15 Low Calorie Snacks
It’s the snacks that often sabotage us, right? We have all been there—hit with a craving for something sweet, hungry before it’s time to eat our next meal, or in need of a quick energy boost. If we’re watching our weight, it’s important that we choose low calorie snacks.
Snacking is not bad in and of itself. It’s the actual snacks that either help or harm us. Chips might thrill our taste buds, but the calories and guilt far outweigh the temporary feelings. Snacks like chips are empty calories—meaning that they have are the opposite of nutrient dense foods and lack the staying power, so we’re hungry again too quickly.
The Importance of Protein
Protein is the key to a healthy low calorie snack! The latest research has found that people who consume more protein throughout the day have greater success when it comes to weight loss. That’s because protein keeps you full for a longer period of time and helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels so you do not feel tired and hungry again too soon. It forces the body to use up more calories during digestion than carbs, and it also helps increasing lean muscle to keep your body from storing fat. Protein is an essential nutrient to keep our bodies running smoothly all day.
There is no need to limit protein to your three main meals—so, let’s get some protein in your snacks, shall we?
The Optimal Healthy Snack Equation
When choosing a healthy snack, you want to try to hit the following nutritional targets to stay on track with your weight loss goal:
- 200 calories—If you’re not following the Portion Fix/21 Day Fix Eating Plan, that means you’re still counting calories. (I recommend you spend some time learning how the 21 Day Fix works so you can get rid of this unnecessary chore!). A snack should not be more than 200 calories as this is enough to keep your metabolism running and bridge any hunger gap you’re trying to fill up.
- 3 grams of fiber—Fiber is digested very slowly, which helps to sustain our energy level. It also absorbs water and makes us feel full for a longer period.
- No more than 12g fat—This will ensure that your snack doesn’t push you over your recommended daily allowance of fat.
- 5 grams of protein—This is important as proteins release hormones in the body that increase satiety.
In short, the BEST snack is one that is high in protein and low in calories. This will keep your energy steady AND boost your metabolism without sabotaging your weight.
15 Healthy Low Calorie Snacks
Here are nine no prep low calorie snacks that are naturally high in protein:
- Hard-boiled eggs (Red container). Undeniably healthy with MANY nutrients our bodies needs. And, convenient, too! (If you’re still stuck believing that eggs are not good for you, you MUST read this—All About Eggs!)
- Nitrate Free Jerky. Beef, poultry or fish that has been trimmed of fat and dried makes an excellent and convenient snack as it is high in lean protein. Try this recipe for making your very own Salmon Jerky—Beachbody’s Salmon Jerky.
- Low or nonfat Greek yogurt (Red container). At 10-12 grams of protein per serving, this is a tasty and easy way to get BOTH protein and your daily dose of probiotics. Try adding a scoop of Shakeology or some berries for an even tastier and healthier snack. Here’s a simple recipe for a delicious Greek Yogurt Parfait—Yogurt Berry Parfait.
- Almonds, walnuts or pistachios (Blue container). A handful of almonds provides about 6 grams of protein AND your daily dose of healthy fat.
- Low or nonfat cottage cheese (Red container). You can enjoy this high protein snack on its own or combine it with fruits and nuts.
- Low or nonfat string cheese (Blue container). In moderation, string cheese is filling, easy to grab, and is a good source of calcium. I love the FRESH mozzarella sticks from Trader Joes!
- Turkey roll ups (Red & Blue or Green containers). Roll some nitrate free turkey breast lunch meat around some low or nonfat string cheese (or, my favorite, asparagus!) for a bread-less sandwich that helps regular your appetite.
- Pumpkin or sunflower seeds (Orange container). Like nuts, these are perfect for when you’re on the go or sitting at your desk.
- Shakeology or Daily Sunshine (Red container). It truly does not get more convenient OR healthy than Shakeology or the new Daily Sunshine supplement (with 17 grams of protein and less than 170 calories!) by Beachbody. Either of these are perfect for when hunger strikes in between meals and you are looking for something that is quick, convenient, and packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, both of them were formulated to help curb junk food cravings—and they work! You can just add water and mix in a blender or shaker cup or add some healthy fillers like spinach or frozen bananas. Check out our recipes here—Shakeology Recipes (you can TOTALLY replace Daily Sunshine for Shakeology in any of these recipes).
You can prepare these low calorie snacks during your weekly buffet style meal prep time and enjoy them throughout the week—or when you feel like eating them:
- Kale chips (Green container. These are great when you’re craving salty potato chips! Click HERE for my recipe.
- Roasted chickpeas/garbanzo beans (Yellow container). This tasty low calorie snack has a whopping 5 grams of protein and only 120 calories per serving. They’re easy to roast yourself—try adding your favorite spices and/or a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Homemade Energy Bars (Yellow and Blue containers). It doesn’t get much better than Shakeology, fruit and nuts.
- Homemade hummus (Blue container). Making hummus is ridiculously easy. Like homemade salad dressings, one you do it, you’ll have a hard time buying the pre-made ones. Here’s a recipe from Beachbody—Homemade Hummus. Eat this with cucumbers, carrots, celery or another dippable veggie and you are totally on the right track.
- Homemade popsicles (Purple container). Berries and juice and Shakeology, oh my! Here’s the recipe—Mixed Berry Popsicles
- Homemade pudding (Purple, Red and Blue containers). Oh my gosh, this is AMAZING—Healthy Chocolate Pudding
BONUS SNACK — In April 2018, Beachbody released the BEST protein bar EVER! It’s low in calories and sugar, high in protein and fiber and tastes delicious, so I am happy to add it to the list of low calorie snacks!
Snacks to Avoid
None of us want the snacks we eat to push us further away from our weight loss goals. These are some of the worst common snack choices that MUST be avoided:
- Fast food chain smoothies. These might be an easy grab-and-go solution from places like Jamba Juice, but they are usually VERY high in sugar and/or fat and are NOT a healthy option.
- Potato chips. A snack size bag of potato chips has only 2 grams of protein, but NO fiber, 50 calories, 9 grams fat, 16 grams carbs, and way too much sodium!
- Granola or cereal bars. The low quality granola and cereal bars are packed with carbs, but are lacking in fiber and other important nutrients. If you must have a bar, choose one that’s high in protein and fiber and low in sugar.
- Pretzels. While they may be low in fat and sugar, they pretty much have no nutritional value at all.
21 Day Fix Eating Plan
Autumn Calabrese’s 21 Day Fix Eating Plan teaches you how to choose healthy low calorie snacks. It eventually becomes second nature.
I want to help you get to that point! If I am assigned as your Beachbody Coach, you are eligible for membership in my private Facebook Fix Family group where you will get LOTS of ideas on eating healthier. Click below to learn more about getting coached by me for FREE!