Best Snacks for Weight Loss
Eat more, weigh less
If you're sacrificing snacks to cut calories, stop—to lose weight, you need snacks. "Snacking is an opportunity to fuel your body between meals," says nutritionist Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet. Healthy snacks ensure you won't be ravenous come mealtime and keep your fat-burning metabolism revved up. Here are 21 nutritionist-approved choices for both store-bought and make-your-own snacks. Each nosh packs 150 to 200 calories, is filled with good-for-you nutrients, and will make you feel like your diet is about anything but deprivation.
RELATED: 7 Healthy Late-Night Snacks
Snack suggestions provided by Batayneh, as well as Georgie Fear, RD, co-author of Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes, and Gayl Canfield, RD, Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center.
Greek yogurt with raspberries and honey
Sweet, creamy, and filling, this trio feels completely indulgent. The combination of fiber, healthy fats, and protein are sure to get you over any 3pm slump. Plus, the vitamin C in raspberries increases your body's fat-burning ability, according to research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Combine a single-serving container of Greek yogurt, a cup of raspberries, and a half-tablespoon of honey.
Grapes and walnuts
No matter how much you love either, there are only so many you can eat. That's because grapes are super sweet and walnuts are even more filling. A cup of grapes and a handful of walnuts together are a power-combo of natural sugars, fiber, healthy fats, and protein—all of which make for more long-lasting energy.
KIND Healthy Grains Bar
To buy: $6; amazon.com
The amaranth, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and gluten-free oats in these bars meet one-third of your daily whole grain needs. Apart from lowering your cholesterol, research in the Journal of Nutrition suggests a diet rich in whole grains can help you burn fat.
A cup of edamame meets one-third of both your daily fiber and protein needs. If you want them to last longer, suck them straight from the shells. Research published in the journal Appetite shows you feel like you have eaten more if you can see the remnants (in this case the pods) of your food.
RELATED: 3 Ways to Cook With Frozen Edamame
To buy: $7; amazon.com
Freekeh is a cereal made from roasted green wheat. That's the one and only ingredient in this snack's original blend, making it an ideal packaged snack. With zero sodium, four grams of fiber, six grams of protein, and only 130 calories per quarter-cup serving, you can help yourself to an extra-large serving. Try rosemary sage or tamari when you want to mix things up.
RELATED: 5 Ancient Grains You Need to Try
Wheat Thins and cottage cheese
Dip 10 Wheat Thins ($3; amazon.com) in the cottage cheese, or enjoy them side-by-side. A half-cup serving of cottage cheese contains one-quarter of your recommended daily intake of protein. Rather than a nonfat variety, go for 2% or even full-fat. The fat combined with the protein will keep your stomach full until mealtime.
Mediterranean hummus tray
Get your Mediterranean diet on: Cucumbers, olives, and hummus are all high in fiber, low in fat, and pair perfectly for a snack that feels more like a meal. Your spread should include a cup of cucumber slices, about four kalamata olives, and about four tablespoons of hummus.
Arctic Zero frozen desserts
Oatmeal and blueberries
Oats aren't just for breakfast—they're good any time you need a hearty treat. Full of fiber, they help regulate blood sugar levels to keep you from crashing. Meanwhile, blueberries add a kick of sweetness (and vitamin C) without any table sugar. Try a packet of plain, microwaveable oatmeal topped with a half cup of blueberries.
Banana with peanut butter
Spread a tablespoon of peanut butter onto a banana. The carbs will give you a quick mood and energy spike, while the protein will keep the energy going for hours. A 2013 study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that eating peanut butter in the morning can help curb your appetite throughout the rest of the day.
Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips
To buy: $21 for 4; amazon.com
Whatever less-than-healthy potato chip variety you like, chances are this brand has a similar flavor without all of the fat. The zesty nacho variety, for instance, has 0.5 grams saturated fat, 6 grams of protein, and seven times your daily quota of vitamin K, which helps maintain strong bones. As an alternative, you could make your own kale chips.
RELATED: 7 Health Benefits of Kale
Popcorn, Indiana All-Natural Classic Popcorn
To buy: $21 for 24; amazon.com
The name might say "classic," but these kernels are anything but what you grew up eating. Flavors include bacon ranch, American cheese, and cinnamon sugar kettlecorn, and come with as few as five simple and natural ingredients. You could also make your own healthy popcorn recipes at home.
Apple slices with cheese
An apple a day might not necessarily keep the doctor away, but it could help prevent weight gain, according to research in the journal Nutrition. Another study shows cheese might, too. Try pairing a gala apple with a half-inch slice of sharp cheddar cheese: It's the perfect sweet and salty mix with a crunch!
Cheerios and soynuts
It's perhaps not the most obvious pairing, but put a quarter-cup of roasted, salted soynuts and a half-cup of Multigrain Cheerios together, shake them up, and you'll be hooked. The sweet and salty combo (not to mention the fiber and protein) makes for a scrumptious snack.
Sliced turkey breast doesn't need a bun! Roll up five slices of turkey with two roasted red peppers and two teaspoons of spicy mustard. It's basically a mini meal, and it comes in at only 150 calories.
Pear slices with almond butter
Pair your pear with a tablespoon of almond butter for the perfect carb and protein combination. Boost its health profile with a dash of cinnamon: A 2012 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study found that the spice helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
Krave turkey jerky and an orange
To buy: $6; amazon.com
Don't worry, this isn't your typical gas station jerky. It comes in flavors like lemon garlic and basil citrus, is loaded with protein, and is 97% fat free. The basil citrus pairs nicely with an orange.
Spiced green tea smoothie
Some research has shown that an active ingredient in green tea, EGCG, may help you shed pounds. But when it comes to snacking, a cup of tea isn’t likely to quell your appetite. For a more filling option that still reaps all the fat-burning benefits of green tea, try this spiced smoothie. It contains a tasty blend of chilled green tea, lemon juice, agave, pear, plain yogurt, and a pinch of cayenne for some extra metabolism-boosting power.
When hunger strikes, a hardboiled egg is a great grab-and-go snack. It’s high in protein, which will curb your appetite and keep you from reaching for something less-than-healthy. Plus it packs nutrients like vitamins D and B12, but only contains 77 calories. Simply prep a bunch of hard-boiled eggs at once, and store them in the fridge for a quick hunger fix.
Herby Edamame Dip With Buckwheat Crackers
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.
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