Who doesn’t love a good snack? They’re essential for staving off hunger between meals and keeping you fueled from your early morning workout until your late night dinner with friends. But small bites can also be a nutritional trap, providing few nutrients and tons of unnecessary calories. A 2012 study examining the diets of nearly 5,000 adults found that almost a third of their daily calorie intake was from “empty,” or nutritionally void, snack calories.
For a sweet fix, try mixing mandarin oranges canned in their own juice with a couple tablespoons of light whipped topping. The oranges give a great hit of vitamin C and other antioxidants, and the light whipped topping gives the snack an indulgent feel (a feeling you often miss when you're watching what you eat). "This is a good substitute for ice cream when you're dieting," adds McLachlan.
Every diet begins with watching what you eat. Counting calories is key whether you're maintaining a healthy weight or working to shed a few pounds. Fortunately, there's an easier way to go about the math than tracking down nutritional info and logging every bite: build a strong portfolio of delicious low-calorie meals and let it do the work for you. We'll get you started with this collection of vegan recipes that are short on calories but big on flavor. The only arithmetic you'll be responsible for is subtracting pounds.
This classic Sicilian eggplant dish, terrific as a spread, a dip, or a pasta sauce, is proof positive that vegan food doesn't have to be bland. The sweet-and-sour mixture packs in all sorts of intense flavors, including pine nuts, mint, raisins, capers, and vinegar. Even with the long ingredient list, it's not that hard to make: By cooking the ingredients in a particular order, we've engineered this recipe to use just one skillet.
Known for being a cheap staple, rice and beans is a classic lazy person’s meal that’s also good for you! Brown rice is packed with hardy nutrients and can be made in large batches to last for a few days worth of meals. If you don’t have the time to cook rice on the stove, opt for using instant. Although the texture will be different, this is still a healthier option for the time-crunched than processed foods and breads. Beans make a killer counterpart to rice as they are incredibly cheap and will keep you full for hours. Black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas or black-eyed peas are all quality options and are easy because you can buy them in a can. Make sure to rinse them well before using. Check out this White Bean Wild Rice Hash or this Cilantro, Lime and Black Bean Rice for either a side dish or a main course, and see Easy Ways to Spruce Up Classic Rice and Beans for more help to those feeling lackadaisical.
For a more substantial alternative to cookies, try these no-bake, oat-based bites, where almonds and almond butter pack in healthy fats to make them highly satisfying. Note that the dark chocolate drizzle on top adds a bit of time to the recipe, but as with most things chocolate, it’s totally worth it. Swap in maple syrup for the honey if you follow a strict vegan diet.
These are perfect keto snacks alone, but they’re even tastier together, says Boise, Idaho-based dietitian Emily Norbryhn, RD, who often works with keto clients. “The fat, protein, and fiber in this snack will keep you full for hours,” she adds. Mix together two tablespoons crea\my almond butter, one teaspoon chia seeds, one teaspoon sunflower seeds, one teaspoon flax seeds, and two teaspoons pumpkin seeds. Dig in.
So uh, what can you snack on when following a keto diet? These easy grab-n-go keto diet snacks will help you hit your macro goals while never getting hangry. If you want to take it a step further we developed the Women's Health Keto Made Simple bookazine, a new keto guide and meal plan (with 70+ recipes!) that'll help you lose weight on the keto diet while still eating all your fave foods.
Other good vegetarian snacks include roasted chickpeas, baked kale chips, sliced vegetables with a couple tablespoons of hummus, energy bars, or a piece of fruit with peanut butter. Adding nut butters, seeds, nuts, cheese, or beans to a snack is a good way to get additional protein. For more snack ideas, see the recipes and snack recommendations below.
Making your own raisins at home might sound silly, but these oven-dried grapes are a cut above the sad, shriveled raisins you buy in a box. Plumper and juicier, they have a flavor that's more similar to fresh grapes—just concentrated, and with a little caramelization. Try playing around with different varieties and cooking times to find the flavor and texture that you like.
These cookies are so guilt-free you can even eat them in the a.m. Combine almonds, walnuts, flax and a few other good-for-you ingredients to form bite-size bowls you can fill with almond milk, Greek yogurt or seasonal berries. Pop one in your mouth for just 184 calories — and feel your hunger melt away. Photo and recipe: Alexa Schirm / Life by Daily Burn
If you’re craving chips and dip but don’t want to compromise your healthy diet, reach of some buckwheat crackers with herby edamame dip instead. Both buckwheat groats and edamame are packed with protein, making them an ideal option to help ward off hunger. Buckwheat groats also filled with nutrients like zinc, copper, manganese, and magnesium. Plus this dip is so creamy and flavorful, you’ll likely forget that it’s actually healthy.
This fresh seasonal salad is ridiculously easy to put together and quite versatile. Serve our suggested amount as a side salad with grilled steak, chicken, or fish, or eat a double portion as a main dish. You can also stick with the serving size listed here and add canned oil-packed tuna or sliced rotisserie chicken breast for a filling lunch. Leftovers fare well as is, tucked into tacos, or added to whole-grain salad bowls.
Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is exclusively found in animal products (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2016). This vitamin is important for red blood cell formation and metabolic processes. Non-vegan vegetarians may obtain vitamin B12 from eggs, milk, or other dairy products. Vegans may need a dietary supplement to get enough, although breakfast cereals and other products are sometimes fortified with the vitamin.
Split this breakfast recipe in half to make a healthy snack with 200 calories, 11 grams protein, and 3.5 grams fiber. Not only will it help prep your body for fat burn, but it may also boost your energy levels (so you're more likely to get to the gym, perhaps?): Walnuts are rich in serotonin, a hormone that produces feel-good chemicals in the brain.
Popcorn is high in fiber and even delivers a little protein. A 1-ounce serving (about 3 cups) of air-popped popcorn has 4 grams of fiber, almost 4 grams of protein and clocks in at 110 calories. This combination makes it a snack with staying power. Popcorn is actually a whole grain and 3 cups is a huge serving-especially when you compare it to other crunchy, salty snacks like chips. Many companies are making bagged popcorn, see our favorite healthy popcorn picks.
For a savory snack under 60 calories, spread 1 tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese onto a slice of smoked salmon (lox) and roll it up. This salmon pinwheel is high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, though the salt used to cure the salmon boosts the sodium content. Use a little less cream cheese and you can have two pinwheels for under 100 calories.