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Snacking is something we all do. And admittedly, something we love. Not only that, we all have valid reasons why we indulge in our snack attacks. Whether it’s hunger pangs, low energy levels, stress or boredom, it’s not that snacking is necessarily bad. Our list of 30 healthy snacks for weight loss will help you snack better and develop healthier eating habits. Discover quick-and-easy nutritious snacks that you can whip up at home and even impress guests with. Enjoying healthy goodness is by far the best way to lose weight.
The science of healthy snacking
Some limited studies have indicated that snacking has varying yet no significant impact on overall calorie intake (1, 2). One study, however, has found high-protein and high-fiber snacks to be most effective in lowering both hunger and net calories (3).
Likewise, there is no conclusive or direct correlation between snacking and weight gain. Once again, results vary widely partly due to limited focus on snack composition, frequency of snacking, and the best times to have a snack (4).
What are the best snacks for weight loss?
Healthy snacking really boils down to common sense and the best of limited available research. If you want to lose weight, eating empty calories makes no sense. Therefore, make sure what you eat is going to benefit you in more ways than one.
That means foods that will curb hunger, improve digestion, and increase nutrition. The best snacks to eat are largely those with good protein and fiber content (4).
Here are some general snack rules recommended by various health bodies (5):
Our list of 30 healthy snacks for weight loss focuses on various types of whole, fresh, or nutrient-dense foods. Some take a maximum of 15 minutes to prep, while others you can quickly easily mix or pair together. There are also snacks you can readily pick up from the store.
Healthy snacks done in a jiffy
1. Ricotta cheese & whole grain crackers
Cheese is a high-protein snack that can leave you feeling fuller for longer. Combining cheese with whole-grain crackers adds additional fiber to aid digestion and reduce hunger.
Ricotta cheese is particularly high in calcium but also selenium which supports thyroid health and better hair (6). Around 15.5 g of whole-grain crackers with 28 g of ricotta cheese provide around 113 calories.
2. Hard-boiled eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are a satisfying snack with numerous benefits. Eggs are protein-rich, which helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce hunger pangs (7).
A whole hard-boiled egg only has around 80 calories, so one a day is fine (8). Egg white has just 17 calories if you choose not to eat the yolk.
Oatmeal is a whole grain rich in fiber and protein. The high beta-glucan in the soluble fiber of oats helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar, while fiber generally improves satiety (11).
For a filling snack, half a cup of oatmeal (117 g) is enough for one serving and has 79 calories. Of course, you can add tasty bits like nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit or even use plant-based milk to lower the calorie count.
Popcorn is more than a movie snack. It’s easy to make, filling, and full of fiber (12). The healthiest version is oil-free air-popped popcorn, typically done in a microwave.
If you air-pop on a stove, make sure to use fresh kernels in a non-stick pot and shake around every few seconds. Three servings use around 25 g, which contains 3.6 g of fiber in total and roughly 93 calories.
5. Home-baked kale chips
Kale chips are a low-calorie snack rich in antioxidants and fiber. Compared to spinach and similar leafy greens, kale is richer in both calcium and beneficial amino acids (13). What’s more, you can easily make kale chips at home.
All you need to do is mix 30 g of kale leaves, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and half a teaspoon of salt into a bowl. Then spread the mixture onto a coated baking sheet and bake at 350 ℉ for about 15 minutes. This works out to only 155 calories.
6. Watermelon & feta cheese
All you do is chop the watermelon into small cubes, then cut out a block of feta cheese to top each cube. Pop on a basil leaf, and finally, insert a toothpick to keep it all together.
Just 100 g of watermelon and 28.4 g of feta cheese have only 105 calories per serving.
7. Charred salsa
Charred salsa is a very low-calorie snack that is both delicious and nutritious. Though it contains little protein, it’s high enough in fiber to keep hunger at bay. You can eat charred salsa with crispy kale chips, bell peppers, or celery sticks.
To make this salsa, you grill selected vegetables until they burn slightly. Five servings need around 226 g of medium-sized tomatoes, 1 small onion, 1 small garlic clove, and 1 small jalapeno pepper. The onions you grill with the skin on.
Once the charred veggies are cooled, blend with 5 sprigs of cilantro and a quarter teaspoon of salt. This all works out to about 50 calories per serving.
8. Baked zucchini tots
Zucchini tots have a decent amount of fiber, plenty of antioxidants (16), and a little protein from cheese. One serving of around seven tots weighs in at 166 calories and takes just 30 minutes to prepare.
There are different recipes, but most include shredded zucchini mixed with different types of cheese, a little flour, and spices. For weight loss, it is best to cook them in an air-fryer.
9. Red bell peppers & guacamole
Guacamole and red bell pepper have a good balance of nutrients. Red bell peppers pack vitamins C and B6, while avocado has healthy fat, especially vitamins K and E (17). The combined calorie count is 123 g per serving.
All you need to do is slice a bell pepper in half, deseed, and stuff it with your favorite guacamole recipe. For some extra sweetness, you can even roast the peppers a little. You can also replace guacamole with low-fat cottage cheese.
10. Turkey roll-ups
For a filling snack, look no further than high-protein Turkey roll-ups. The carbs are low, and they are usually filled with vegetables and cheese. This adds fiber and even more protein.
You can simply use tortillas or your favorite store-bought rotis. Most recipes use cream cheese as a base, but you can easily modify this. A typical turkey roll-up has around 165 calories per serving.
11. Apple faux nuts
Apple faux nuts are a tasty snack with a touch of creativity. Apples are the core, but different nuts and tasty bits are added on top.
To make one, cut a large apple into ring slices, but not too thin, and remove the core segment. Dry off the juice with a paper towel and then soak in the sticky hazelnut butter.
Finally, you simply sprinkle on a homemade trail mix topping dark chocolate chips, coconut shavings, dried fruit, and nuts.
12. Frozen grapes
If you have a sweet tooth, grapes are often a go-to favorite. By freezing your grapes, you can chew on them for longer, and they’re perfect for a hot day. Grapes have resveratrol, a compound that may accelerate fat burning (18). A cup of red or black grapes will add around 70 calories.
Best healthy snacks tossed together
13. Yogurt with chia seeds
Chia seeds are a nutrient-dense ‘superfood’ low in fat while high in protein and especially fiber. One tablespoon of chia seeds has around 21 g of dietary fiber—hard to resist when the recommended fiber intake to lose weight is 30 g per day (19).
A cup of low-fat yogurt with 21 g of chia seeds has around 257 calories per serving. It’s best to soak the seeds in water for 30 minutes beforehand. Chia seeds can likewise go into smoothies and oats, or you can make chia pudding.
14. Greek yogurt with berries
15. Apple dipped in peanut butter
Looking for snacks for kids on a weight-loss diet? This blend of apple slices and peanut butter should make your A-list.
Both peanut butter and apple are loaded with fiber, making them a viable healthy snack (24, 25). Additionally, peanut butter has a considerable amount of healthy fats and protein. You should, however, avoid peanut butter with added sugar.
To prevent browning, first shake the sliced apples in a zip-lock bag with lemon juice inside. Serve on a plate with peanut butter scooped into a dipping bowl. A serving with two tablespoons of peanut butter will give around 240 calories.
16. Raspberries & dark chocolate
This light snack combines two healthy weight-loss favorites. Berries have antioxidants and fiber, while dark chocolate is noted for its polyphenolic compounds.
There are different ways to make this snack. The easiest is to melt the chocolate and add a little coconut oil so it doesn’t set too brittlely.
Then, you dip each berry into the chocolate, sprinkle with sea salt, and refrigerate. Conversely, you can fill each berry with melted chocolate or even a chocolate chip.
Half a cup of raspberries and a tablespoon of dark chocolate is 105 calories per serving.
17. Cantaloupe & prosciutto
Craving a sweet and salty snack? All you need is a combo of cantaloupe and prosciutto. Cantaloupe melon, on its own, can keep you satiated and hydrated. Extra hydration is also important for losing weight (14, 30).
Prosciutto ham is high in protein which combines well with the fiber content of cantaloupe. Five small wedges of cantaloupe and 2 thin slices of prosciutto provide 131 calories and should do for two servings.
18. Pear & ricotta cheese
Pear and ricotta cheese is another weight-loss snack that kids love. It’s a low-calorie pairing, and one serving has around 116 calories.
You need to core the pear and cut it into slices—but don’t cut completely off the stem. Then, add a teaspoon of honey to the ricotta and spread over the pear slices. For a tasty touch, sprinkle with walnuts or drizzle with a little more honey.
19. Olives & feta cheese
Feta cheese and olives provide the perfect high-protein snack low in carbs. Also included are healthy fats, fibers, and antioxidants—not to mention the refreshing flavor. A serving of this ready-to-eat snack has around 139 calories per serving.
20. Fresh fruits & nuts
For an on-the-go snack, fresh fruits and nuts are the perfect choice (31, 32). Different combinations will vary the calorie load. One large apple and two Brazil nuts are worth 182 calories per serving, while one cup of berries and hazelnuts is only 108 calories.
Nutrient-dense Brazil nuts contain L-arginine, a possible fat-loss amino acid (33), while walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in nuts help you lose weight by reducing inflammation—but also cancer risk and heart disease (34, 35).
Healthy vegetable snacks to lose weight
21. Celery sticks & almond butter
Celery sticks and almond butter are another great pairing. Once again, this snack is a key combination of fiber, antioxidants, and protein—which will leave you satiated while regulating blood sugar.
Celery has a low glycemic index food, and two stalks alone with 15 g of almond butter per will give you around 118 calories per serving.
22. Raw vegetables & hummus
Vegetables dipped in hummus are a long-standing healthy snack. Chickpeas, the basis of hummus, can support healthy cholesterol when eaten regularly (36). Other ingredients in hummus include tahini, lemon juice, spices, and olive oil.
It is a low-calorie, high-protein snack with rich fiber content. Two tablespoons or 30 g of hummus has around 71 calories. Celery sticks and carrots are top favorites for this dipping treat.
Best healthy snacks off the shelf
23. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is another high-protein and low-fat snack worth including in your weight-loss diet (37, 38). A cup of cottage cheese has around 91 calories which can keep you satiated for a while. You can add cottage cheese to smoothies or mix it with nuts or certain fruits like pineapple and watermelon.
24. Dark chocolate
Around 20 g of dark chocolate should suffice for a light snack which equals 101 calories per serving. Dark chocolate, of course, can be added to smoothies and oats or used to make chocolate-coated raspberries.
25. Roasted chickpeas
Pulses like chickpeas have proven quite effective in various weight-loss studies. The reasons are the rich fiber and protein content and how they slow down digestion (41).
Roasted chickpeas can be bought from many stores, especially Asian groceries, and 50 g of roasted chickpeas is roughly 180 calories per serving.
26. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain healthy fats, fiber, proteins, and other beneficial compounds (42). Pumpkin seeds are particularly good for their fiber content, zinc, and magnesium, which can help with heart conditions (43).
Store-bought pumpkin seeds can contain unbeneficial salt or other spices, in which case you can roast whole fresh seeds easily enough at home. A serving of 28 g has around 5.2 g of fiber and 126 calories (44).
27. Dried fruit
Dried fruits can be a bit of a mixed blessing. It is, however, easy to get hold of and super convenient during work or on the hiking trail. The sugar content is naturally higher than fresh fruit, but steer clear of glazed or sugar-coated varieties.
The best-dried fruits are cherries, apples, plums, mangos, apricots, pineapples, and strawberries. A food dehydrator could be a good investment here. You can save money in the long run and also dehydrate vegetables.
Edamame is an excellent plant-based protein source for vegans and vegetarians. Edamame is basically freshly steamed soybeans. A one-cup serving (155 g) of 188 calories has up to 18.4 g of high-quality protein and 8 g of fiber in addition to various other key nutrients (45, 46).
29. Wasabi peas
Wasabi peas, as the name suggests, are green peas that are dried and roasted and then coated with a mixture of wasabi and typically oil, salt, and sugar. Wasabi peas are particularly rich in copper, plus a trace source of various other minerals (47). A 28 g serving has around 121 calories, but you should check additional ingredients carefully.
30. Beef sticks
Beef sticks are a great protein source and have a relatively good shelf life. However, you should aim for lean, high-quality beef cuts with reduced salt and added sugar content. Around 30 g of beef jerky is enough for one day, which provides around 123 calories per serving (48).
Snacking is not necessarily a bad thing, and healthy snacking can be part of your weekly meal plans. Try to limit snacks to around two per day, keeping the calorie count below 200 and no more than 250 calories per snack. The best healthy snacks for weight loss are natural and whole foods high in protein or fiber or generally nutritionally dense. Healthy snacking supports a positive relationship with food and can benefit your overall well-being.