Fresh is best, but . . .
While fresh fruits and vegetables are the best choices for between-meal snacks, frozen fruits and vegetables are a good alternative. And canned fruit packed in its own juices or water — not in syrup — is a reasonable choice even though the processing does somewhat lower the nutrient value.
Other snack options
Other snacks that are healthy and low in calories include the following:
- Popcorn. Two cups of air-popped popcorn has 62 calories and is a good source of nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium.
- Whole-grain crispbreads. Toasted whole-grain bread crackers, such as rye Melba toast, are good sources of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Five pieces of Melba toast have about 97 calories.
- Hummus. Hummus is made primarily from chickpeas, a small amount of ground sesame seeds and olive oil. It's a good source of protein. Although it contains fats, they are mostly healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Two tablespoons of hummus — a good dip for a low-calorie vegetable snack — has 50 calories and 2.8 grams of fat.
- Nuts. While nuts may have a bad reputation, research studies have shown that they don't generally contribute to increased calorie intake or weight gain when eaten in moderation, in part because you feel satisfied after eating them. Nuts also have been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and overall mortality. Thirteen almonds provide a 100-calorie snack with 7.8 grams of healthy fats.
Sept. 19, 2017
See more In-depth
- Hensrud DD, et al. The Mayo Clinic Diet. Intercourse, Pa.: Good Books; 2010.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov. Accessed Feb. 11, 2015.
- Sargento reduced fat natural mild cheddar cheese sticks. Sargento Foods Incorporated. http://www.sargento.com/our-cheese/snacks/reduced-fat/sargento-reduced-fat-natural-mild-cheddar-cheese-sticks. Accessed Feb. 11, 2015.
- In a nutshell. Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/in-a-nutshell. Accessed Feb. 17, 2015.
- Hensrud DD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 15, 2015.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed Feb. 11, 2015.