While snacking has been the sword that has slayed thousands of dieters, sometimes the reasons that diets fail is because people deprive themselves of snacks. They eat small, healthy meals however after awhile they just go crazy and binge on an entire chocolate cake. I know, I've seen the horror countless times. The key to a successful diet is to eat healthy portion controlled meals, but also allow healthy and satisfying snacks so that gnawing hunger doesn't send you out to murder an innocent cake.
These snacks can be a life saver right before a dinner out--where going into a restaurant somehow becomes a alternate dimension where food doesn't result in tight clothes--or after a stressful day at work when food is the only answer. Try these quick and satisfying treats that will help keep things going in the right direction.
Open Faced Turkey Sandwich
Sandwiches are the ultimate snack food and can be healthy when made with the right ingredients, but they are hardly safe for calorie counters. The calories often add up with the bread, the mayo, the cheese, ect. However, an open faced sandwich, which is just a fancy way of saying "toast with stuff on it," holds all the satisfying aspects of a sandwich with only a spare few calories. Toast a slice of whole grain bread and spread with a teaspoon of mustard or honey mustard then top the whole thing off with three slices of turkey. Sadly, no cheese, but the fiber in the bread and the protein in the turkey will keep hunger at bay while the mustard will give it that much needed boost of flavor.
For most people, watermelon really quite underutilized as it is never much seen outside of summer BBQs. However, it makes for a fantastic low calorie addition to any salad. It gives extra flavor and bulk to those boring old greens that are pretty much a staple for anyone trying to lose weight. Combine a cup of spinach and a cup of diced watermelon with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Viola! A very simple, very tasty snack. Double that and you have a decent lunch as well. Lettuce can be used for those that don't much care for spinach; however in terms of flavor, lettuce is just so blah.
One cup of grapes, which is around 20 to 30 grapes for those who want to take the time to count, are a wonderful little snack. They don't have much in nutritional value outside of vitamin C and those lovely natural sugars but they are also low in calories. It doesn't actually matter if they are frozen or not, but frozen grapes will last much longer. Plus frozen grapes make a fine addition to a bottle of water to give it a little more jazz (plus there is a snack at the bottom) or even to chill a bit of wine without making it watery. Frozen grapes are also helpful to fight ice cream cravings. It's not the same as ice cream, no, but the sweetness helps.
Spicy Lime Shrimp
While not as quick to make as some of these other 100 calorie snacks, spicy lime shrimp is the snack of choice for those who need more flavor in their diet. Boil 10 large shrimp than toss them around in a tablespoon of lime juice. From here, you can either add 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder or about two teaspoons of hot sauce. Neither of which have calories, so technically you can go as crazy with the spice as you would like. However, hot sauces often have a decent amount of sodium so take that into consideration. This is a great high protein snack to build up energy for an active day. However, you may want to go easy on the spice if eating before heading out to the gym.
14 Almonds or 22 Pistachios
While nuts are a great little snack to carry around to help combat hunger, staring at or counting out exactly 14 almonds or 22 pistachios (which is generally agreed to be "about 100 calories worth") is kind of the most depressing thing in the world. However, in terms of portability there is nothing better. In terms of nutrients, almonds are king. In that tiny nut lurks a good source of protein and fiber as well as calcium, iron, vitamin E, magnesium and phosphorus. Pistachios, while also a good source of protein and fiber, have a bit more fat than almonds. However, it is a good heart healthy, monounsaturated fat. The pistachio usually gives a little bit more satisfying bang to battling hunger because you can eat more of them. Be sure to get the kind that you have to crack yourself, having to work for the nut will make you feel like you ate more.
Need some sweet and need it NOW? When it comes to 100 calorie sweet options for snacks that are also filling it is slim pickin's. However, if you have a spare 20 minutes then you can bake an apple. When not under a strict 100 calorie limit, baked apples can be filled with a variety of nice things like oats and nuts. For a low calorie version however, simply core an apple and dust it with some cinnamon. Place it in a pan and bake for around 20 minutes at 350 degrees. The apple should be tender but not mushy. The natural sweetness paired with the cinnamon is a wonderful pick up after a bad day or to cure an apple pie craving.
Need a sweet fix that doesn't involve baking an apple and involves a lot more chocolate? Good news! When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate is a great way to keep diets on track for those with a serious sweet tooth. Roughly about 1 third of a chocolate bar or five dark chocolate kisses equals out to about 100 calories. What's better is dark chocolate can help ease cortisol, a stress hormone, which can lead to weight gain. Don't get fooled into the ol' "it's good for me, I can eat all I want" lie we tell ourselves though. It is still chocolate.
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