking

Posted on by Ami Spencer

A common misconception among those trying to lose weight is that snacks are no longer allowed. If this is what you believe, think again. Snacks are an important part of a healthy eating plan. Including one or two healthy snacks in your day can decrease overall hunger, help keep your blood sugar level stable, and improve your metabolism–if you choose them wisely.

When it comes to snacks, the most important thing to remember is that they aren’t an excuse to eat more calories. Snacking can be beneficial, but only when you choose low-calorie, satisfying options and watch your portions at both snack times and meal times. If you add snacks into your eating routine, make sure you take them into consideration when you’re planning your meals. And make sure that your snack choices include some combination of the most important dietary building blocks: fiber from whole grains, fruits or vegetables; lean protein; low-fat dairy; and healthy fats.

In order to avoid packing on the snacker pounds, try to stick to between-meal snacks that have between 150 and 250 calories, depending on your daily calorie goal and activity level. For some well-balanced, low-calorie snack ideas, mix and match the suggestions below or find your own favorites to keep your metabolism revved up and hunger at bay.

50 calories or less:

  • 1 cup of raw vegetables
  • ½ of a medium apple or ½ cup apple slices
  • 1 cup strawberry halves
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 8 almonds or peanuts
  • ½ cup skim milk
  • 2 TBSP hummus

50 to 100 calories:

  • ¼ avocado
  • ½ cup cottage cheese (1% milk fat)
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread (most varieties)
  • 3 oz. deli sliced turkey
  • 2 oz. low fat cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup fat free pudding
  • 1 TBSP creamy peanut butter
  • 1 toasted light English muffin
  • 3 cups light butter microwave popcorn
  • 6-8 oz. fat-free flavored yogurt (artificially sweetened)

100-150 calories:

  • 8 whole grain woven wheat crackers (i.e. Triscuits)
  • 1 chewy granola or breakfast bar
  • 1 (2 oz.) whole-wheat pita
  • 1 oz. baked tortilla chips
  • 1/3 cup low-fat granola
  • ¾ cup bite-sized shredded wheat (or other whole grain cereal)

Do you have any favorite low-calorie snacks? Share them with fellow readers by leaving a comment.

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