The best way to lose weight should be determined between you and your doctor. However, many of the best snacks contain some mixture of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, since everyone’s diet needs are different. In this article we will list 16 healthy snacks to lose weight.
It may sound surprising, but a study from the University of Tennessee’s Department of Nutrition showed that people who eat several tiny snacks throughout the day, instead of not snacking at all, lost more weight. That’s because small bits of food here and there, rather than consuming too much, contributed to better satisfaction and prevented the body from storing excess amounts of fat (x).
Many nutritionists suggest pairing foods for a more satisfying snack, namely a fiber and a protein. That’s because fiber slows the rate of digestion, and protein requires more energy to break down in the body. Snacks like apples and cheese or celery and peanut butter work fit this category (x).
Keep in mind that the body needs macronutrients, such as fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, and micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, to function correctly. Many studies have found diets rich in all these items to be vastly better in the long run than diets rich in sweetened and processed foods (x). Successful weight loss programs allow you to treat yourself every so often while being mindful of how often you eat and how much you eat.
A Handful of Fruit
While all fruits will have varying amounts of fibers and natural sugars, they’ll do great for satisfying your overall hunger, as well as your sweet tooth. Plus, most fruits, like blueberries and strawberries, are packed with antioxidants to help your digestion and to get rid of built-up natural toxins. A single cup measure of raspberries, for example, is around 60 calories, while one cup of blueberries is about 83 calories (x).
Plain Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries
Adding a mixture of fresh berries to plain Greek yogurt is another way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Some might wonder whether flavored yogurt will just as well, but those flavors usually come with extra sugars. Around 150 grams, or one cup, of plain Greek yogurt is about 150 calories, while a handful of fruit might be between 50-90 calories (x).
Apples/Celery with Peanut Butter
This combination is an example of a protein and a fiber working hand in hand. The apple/celery provides the fiber and sweet factor, while the peanut butter offers a satisfying protein. If you wish, you could drizzle chocolate or raisins on these to make an even more delicious treat. Depending on the apple, you would consume between 78-116 calories, while a serving (2 tablespoons) of peanut butter would contain roughly 190 calories (x).
A Handful of Nuts
Nuts are a time-honored source of protein and overall satisfaction. They can be added to trail mixes or mixed in with yogurt for a little extra sweetness. A 24-piece serving of unsalted almonds, for example, would be worth 170 calories, while a 20-piece serving of cashews would be worth 160 calories. Nuts are generally a good source of iron with 5 grams of protein to boot (x).
Hardboiled eggs are as classic a snack as they come, at only 77 calories per large egg. While they did have a bad rap for a while with their cholesterol and sodium levels, they still have a lot of protein–6.5 grams of it. Plus, hardboiled eggs can be sliced and put into a salad or on a sandwich. Versatility can sometimes be the key to successful snacking, and hardboiled eggs are not a bad place to begin (x).
Popcorn with Parmesan and Thyme
Classic buttered popcorn might be yummy, but it’s not the best snack for losing weight, with all that extra salt and butter. But regular air-popped popcorn, without any additional salt or better, can be a good source of protein.
Because popcorn doesn’t have much weight to it–it doesn’t have a lot of bad or good stuff–it’s a chance to add some fun seasonings, like shredded parmesan cheese or thyme. The fun is in what flavorful combinations will be the yummiest. One cup of air-popped popcorn has around 30 calories (x).
Grapes and Swiss Cheese
Grapes are like the dessert of fruit (they contain a lot of natural sugar and are quite sweet as a result), but they still provide plenty of good things. They can be eaten right from the fridge, or you can freeze them for a more mindful eating experience (you’ll have to chew frozen grapes more slowly).
You can also combine them with tiny slices of Swiss cheese for a more savory experience. A handful of grapes (49 grams) equals roughly 36 calories, and a single 18-gram slice of Swiss cheese has 70 calories (x).
Dark Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Chocolate-covered strawberries are quite a sophisticated dessert. You can dunk the strawberries in freshly melted chocolate and enjoy, or you can put them in the freezer for later. Do keep in mind that a whole strawberry is between 120-180 calories, so they are enjoyed best in moderation (x).
Frozen Yogurt-Covered Fruits
Yogurt and fruit are among the most versatile foods in snacking, especially if they can also be frozen. In this case, you can take fresh fruit, like blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries, and cover them in yogurt before putting them in the freezer.
The frozen yogurt may taste like ice cream (without all the sugar and calories), and the fruit gives a burst of flavor and antioxidants. Yogurt-covered raisins are even available for consumption. Calorie ranges depend on the yogurt and fruits used (x).
Chickpeas don’t get enough fame for being high in protein. Otherwise known as garbanzo beans, they account for at least a third of the daily protein (x). In fact, one study conducted by the School of Human Life Sciences at the University of Tasmania in 2006 found that the participants had less “bad” cholesterol in their blood when they added chickpeas to their diet for five weeks, as compared to a diet with added wheat (x).
Chickpeas can be eaten as is, or you can roast them with different spices for a more exotic and delicious snack. Half a cup of canned chickpeas (130 grams) is about 120 calories, and ¼ a cup (28 grams) of roasted chickpeas is around 140 calories (x).
Oatmeal and Blueberries
There’s almost no better combination than two heart-healthy foods in one. Oatmeal has been known to lower blood pressure and, therefore, the risk of heart disease. Plus, it is also high in antioxidants, which will help promote the widening of the blood vessels and decrease blood pressure–a benefit that blueberries also have. Lowering cholesterol and improving the digestive tract’s performance are added benefits (x). Half a cup (40 grams) of uncooked oatmeal is about 150 calories (x).
Pear Slices with Swiss Cheese
Much like apples, pears are a sweet autumn treat that is delicious and full of fiber. Not only does fiber help you feel full, but it also promotes healthy digestion. One pear also has a lot of potassium and vitamin C, which help your bones and muscles and your immune system. Pears, which are about 79 calories apiece, are also good for your heart, and some studies have found that it can reduce your chances of stroke by over 50 percent (x).
Although we think that cheese is bad for us, one slice of Swiss cheese contains roughly 8 grams of protein and 221 milligrams of calcium (x). In that case, combine pears and Swiss cheese, and you’ve got quite the super-snack.
Crackers and Cottage Cheese
By crackers, we mean something high in fiber and protein, and low on sugar and salt. Crackers by themselves make excellent healthy snacks to lose weight, but they’re more fun as a vessel for other toppings, like peanut butter, veggies, dip, and cheese. A single serving of five crackles is about 80 calories, and are a decent source of potassium as well.
Cottage cheese my a surprising cracker topping, but it is quite an effective one. It is chock full of protein, clocking in at around 23 grams per serving. Be careful with consuming too much, though, since it also has quite a lot of sodium, at over 600 milligrams (x). Many sources caution against consuming too much dairy and sodium in general, but crackers and cottage cheese, with their combination of fiber and protein, should still be a fun snack.
Bananas with Peanut Butter
In terms of protein-heavy snacks, this one is a classic too and a favorite of healthy snacks to lose weight. Although peanut butter is high in calories and sodium, that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed in moderation. Many brands have 7 grams of protein in a 2-tablespoon serving and magnesium, zinc, and niacin. Magnesium plays a huge role in many body reactions, while zinc and niacin are critical for immunity, protein synthesis, and nerve function. A single serving has around 188 calories (x).
Everyone knows that bananas are high in potassium at 422 milligrams, accounting for almost 9% of an adult’s suggested daily intake. Lectin, a protein found in bananas, has antioxidative properties, so it helps flush toxins out. They also contain water and fiber, with one banana being about 109 calories (x).
Hummus and Veggies
Hummus is generally made of smashed chickpeas and sesame seeds, with all kinds of spices and flavors. It has many plant-based proteins, mainly thanks to the chickpeas, and a 100-gram serving has about 20. Hummus is often eaten with pita chips or some other kind of high-protein food, which means lots of pure, complete protein to consume. There is also lemon juice in hummus, a great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants (x).
Besides pita chips or crackers, hummus can also be enjoyed with veggies. Generally, vegetables are low in fat and calories and contain lots of water, vitamins, and minerals. They benefit almost every part of the body, from the skin to digestion to the heart, and a handful of raw veggies, including carrots, cauliflowers, raw red bell peppers, and broccoli, can be as low as 35 calories (x, y).
Cheese has gotten a bad rap in recent years for its high levels of cholesterol and sodium. But cheese, mainly depending on the type, does have some health benefits. Low-fat cheese, especially, makes a great snack addition, because it is made with either 2% or skim milk. One serving of cheddar cheese, for instance, can have between 80-120 calories, with 190-380 grams of sodium, but 150-200 milligrams of calcium.
Low-fat cheese is especially good for lowering blood pressure and even have antioxidative properties. Healthy snacks to lose weight like Low-fat cheese would include parmesan, goat’s cheese, low-fat cream cheese, cottage cheese, and ricotta cheese. Again, cheese can be high in sodium or cholesterol, but that does not mean it can make a nutritious snack (x).
The Bottom Line
Some snacks can satisfy all kinds of cravings, without having to sacrifice the pleasure of food. Remember, trying to lose weight does not mean you have to starve yourself or avoid certain foods altogether. As the saying goes: everything in moderation. If you have recommendations for healthy snacks to lose weight please leave a comment.