15 guilt-free snack ideas
Snacking is an effective way to stave off hunger and lose weight. Just make sure you munch on healthy snacks. Here are 15 delicious options
Snacking isn't evil; it's what you snack on that's the problem. In fact, snacking is an effective way to control and even lose weight because it prevents you from becoming ravenously hungry and overeating at mealtime. And it helps keep blood sugar stable, which staves off craving and keeps the body's metabolism combusting calories throughout the day. But smart snacking requires advance planning. You're not going to find what you need in a vending machine or at a fast-food drive-thru. What does that leave you? Plenty.
1 cup (250 mL) of raw veggies like carrots, peppers and cherry tomatoes is only 40 calories. If you get bored of snacking on plain veggies, make a raw soup with simple ingredients like this Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup or Cucumber Mint Gazpacho (both are perfect for summer because they're served cold).
Red seedless grapes
20 red grapes is just 100 calories. Try them frozen for a refreshing summer treat
Ounce per ounce, almonds are the most nutrient-dense tree nut. They're an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, and a good source of protein and fibre. Snack on 24 almonds for a 168 calorie snack.
“The key to good health is how the popcorn is prepared,” says Vancouver-based registered dietitian Ramona Josephson, who suggests using an air popper. When air-popped, 4 cups (1 L) of popcorn is only 100 calories.
Apples are full of antioxidants and a fibre called pectin, both of which pack incredible health benefits. Plus, an apple is only 80 calories, making it the perfect snack size.
Pumpkin or sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds, also known as Pepitas, are a tasty source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc and protein. Eat them raw or roast them. One handful is 90 calories.
Celery stick with peanutbutter
Combine this hydrating vegetable with protein-packed peanutbutter for a simple and balanced snack. Use 1 tbsp (15 mL) of peanutbutter to make it 85 calories. For variety, use almond butter or sunflower seed butter instead.
If you're tired of plain old apples, try applesauce instead. Buy unsweetened to avoid added sugar. For an 80 calorie snack, eat 1/2 cup (125 mL)
The antioxidant properties of lycopene may protect our immune cells from destructive free radicals, molecules that can harm cells and damage DNA. The best way to get lycopene—which is in the skin, and gives red tomatoes their rich colour—is through cooked or processed tomatoes (juice, sauce and paste). 1 cup (250 mL) of tomato juice is 40 calories.
Frozen fruit bar
A no-sugar-added fruit bar is only 25 calories, yet feels like a treat. Eat one on a hot day for a cool and refreshing snack.
One cup (150 mL) of fat free pudding is 40 calories. For an even healthier snack, make your own Chocolate Pudding Without the Guilt.
Plain non-fat yogurt
Take advantage of strawberry season and add 1/2 cup (125 mL) of fresh strawberries to 1 cup (250 mL) of yogurt for a 150 calorie snack.
If you're craving icecream, reach for a fudgsicle instead. At 80 calories, it's a healthier summer treat option.
Choose 30 grams of fat-free cheese for an 80 calorie snack. If you don't like string cheese (or don't have it on hand) here's what 100 calories of 10 different types of cheeses looks like.
Packed full of protein, hard-boiled eggs make a perfect afternoon snack. And they’re easy to make ahead: boil up a batch on Sunday and you’ll be snack-ready for the whole week. One egg is 80 calories.
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Adapted from Walk It Off, Reader's Digest (Fall 2009)