The 8 Best Weight Loss Snacks
Snacks provide about one-third of an adult’s average daily calories, but many classic snacks aren’t rich in nutrients. Satisfy a snack attack with these nutrition-dense options that help with weight loss.
How much (and what) should you snack on?
When you snack smart, that nutritious noshing throughout the day can keep you feeling energized, as well as fill nutritional gaps in your diet and help you manage your weight. However, research from recent years suggests snacking has gotten a little out of hand for many Americans over the past few decades. In fact, a 2013 United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) survey of 5,000 U.S. adults concluded that for the average American, one-third of all calories comes from snacking on “empty calories” from unhealthy fats and added sugars in processed foods that lacked nutritional benefit.
In 2015, the USDA published the most recent edition of their Dietary Guidelines for Americans, suggesting that less than 10% of your daily calorie consumption should come from added sugars and “solid fats” (which are foods that are high in saturated fat). Snacking takes the edge of hunger and even delivers a little bit of enjoyment to brighten your day. These eight snacks provide key nutrients like protein, fiber, and healthy fat to nourish you with vitamins and minerals and support your appetite so you’re not feeling famished the next time you sit down for a meal.
Whether you choose raw or dry-roasted almonds, cashews, or pistachios, “their mix of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber will help you feel full and suppress your appetite,” Judy Caplan, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics told Health.com.
Almonds are the lowest-calorie nuts at 160 per ounce (23 nuts; 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat), followed by cashews (16 to 18 nuts; 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat) and pistachios (49 nuts; 6 grams protein, 13 grams fat), according to the article.
Sprinkle a tablespoon of parmesan cheese over three cups of air-popped popcorn for a mere 115 calories—and a substantial 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. Just check the list of ingredients for your parmesan to make sure you’re eating all-natural.
For an after-work snack to stop before-dinner hunger pangs, pair 16 baby carrots with a tablespoon of hummus for a filling 75-calorie snack. You could also add a sliced raw bell pepper to get 200% of the daily value of vitamin C, or try cucumbers, celery, or just about anything you can think of. The veggie and hummus pairing possibilities are endless!
For a fiber-rich fruit snack that provides slow-burning energy to see you through a workout, reach for dried figs, Cynthia Sass, RD, told MensHealth.com. One ounce of dried figs contains 3 grams of fiber for only 70 calories. They’re also loaded with potassium, a muscle-repair mineral.
Pair them with a half-ounce of raw almonds for an additional 81 calories, 1.5 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.
Chocolate Avocado Shake
Ditch a nightly Ben & Jerry’s habit with this 169-calorie milkshake that Skinny Chef Jennifer Iserloh shared with Shape.com. Cocoa powder takes care of your sweet tooth, while avocado provides a smooth texture and filling healthy fats with a subtle fruity flavor. Research in 2022 also suggested avocados may help reduce your heart disease risk—read Eating This Fruit Once a Day Can Decrease Bad Cholesterol, Says New Study.
Berries and Milk
These antioxidant- and fiber-packed fruits are a perfect way to indulge a sweet craving without turning to candy or cookies. Pair one cup of berries (your choice) with a glass of fat-free milk for protein, calcium, and vitamin D.
Sweet Cottage Cheese
There’s a reason dieters swear by this protein powerhouse. For just 155 calories and 15 grams of filling protein, mix a half-cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1 teaspoon of honey and top with 1 tablespoon of cashews and a sprinkle of cinnamon, as recommended by Self.com.
Peaches or pineapple sliced in cottage cheese are also a classic snack, delivering fiber, minerals, and calcium!
This modern take on egg salad from Fitnessmagazine.com makes a snack that combines protein with a little bit of fat. Chop one whole cooked egg and one egg white, then mix in a tablespoon of reduced-fat mayo (or better yet, Greek yogurt) to bind it. At 145 calories, this portion should keep you full until your next meal.