- Low-calorie snacks should ideally be between 100 and 200 calories.
- Foods that are high in fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats are the most filling options.
- Nut butter, seeds, veggies, and sweet potatoes also make great choices.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
A good snacking strategy is to choose low-calorie snacks, ideally between 100 and 200 calories, that offer a good balance of macro and micronutrients, says Eleana Kaidanian, a registered dietitian with her own practice.
Kaidanian says fruits and vegetables typically make for great low-calorie snack options, as they also offer plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and hydration. She recommends pairing them with lean protein or healthy fats, to make your snack more filling and satisfying.
Here are some nutrition-packed, low-calorie options for the next time you’re craving a snack.
Mango with chili and lime is a Mexican snack that is high in fiber and flavor.
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One mango contains:
- Calories: 126
- Protein: 1.72 grams
- Carbs: 31.5 grams
- Fat: 0.8 grams
A mango makes for a healthy and delicious snack, says Kaidanian. Low in calories and fat, it provides over 50% of your daily vitamin C requirement, as well as other nutrients like vitamins A and B, copper, and fiber. Try seasoning your mango with lime and chili for additional flavor. (This is a popular Mexican snack caled mango con chili y limón).
Watermelon is high in fiber and water which can make it a filling snack.
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- Calories: 128.1
- Protein: 3.66 grams
- Carbs: 15.26 grams
- Fat: 7.28 grams
Watermelon is a low-calorie fruit with a high water content, making it very hydrating. Kaidanian recommends pairing it with some sunflower seeds, to add protein and healthy fats to your snack.
Sunflower seeds, like most nuts and seeds, are calorie-rich; however, they can still be a part of a low-calorie snack as long as you stick to a small portion. “Remember, portion size is key,” says Kaidanian.
Popcorn is low calorie and high volume and if you skip on added butter it can be a healthy choice.
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Two cups of air-popped popcorn contains:
- Calories: 62
- Protein: 2.06 grams
- Carbs: 12.44 grams
- Fat: 0.72 grams
Popcorn is a healthy, low-calorie, low-fat snack. Because it’s a whole grain, popcorn also offers fiber and several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Kaidanian suggests air-popping your own, and adding seasonings like cayenne pepper, zaatar, black garlic, or nutritional yeast.
Apples and nut butter can be an alternative to “nachos” and satisfy your sweet tooth.
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- Calories: 188.6
- Protein: 3.98 grams
- Carbs: 28.94 grams
- Fat: 8.2 grams
Alternatively, you can pair nut butter with other fruits like bananas or berries. Ants on a log is another great combination, made with celery sticks, nut butter, and raisins.
Hummus is high-protein snack that comes in many flavors.
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- Calories: 136.2
- Protein: 4.9 grams
- Carbs: 17.08 grams
- Fat: 5.16 grams
Hummus goes great with several veggies, says Kaidanian, including carrots, beets, and peppers. You can also experiment with making different types of hummus, including garlic hummus, sun-dried tomato hummus, bell pepper hummus, and black bean hummus.
Edamame is a high-protein vegetarian snack that’s great on the go.
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Fifty grams of roasted edamame contains:
- Calories: 200
- Protein: 21.65 grams
- Carbs: 15 grams
- Fat: 6.65 grams
If you’re in the mood for something crunchy, Kaidanian recommends opting for roasted beans instead of pretzels or chips, which have little nutrition and tend to be high in calories.
Beans on the other hand are lower in calories and offer protein and fiber. She suggests trying roasted chickpeas, edamame, or fava beans.
Chia pudding is a great non-dairy alternative to yogurt.
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One hundred grams of chia pudding contains:
- Calories: 125
- Protein: 1.88 grams
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Fat: 8.12 grams
Chia pudding can be a rich and creamy snack. Kaidanian says to make your own with unsweetened almond milk. She says you can also add bananas, strawberries, cinnamon, or unsweetened cocoa powder to your pudding for extra flavor and nutrition.
Vegetable soup is packed with nutrients and fiber.
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One cup of vegetable soup contains:
- Calories: 88.9
- Protein: 4.16 grams
- Carbs: 14.5 grams
- Fat: 2.04 grams
If you’re in the mood for comfort food, have some vegetable soup. Store-bought soups often have a lot of sodium, so make your own at home, if possible. Kaidanian recommends adding beans or cubed tofu to bump up the protein.
Kale chips are a great alternative to potato chips
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1.5 cups of baked kale chips contains:
- Calories: 112
- Protein: 3 grams
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Fat: 8 grams
Kale chips are another crunchy treat to munch on. You can make your own at home by tossing kale with some olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt, and popping it in the oven for around 20 minutes.
Baked sweet potato fries are better than regular fries and just as tasty.
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One cup of baked sweet potato fries contains:
- Calories: 162
- Protein: 1.82 grams
- Carbs: 18.8 grams
- Fat: 9.19 grams
Baked sweet potato fries are a healthy alternative to fried potato chips. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants and can contribute to better eyesight, immunity, and blood sugar management.
If you’re trying to reduce your calorie intake, you have plenty of delicious and satisfying snack options to choose from. The trick is to choose nutrition-rich snacks that offer fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Opting for low-calorie snacks has several benefits, including better blood sugar and blood pressure control. “When you eat small, frequent, balanced portions your blood sugar will stay steady as opposed to spiking and crashing with large portions of food followed by hours of not eating, resulting in low blood sugar/pressure,” says Kaidanian.
Low-calorie snacks can also help with weight management, if that’s your goal. “Having a small snack between meals is a great way to prevent feeling extremely hungry, which can result in overeating at the next meal and is usually coupled with making poorer food choices,” says Kaidanian.
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