While snacking on the wrong foods may cause you to pack on weight, choosing the right healthy low-calorie snacks may promote weight loss.
Research shows that snacking on nutritious foods that are high in fiber and protein helps promote feelings of fullness and may decrease the number of calories you consume in a day. Thankfully, you can choose from a wide variety of delicious, low-calorie yet filling snacks to keep you on track with your wellness goals.
Here are 21 healthy, low-calorie snack ideas.
1. Veggies and hummus
Healthy low-calorie snacks like veggies can benefit health in countless ways and reduce your risk of many chronic conditions, including heart disease. Still, most people don’t eat enough vegetables. Notably, vegetables can be easily paired with a protein source like hummus, a creamy spread made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice.
Pairing low-calorie, fiber-rich veggies like broccoli, radishes, celery, or bell peppers with protein-rich hummus makes a satisfying snack that is sure to keep you feeling full in between meals without adding a lot of calories.
2. Apple slices with natural peanut butter
Though apples are a filling and healthy choice on their own, pairing them with natural peanut butter is an even better option.
Peanut butter is packed with protein, the most filling of the three macronutrients, protein, carbs, and fat. In fact, research shows that adding peanut butter to your diet can help reduce hunger and maintain healthy body weight.
Be sure to choose a natural peanut butter that only contains peanuts and salt on the ingredient list and use the recommended serving size of 2 tablespoons (32 grams) to avoid excess calorie consumption.
3. Coconut chips
Coconut chips are not only delicious but also high in healthy fats and fiber, making them an excellent substitution for potato chips.
You can purchase coconut chips from the store or online or make them yourself at home. Simply toss unsweetened, large coconut flakes with melted coconut oil and bake in the oven at 300℉ (150℃) for 7–9 minutes.
The flakes can be tossed with salt and vinegar for a savory twist or cinnamon and honey for a sweeter version before baking.
4. Hard-boiled eggs
You may wonder why the boiled egg is on a list of healthy low-calorie snacks, but the truth is that eggs are often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin.” One large, hard-boiled egg has just 78 calories, yet is packed with vitamin B12, vitamin A, selenium, phosphorus, healthy fats, and over 6 grams of filling protein.
Hard-boiled eggs are a portable and convenient snack that pairs well with other healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and cheese.
5. Greek yogurt with berries
Greek yogurt is packed with protein and vital nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Meanwhile, berries are loaded with fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants, which help prevent cellular damage in your body.
Topping unsweetened Greek yogurt with your choice of berries is a delicious, healthy way to keep hunger at bay while nourishing your body at the same time.
6. Banana with nut butter
The sweet taste of bananas and the salty, nutty flavor of almond, peanut, or cashew butter makes an excellent snack combination. Pairing bananas with nut butter make your snack more filling by bumping up protein and fiber.
Try slicing 1 small banana and topping the rounds with 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of almond butter for a filling snack that packs only 280 calories.
7. Toasted pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients, including protein, magnesium, zinc, potassium, copper, and manganese, all of which are vital for keeping your bones strong and healthy
Try toasting pumpkin seeds at home by tossing raw pumpkin seeds in salt, pepper, and olive oil, then baking at 300℉ (150℃) for 40–50 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until golden brown. A 1/2-cup (32-gram) serving delivers 143 calories.
8. Figs stuffed with goat cheese
The saltiness of creamy goat cheese pairs well with the sweet flavor and chewiness of figs. Goat cheese is an excellent source of protein, while figs are high in fiber — making them a powerful combination.
To prepare this satisfying snack, top fresh, halved figs with a dollop of goat cheese, then drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. One large fig stuffed with 1 ounce (28 grams) of goat cheese provides 150 calories.
9. Plantain chips and guacamole
Plantains are similar to bananas but have a starchier, more neutral flavor. When sliced and cooked, they make excellent alternatives to potato chips.
Pairing plantains with guacamole — a dip made with avocados, lime juice, onions, salt, and various herbs — makes a smart snack choice, as both are loaded with fiber and other beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
10. Chicken salad on cucumber slices
Chicken salad is a tasty, filling dish that can be enjoyed both as a meal and a snack. It can be prepared with mayonnaise or smashed avocado and mixed with fresh herbs or chopped veggies, such as scallions, parsley, and celery.
Spoon this high-protein combination on low-calorie, fiber-rich cucumber slices for a filling snack. A 1/4 cup (58 grams) of chicken salad made with mayonnaise with half of the sliced cucumber (118 grams) provides 228 calories.
11. Kale chips
There’s no question that kale is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Yet, some people may not like the taste of raw kale.
Tossing raw pieces of kale with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then baking in a 275℉ (135℃) oven for 20 minutes produces crispy kale chips that can be enjoyed any time as a quick snack. One ounce (28 grams) of store-bought kale chips provides around 122 calories.
Related: All You Need To Know About kale
12. Strawberries with coconut whipped cream
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, pairing juicy strawberries with homemade coconut whipped cream can satisfy your cravings in a healthy way.
To prepare homemade coconut cream, simply beat a can of chilled coconut cream in a stand mixer until peaks form. The whipped cream can be flavored by adding vanilla extract or a bit of maple syrup. 1-cup (140-gram) serving of sliced strawberries topped with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of fresh coconut whipped cream delivers 218 calories.
13. Roasted almonds with dried cherries
Another healthy low-calorie snacks which are Almonds are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and magnesium, while dried cherries are loaded with fiber and vitamin A. Their flavors complement one another and make a perfect combination.
Cherries also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties due to their high antioxidant content. Human studies suggest that consuming both almonds and cherries may help reduce your risk of certain conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. 1/4-cup (28-gram) serving of almonds mixed with 1/4 cup (40 grams) of dried cherries packs 290 calories.
Though perhaps not the most popular snack food, sardines are a concentrated source of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, and countless other important nutrients.
They’re also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, a special type of fat that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is especially beneficial for heart health. Enjoy sardines straight out of the can or pile them on hearty crackers for a filling snack. One can (106 grams) of sardines has only 151 calories.
15. Homemade trail mix
Though store-bought trail mixes are convenient, making your own is simple and cost-effective. Plus, it gives you the ability to make favorite flavor combinations that aren’t available in stores.
Combine your choice of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit and add smaller amounts of dark chocolate, coconut, grains, and spices until you create the perfect blend. Most trail mix blends deliver around 140 calories per 1/4 cup (30 grams).
16. Caprese Salad
The flavorful combination of mozzarella cheese, juicy tomatoes, and fresh basil are sure to please even the pickiest eater.
For a simple yet filling work-friendly snack, combine mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and fresh, chopped basil in a glass jar. Top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and store in your work refrigerator until hunger strikes.
A premade, store-bought Caprese salad is also an excellent snack choice, with a 2-ounce (58-gram) serving to deliver just 142 calories.
17. Vegetable Soup
Having a cup or bowl of vegetable soup for a snack can help keep you full while providing your body with a variety of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.
Studies show that eating vegetable-based soups before meals can reduce food intake by as much as 20%.
Snack on broth-based or pureed vegetable soups to increase your veggie intake while keeping calorie intake in check. A 1-cup (240-ml) serving of broth-based vegetable soup typically has fewer than 100 calories.
18. Tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a potent antioxidant shown to promote heart health and reduce the risk of certain cancers, including those of the prostate.
As lycopene is fat soluble and better absorbed when paired with sources of fat, stuffing tomatoes with tuna salad made with olive oil, mayonnaise, or avocado is a smart choice. One small tomato stuffed with 1 ounce (29 grams) of tuna salad made with mayo has around 150 calories.
19. Shrimp cocktail
Shrimp are not only low in calories, with 3 ounces (85 grams) providing just 80 calories — but also packed with nutrients, including protein, iron, selenium, and vitamin B12.
Munching on a few shrimps paired with a low-calorie cocktail sauce made with horseradish, unsweetened ketchup, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce is a smart snacking choice sure to keep your hunger at bay.
20. Mini frittata muffins
Mini egg frittata muffins are a filling breakfast food that can be enjoyed as a portable snack at any time of day.
Mix beat eggs with chopped and cooked vegetables of your choice, grated cheese, and seasonings. Pour the mixture into a greased muffin tin and bake at 350℉ (175℃) for 20–30 minutes.
Let cool, then pop the mini frittatas out of the muffin tin and pack them with your lunch for a healthy workday snack option. Most mini frittata muffin recipes deliver around 100 calories per frittata depending on add-ins.
21. Homemade protein bars
Many protein bars sold in grocery and convenience stores are packed with added sugars and other unhealthy additives. However, you can easily make your own protein bars with healthier ingredients based on countless recipes in books and online that can be modified to suit your taste preferences.
Look for recipes that use wholesome ingredients like nuts, seeds, nut butter, dried fruit, and coconut and are naturally sweetened with a bit of honey or maple syrup. Calorie content of homemade protein bars can vary widely, but many recipes deliver around 200 calories per bar.
Finally, eating foods that are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals improves your health and even help you stay on track with your weight loss efforts.