Hand full of berries

Low-Calorie Snacking: Fuel Your Body Without Weighing Yourself Down

Ever feel that hungry hit between meals? Reaching for a sugary snack might seem like a quick fix, but it can leave you feeling sluggish and derail your weight loss goals. The good news is, there's a world of delicious and healthy low-calorie snacks out there to keep you energized and satisfied.

I am a qualified naturopath with years of experience helping patients achieve their health goals and will equip you with the knowledge to make informed choices about low-calorie snacking. We'll delve into serving sizes, nutritional information, and explore the best low-calorie snacks for various dietary needs, from vegan to gluten-free.


Key Takeaways

What are low-calorie snacks? Snacks with generally less than 200 calories per serving.
Why are low-calorie snacks important? They help control hunger, manage weight, and provide essential nutrients between meals.
What are some healthy low-calorie snacks? Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, yogurt, and minimally processed protein bars.
How can I choose low-calorie snacks for my dietary needs? Look for options that are vegan, gluten-free, or fit other dietary restrictions.


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Understanding Your Needs: Calories and Macronutrients

Before we dive into snack recommendations, let's establish a foundation. Calorie intake plays a crucial role in weight management. As a naturopath, I understand that everyone's needs are different. However, a general guideline suggests aiming for snacks with around 100-200 calories to curb hunger without exceeding your daily calorie goals.

But calories aren't the whole story. Macronutrients, like protein, carbs, and healthy fats, also influence how satisfied you feel after snacking.

  • Protein is particularly important for weight loss as it helps you feel fuller for longer and can even slightly boost your metabolism [1].
  • Fiber-rich carbs provide sustained energy.
  • Healthy Fats offer satiety and essential nutrients.

The Low-Down on Low-Calorie Snacking

Now, let's explore some delicious and healthy low-calorie snack options:

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Nature's candy! Think sliced apple with a sprinkle of cinnamon, cucumber sticks with a dollop of hummus, or a handful of berries. These snacks are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, keeping you energized and hydrated.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Powerhouses of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, nuts and seeds are a filling and satisfying snack. Opt for almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or a trail mix with limited added sugars. Remember, portion control is key – a small handful goes a long way!

  • Yogurt: A fantastic source of protein and calcium, yogurt makes a great low-calorie snack. Choose plain yogurt and add your own sweetness with fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey. Look for Greek yogurt varieties for an extra protein boost, read labels to check for the highest protein per 100grams.

  • Hard-boiled Eggs: A classic healthy snack, hard-boiled eggs are a complete protein source, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids your body needs. They're also portable and keep you feeling full for hours.
  • Edamame: This versatile soybean pod is a great plant-based protein source. Enjoy them steamed or roasted with a sprinkle of sea salt for a satisfying and low-calorie snack.

  • Bone Broth: A well made bone broth is worth the effort! A cup of bone broth can have around 10grams or protein, plus a whole range of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Add a bit of himalayan or celtic sea salt, a few thinly sliced veg and you have yourself a delicious, hyrdrating snack! 
    Is 190 calories a lot for a snack?+
    Having small snacks (under 200 calories) between meals keeps you full so you don't overeat at lunch or dinner, stabilizes your blood sugar and boosts your metabolism.
    How much weight will I lose if I eat 100 calories less a day?+
    One hundred calories may not sound like a lot, but they can really add up. If 3,500 calories equate to one pound of weight gain, by cutting 100 calories a day from your diet you will lose one pound in a little more than one month, as long as you keep other things the same.

    Catering to Dietary Needs:

    • Vegan: Snack on sliced bell peppers with guacamole, edamame pods, or a smoothie made with plant-based milk, protein powder, and frozen fruit.
    • Gluten-Free: Choose gluten-free rice cakes with almond butter, veggie sticks with hummus, or a handful of nuts and seeds.
    • Dairy-Free: Opt for dairy-free yogurt with fruit, almond butter on apple slices, or a smoothie made with plant-based milk.


      Healthy Foods

      Beyond the Basics: Recipe Ideas

      • Homemade Trail Mix: Combine nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and a touch of dark chocolate for a customizable and satisfying snack mix.
      • Mini Bell Pepper Boats: Fill halved mini bell peppers with hummus, chopped veggies, and a sprinkle of feta cheese.
      • Frozen Yogurt Bark: Blend plain yogurt with your favorite fruits and berries, then pour the mixture onto a baking sheet and freeze for a healthy and refreshing treat.

        Q&A: Your Low-Calorie Snacking Questions Answered

        • Can I have sweet snacks while maintaining a healthy weight?

        Absolutely! Healthy sweet options like a small apple with a nut butter drizzle, a handful of frozen grapes, or a homemade fruit and yogurt parfait can satisfy your sweet tooth without derailing your weight loss goals. Remember, moderation is key.

        A Naturopath's Recommendation

        Boosting Gut Health: Good gut health is vital for absorption of vitamins and minerals, and likewise - good nutrition can make for a very healthy gut! Fibre rich foods feed your microbiome, which in turn helps reduce inflammation in the gut and support healthy gut wall. Slippery Elm, Aloe Vera Juice and even organic apple cider vinegar and good quality Bone Broth can all help in reducing inflammation in the gut. 

        Eat the Rainbow: Add colour and variety to your meals! Different colours in veggies, herbs and fruits contain unique phytonutrients (plant based nutrients). These phytonutrients can have anti-inflammatory effects, reduce risk of chronic diseases and strengthen the immune system. Look for seasonal fruit and veg and try each week to increase your range of colours with your all meals.
        Balance Your Macros: Finding the right dietary changes and nutritional corrections for you such as balancing your protein, carbohydrate and fat intake; can make a profound difference in a range conditions including chronic illnesses, autoimmune conditions, menstrual, perimenopause and post menopause. It can benefit weight loss and healthy aging. It is not about cutting out completely one macro but having the correct ratios to suit your body and your needs. 
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          Making Low-Calorie Snacking a Habit

          Here are some tips to incorporate low-calorie snacking into your daily routine:

          • Plan ahead: Keep healthy snacks readily available at home and work to avoid unhealthy temptations.
          • Portion control: Use measuring cups or small containers to ensure you're not mindlessly overeating.
          • Stay hydrated: Sometimes thirst can masquerade as hunger. Drinking plenty of water can help curb cravings.
          • Mindful eating: Savor each bite and avoid distractions while snacking. This allows you to recognize satiety cues and prevent overeating.

          Low Calorie foods

          Low-Calorie Snacking: Beyond the Basics

          While the core principles of low-calorie snacking remain constant – portion control, nutrient balance, and catering to dietary needs – there's a wealth of additional information to empower you to make informed choices. As a naturopath with a focus on individualized care, I want to delve deeper into some key considerations:

          Glycemic Index and Blood Sugar: When choosing low-calorie snacks, consider the glycemic index (GI). The GI measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Opting for snacks with a low GI helps regulate blood sugar, preventing energy crashes and unwanted cravings later. Fruits like berries and apples, vegetables with high fiber content like carrots and broccoli, and nuts like almonds are all excellent low-GI choices.

          Fiber Power: Fiber is a champion for satiety. It keeps you feeling fuller for longer, reducing the urge to oversnack. Look for snacks rich in soluble and insoluble fiber for optimal benefits. Fruits with skin like pears and apples, vegetables like Brussels sprouts and artichokes, and chia seeds are all packed with fiber.

          The Role of Healthy Fats: Don't shy away from healthy fats. Contrary to popular belief, including healthy fats like those found in avocados, olives, and fatty fish in your snacks can promote satiety and provide essential nutrients. They also help slow down the absorption of sugar, further regulating blood sugar levels.

          Hydration and Snacking: Hydration plays a crucial role in managing hunger. Sometimes, thirst can be misinterpreted as hunger pangs. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Carrying a reusable water bottle with you serves as a constant reminder to stay hydrated and can curb unnecessary snacking.

          Spicing Up Your Snacks: Don't underestimate the power of spices! Spices like cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and ginger can add flavor and depth to your snacks, making them more enjoyable and potentially even boosting metabolism. Experiment with different spice combinations to find your favorites.

          Reading Food Labels: Becoming a savvy label reader is essential for making informed snacking choices. Pay attention to serving sizes, calorie count, and the sugar content. Be wary of "hidden sugars" and opt for snacks with minimal added sugars and artificial ingredients.

          Listen to Your Body: Mindful eating is key. Pay attention to your body's hunger cues and avoid mindless snacking. Savor each bite and stop eating when you feel comfortably satisfied. This practice allows you to develop a healthy relationship with food and avoid overeating.

          Naturopathic Support for Weight Loss: As a naturopath, I can provide personalized guidance on low-calorie snacking strategies tailored to your specific needs and health goals. I can also explore potential underlying imbalances that may be contributing to weight management challenges, such as hormonal imbalances or digestive issues. A comprehensive approach that addresses the root cause can lead to sustainable weight loss and overall well-being.

          The Final Bite: Reap the Rewards of Smart Snacking

          By incorporating these insights and seeking guidance from a qualified naturopath, you can transform low-calorie snacking from a restrictive practice into a powerful tool for optimizing your health and achieving your weight loss goals. Remember, a focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods, coupled with mindful eating habits, paves the way for a healthy and sustainable approach to weight management.

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