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Low-Calorie Snacks

Physicians, nutritionists, dietitians, and health and fitness gurus agree that maintaining a healthy weight and achieving lasting wellness depends on numerous factors, which include getting the right amount of the right nutrients at the right times. Boil it down to basics, and the result is that what you put into your mouth determines, to a large degree, the shape and health of your body.

If you eat far too much, even of the good things, you are not being good to your body. No amount of wishing or exercise will change that; but, eating nutritious meals and consuming snacks that are low in calories will help. Though inadequate on its own, staying active is important for health and for strength. Exercise helps your bones, organs, internal systems – and your brain – function at optimum efficiency.

You can tone muscles and sculpt body contours through exercise, but it's a fact that if you eat too much you are likely to weigh too much (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). If that's your situation, though, tackling your weight loss goals reasonably is the way to go. It's true that "There's no such thing as a free lunch." It's also true that there is no magic way to lose weight. So, forget the idea of starvation diets and learn the healthy – and effective – way to shed those pounds.

The Basics of Eating Right

Healthy young children and many slim adults seem to have an innate sense of the way it ought to be: eat only when you're hungry, snack in between meals for energy, and stay active. Why, then, is it so hard for the rest of us? Well, it doesn't have to be!

The Mayo Clinic (2016), while not endorsing any specific diet regimen, emphasizes controlling your portions, eating more plant-based foods, getting your lean protein from multiple sources, limiting sweets and salts, and keeping physically active.

Portion control may be the most important part of eating right. In our modern world, not only have we embraced the technology that makes our lives easier, we have accepted the dictum that bigger is better. And though we have learned to supersize our meals, we're not happy when we face the reality of supersizing our clothes.

Today’s adults face greater risk for developing weight-related diseases than past generations, and current research shows that these risks are expected to continue to increase for subsequent generations. This research found that obesity and its complications, as expected, increase in frequency with age; but, the frequency at which these afflictions affect any particular age of peoples is increasing over time (Hulsegge et al., 2013).

How to Reverse Current Trends

One of the suggestions made by dietitians and doctors is to eat less but snack more. It may seem counterintuitive, but let's analyze it:

  • Many other cultures eat four to six small meals each day, rather than three larger ones. The most recent dietary guidelines proposed by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (n.d.) emphasize portion control and eating more nutrient-dense foods. The 2015 - 2020 guidelines also reversed previous recommendations about the importance of breakfast, now saying that if you're not hungry in the morning you really don't have to force yourself to eat a meal.
  • Appetite is affected more by activity than by the clock. So snacking during the day when you need an energy boost makes perfect sense. Eating your main meal of the day at lunchtime rather than in the evening can also make sense if you go home only to relax and "chill out" until the next morning. If, on the other hand, you play a game of softball or go jogging after dinner, you will need sustenance beforehand and, very likely, a low-calorie snack afterward.
  • Drink more water, both before and after meals. Water keeps your body hydrated, helps digestion, gives a glow to your skin and hair, and adds zero calories to your daily intake. For a healthy alternative to energy drinks, try coconut water powder. Simply mix it with water and enjoy a boost of electrolytes for a refreshing beverage at the gym.

Other Great Snack Suggestions

If low-calorie snacks are not currently in your lexicon, here are some suggestions that may help you learn a new vocabulary. Everything on this starter list only has about 100 calories, yet is packed with essential nutrients to boost energy levels. Plus, these low-calorie snacks will satisfy your taste buds.

  • Protein Treats: Beef jerky, roasted chickpeas, honey roasted peanuts, (, n.d.) cocktail shrimp with sauce, or peel 'n eat.
  • Fruits and Veggies: Banana, mini carrots with hummus, half a cantaloupe, strawberries or raspberries with yogurt and honey, or sliced tomatoes with Feta cheese and olive oil.
  • Sweets: Dark chocolate covered almonds, chocolate-dipped dried fruit, homemade granola, or 1/2 cup frozen yogurt.

Low-Calorie Snack Recipes

Created by our Health Nut and Registered Dietitian, these recipes offer a host of snacks that offer a wholesome blend of nutrients and which each contain fewer than 300 calories. For snack suggestions and more recipes, check out our Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss page!

Spirulina Smoothie

Spirulina Smoothie Recipe

This simple smoothie can be made in seconds! Start your day superbly or recovery with a post-workout recovery beverage; each serving contains less than 100 calories!
Ingredients: Spirulina, banana, fresh spinach, apple juice, crushed ice, lemon juice.
Total Time: 2 minutes | Yield: 2 smoothies

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

For a more substantive meal, this palatable pudding provides the perfect low-calorie breakfast with a nutritious mix that is only 189 calories per serving!
Ingredients: Milk, pumpkin puree, chia seeds, maple syrup, pumpkin spice, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, fresh blueberries.
Total Time: 10 minutes | Yield: 4 servings

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad {gluten-free}

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Recipe {gluten-free}

A perfect snack for elevensies, this delectable dish offers a powerhouse of nutrition to care for your body with a light bite that won’t rack up your calorie count- try it today!
Ingredients: Quinoa, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh parsley, fresh mint, black pepper, salt.
Total Time: 40 minutes | Yield: 4 servings

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Truffle

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Truffle Recipe

For those seeking a sweet treat that’s light in calories as it is in texture and taste- these delectable chocolate truffles take the cake with each truffle including only 70 calories!
Ingredients: Jumbo Mejdool dates, almond flour, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, cacao powder, agave or maple syrup, almond milk, unsweetened shredded coconut.
Total Time: 15 minutes | Yield: 24 truffles


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, June 04). Physical Activity and Health. Retrieved February, 2016, from

Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. (n.d.). Dietary Guidelines 2015 - 2020. Retrieved February, 2016, from

Hulsegge, G., Picavet, H. J., Nooyens, A. C., Spijkerman, A. M., Van der Schouw, Y. T., Smit, H. A., & Verschuren, W. (2013, March 12). Today's adult generations are less healthy than their predecessors: Generation shifts in metabolic risk factors: The Doetinchem Cohort Study. Retrieved February 29, 2016, from

Mayo Clinic. (2016, January 14). Nutrition and healthy eating. Retrieved February, 2016, from (n.d.). High-Protein Snacks. Retrieved February, 2016, from /healthy-snacks/high-protein

Women's Health. (2013, May 28). Top 28 Best Healthy Snacks. Retrieved February, 2016, from