Snacking can wreck most diets, but if you choose the right snacks, you don’t have to give up your snaking ways.
Here is a list of some easy, guiltless snacks that you can eat til your heart (or stomach) is content (courtesy of Joy Bauer)
At just 8 calories a pop, shrimp are a top-notch source of lean protein. Start your next restaurant meal with a shrimp cocktail to fill up quickly, so you don’t overdo it when the main entrée arrives. Or, sauté shrimp with a medley of veggies, like onions, mushrooms, peppers, and broccoli, to create the ultimate diet-friendly dinner.
One cup of grape tomatoes comes in at only 30 calories. These bite-sized snacks are sweet, colorful, and ideal “pop ‘em in your mouth” snacks. And, because they’re so low in calories, you can munch as much as you want.
Cucumbers are one of the all-time best foods for fighting uncomfortable bloat because they’re loaded with water and naturally low in sodium (taking in extra water while halting salt reduces water retention). Plus, they’re a terrific calorie bargain; you can gobble up an entire cucumber and only add 45 calories to your count. When you get the urge to munch between meals, slice one up into “chips”.
With less than 20 calories per ¼ cup, salsa is a dieter’s best friend. Bottled or fresh, salsa makes a zesty, low-cal dip for crunchy veggies like baby carrots and celery sticks (or even those cucumbers and tomatoes). It’s also the ultimate flavor replacement and slimming condiment for sandwiches, burgers, and baked potatoes.
One cup of air-popped popcorn (without any added butter or oil) has only 30 calories! If you don’t own an air popper, you can make plain popcorn right in your microwave. Add 4 tablespoons popcorn kernels to a brown paper lunch bag, fold over the edge of the bag twice to close it, and microwave the bag on high for 1.5 to 2 minutes. (Microwave times will vary; it will take a few trial runs to figure out the perfect amount of time required to pop the kernels without burning them.) To kick up the flavor, sprinkle your popcorn with Parmesan cheese, spices like chili powder and cumin, or even hot sauce.
Water chestnuts. These under-the-radar veggies offer super satisfying crunch — a texture a lot of dieters crave after giving up potato chips and other snack foods. You can munch your way through a whole can for just 50 calories. They’re also super low in sodium, unlike most canned foods, so they won’t make you bloated. Quite the contrary, their high water content will actually help minimize puffiness. Water chestnuts are a classic addition to stir fries and a crisp, refreshing mix-in for low-fat chicken or tuna salad.
Grapefruit. One of the few seasonal winter fruits, grapefruit are refreshing, hydrating, and sweet. One large grapefruit runs you just 120 calories and, since you eat the flesh one segment at a time, it automatically helps pace your eating.
Frozen cherries. The skinny solution to sugar cravings. Snack on these deliciously sweet gems right out of the freezer bag — they’re like a healthy version of cherry Italian ices. You can enjoy ¾ cup of these icy treats for just 110 calories, and because they’re frozen and take awhile to eat, you’ll stretch out your snack time.