Crave-Worthy Snacks with Only 150 Calories
Ask anyone who is working on cleaning up his or her diet and you'll be told that healthy eating can be hard, and that healthy snacking is even harder. The problem with a lot of healthy snacks is that they either don’t satisfy your craving (which, in turn, causes you to eat more calories in an attempt to fulfill the sweet or salty taste you’re hungry for) or they make your snacking routine incredibly monotonous. If you’re looking for creative, low-calorie options that taste as good as any junk food you might be longing for, we’ve got a few ideas.
One of the keys to eating healthy is staying full; it’s far more difficult to say no to empty-calorie or sugar-loaded foods when you’re hungry. Smart snacks can go a long way in helping you stay full between meals, but if they don’t actually satisfy your cravings, then the odds are good that you’ll end up eating something else. Eat too many of these small snacks and you’ll quickly blow your healthy eating plan for the day. The way to avoid this? Eat what you’re actually craving — just be smarter about it. If you’re craving chocolate, eat chocolate, but opt for dark chocolate, control your portion size, and throw in a few protein-packed nuts to help keep you full. Alternatively, if you’re craving something salty and crunchy indulge — but try spicy baked chickpeas instead of potato chips. Simple, smart swaps can help you control your caloric intake and keep your healthy eating goals on track.
Eating what you’re actually craving can help you avoid monotony in your snacking routine, too. You won’t feel obligated to nosh on raw vegetables and hummus or an apple with nut butter when you need a healthy snack; you’ll have the freedom to eat everything from chocolate to nachos. The key is making sure that you control your portion sizes and that you swap unhealthy ingredients for flavorful and better-for-you options.
If all this talk of snacking is making you hungry, read on for 10 rich and indulgent low-calorie snacks.
Take a cup of raw nuts (almonds work well) and toast them in a skillet over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to low and add a tablespoon of sugar, a tablespoon of honey, and a pinch of cinnamon or chili powder to the pan. When the sugar melts, stir the nuts until the sugar starts to crystalize around them. Pour the sugar-coated nuts onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, sprinkle them with salt, and allow them to cool completely. If you choose almonds, snack on 16 for a 150-calorie treat and then save the rest in an airtight container at room temperature.
If you use dark chocolate (try melting a few squares of 60-percent cacao or higher chocolate) you can eat about seven miniature chocolate-covered pretzels for under 150 calories. Just dip the pretzels into the melted chocolate and then place them on waxed paper in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens again. For an easier crunchy and satisfying snack, take two pretzel rods and drizzle them with a tablespoon of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.
Originally published 1/27/14