The meals you eat have a significant impact on your health and weight, but you shouldn’t forget that snacks are just as important to your diet. It’s easy to consume a lot of additional calories when snacking, mainly because people tend to pick at foods in between meals, and they don’t realize what they’re really eating. Worse yet, many snack foods have little or no nutritional value, so you’re not really satisfying your appetite with the calories.
Thankfully, a bit of planning goes a long way. Well-planned snacks will fuel the body and help you burn additional fat. Best of all, you don’t have to go hungry! The key is to incorporate healthy snack foods into your weight loss plan while focusing on balance and moderation. As a general estimate, snacks should be under 200 calories.
Here are our favorite picks for healthy snacks that will satisfy your appetite, curb cravings and burn fat.
Apple and Skim Milk
Most pieces of fruit are great snack options, but apples are especially refreshing. They involve a lot of chewing, so your brain thinks that you’re eating something generous. Also, the skin of the apple is packed with fiber. Pair an apple – or any piece of fruit – with a glass of skim milk for added protein.
Edamame is another gratifying snack that makes your brain think that you’re eating something substantial. One cup of edamame contains 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber and 189 calories. Plus, edamame has a sweet buttery taste that gives you the sensation that you’re eating something with more calories. Sprinkle the edamame with a dash of sea salt for added flavor, and eat it hot or cold.
When you want something rich and creamy, cottage cheese will please your appetite. Cottage cheese has plenty of protein packed in, so it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Stay away from mixed fruits that contain a lot of sugar. Instead, try something out-of-the-box like an avocado that contains healthy fats.
Canned Tuna on Whole Wheat Crackers
Tuna contains omega-3 fatty acids, and it creates a filling snack that packs a lot of flavor. Spread the tuna onto whole wheat crackers, and you have a snack that contains healthy fats, fiber and protein. Just be sure to buy tuna that is packed in water instead of oil.
As long as it’s prepared in a healthy way, popcorn is an excellent snack to have. You can eat 3.5 cups of popcorn for around 100 calories, so this snack food is a great pick if you are in the mood for munching. Air popping is the best way to prepare popcorn, and it’s best not to add any oil. Consider that a cup of popcorn is about 30 calories, but two tablespoons of olive oil pack about 250 calories. A dash of salt is a better way to bring in some flavor.
Cold Cut Veggies and Hummus
On average, you can eat about two cups of cold cut veggies, along with a few tablespoons of hummus to stick under the 200 calorie mark. Veggies are a great option because they are low in calories but full of vitamins and nutrients. Hummus or bean dip has healthy fats, protein and fiber to make the snack more satisfying and filling. If you’re not in the mood for veggies, consider spreading some hummus on a whole wheat pita.
A berry smoothie is a great on-the-go snack, and it’s so refreshing, it can boost your mood. As long as you stick to simple, healthy ingredients like Greek yogurt or low-fat plain yogurt, frozen berries and honey, you can make a tasty smoothie that’s under 200 calories. Add soy protein powder for added protein without the work.
Snacks leave plenty of room for creativity, so there’s no reason to get bored and graze on unhealthy foods in between meals.