Are you familiar with the craving for something sweet and creamy, or do prefer a rich and salty snack? If you are familiar with either of these cravings, then you’re just like me and the majority of people trying to stick to their fitness plans. Hunger pangs before dinner and after lunch are quite normal. Usually, I crave an afternoon pick me up or a late night snack. Sometimes I just want to get through that time between meals. Choosing the right snack is the key to satisfying your hunger pangs without packing in a high amount of calories which may leave you feeling bloated and regretful in the morning.
Do you know the golden snack rules?
1. Try keeping your snack under 200 calories because remember, this is a snack and not a meal. If you overeat, especially at night when you’re inactive, those calories will probably turn into fat.
2. At least 10 minutes before consuming any snacks, drink a glass of water. This fills you up so you don’t consume as much when you eat.
3. Don’t stay up late at night. It makes you hungry, and you end up eating anything you can find.
Which low-calorie snacks should you stock up on?
If you’re looking for low-calorie snacks to buy which are as tasty as they are delicious, then take a look at some of these options:
Frozen yogurt is a healthy alternative when your body is craving something creamy and delicious. It is low in calories and very satisfying. 200 grams of Greek yogurt contains approximately 130 calories. What I do is freeze a cup of frozen yogurt and eat it as I would ice cream. I don’t know about you, but it’s my way of enjoying “guilt-free ice cream.”
An excellent way to make yogurt more enjoyable is to eat it with fruit. I add some chopped berries or pieces of mango and top it off with a teaspoon of raw honey.
If you've ever considered making your own frozen yogurt, you should give the Cuisinart ICE-30BC Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sherbert, and Ice Cream Maker a shot. Take full control of your own ingredients and make your own frozen desserts in as little as only 25 minutes!
Whole Grain Crackers
Whole grain crackers are one of the best options for low calorie, low carb snacks. One cracker has about 35 calories and 2 crackers top out at about 70. Instead of choosing bread, which is denser and has more calories, choose whole grain crackers; I like mine with a little bit of peanut butter.
This snack is light, high in protein, and keeps you full longer, preventing further cravings. As an alternative to regular crackers, you can try something like Wasa's Whole Grain Crispbread. They're fat free and also a good source of fiber.
Hot chocolate can also be a good late night snack. Hot chocolate not only tastes great but it can reduce food cravings. A cup of soy milk with a teaspoon of cocoa powder makes the perfect bedtime drink, and it’s only about 100 calories. Hot chocolate also has the added benefit of making you sleep better.
If you don't want to bother with milk, Nestle Hot Cocoa Mix is tasty with just water! If you have a Keurig machine, just put the powder in the cup, set the machine to spit out 6 oz. of water, and you're done! Only 80 calories per serving.
Surprisingly, popcorn is generally low in calories coming in at around 31 calories per cup. Buy a box of plain (no butter, no caramel) popcorn, pop it in the microwave and enjoy a delicious low calorie snack.
As an alternative to buying bags of popcorn, you can make it fresh from kernels at home! I bought my husband a Poplite Hot Air Popper for Christmas (he eats popcorn almost every single night), and he hasn't even thought of making popcorn in the microwave since. For under $25, you can't beat it!
Most of us start our day with a bowl of cereal as a meal; this is actually a very good idea for a snack too. Go for a smaller portion of whole grain or whole wheat cereals to curb hunger; I tend pick something like Kashi GOLEAN Crunch! Honey Almond Flax. It's a good source of protein and fiber with just the right amount of sweetness. The nuts also provide you with some omega-3 fatty acids. Can't go wrong with that one!
I like to eat them plain, but you can add unsweetened almond milk as another option. If you've never tried it, don't worry...it's delicious, and lower in calories than skim milk! You want to avoid sugary cereals as much as possible.
Whole Fruits with Nuts
When you have the urge to munch and want something extra healthy for your body, buying whole fruits with nuts is a sure-fire healthier snack option. I like to chop up bananas, strawberries, and almonds and drizzle them with a little honey for a quick-fix snack.
If you have a hard time eating your fresh fruit before it goes bad, you might want to try something like Crispy Green 100% All Natural Freeze-Dried Fruits. Only 40 calories per bag, with no added sugar or preservatives. It's pure fruit and nothing else!
When you’re looking for low-calorie snacks to buy, you should avoid going the route of fast-food, high fat, deep fried or greasy foods, as well as snacks with starch in them. Even these healthy snack options should be consumed in moderation to avoid indigestion, bloating and fat deposits in your body. Eating healthier is all about being prepared and buying healthy snacks beforehand. If you have healthy snacks on hand, you are more likely to reach for them instead of opting for the unhealthier options. This will help you stick to your desired fitness goals.