Low-Calorie Snack Ideas

Jessica Gore
Healthy Snacking

Low calorie snacks can be a dieter's best friend. Low calorie diet plans often focus on minimizing every calorie with less consideration of the nutritional value of food items. Move away from artificial sweeteners and imitation butter and enjoy the natural flavor of these natural, nutritious snack options.

Choose Snacks Wisely

In The Whole Foods Diet Cookbook: 200 Recipes for a Slim Waist and Optimal Health, authors Ivy and Andrew Larson explain the need for nutrition-packed, healthful foods, especially when dieting. Empty calories, even those present in low-calorie foods, fail to nourish the body and tend to leave you looking for more. When you choose foods that are both low in calories and high in nutrition, you feel full and satisfied without constantly moving from one snack to the next.

Of course, you still need to choose low calorie snacks as you graze throughout the day. Simply do so with the knowledge that choosing foods that have nutritional value as well as flavor will have a better overall impact on your health as well as your weight.

Low Calorie Snacks

People snack for different reasons. If you have had a bad day, you might be looking for some warm, filling comfort food to boost your mood. This is entirely different from the snacking you might do while watching a movie or playing at the beach with the kids. Identifying your reason for snacking will help you zero in on which of the following types of snacks will satisfy your craving and let you get on with your day.

Comforting Snacks

Now and then, everyone needs a little comfort. On a cold winter day or after an argument with your boss, you might feel the urge to curl up in a blanket and indulge in something warm and comforting. Try these low-calorie options to bring out the warm fuzzies:

  • A mug of hot chicken broth
  • A pinch of sharp cheese melted over mushrooms
  • Rye crispbread topped with saurkraut, mustard and low-fat cheese. Melt in the toaster oven or under your oven's broiler.
  • Miso soup

Sweet Snacks

The human sweet tooth is nature's way of directing us to the ripest and most nutritious fruits and berries. Unfortunately, this miracle of evolution did not anticipate donut shops and convenience stores, and many of us are left perpetually hunting and gathering in these establishments. We may have come a long way, but you can still satisfy your craving for sweets with nature's candy. Berries, melons, and other fruits are a healthful choice to satisfy a sweet craving, and are naturally fat free and low in calories. Other sweet, low calorie options include:

  • Low fat silken tofu sprinkled with cinnamon
  • One slice of raisin bread with low fat cream cheese and cinnamon
  • Herbal tea with a teaspoon of honey
  • Frozen watermelon spears

Crunchy Snacks

Sometimes, you just want something to crunch. Satisfy the sensory urge with any of the following low calorie, high crunch snack foods:

  • Pickles
  • Raw almonds in moderation. Almonds have about ten calories each, but you can feel satisfied after eating only a few.
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Soy nuts

Alternatively, lay down a large, crisp letuce leaf. Lay a slice of deli ham or turkey on top and smear with a small amount of mustard or low-fat dip. Roll the whole thing up and eat like a wrap.

Nibbly Snacks

Mindless eating while driving, watching television, or reading can be a hard habit to break. Wean yourself off the habit by reducing the frequency of your snacking before eliminating it entirely, and switch to these low calorie options to lessen the impact:

  • Air popped popcorn
  • Baby carrots
  • Apple slices
  • Celery sticks
  • Dry cereal
  • Gerber Graduates Puffs

To deal with oral fixation, try chewing on cinnamon sticks during those times that you might be absently munching. Cinnamon sticks are a healthy and calorie-free way to keep your mouth and hands busy.

Choosing low calorie snacks will minimize the effect that between-meal munching will have on your diet. Remember to watch both the quantity of the food you are eating and the quality of the items you choose, and your diligence will be rewarded.

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Low-Calorie Snack Ideas