You like the idea of 100-calorie snacks, but you don't like the processing, packaging and price tags that often accompany those handy 100-calorie prepackaged snacks. So, how do you make sure your snacks are healthy and low-calorie?
Many nutritionists suggest that a healthy snack contains 150 to 300 calories, but if you're really trying to control the calories, here are 10 snacks containing about 100 calories and plenty of nutrition:
1. Protein-packed snack. Light tuna packed in water only contains about 50 calories in 2 ounces, and canned chicken breast has 60 calories for the same amount. Season with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt and pepper and spread on a few cucumber slices or wrap in lettuce. You'll get 11 to 13 grams of protein, and, if you go with the fish, you'll get some healthy omega-3s.
2. Cold turkey. Sliced deli turkey only has about 40 calories in two slices, so wrap a few around your favorite veggie strips and chow down on some quick protein and vitamins. You can even add some hummus (40 calories in 1 tablespoon) or low-fat cheese (50 calories for a slice of reduced-fat provolone).
3. Say cheese please. Calcium is an important part of a healthy diet, but cheese can contain a lot of fat. Go for a low-fat mozzarella cheese stick (70 calories), and you can accompany it with a few grapes (34 calories for 10 small red grapes) or a few small whole-wheat crackers (32 calories in four low-fat Wheat Thins). Take your time peeling apart and savoring the strings of cheese and you'll feel like you've had a satisfying, hearty snack!
4. Vegging out. Dip some mixed veggies, like red pepper strips, carrots and celery, into 2 tablespoons of hummus (70 calories), and you can eat a lot and stay under your limit!
5. Exceptional edamame. Half a cup of steamed edamame (95 calories), topped with sea salt, gives you a good helping of protein and fiber, plus vitamin C, iron and calcium. What a healthy treat!
6. Homemade kale chips. This one takes a little time, but you may decide it's worth it. Wash and dry about a dozen leaves of kale (34 calories for a whole cup). Remove stems and thick ribs and pat dry. Massage 2 teaspoons olive oil (80 calories) into the leaves and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake at 275 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning the leaves about halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before eating.
7. Pass the peanut butter. Choose a small apple, like a Jazz (60 calories) and spread a teaspoon of peanut butter on the slices (35 calories). It's not a lot of peanut butter, but it can satisfy your craving. If you want more PB, you can spread a tablespoon of it on a celery stick and still stay around 100 calories.
8. Berries on top. Top 1/2 cup of nonfat cottage cheese (80 calories) with 1/2 cup sliced strawberries (25 calories) or 1/4 cup blueberries (21 calories), topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
9. Nuts about nuts. If you like the taste and nutrition packed in a handful of nuts, remember that they are calorie dense. An almond, for example, has about 8 calories per nut—but it's a great source for protein and fiber. Cashews, pistachios, peanuts and almonds have fewer calories than some other nuts; at the high end are macadamias, pecans, pine nuts and Brazil nuts. If you want to stay under 100 calories, eat a small handful of nuts, usually about a dozen.
10. A bit of chocolate. No need to buy a special tiny package of candy when your sweet tooth calls for attention. Just get some of your favorite dark chocolate and parcel it out in 100-calorie portions for special treats. For example, you can have four Hershey kisses or two Dove dark chocolate squares for under 100 calories.
Go for one of these low-cal snacks and you'll feel confident in your healthy choices!