It hits most often before and after lunchtime, and sometimes even knocks well after you’ve finished dinner: those pinging hunger pains that can’t be tamed. If you want a healthy snack that doesn’t overdo it on the sugar, fat or calories, we’ve found something you might just love.
Enter: these wholesome and hearty middle-(or end)-of-the-day eats that will boost your energy and satisfy your hunger so you can go full blast through a day of work, your kickboxing class and still have enough energy to make it through your Netflix queue (and possibly a glass of vino!):
Berries N’ Cream
Fresh or frozen, there’s no denying the health benefits of berries — especially strawberries and blueberries, which are both jam-packed with antioxidants that help prevent your risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and various types of cancers. And with summer on its way, these fruits will be in season in no time. While the whipped cream doesn’t add any health perks, only a few teaspoons of this decadent topping will make you totally forget you’re eating an under-100-calorie snack. Just be sure to measure out the amounts to make sure you’re sticking to the small portion.
What to prepare: ¾ cup strawberries; ½ cup blueberries; 3 tbsp whipped cream.
Mango and Cottage Cheese
This flavor combination alone will work wonders on your taste buds, and since cottage cheese is packed with protein, you’ll be full and satisfied from this small serving. Cottage cheese is also an excellent source of calcium, boosting over 18 percent of your daily needs in just a single cup. And don’t let the sweet and creamy taste of mango fool you. This prized tropical fruit is chock full of nutrients including copper, calcium, iron and antioxidants like zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Studies have found that increasing consumption of mangoes can decrease your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and promote a healthier complexion (hello, clear skin and shiny hair!).
What to prepare: ½ cup chopped mango; ½ cup nonfat cottage cheese.
Cheese lovers of the world rejoice. We may have a serious taste for the sharp in taste and high in sodium, but our preferred snack is not off the table when it comes to healthy portion control. If you’re a cheese-obsessed foodie who can’t say no to “just one more slice.” pop by your local supermarket for those individually-wrapped cheese sticks. Opt for a brand that is part skim milk, which should weigh in at around 90 calories a serving. And good news: they’re not processed! Surprising, right? They’re actually made from the real deal, be it mozzarella or cheddar. Plus, each serving of cheese sticks contains 763 milligrams of calcium or 76 percent of your daily recommended daily intake!
What to prepare: Just peel pack that plastic and have a bite!
Sliced Tomato and Sprinkled Feta
If your lunch didn’t quite satisfy you enough to last until dinner, that doesn’t mean you have to grin and bear it with an empty and growling stomach. Instead, make an even healthier and lighter version of a caprese salad with two simple ingredients: fresh cut tomato and feta cheese. Little do most know, but tomatoes are extremely low in calories (just one will only cost you a measly 15 cals!). Even better, they’re packed with good-for-you nutrients like lycopene, an antioxidant that lowers your risk of lung, prostate, colon, oesophagus, breast and skin cancers. So slice up a ripe, red tomato or two and pair with a teaspoon of feta cheese to add some flavor and you’ll satisfied until supper.
What to prepare: 1-2 whole tomatoes and 1 tsp feta cheese.
These grocery-store-bought snacks made by the health brand, Vitalicious, taste just like their sweet counterparts. Craving an apple strudel pastry? Try the Apple Crumb VitaTop! These puppies are not only low in calories and fat, but they’re also high in fiber and contain just the right balance of nutrients, protein and wholesome ingredients that quench your hunger cravings. The best part of a muffin, afterall, really is the top…
What to prepare: Buy a pack at your local grocery store and either eat frozen or pop in the microwave.
You chow these babies down every time you go to your local sushi joint, but ever think about prepping them as an afternoon or evening snack? This young soybean is naturally gluten-free and very low-calorie, especially in comparison to its protein, iron and calcium levels. You can buy them shelled or hardened at your local grocery store (Trader Joe’s sells it in their frozen food department). According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a half cup of edamame totals out to just under 100 calories!
What to prepare: Buy shelled or in-pod at your local grocery store and eat frozen or heated.
Quite easily one of the most filling breakfast foods in exchange for the calories it claims, oatmeal is a must-have snack especially if you workout. It is packed with insoluble fiber, which stays in your stomach longer. This not only leaves you feeling more full, but it also helps prevent overeating later on in your day. Just a half cup is enough to reap its fiber benefits which have been shown to lower cholesterol by 10-15 percent! And perhaps the best part of all? It’s the easiest thing to mix and spice up with fun ingredients like raisins, cinnamon, bananas, blueberries, etc.
What to prepare: ¾ a cup of oatmeal usually weighs in at around 100 calories, so if you’re looking to add some toppings, opt for ½ a cup to make room for the add-ons.
Carrots and Hummus
Sure, this pairing suggestion may not be a surprise to you, but how often do you pack and prepare it before you head out of the house in the morning? See! We caught you. Instead of banking on that vending machine at work having healthy options, prep a bag of carrots in the a.m. and a to-go pack of hummus.
What to prepare: 1 ½ tsp hummus with 10-15 baby carrots
While avocado is known to be high in calories and fat, it’s packed with the good fats — omega 3 fatty acids — which help reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease your risk for heart disease. It’s also naturally sugar, cholesterol and sodium-free, meaning in exchange for those calories, you’re getting your full share of nutritional benefits. To stick to your snack-portion size, use only a tablespoon on one piece of wheat bread.
What to prepare: 1 piece of wheat bread with 1 tbsp avocado.
Skinny Cow Low-Fat Mini Fudge Pop
Even after a filling, hearty meal where you’re feeling full and satisfied, you may notice your sweet tooth creeping in to tempt you to reach for the freezer. But instead of opting for Ben and Jerry’s or a plain old large carton of ice cream, try a low-calorie, already-portioned brand like Skinny Cow. We promise it will still hit the spot, but will only cost you 50 calories a pop in damage! Yes, that means we’re giving you permission to have two! Win, win!
What to prepare: Head to your local grocery store and buy a box!