Often, people avoid eating between meals when they are trying to lose weight. But when your stomach begins to rumble before your next meal, a healthy snack can help stabilize your blood sugar and provide fuel and energy to power through the day and avoid overeating at mealtime. The key is planning snacks that you can take anywhere and are nutritious. Foods that contain protein or fat may help you lose weight and keep cravings to a minimum. Below are healthy snack options that are under 200 calories:
Medium apple with one tablespoon natural peanut or almond butter: Apples are high in fiber and polyphenol antioxidants that may improve your digestive system and reduce the risk of heart disease. Nut butters have some heart-healthy benefits and have been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. Be careful to stick to the serving size as it is high in calories. If you haven’t tried almond butter, a good quality brand is Justin’s.
Greek or Icelandic Yogurt: This type of yogurt is a good source of calcium, protein, and probiotics and half the sugar compared to traditional yogurts. I am a fan of Siggi’s nonfat vanilla yogurt which contains 15 grams of protein, nine grams of sugar, and 110 calories for a 5.3-ounce cup.
Hummus: Made from pureed chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil, hummus has five grams of protein and four grams of fiber. Serve with cut up veggies such as baby carrots, red bell pepper slices, grape tomatoes, or cucumber slices or spread on whole-grain bread for extra fiber and nutrients. I often make it from scratch (my Mom’s recipe!), but several brands offer single serving cups such as Joseph’s Mediterranean Cuisine.
Nuts: Eating nuts provide the perfect balance of healthy fat, protein, and fiber and are a very portable snack. They contain, on average, 180 calories in a 1-ounce serving and are very filling. Studies have shown that eating nuts in moderation (keep to the serving size!) can help you lose weight.
Hard-boiled eggs: This is filling snack that you can make ahead and eat on the go. Two large, hard-boiled eggs contain about 140 calories and 13 grams of protein and are a good source of vitamins K2 and B12.
Cheese: A two-ounce serving of cheese provides about 14 grams of protein and 200 calories, and hard cheese is a good source of protein and calcium. Try a grass-fed brand such as Kerrygold Dubliner.
Olives: The plant compounds in olives may reduce inflammation as they are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Olives also provide potent antioxidants. Depending on their size, 25 green or black olives have about 100–175 calories.
Guacamole and raw veggies: Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats that have been shown to support healthy blood cholesterol levels and heart health. For an “on-the-go” variety, try Wholly Guacamole Minis which have 120 calories and 12 grams of healthy fat.
Cottage Cheese: Similar to Greek yogurt, cottage cheese is a high-protein, filling snack and contains 20 grams of protein and 125 milligrams of calcium per 5-ounce serving. Keep in mind that most brands contain high amounts of sodium, with 20-30% of the recommended daily allowance. I enjoy Good Culture organic cottage cheese because it has no artificial ingredients.
Quote of the week:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Cakes
2 ½ cups zucchini, grated
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup bread crumbs
¼ cup onion, minced
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl, combine zucchini, egg, and butter or margarine. Stir in seasoned crumbs, minced onion, and seasoning. Mix well. Shape mixture into patties and dredge in flour. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Fry patties in oil until golden brown on both sides.