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10 snacks that will help you lose weight

Do your healthy-eating plans get derailed every day at 3 pm? Fight back with these healthier snack substitutions for common cravings

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snacks

Pick the right snacks

Good snacks are a dieter’s best friend. Certain kinds of foods, such as those rich in iron or high in complex carbohydrates, keep your energy up and hunger pangs at bay so you’re less likely to pig out or make poorly thought-out choices at your next meal. Plus, when you’re fuelled up you’re more apt to remain stoked for that after-work spin class. Unfortunately, not all snacks are created equal. Fat-heavy, nutrient-light snacks will throw your diet off, so trade these familiar baddies for one of our healthy goodies the next time you need a little somethin’-somethin’.

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bananas

You’re craving: A medium Chocolate Triple Shake from McDonald’s.

At a whopping 481 calories, 18 grams of fat and a meager 2 grams of fibre, this is one treat you really need to wean yourself off.

What to reach for instead:
A Grande Starbucks Banana Chocolate Vivanno smoothie. Not only does the choco-licious Vivanno pack a mere 270 calories and 5 grams of fat, it’s got 6 grams of fibre and provides one whole serving of fruit. Have it with a shot of espresso blended in for an extra zero-calorie kick.

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peanut butter

You’re craving: A nutty, super-sweet four-inch homemade peanut butter cookie (335 calories, 18 grams fat).

What to reach for instead:
Dole yourself one tablespoonful of peanut butter (96 calories, 8 grams fat), and smear it onto slices of a small banana (96 calories, 0 grams fat). Not only are you saving calories and fat, you’re also getting some fresh fruit.

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mm

You’re craving: A bag of regular M&Ms (236 calories, 10 grams of fat).

Granted, you could do worse, but you could also do better. Case in point…

What to reach for instead:
Four Hershey’s Kisses (100 calories, 6 grams fat). You halve the calories and fat of your snack by switching to a smaller quantity of the richer-tasting, creamier Kisses. Start deprogramming yourself from the North American “supersize” mentality by going for quality over quantity.

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doughnut

You’re craving: A Tim Horton’s Old-Fashioned Glazed doughnut.

But at 320 calories and 19 grams of fat, this cake-style doughnut is out of date with today’s diet realities.

What to reach for instead:
A lighter, yeast-raised Maple- or Chocolate-Dip doughnut has 210 calories and 8 grams of fat. Not for everyday, but a better choice when you’re craving something deep-fried, doughy and sweet.

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chips

You’re craving: A 28-gram snack-size serving of Ruffles Regular potato chips (156 calories and 11 grams of fat).

What to reach for instead:
Triscuit Thin Crisps. They’re made from whole wheat and will give you the deep crunch you’re craving, minus the fat and empty calories. An equivalent serving has 130 calories and 5 grams of fat, and is a decent source of fibre.

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popcorn

You’re craving: A 45-gram bag of Orville Redenbacher’s Buttery popcorn (190 calories, 13 grams of fat).

What to reach for instead:
Season 3 cups of air-popped popcorn from home (92 calories, 1 gram fat) with a teaspoon of Clubhouse White Cheddar popcorn seasoning (25 calories, 2 grams of fat) for a lower-fat, lower-calorie version of this afternoon staple. Or cut the calories even further by topping it with balsamic vinegar or just a sprinkling of flavoured salt.

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Summer Berry Muffins

You’re craving: A large banana-walnut muffin from the coffee shop down the street.

But at 298 calories and 16 grams of fat, that muffin isn’t going to get “walked off” on your break.

What to reach for instead:
A large muffin from home. Best Health’s Summer Berry Muffins are a much healthier pick, weighing in at 177 calories and 7 grams of fat.

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skittles

You’re craving: Half a 61-gram bag of Skittles (125 calories, 1.25 grams of fat).

What to reach for instead:
Two kid-sized pouches of Sun-Rype Fruit To Go FunBites in Berry Blend (36 grams, 120 calories, 0 grams fat). Although the FunBites (a great lunchbox treat for your kids) have roughly the same amount of calories, none are from fat. Plus, each pouch contains one serving of fruit, with no artificial flavours or colours. That’s a crazy-good deal: two servings of fruit checked off in one low-calorie, candy-like snack.

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bagel

You’re craving: A small three-inch white-bread bagel with butter and jam.

At 239 calories and 5 grams of fat, it’s not terrible, but you could do better. Also, many coffee shops serve large bagels, not small.

What to reach for instead:
A lighter, fluffier English muffin packs fewer calories than the denser, heavier bagel. And try skipping the butter when you’re adding jam anyway. New calorie count: 182 calories and just 1 gram of fat.

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istock_bite_cake-92972859.jpg

You’re craving: A slice of that ubiquitous icing-laden office birthday cake.

But “just one slice” packs a calorific punch: 551 calories and 27 grams of fat.

What to reach for instead:
Make tracks for the office canteen and pick up a Hostess chocolate cupcake (150 calories, 5.5 grams fat). They’re sold in a duo, so share one with your office diet buddy. And next time you’re in charge of the birthday bash, whip up some of our Chocolate Raspberry Brownie Bites (81 calories each) or Chocolate-Nut Meringue Cookies (18 calories each!) for a treat everyone can enjoy sans guilt.

Related:
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10 foods you should eat every day