How much (and what) should you snack on?
When done right, snacking can keep energy levels high, fill nutritional gaps in your diet, and help you control your weight. If you follow a 1,600-calorie diet, you should have about two snacks daily, at about 150 calories each. Try these healthy ideas next time a craving strikes.
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.
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 percent of the daily value of vitamin C.
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. Avocado provides a smooth texture and filling healthy fats with a subtle fruity flavor; cocoa powder satisfies your sweet tooth.
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.
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 to bind it together. At 145 calories, this portion should keep you full until your next meal.