Many people try not to snack between meals to avoid gaining weight. If you are reaching for high-calorie treats like cookies and chips, they definitely will pack on the pounds over time. But if you eat healthy snacks, it will actually help you lose or maintain your weight.
Furthermore, a 2007 study published in Physiology & Behavior points out that that breakfast and a mid-morning snack can help improve the ability of children to concentrate at school. In fact, the adverse effect of a small breakfast can be reversed by eating a mid-morning snack.
You can eat a low-calorie, high-energy mid-morning and afternoon snack at the same time each day, even if you’re not too hungry.
This will prevent you from getting too hungry at meal times and help you control your portion sizes during lunch or dinner.
There are many healthy snacks to choose from that are less than 100 calories and won’t give you extra fats and sugar that are unfavorable to your waistline.
Here are 10 healthy snacks that are under 100 calories.
1. Air-Popped Popcorn
Though the best place to enjoy popcorn is in the theater, you can eat it anytime you feel hungry to keep you feeling full without adding lots of extra calories.
However, to enjoy it as a healthy snack, always opt for air-popped popcorn, not the commercially available buttered popcorn.
One cup of plain, air-popped popcorn contains approximately 30 calories. Being a good source of fiber without excess fats and other additives, air-popped popcorn is a must if you are trying to lose weight.
Air-popped popcorn contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, iron and copper.
This healthy snack can help you lose or maintain your weight, regulate digestion and lower cholesterol.
2. Baked Kale Chips
Replace those oil-fried potato chips with nutritious kale chips for a healthy snack. One cup of baked kale chips contains just 50 calories and many say they taste better than potato chips. Plus, they have no cholesterol or sugar and are very low in sodium.
Kale is rich in vitamins K, A, C and B6 as well as fiber, manganese, copper, calcium, and potassium.
Fiber-rich kale helps lower cholesterol and manage diabetes, provides anticancer benefits and is good for your brain, immune system and bone health.
It is easy to make baked kale chips at home. Toss chopped kale in a small amount of olive oil and bake them in the oven until they are crispy.
3. Celery Stalk with Hummus
One large celery stalk contains just 10 calories and is naturally low in carbohydrates, fat and cholesterol.
For less than 100 calories, you can eat 3 or 4 celery stalks with some homemade hummus (hummus is high in calories– 1 tablespoon contains about 25 calories, so take only 1 or 2 tablespoons). Celery is rich in fiber and hummus contains protein, and together they make a satisfying snack.
As celery mostly comprises water (95 percent), it also helps keep the body hydrated, which aids weight loss and keeps your skin and hair healthy.
Plus, celery contains other nutrients including vitamins A, C, K and some B vitamins as well as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate and potassium.
Celery also helps improve digestion, lower high blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, and improve vision. When taken in moderation, hummus is also good for your health and keeps you fuller for longer as it is rich in protein and fiber.
4. Baby Carrots with Dip
Raw baby carrots make a wonderful low-calorie snack. These carrots are sweeter and juicier than full-size carrots.
Even a large baby carrot has just calories and a medium-size one contains only 4 calories. So, you can easily eat about 10 baby carrots in a day. You can even dip them in your favorite hummus or salsa for added taste.
Baby carrots are not just low in calories but also high in nutrients, such as vitamins A, B6 and C as well as fiber, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
Eating baby carrots will help keep your eyes healthy, prevent upper respiratory infections, aid digestion, boost immunity, lower cholesterol level, reduce diabetes risk and protect against colon cancer.
You might be familiar with the numerous health benefits of olive oil. But you can enjoy olives as a low-calorie snack between meals, too. Twenty olives roughly equal just 68 calories and surely satisfy a salty craving.
Olives are a good source of monounsaturated fats and contain important nutrients like copper, iron, fiber and vitamin E. Being full of nutritional value, olives help treat arthritis, osteoporosis, constipation, inflammation and asthma.
Olives also reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, protect against cancer and even delay the effects of aging.
6. Low-fat Greek Yogurt topped with Berries
Low-fat Greek yogurt is also one of the best healthy snacks that you can eat daily. One container (170 grams) of non-fat Greek yogurt contains 100 calories.
You can eat 1 cup of plain yogurt or ½ cup of yogurt topped with strawberries, blackberries or blueberries along with a little honey or maple syrup for a tasty snack.
This protein-packed snack is full of good bacteria that promote digestion by adjusting the natural balance of gut bacteria.
Furthermore, it is a rich source of calcium and contains other nutrients, such as B vitamins, folic acid, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc.
Regular intake of Greek yogurt boosts immunity, aids weight loss, prevents high blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, supports oral health and is even good for your skin.
7. A Whole Apple
An apple is a low-calorie snack that you can easily take to work with you to eat between meals and satisfy your sweet tooth without sending your blood sugar soaring.
One apple roughly contains 70 to 80 calories. You can eat a whole apple (raw or baked) or sprinkle some cinnamon powder on it to make it even tastier.
Rich in soluble fiber, mostly pectin, an apple a day can help lower your cholesterol level. Apples also have other vital nutrients, such as B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, phytonutrients, iron, potassium, phosphorous and calcium. Plus, it will satisfy your craving for sweets without significantly raising your blood sugar levels.
Eating an apple daily is also good for your health. It can help manage diabetes, aid weight loss, make your bones strong and brighten your teeth.
8. Soaked or Dry-Roasted Almonds
Just 12 to 14 almonds, soaked or dry roasted, also make a healthy and tasty snack with only about 90 to 98 calories.
Almonds are a rich source of protein and fiber, two nutrients that satisfy your hunger and help you feel full until your next meal.
According to a 2015 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, a mid-morning snack of almonds creates satiety and appropriate modification of subsequent food intake in healthy women.
They also contain biotin, healthy fats, vitamins E and B2, manganese, copper, phosphorus and magnesium.
Eating almonds can make your heart healthy, improve your brain power, prevent constipation, make your bones strong and promote healthy skin. However, to reap the benefits of almonds, chew them thoroughly before swallowing.
9. Cottage Cheese with a Slice of Water-Rich Fruit
Cottage cheese is a protein powerhouse, which digests slowly and helps you stay full longer. Enjoy 4 ounces of non-fat, plain cottage cheese for just 82 calories.
You can even have ½ cup of cottage cheese with a small wedge of any water-based fruit like cantaloupe or cucumber. Fruits high in water will help keep your body hydrated without adding a lot of calories to your snack.
Along with protein, cottage cheese contains calcium, vitamin A, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc.
While cottage cheese is tasty, it is also good for your health. It helps strengthen bones, keeps your heart healthy, maintains blood sugar levels, controls anxiety and improves digestion.
10. Boiled Edamame
Edamame, which are young soybeans, are among the healthiest snacks you can find. Eat ½ cup of boiled edamame as a healthy snack containing only about 95 calories. It is easy to prepare at home or you can even buy ready-to-eat containers for a quick snack on the run.
It is an excellent source of protein and fiber to help keep you feeling full. Other nutrients in edamame are iron, folate, calcium as well as vitamins A, B-12, K and trace amounts of vitamin C. In addition, it is naturally gluten-free.
This healthy snack can help lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) level and reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.