Inside: Find a huge list of healthy, low calorie snacks to fuel your healthy lifestyle. Broken down by category, these snack range from fresh produce to store-bought snacks. These are no-prep or low-prep snacks for a healthy diet.
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Today we are discussing healthy snacks that are low calorie. This article reports the facts of foods being low in calorie. This is not intended as dietary or medical advice. Please check with your doctor, nutritionist or other trained professional before making changes in your diet and nutrition choices.
In the US, we have an organization called the FDA, or the Food and Drug Administration. They have a specific label for low calorie foods. For the terms “low calorie” “few calories” or “low source of calories”, The food must have a serving size of >30grams and has fewer than 40 calories per serving. The following list includes some of these foods but I am not limiting it to only those dubbed by the FDA as low calorie.
What Makes a Healthy Snack?
Before we get to the big old list of low-calorie snacks. Maybe you are wondering what make a snack healthy?
I suppose the answer to this varies based on your dietary goals. Your favorite healthy snack might not be on this list, and that is ok. This list isn't specifically vegan, low carb or gluten free, for example.
Choosing the right between-meal bites is key for keeping your body fueled and your energy pumping. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting your next snack:
- Nutrients, Baby! Make sure your snacks are stacked with good-for-you nutrients. We're talking a mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats to keep you satiated, plus essential vitamins and minerals. Balance is key!
- Pick a Portion. When snacking it is important to watch those portion sizes. As I always say, even the best nutrients need to be eaten in moderation. You can still overeat zero-point foods, or binge eat low-carb foods, etc. Stick to pre-portioned snacks or bust out your measuring cups to avoid eating the whole bag.
- Look for Whole Foods. Snack on fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds – you know, the good stuff nature made. They've got fiber, vitamins, all that jazz to keep your body looking good. Minimal processed junk, please and thank you!
- Pump Up the Protein. Don't skip on protein for your snacks. It crushes cravings and keeps your muscles strong. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, lean meat, tofu – load up on that good stuff that is high protein.
- Find the Fiber. Snacking on fruits, veggies, whole grains will help boost your fiber intake. It's not a glamorous topic. But fiber fills you up and keeps digestion running smoothly. It's a dieter's best friend!
- Hydration is Key. In addition to drinking water throughout the day, snack on water-rich foods like cukes, watermelon or oranges to get your water in. Gotta stay hydrated!
- Look at Labels. We know it's not all about whole foods. There are some decent packaged snacks out there. Just read those labels! Make sure added sugars and sketchy ingredients aren't crashing the party. It's easy to fall for marketing and packaging but labels don't lie.
- Strategic Snacking. Time those snacks right to avoid hanger between meals. A mid-morning and afternoon nibble does the trick. If you plan that snack, you are less likely to be ravenous come meal time.
- Variety is the Spice of Life. Get creative and mix up your snacks too! Crackers + hummus, yogurt + fruit – the options are endless. Keeps things interesting!
- DIY When You Can. Make your own snacks and take control! Energy bites, bars, smoothies – the internet is abound with easy recipes for healthy snacks. Get your snack game on in the kitchen.
- The Wisdom of Your Body. Make an intention to snack mindfully. Don't just nibble out of habit or boredom. Listen to your body and give it what it really needs. You got those hunger signals on lock!
Healthy snacking is key, friends! Choose what works for your goals and get your snack on the right way. You'll be feeling fueled and fantastic in no time! Snack it up!
50+ Low Calorie Snacks, By Category
Here is a list of low-calorie snacks that are healthy and require very little to no preparation or cooking, grouped by category.
Low Calorie Fresh Fruits – Fruit is an obvious, grab and go snack that is as full of flavor as it is nutrients.
- Apples – Grab, bite, go! You can eat them whole but I love apple slices with a dot of nut butter.
- Bananas – There are a lot of ways to eat bananas besides right out of the peel. Have you ever frozen it and blended it in a food processor?? It's the best one-ingredient ice cream substitute ever. So creamy. We also do the two-ingredient Banana Egg “pancakes” although I think they are more like crepes.
- Berries – So much nutritional bang for your buck here. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries. They are all so flavorful and have so many nutritional benefits. If texture bothers you, blend them in a small smoothie.
- Figs – Packed with flavor and fiber, figs are one of those little-goes-a-long-way snacks.
- Grapes – Right out of the package, or pop them in the freezer for a icy, sweat treat.
- Grapefruit – Classic low calorie food!
- Mandarin oranges, Clementines & Oranges – I didn't like the texture of oranges growing up but I gave mandarines a try and I do like them. If you haven't tried oranges in a while, try a new variety and get that Vitamin C boost.
- Melon (cantaloupe, watermelon) – People tend to be very opinionated on the subject of melons but no one would argue they are a healthy snack.
- Papaya – Did you know papaya has a lot of taste AND a lot of fiber? Perfect combination for a tasty snack.
- Peaches – Peaches are packed with vitamins and minerals. Like many fruits, they are like nature's multivitamin.
- Pears – If you are not a fan of apples, give pears a try. Make sure it is a good and ripe, it should smell sweet.
- Pineapple – Go for fresh pineapple if you can. Canned adds extra calories due to being packed in juice.
RELATED: 35+ EASY, Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Cooked and Fresh Veggies
Don't scroll past the veggie section. Eaten fresh, they deliver a satisfying crunch, and eaten cooked they can be cozy, warm treats.
- Beets (roast your own or look in the produce section for pre-cooked beets)
- Carrots (take your pick, regular carrots, baby carrots or cut them into coins)
- Bell Peppers (alone or with your favorite healthy dip)
- Broccoli (One of the foods highest in antioxidants!)
- Salad Greens
- Sweet potato (we poke holes in one, and use the potato button on the microwave.)
- Sugar snap peas
- Tomatoes (grape or cherry tomatoes are my favorite to snack on, but if you like a big one sliced up, go for it!)
Nuts, Seeds & Legumes as Healthy Snacks – Glorious Plant-Based Protein
- Nuts- Sometimes nuts get a bad wrap when it comes to calorie count. But a small portion of nuts can go a long way. Seek out 100 calories packs, or take just a dozen or so nuts from a container for a protein boost that can help keep your blood sugar level more stable. Cashews, almonds and pistachios are on the lower calorie end of the nut family.
- Chia Seeds!! One of my all time favorites, either 2 tablespoons in milk, made into overnight chia pudding- or plain, sprinkled on greek yogurt. In one study, adults who consumed yogurt with added chia seeds reported decreased hunger, less desire for sugary foods, and enhanced feelings of fullness compared to the control group. That has definitely been my experience. (For sprinkling on yogurt, soups, salads, etc, my family loves this blend of chia seeds, flax meal and hemp.)
- Beans – I enjoy chickpeas or black beans, drained, right out of the can. High in fiber and protein, they are basically their own complete snack.
Low Calorie Snacks in the Dairy Section:
- Cottage cheese (low-fat)
- Greek yogurt & Non-fat yogurt
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Hard cheese (such as cheddar, Swiss, or mozzarella)
- Milk (low fat, non-fat and unsweetened)
- String cheese
- Skyr Icelandic Yogurt (this style of yogurt has more protein and less sugar. The non-fat varieties are low calorie dairy. I love Icelandic Provisions brand Skyr and Siggi's brand)
Delivered or Store-bought Low Calorie Snacks:
- Hard-boiled eggs (packaged)
- Individual containers of cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
- Low-fat cheese sticks
- Low-sodium nuts or seeds
- Pickles (I love just a Claussen Sandwich slice but Dilly Chips Pickle Snacks or Rick's Pick Pickled Veggies are great too.)
- Microwave popcorn (air-popped or lightly seasoned)
- Pre-cut fruits and vegetables
- Rice cakes
- Whole-wheat crackers
- Iconic Protein Drinks – These actually log as a Noom Green Food, and you get 20 grams of protein! Not cheap but if you struggle to get enough protein, a good option. Their website says they are available in store but ours no longer seems to carry them.
- Daily Harvest (delivery) Smoothies and Bowls (the Daily Harvest Bites, while nutritious an yummy are higher calorie so I stick to the smoothies). They are definitely higher in calorie if you have the whole thing, but because they are packed with whole foods the ones I have had all log as Green foods on Noom.
- Trader Joe's Jicama Wraps – these are like low calorie tortillas. You can fill them with veggies or lean protein for a great snack.
- Wasa Whole Grain Crispbread – These are like the crunchiest crackers ever. Top them with a little bit of hummus or guac for a mega crunch.
- Wholly Guacamole minis – Eaten with veggies as your dippers, this is a great snack.
- Applesauce or smoothie pouches – No they are not just for kids, there are tons of elevated more adult versions that are totally great, grab-n-go snacks. We like Mamma Chia Fruit Pouches, Slammers Fruit & Veg Pouches or Noka Smoothie pouches, they have a lot of flavors.
Healthy Toaster Snacks:
- Whole-wheat toast with avocado or peanut butter
- Whole-wheat English muffins with eggs and cheese
- Whole-wheat bagels with hummus or cream cheese
- 100% Whole-wheat English muffins
Low Calorie Snacks for the Microwave:
- Popcorn made in a silicone, microwavable air popper
- Sweet potato (The Potato button on your microwave really shines here!)
- Soup (low-sodium canned soup or even a mug of bouillon)
- 2 Minute Microwave Omelette (If you've never tried this, here is a great, basic Microwave Omelette Recipe which you can customize to your liking.)
Save This List of Low Calorie Snacks for Your Next Grocery Trip. Here is the Pinterest Pin too. Did I miss your favorite healthy snack? Let's hear it in the comments below.