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Low-calorie snacks

32 healthy, low-calorie snack idea

While snacking on the wrong foods may cause you to pack on weight, choosing the right snacks may promote weight loss. Here are 32 healthy, low-calorie snack ideas.

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Last updated on August 26, 2022, and last reviewed by an expert on May 22, 2022.

While snacking on the wrong foods may cause you to pack on weight, choosing the right 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 32 healthy, low-calorie snack ideas.

1. Veggies and hummus

Eating more 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.

For reference, 1 sliced medium carrot served with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of hummus delivers around 100 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. 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.

A small apple served with 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter has around 267 calories.

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.

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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.

A 1/2-cup (42-gram) serving of coconut chips provides about 315 calories.

4. Hard-boiled eggs

There’s a reason why 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. Homemade energy balls

Energy balls are bite-sized morsels made of nutritious ingredients like oats, nuts, coconut, and dried fruit. Snacking on energy balls packed with protein and fiber can help you stay on track with your health goals.

To make homemade energy balls, simply pulse the following in a food processor:

Roll the mixture into balls and store it in the refrigerator for a convenient, wholesome snack. Calorie content varies depending on ingredients and size, but 1 energy ball will usually have around 100 calories.

Suggested read: Why eggs might be the ultimate weight management food

6. 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.

A 7-ounce (200-gram) container of plain Greek yogurt topped with 1/2 cup (70 grams) of blueberries delivers 180 calories.

7. 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.

Plus, pairing bananas with nut butter makes 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

Suggested read: 29 healthy snacks that can help you lose weight

10. 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.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of plantain chips with 1 ounce (28 grams) of store-bought guacamole delivers 190 calories.

11. Protein-packed smoothies

Smoothies are a perfect way to add more vegetables, fruits, and healthy protein sources to your diet.

Create a protein-packed, nutrient-dense smoothie by combining a leafy green like kale with frozen berries and a scoop of protein powder, such as pea, whey, or hemp protein, and blend with a liquid of your choices, such as water or nut milk.

Nut butter, chia seeds, coconut, cacao nibs, and flax seeds are additional ingredients that can be added to smoothies for an extra boost of nutrition. Calorie content can vary widely depending on your ingredients.

For low-calorie smoothies, use greens, berries, and protein powder and leave out high-calorie ingredients like nut butter and coconut.

12. Ants on a log

Ants on a log — or celery sticks packed with peanut butter and topped with raisins — is a popular sweet-yet-savory snack that is sure to satisfy your hunger.

Celery and raisins are high in fiber, while peanut butter rounds out this delicious treat with a plant-based source of protein.

One large stalk of celery (64 grams) topped with 1 tablespoon (16 grams) of peanut butter and 1 tablespoon (10 grams) of raisins provides 156 calories.

13. 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.

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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.

14. 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.

15. Chia pudding

Chia seeds are tiny, black seeds that are rich in healthy fats, fiber, protein, calcium, and magnesium. They expand when soaked in liquid, creating a gelatinous mixture that can help keep you satisfied between meals.

Make chia pudding by combining these ingredients in a bowl:

Refrigerate the mix overnight and top with berries, nut butter, seeds, or coconut for a balanced snack. Most homemade chia pudding recipes have 200–400 calories per cup (240 ml) depending on the ingredients used.

16. Strawberries with coconut whipped cream

If you’re in the mood for something sweet, pairing juicy strawberries with homemade coconut whipped cream can healthily satisfy your cravings.

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.

A 1-cup (140-gram) serving of sliced strawberries topped with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of fresh coconut whipped cream delivers 218 calories.

17. Roasted almonds with dried cherries

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.

Suggested read: 10 science-based health benefits of grapefruit

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.

A 1/4-cup (28-gram) serving of almonds mixed with 1/4 cup (40 grams) of dried cherries packs 290 calories.

18. Sardines

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.

19. 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).

20. 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 delivering just 142 calories.

21. 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.

Suggested read: 9 proven health benefits of watermelon

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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. Edamame

Edamame beans are a vegetarian-friendly snack that contains an impressive amount of plant-based protein and fiber.

A ½-cup (75-gram) serving of cooked edamame delivers only 105 calories but 9 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, making these beans an extremely healthy and filling snack.

Enjoy edamame on their own sprinkled with sea salt, or toss them on a green salad for a boost of plant-based protein.

25. Roasted chickpeas

Like edamame, chickpeas are high in protein and fiber, with 1 ounce (28 grams) of roasted chickpeas packing 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber at just 120 calories.

Research shows that snacking on chickpeas can benefit health by reducing appetite, calorie intake at meals, and blood sugar levels.

Make your tasty treat at home by tossing canned chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasting them in a 450℉ (230℃) oven for 30–40 minutes until crispy.

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26. Fermented vegetables

Fermentation is a method of food preservation that boosts nutritional value and leads to the production of beneficial bacteria called probiotics.

Ingesting foods rich in probiotics, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, or fermented carrot sticks, may benefit health in many ways, such as by improving your digestion and immune system.

Plus, fermented veggies are tasty and can satisfy cravings for a crunchy, salty snack. They’re also very low in calories. For example, 1 ounce (28 grams) of kimchi has just 10 calories.

27. Jerky

You can choose from various types of jerky, including beef, chicken, salmon, and even vegan-friendly jerky made from mushrooms, eggplant, or coconut.

Most types of jerky are high in protein, low in calories, portable, and convenient — making it a good choice for snacking on the go.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of beef jerky has just 70 calories.

Still, many types of jerky are high in added salt, so be sure to limit your serving size to 1–2 ounces (28–56 grams) at a time.

28. Dark chocolate dipped in almond butter

A sustainable weight loss plan should make room for healthy indulgences, such as dark chocolate.

High-quality dark chocolate is loaded with powerful compounds, such as polyphenol antioxidants like epicatechin, catechin, and anthocyanins, which have strong anti-inflammatory effects.

Pair a square (15 grams) of dark chocolate with 1 tablespoon (16 grams) of nutrient-dense almond butter for a mouthwatering combination at only 165 calories.

29. Green salad with protein

Snacking on a green salad topped with colorful vegetables and a hearty protein source is one of the healthiest snacks that you can eat.

Try pairing dark leafy greens like arugula or spinach with brightly colored, non-starchy vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, or radishes. Then add a filling protein source like hard-boiled eggs, pumpkin seeds, or grilled salmon.

Suggested read: 14 healthy breakfast foods that help you lose weight

Top with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or make your dressing packed with healthy fats by blending 1/4 of an avocado with olive oil, greek yogurt, lemon juice, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper.

The calorie content of green salads can vary widely depending on your toppings and dressing choice.

For a lower-calorie salad, stick to leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, and lean protein sources like grilled chicken, and top with a low-calorie dressing like balsamic vinaigrette.

30. Cucumber and smoked salmon bites

Pairing low-calorie, fiber-rich cucumber slices with flavorful smoked salmon is a tasty way to stay fueled between meals. Salmon is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fats, and vitamin D.

Simply top half of a sliced cucumber (118 grams) with 1 tablespoon (17 grams) of cream cheese and 2 ounces (55 grams) of sliced smoked salmon. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and enjoy. This snack has around 103 calories.

31. 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 beaten 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.

32. 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 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.

Suggested read: The 15 best healthy late-night snacks

The calorie content of homemade protein bars can vary widely, but many recipes deliver around 200 calories per bar.

Summary

Snacking on foods that are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals can improve your health and even help you stay on track with your weight loss efforts.

Tasty snacks, such as homemade energy balls, nut butter with fruit, veggies with hummus, and homemade trail mix are just some of the many healthy combinations sure to keep you satisfied throughout the day.

Try out a few of the delicious options listed above to start healthily fueling your body.

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