Tired of 100-calorie snack packs? There are other ways to get a low-calorie snack--and they hardly require any effort in the kitchen. Next time you need a nibble between meals, try one of these satisfying, good-for-you 100-calorie snacks.
Slice one-fifth of an avocado and mash on a Wasa Rye Cracker, then sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and sea salt. "This is my latest and greatest favorite 100-calorie snack combination," says Michelle Dudash, RD, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families. "Avocados contain monounsaturated fats, which help keep you fuller longer and the 100 percent whole-grain cracker is big and satisfying. Balsamic vinegar adds a huge pop of flavor."
"A warm way to get some vitamin C, calcium and fiber," says Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, Clinical Associate Professor at Boston University.
"Seaweed is rich in minerals that we don't get a lot of in our diet, " says Dr. Susan M. Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN. It's also chock full of amino acids (what are those?); vitamins A, B, and C; Beta-Carotene; Iodine; iron; calcium; and fiber. Plus, it naturally lowers cholesterol and has many anti-inflammatory properties.
"Protein-rich egg is a perfect match to high fiber sugar snap peas," says Blake.
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Fill two celery sticks with 2 teaspoons of crunchy almond butter and top with 1 tablespoon of California raisins. "Raisins add fiber and natural no-added-sugar sweetness," explains Dudash. "Nut butter adds staying power with nutritious fats and protein, while celery adds low-calorie bulk and has a high water content." In a recent study, participants felt more satisfied eating raisins than potato chips and cookies, despite the lower calorie count.
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Blend 1 cup sweetened almond milk, half a frozen banana, 1 tablespoon of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, and ice cubes. "Smoothies are a great way to have a little something to taper your appetite before heading out for an evening on the town, " says Kleiner.
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"Vitamin C-rich grape tomatoes provide a sweet snack along with high fiber wheat crackers," says Blake.
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"These beans offer 9 g of protein and plenty of fiber to keep you fuller, longer," says Dudash. The superstar legume is a healthy carb that also offers immune-boosting phytochemicals, as well as about 10 percent of your daily value of vitamins A and C.
"Sliced cucumbers are a fiber-rich way to scoop up the hummus," says Blake. "Leave the skin on the cucumber for more fiber."
"The fat doesn't get any healthier," says Kleiner. The monounsaturated fats help decrease blood pressure, plus they're rich in fiber, iron, vitamin E, and copper, and keep your digestive tract healthy.
"They contain protein and fiber to keep your appetite at bay for hours," says Dudash. "Plus the shells serve as a visual cue of how much you've eaten, telling you to slow down and stop when satisfied." Pistachios are a great source of copper, manganese, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. Munching on them regularly has been shown to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and boost "good" HDL cholesterol.
The comfort snack is a healthy whole grain. "Make half of your grain servings whole grains daily," advises Blake. A cup contains 1 g of fiber, 1 g of protein, 1 percent of your daily value for iron, 11.5 mg of magnesium, 28.6 mg of phosphorus, and 26.3 mg of potassium.
"The perfect go-to snack for fiber, protein, and ease," says Blake. In a nutshell (pun intended), they're a great source of vitamin E and many minerals, including manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
This tasty treat clocks in at only 56 calories. Spread a teaspoon of natural peanut butter onto one square (1 x 1-inch) of dark chocolate. "A pop of this intensely flavored bite of deliciousness will satisfy your craving for chocolate, sweets, and creaminess," says Dudash. "The darker the chocolate, the better, as it supplies more beneficial polyphenols and less added sugar than milk chocolate."
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"This is a calcium-rich way to enjoy your fruit," Blake says. Pears are high in fiber and contain folate; vitamins A, C, K, B2, B3, and B6; and minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. The sharp cheese is a great source of protein and calcium, which helps maintain strong bones and teeth.
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"It tastes like ice cream!" says Kleiner. "Yogurt and berries are healthy cultures that satisfy your sweet tooth." One of the most antioxidant-rich foods, blueberries are a nutrition superstar: they neutralize free radicals, help reduce belly fat, boost urinary tract health, save your vision, promote brain power, and fight heart disease. And let's not forget the calcium boost courtesy of the yogurt.
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"Apples add fiber and the almond butter provides satisfying fats," says Dudash. The staple fruit delivers 14 percent of the daily value of immune-boosting vitamin C, and studies have found that apples are linked to a lower risk of both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Almond butter is packed with monounsaturated "good" fats, which lower cholesterol levels, and rich in Vitamin E and flavonoids-antioxidants that fight aging and prevent disease.
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"You'll be satisfied before you know it!" says Kleiner. "Veggies like broccoli are major anti-cancer foods and full of fiber, antioxidant vitamins, and minerals." The cabbage family member improves vitamin D deficiency, gives your body's detoxification system a boost, the flavonoids fight allergies and inflammation, the glucoraphanin supports healthy skin and its repair, and helps eye health thanks to its two carotenoids.
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"A perfect calcium and beta carotene sweet snack," Blake says. The calcium in mozzarella cheese helps regulate healthy blood pressure, and apricots are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and antioxidants.
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Satisfy a craving while improving your cardiovascular health by lowering your blood pressure, controlling blood sugar levels, increasing blood flow to the brain to improve cognitive function, plus delivering lots of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.
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"Top Greek yogurt with sweet vitamin C-rich strawberries for an afternoon sundae," says Blake. Protein-packed Greek yogurt keeps you fuller, longer.
"Fat doesn't get much better for taste and satisfaction, and these are healthy and crunchy-a two-fer!" says Kleiner. These small nuts pack a punch with magnesium and calcium to boost bone and teeth formation and density, copper to slow down the aging process and stimulate brain cells, and manganese, which helps your body better metabolize food for energy.
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"High-fiber plums go great with high fiber popcorn," Blake says. Plums deliver vitamins C, K, and A, plus fiber and potassium, while popcorn is full of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.