No one enjoys counting calories. But, knowing what to reach for when you get the munchies (ideally healthy, under 200 calorie snacks) could be one of the simplest ways to get some control over your eating.
Sure, we all hear about the latest new dieting fads. We can look back over the decades at the myriad trends sold to people on the premise of easy weight loss. Take the myth of “Detoxing”—a way to supposedly clean your body of “toxins” and “impurities.” On the market now are a variety of teas, juices, tinctures, pills, and kits all ready to help you detox your body. Contrary to popular belief, our bodies are already well equipped, and constantly at work, at the detoxification process. There are no life hacks or products that change this process.
What you can control is what you put in your body in the first place. Fresh and healthy whole foods bring the nutritional benefits that can have a true impact on your body and overall health. Choosing quality ingredients over pre-packaged convenience foods is one of the first steps. Highly-processed foods typically lack fiber and are loaded with added sugar and sodium. Processed foods typically lack any ingredients that create satiety, and typically leave us craving more – which can cause us to overeat. It may seem daunting to prepare every snack fresh, but here are some great options that can easily fit into a busy, modern lifestyle. All of these snacks have less than 200 calories and will not only be satisfying, but also provide you with the energy and nutrients you need to stick with your diet and keep cravings at bay.
Protein is not only satisfying in the moment, but also has a lasting affect on appetite. Protein is not typically what we think of when we think snacks. Snacks typically come in the form of convenience foods like, crackers, candy, cookies and more. When compared to high-fat snacks of chocolate and crackers, a snack of high-protein Greek yogurt resulted in a greater reduction of hunger and consumption of 100 fewer calories during the following meal. Choose plain yogurt as it lacks the sugar of flavored yogurts and then pair with delicious fresh fruit and a bit of honey. Blueberries are a true superfood and an excellent snack at any time. They are chock full of antioxidants that help to combat aging, support digestion, benefit your skin, and promote a healthy heart.
The grilled cheese sandwich is a complex snack, providing protein, carbohydrate, fat and fiber while the cantaloupe provides volume for less than 55 calories per cup. Cheese contains a great number of nutrients like calcium, protein, zinc, Vitamin A and B12. Calcium is one of the top nutrients often lacking in the American diet and cheese is a wonderful way to get your daily dose of calcium that also leaves you feeling satiated due to the fat and protein content.
A perfect snack for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike, almond butter offers both healthy fats and fiber. Almonds are also an awesome source of magnesium, essential for healthy bones and energy production. Make sure to select an all-natural almond butter that’s free of sugars and hydrogenated fats, such as Trader Joe’s Almond Butter, crunchy or creamy style or Artisana Organics Raw Almond Nut Butter.
Managing cravings is a constant challenge for all of us, but luckily there are some foods that can help reduce cravings. Researchers demonstrated that cravings for empty-calorie foods and the drive to eat excess calories were reduced when study participants consumed peanut butter and peanuts regularly. Apples are another important source of dietary fiber, flavonoids and antioxidants. The antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. This is an easy, affordable, on-the-go snack that can be quickly put together in the morning. Sunflower butter is a readily available substitute for individuals who are allergic to or need to avoid eating peanuts.
Surprisingly, soups are actually found to be high satiety foods. Choosing a tomato soup is a great choice as tomatoes are loaded with health properties. They contain all of the four carotenoids: alpha carotene, beta carotene, lutein and lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cancer, keep your eyes healthy, lower blood pressure and keep your bones strong. Avoid standard canned soups; instead look for organic options like Amy’s Organic Chunky Tomato Bisque or Pacific’s Creamy Tomato Soup, or; soup fresh from your organic or natural food market.
Consuming a high fiber diet can lead to weight loss, and oatmeal and raspberries are both great sources of fiber. Oatmeal is also high in soluble fiber, which stays in your stomach longer and helps you to feel fuller. Choose plain, rolled oats or steel-cut oats over flavored options and then naturally sweeten with raspberries. Raspberries also contain flavonoids that help improve memory and vitamin C that helps protect the eyes from UV damage.
California rolls available at most major groceries, but we highly recommend picking them up at a natural or health food market (or Japanese restaurant) to ensure the highest quality ingredients are being used. California rolls are perfect for a quick snack on the go, and contain protein and avocado – a wonderfully satiating food that is a great source of fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats.
Salmon is rich in healthy omega-3 fats and is a wonderful source of lean protein. Lesser known benefits of salmon are that it is rich in both Vitamin D and B12. Get salmon from a high quality meat shop or natural foods market whenever possible. Ak-Mak crackers, while processed, are made from 100% organically grown whole wheat and contains no preservatives. High quality packaged items like this are perfect for helping make healthy snacks fast. We’re all for “cheating” if it’s a healthy cheat!
Providing 23 grams of protein per cup, cottage cheese is a protein rich, satiety boosting snack food. The 1% milkfat provides just enough for to create the feeling of satiety. Research by Texas A&M professor Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos reveals that stone fruits, such as peaches, nectarines and plums, may help reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease, medical conditions frequently associated with obesity. This snack is gluten free, easy to prepare, and cost effective.
Another great snack that is vegan friendly, hummus contains both fat and protein and helps to fight cravings and balance blood sugar. It’s also high in iron, which helps to boost your energy. Pair with bell peppers, a low calorie veggie that are high in vitamin A, vitamin C and folate.
Smoothies are awesome snacks you can make in advance, and grab on your way out the door or for a readily available afternoon snack. Smoothies can be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours or made in larger batches and frozen in freezer safe jars. Yogurt not only is a great source of protein and calcium, but is full of probiotics to help maintain a healthy digestive tract. Making your own smoothies is more cost effective than store bought smoothies or mixes, which are also full of sugar and filler ingredients.
Avocados are a perfect snack as they help you to feel satiated, and are high in fiber, low in carbs and do not raise your blood sugar. They also are rich in monounsaturated fats, the healthy fat we should have in our diet. Grains take longer to digest when left whole, leaving you feeling fuller. Select breads made with 100% whole wheat like Dave’s Killer Organic 100% Whole Wheat Bread or sprouted-grains like Food for Life’s Ezekial 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread for maximum fullness and avoid highly processed breads that will lack the same level of nutrients and dietary fiber.
This gluten-free, lactose-free snack is great to throw in a container and eat on the go. It provides you with a plethora of nutritional benefits. Cherries are made up of 75% water, helping you to feel full longer. They also are deliciously sweet, making them a perfect substitute for candy or cookies. Almonds bring in a high quality protein to round out this snack.
Some simple planning and quick prep will help you to avoid grabbing processed foods that will leave you hungry and unsatisfied. These high-quality snacks will keep you energized and satiated throughout your busy day. Most of these take just a few minutes to prepare, and are easy to take with you to work for an afternoon snack, or grab before an errand run. The best way to improve our overall health and wellness is by eating nutritious foods that will reduce risk of illness and promote weight loss. It’s easy to get pulled into the latest diet trends like detoxes, but know that they do not provide the benefits they claim. Fresh, healthy, unprocessed foods – these are the real keys to long lasting wellness.