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30 Healthy, Low-Calorie Snacks That Actually Taste Good, According to Dietitians
These healthy and easy-to-make snacks will satisfy your sweet and salty cravings.
It happens like clockwork: Almost every day at 3 p.m., your stomach grumbles, signaling that it’s time for a snack. While it may be tempting (and easy) to grab a bag of chips from the vending machine or a sweet that your coworker baked, you’ll only be doing your body a disservice when the energy crash hits an hour later.
But if you do it right, snacking can be healthy and downright good for you, according to dietitians. When you load up on a balance of high protein foods, fiber, and healthy fat, you’ll stabilize your blood sugar, dial down cravings, and feel less ravenous during your next meal. If you want to keep your snack on the lower end of the calorie spectrum, aim for about 200 calories, 10 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber, Sarah Pflugradt, R.D., nutrition expert and author of You Get One Body, recently told Prevention.
And, low-calorie snacks do not have to be boring and tasteless! From Greek yogurt to creamy guacamole to hard-boiled eggs, the possibilities are endless for finding a light yet nourishing snack that your body (and taste buds) will love. Not only will they sustain you, but you’ll actually look forward to eating them.
Not sure where to start? We spoke with dietitians to find out the healthiest and tastiest low-calorie snacks that you can add to your everyday menu. They’re packed with filling nutrients to create a healthy, satisfying bite—and they’re all about 200 calories or less!
If you’re craving something creamy and sweet, reach for your tub of yogurt in the fridge—but steer clear of brands with added sugar. A serving of plain Greek yogurt topped with a handful of berries is a protein-rich, fiber-filled snack, says Tamara Duker Freuman, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., author of The Bloated Belly Whisperer. The berries lend a natural sweetness, while Greek yogurt provides gut-boosting probiotics.
This twist on a tuna salad sandwich is lighter but just as satisfying. “Mix a 3-ounce can of tuna with low-fat mayo or a bit of mashed avocado,” says Freuman, then pair it with cucumbers or nestle the mixture in endive leaves. You’ll get filling protein from tuna and tons of fiber from the veggies.
Who says a snack can’t be leftovers? If you’re craving something warm and filling, opt for a cup of lentil soup, which is loaded with plant-based protein and fiber to keep you full, Freuman says. And since lentil soup is a melting pot of spices, you’ll feel satisfied with all the delicious flavors coming through in your dish.
Trade in tortilla chips for broccoli florets, either raw or steamed when you need a crunchy fix, Ilana Muhlstein, M.S., R.D.N., creator of 2B Mindset, suggests. “Many grocery stores now sell refrigerated or frozen broccoli florets that can be steamed in the microwave, making it easy to prepare at your workplace,” she says. Plus, avocado is packed with healthy omega-3 fats, as well as vitamins and minerals.
This play on a whipped mousse packs a big punch of protein. Mix a serving of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt with 1/4 banana sliced and two tablespoons of powdered or regular peanut butter, then top it all with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, suggests Muhlstein. “When stirred together, this snack tastes like a whipped mousse or cheesecake, and it’s the perfect choice for those times when you won’t be eating your next meal for a while,” she says.
In the mood for something cheesy? Try pairing 1 ounce of salty goat cheese with fiber-rich pear slices for a sweet and savory snack that tastes more decadent than it is, Freuman says. If you can’t find—or don’t like—pears, swap for an apple instead.
When you can’t decide whether to go salty or sweet, have both. Pair a hardboiled egg with a serving of melon or your favorite fruit, Freuman says. The protein in the egg will fill you up and melons have a high-water content, giving you a hydrating energy boost.
Instead of reaching for a bag of chips, try dry roasting a big batch of chickpeas. Add your spices to them, like cumin, black pepper, and paprika, or make it sweet with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of honey. Then, portion them out in 1/3 cup and munch on them alongside a piece of fruit or a handful of raw veggies, Freuman says.
Revamp your bagel order with this lower-carb, yet filling version. Top a few whole-grain crackers (Freuman’s favorite is Scandinavian-style whole-grain crispbreads) with cream cheese or another spreadable cheese spread, a slice of smoked salmon, and a sprinkle of everything bagel seasoning or fresh herbs. Voila, snack time just go more sophisticated!
Eating on a stick not only helps with portion control but gives you another interesting, creative way to enjoy your food. Combining mozzarella balls with fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes offers a nice balance of protein, fiber, and fat in one snack.
Almonds are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber, making them a go-to, low-calorie snack. Enjoy a serving of these nuts with a piece of fruit for additional fiber and sweetness without the sugar crash, Freuman says. Keep a bag of almonds in your purse, gym bag, or desk drawer for easy access.
Cottage cheese is an underrated protein superstar, with about 10 grams of the macronutrient in a half-cup serving. It also takes well to a variety of flavors, so you can pump up your dip with your favorite spices and herbs. Serve them with some crudite for dunking, and you’ve got a healthy, low-calorie snack in seconds.
If you love nachos, this healthy twist gives you the cheesy flavor you crave minus the extra saturated fat and calories. “I recommend looking for dairy-free queso at health-food stores. They’re low in calories but taste very decadent, so it’s a satisfying snack that’s good for you, too,” Muhlstein says. Many vegan queso dips include nutritional yeast, which is B-vitamin-packed yellow powder that many vegetarians and vegans use to impart a cheesy flavor in dishes. Pair it with your favorite raw or steamed veggie.
This childhood favorite is just as enjoyable as a busy adult. Stick to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter) and enjoy with plenty of crunchy celery sticks, says Freuman. Just be sure to read the ingredient labels carefully when choosing natural nut butters; many sneak in added sugar for taste.
Chia seed pudding will fill you up fast when you’re hankering for something creamy and sweet. These tiny but mighty seeds pack protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Mix chia seeds with a milk base (low-fat cow’s milk or unsweetened nut or soy milk, for instance) and pop it in the fridge to set (typically overnight), then give it some natural sweetness with a few fresh mango or banana slices, Freuman says.
Nitrate-free, low-sodium deli meat make a great, low-calorie snack when you’re in a pinch. Wrap a few slices of deli turkey meat around cucumber or pickle spears with a touch of mustard for extra flavor, Freuman says. It’s a hit of lean protein that’s heavy on flavor, making it satisfyingly filling.
You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and apples. This timeless snack delivers lean protein, healthy fats, and carbs for fast energy, making it a good snack to enjoy before a workout. Simply smear a serving of your favorite nut butter on crisp apple slices, Freuman says.
If you have time to whip up a quick snack, consider an egg white-and-veggie scramble or omelet. Top egg whites with your choice of seasoning and some veggies for a low-calorie protein boost to keep you full until your next meal. Or, pair it with your favorite raw veggies for a burst of freshness, says Muhlstein. You can even buy liquid egg whites at the supermarket and microwave a serving in a cup for an easy office snack.
This low-calorie snack feels more like dessert, thanks to ricotta cheese’s creamy decadence. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa powder for a sweet and nutritious treat, says Freuman.
Creamy, protein-packed peanut butter perfectly complements potassium-rich banana slices. This power combo makes a great snack after a tough workout because it helps replenish energy quickly. And it tastes like childhood!
If sipping a smoothie just won’t do it for you, consider a warm mug of hot chocolate: Heat a cup of low-fat milk or unsweetened dairy-free milk and add some unsweetened cocoa powder for an ode to hot chocolate, Freuman says. Bonus points if you add an adaptogenic blend of mushrooms, which are full of benefits for your immune system and cognition.
Enjoy a deconstructed peanut butter and jelly sandwich by dipping fresh grapes, strawberries and other fresh fruits in a serving of peanut butter. If you’re wishing for the bread, make it an open-faced snack, using whole-grain crackers—just remember to keep it at 200 calories or less!
When you want something sweet and savory, pair cottage cheese with some fresh fruit. Cottage cheese offers a boost of protein, while berries deliver antioxidants and fiber to keep hunger at bay.
Behold lasagna’s low-calorie cousin: 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta topped with fresh tomatoes and an optional sprig of basil. This healthy, low-calorie take will satisfy pasta cravings minus the heavy carbs.
Making kale chips is easier than you think. Simply wash kale leaves thoroughly with water and pat them dry. Then, lay them on some parchment paper over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with some nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and other spices and pop them in the oven. The result is a crunchy, savory snack!
Popcorn can be a healthy snack when you don’t smother it in butter. Instead, cook popcorn over stovetop and flavor it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. For a healthier alternative to kettle corn, add a drizzle of pure maple syrup and a dash of ground cinnamon.
You can’t go wrong with a warm bowl of oatmeal or chilled overnight oats. Oatmeal’s slow-digesting carbs will help keep hunger at bay and help stabilize blood sugar for sustained energy. Enjoy it with some fresh fruit and granola for a satisfying snack.
Yes, you can have avocado toast for a snack! Using rice cakes or crackers instead of bread helps cut down the calories, while still keeping you full and satisfied from the creamy, healthy fats.
This sweet and crunchy snack combo will quell your cravings for a chocolate bar. Unlike a sugary granola bar, enjoying a piece of dark chocolate with some almonds helps keep portion sizes and sugar in check.