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Low-calorie snacks for weight loss: how to easily incorporate them into your routine

June 5, 2024
5 minutes
Healthy Eating
Diets and meal planning

Healthy meals are the foundation of a healthy eating plan, but adding healthy snacks to your daily food intake can give you the fuel you need to feel healthier overall and manage healthy weight loss. In fact, one-third of a person's daily energy intake is derived from snacks.

What is a good low-calorie snack? A visit to any supermarket or convenience store can be a dizzying experience when you're shopping for snacks to power you through a busy morning or sustain you during a hectic afternoon. Snacks loaded with salty and sugary foods line the shelves, with only a few healthy options hidden between the tempting treats.

The key to ensuring you've got healthy snacks on hand when you need them is careful planning. Let's dive in and explore some ideas for easy, healthy snacks that can complement your weight-loss grocery list.

Understanding the role of snacks in weight loss

Research has established that snacking can play an important role in weight-loss planning. When you snack on nutrient-dense foods high in protein and fiber, you're likely to feel more satisfied and fuller.

In terms of satiety, high-protein snacks give a more positive energy balance, especially when compared with snack-free stretches of time. Equally important, one study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that high-fiber snacks may help curb your appetite, which aids in weight control. Additionally, a separate study published in the same journal found that average-weight people snack more often than overweight people.

Benefits of incorporating low-calorie snacks into your diet

Snacking on nutritious foods offers these benefits and more:

  • Snacking can add more nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits to your diet if you don't add enough of these to your meals.
  • Foods high in protein and fiber can give you a quick energy boost between meals.
  • Snacking may boost your brain power. Focus-boosting snacks such as a small amount of dark chocolate or a handful of blueberries may help you stay alert when you're working on a task that requires your full concentration.
  • Smaller amounts of food can help you maintain adequate nutrition if you're experiencing a poor appetite or can't eat full meals because of an illness.

Characteristics of ideal low-calorie snacks

In short, a snack is loosely defined as a smaller portion of food eaten between meals. However, when looking for healthy snacks, try to keep nutrition density in mind instead of volume.

A small candy bar may seem like a smaller portion. However, you can enjoy a whole bowl of popcorn that will add tasty fiber-rich food to your meal plan and make you feel fuller for a fraction of the calories of that tiny candy bar. In other words, a low-calorie, high-volume snack is much more satisfying than a small sugary snack.

Practical tips for selecting and preparing low-calorie snacks

When not chosen carefully, snacks can quickly rack up the calories in your daily food intake. Some studies suggest that many snacks tend to be lower in nutrients and higher in calories than meals. Excess calories at snack time may help some people eat smaller meals. However, one small study found that young men still eat the same amount of food at dinner, even if they've enjoyed a healthy snack in the afternoon.

The answer to this dilemma is finding snacks low in calories and eating them at the right time. Here are some more tips:

  • Plan your snacks to stay on track. Sticking to a schedule will help you incorporate snacking into your healthy eating plan.
  • Try to eat a meal or healthy snack every three or four hours. Blood sugar levels begin to drop about four hours after your last meal.
  • Opt for whole foods instead of packaged foods. Often, packaged foods are loaded with sugar or extra sodium to add flavor.

Low calorie snack options

What are some low-calorie snacks? Try some of the ones we've listed below.

Chia pudding

When you want something sweet and creamy, reach for a serving of chia seed pudding. The tiny but mighty chia seed packs heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and plenty of beneficial protein. A quarter of chia seeds mixed with one cup of non-dairy milk contains just 340 calories.

Apple and peanut butter

Sweet and salty makes for a great combination when snacking. The natural sweetness of fruit won't make your blood sugar spike. Best of all, enjoy your apple slices with peanut butter for an extra boost of protein, which research shows can help you reduce hunger and maintain a healthy body weight. Keep in mind that peanut butter is high in calories, so stick to about two teaspoons of nut butter.

Roasted chickpeas

High in fiber and protein, an ounce of roasted chickpeas packs a whopping six grams of protein, along with five grams of fiber. And you can enjoy all of these benefits with just 120 calories. Studies show snacking on chickpeas may reduce appetite, control blood sugar levels, and reduce caloric intake at meals.


For a high-volume, low-calorie snack, you can't go wrong with popcorn. You can make popcorn using a microwave popcorn popper, or shop for microwavable popcorn packets that are lower in salt with minimal additives. Four cups of air-popped popcorn has only 122 calories.


You can easily pair your favorite vegetables with hummus, a flavorful, creamy spread made with tahini, chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Veggies and hummus can be a satisfying snack or even a light lunch.

Cottage cheese

Some days call for a protein powerhouse, and that's a great time to indulge in some creamy cottage cheese. You can eat your cottage cheese plain or serve it with a side of fruit or berries. Try taking a half cantaloupe with the seeds scooped out. Spoon the cottage cheese into the cantaloupe half for a satisfying treat that feels decadent. Cottage cheese is also great to have in the fridge for a quick and easy high-protein breakfast.


Most nuts are high in fat, but most of the fat in nuts like pistachios is "good fat," or unsaturated fat. While eating 20 pistachios feels indulgent, you'll only consume 80 calories with less than a gram of saturated fat. Pistachios are rich in fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Fermented vegetables

Foods rich in probiotics include kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented carrot sticks. Similarly to yogurt, fermented vegetables may benefit health by strengthening your immune system and improving your digestion.

Low-Calorie Snacks for Healthy Weight Loss

It's essential to integrate low-calorie snacks into a nutritious eating plan and a healthy lifestyle. A power breakfast gives you the best start to a productive day, and snacking on healthy foods can satisfy you between meals. With the Evidation app, you can track your healthy habits and learn more about living your best life. Download the app today to get started.

Diets and meal planning
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