I often get asked what kinds of foods I eat in order to maintain my weight. A lot of those questions are about snacking – especially for those of us who have desk jobs and without-fail, get the “munchies” around 3 or 4pm! So I thought I’d put together a list of my top 10 healthy snacks – those that I eat on a regular basis that are filling, tasty but still healthy and low in calories. My general rule for snacking is I try to eat whole foods – so I stay away from most packaged goods if I can help it. But I am including a few of my favorite packaged goodies in the list below for those emergency situations! Hope this is helpful to all of you!
Top 10 Healthy Snacks
1) FRUIT! Fruit is an awesome snack – and it’s available year round! Most fruits are high in fiber, sweet, tasty, and filling. In the Fall, I go for Fuji Apples, Grapes and Bosc Pears (but any Pear will do!). In the Winter, I go for Oranges (I love blood oranges), Apples, Tangerines, Bananas (but be careful – one banana can have up to 130 calories). Spring and Summer are awesome, because there are so many options! My favorites for Spring/Summer are: Apricots, Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Grapes, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, and Stone Fruits like Peaches, Plums, Nectarines, Pluots (which is a Plum/Apricot hybrid that is usually sweeter than a Plum).
2) Raw Veggies with Hummus (or other healthy ) Dip: Carrot sticks, celery sticks, Raw broccoli, etc are all good options. I like to eat them with 2-3 Tbsp Hummus. But you can also eat them with Laughing cow cheese, or fat free dressing (~25-35 calories per serving).
3) Non-Fat Yogurt with 1/4 cup Fiber One or All Bran Cereal: This is a great snack and very filling. The yogurt gives you lots of protein and the fiber one has (of course) fiber, and is only about 30 calories for 1/4 cup! I like Fage 0% Greek Yogurt – which is only 90 calories but packs over 10g protein! You can sweeten the yogurt with a bit of splenda or sugar free preserves, or honey (but don’t go overboard with the honey – 1 Tbsp has about 60 calories!). By the way – one trap a lot of people fall into is topping their yogurt with Granola. Granola (though it sounds healthy) is actually FULL of sugar and calories. 1/4 cup can have up to 100-150 calories!
4) Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds: Yeah, yeah, I know these are kind of a dessert. But dark chocolate (make sure you get the kind that’s like 70% cacao) is full of antioxidants, and almonds are full of fiber and protein! These also satisfy a sweet tooth really well Just make sure you read the label and don’t take more than 100-150 calories (which is probably about 4-7 almonds depending on their size)
5) Nuts and Dried Fruit: The key here, is to make sure the nuts you buy are just that – nuts. The package should have one ingredient (maybe two if they roast the nuts with salt). My favorites are Almonds, Walnuts and Cashews. The same rule applies for dried fruit – there shouldn’t be any added sugars or oils on the packaging. I like raisins, dried blueberries and dried cranberries. The one trap people fall into with nuts and dried fruit is they take too much – and end up eating like 500 calories. 1/4 cup of almonds is about 150-170 calories (applicable for most nuts). So I’d aim for about 2 Tbsp nuts and 2 Tbsp dried fruits. That should be filling enough to hold you over until your next meal!
6) 100 Calorie Packs: So this is one of my packaged snacks on the list – 100 calorie packs! These are great because they are already portioned out – and it feels like you’re eating a lot when you get to finish the bag. The other great thing is – they come in like 1,000 different varieties now. They even have 100 calorie pack hostess cupcakes! So pick your favorite, and enjoy!
7) 1 Slice of Oroweat Double Fiber Bread (toasted) with 1 Garlic Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge: The great thing about this bread, is it has like 7g fiber and only 70 calories per slice! The Laughing cow cheese wedges are only 30 calories per wedge, and one is more than enough to spread over a slice of bread. I like to toast the bread so it’s crispy, and spread on the cheese while the bread is hot so the cheese gets nice and melty 100 calories and a great snack!
8 ) Pretzels, PopChips, All Bran Fiber Crackers (only take about 100 calories worth – for the Fiber Crackers, that’s about 10 of them): This is a good snack if you want something crispy, salty, but you don’t want to eat a bag of potato chips. By the way – PopChips taste a lot like potato chips but are much healthier! These are also all good packaged snack options when you’re on the run.
9) Tea and a 2/3 cup of Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal: When I’m sort of hungry, but not really hungry – I’ll usually make myself a nice cup of hot tea (black tea with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, splenda, and 1/4 cup of nonfat milk is my favorite). If I want something to munch on, I’ll take a handful of Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal – and depending on how big a handful I take – that’ll end up being ~50 calories.
10) Protein Bars: My favorites are CORE Bars, Odwalla Bars and Lara Bars. They all have > 4g fiber; about ~200-300 calories; and at least 5-6g protein. I love all the CORE Bar flavors, But Raw Cashew and Banana Nut are my favs. My favorite Lara Bar flavors are Cashew Cookie and Peanut Butter Cookie. My favorite Odwalla bar flavors are Chocolate Peanut and Dark Chocolate Walnut.