With the New Year approaching, many of us will be setting new fitness goals as we strive to transform our bodies and live healthier lives. Whether it’s implementing a new diet or workout plan, the best way to succeed in your goals is to set yourself up for success from the beginning.
Changing your diet after the holidays – which is normally a time where we consume high sugar, high calorie snacks – can be extremely difficult. Whether you are on the go with limited food options or stuck in an office from 8-5 surrounded by donuts, cookies, and cakes, we consistently find ourselves stuck in situations where a ‘healthy’ option may be nowhere in sight. But, it’s not impossible to snack smart.
Keeping simple, convenient snacks in your cupboard, desk drawer, or anywhere close is the best way to stay on track. It’s at those moments when you don’t have a healthy option to satisfy your craving that you find yourself eating an entire plate of cookies without blinking an eye.
So, where do you begin? Do you just start grabbing any package in the grocery store that claims it can help you lose weight and improve your health? The answer is no.
In order to succeed and make smart snacking options you need to educate yourself. Most people fail to understand the portion sizes and nutritional facts of what they snack on day after day. Paying attention to serving sizes, calories, and the macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates) of your food is the best recipe for snacking smart.
These 10 healthy snack options are all nutritionally balanced and less than 200 calories each. With these choices you can begin your New Year with a snack smart mindset and stay on track with your fitness goals.
#1: Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt
With zero grams of fat, Greek yogurt is a staple snack everyone should keep stocked in both their personal and work refrigerator.
The Dannon Light and Fit yogurt comes in at only 80 calories and packs 12 grams of protein per cup. This is a great snack to have mid-morning or early afternoon to satisfy your hunger in between breakfast and lunch. Since one serving is only 80 calories, you could enjoy two of these and still stay under the 200 caloric range. These yogurts are surprisingly filling and will help curb your sweet tooth throughout the day.
#2: 2 Rice Cakes with 1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
One of my favorite snacks and a staple of all bodybuilders is the rice cake. With only 40 calories in each rice cake you can enjoy two of these to pair with 1 Tbs. of peanut butter and still keep your snacking under 200 calories.
By adding peanut butter to the plain rice cakes you will not only boost the flavor of the rice cake immediately, you will also be fueling your body with healthy fats. Fat is good for you in moderation and peanut butter is one of the best sources for your daily fat intake. With this tasty, low calorie snack you can have your rice cakes and eat them too
#3: Protein Bar
One of the easiest, quickest, and tastiest low calorie snacks on this list, the protein bar is a classic snack for any fitness individual. But, not all protein bars are created equal. Some protein bars can pack a large amount of calories and fat, so when looking to purchase a protein bar you need to look at the nutritional facts. Look for one that ranges between 180-200 calories while packing at least 20 grams of protein. Keeping a box of these in the drawer of your work desk is one of the easiest ways to fill you up and satisfy any afternoon cravings you may have.
#4: Turkey Jerky
A classic travel or road-trip snack, jerky is packed with protein and can be extremely filling. Ditching the beef jerky for turkey jerky is going to lower the caloric value and enjoy your jerky snack at less than 200 calories. A small pack of turkey jerky, approximately 1 oz, yields only 70 calories, with no fat, no carbohydrates, and 12 grams of protein.
If you’re looking to keep the calories at a minimum while consuming a high amount of protein, turkey jerky is the best snack option for you. At only 70 calories you can enjoy 2 ½ ounces of tasty turkey jerky for under 200 calories with 30 grams of protein. And, with no fat this is a healthy snack option you cannot argue with.
When it comes to portion control and knowing your servings sizes, almonds are the most important. A tasty, healthy snack to pair with your afternoon sandwich instead of potato chips, ¼ cup of almonds yields 200 calories, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbohydrates, and 7 grams of protein.
Almonds have always been deemed a ‘healthy’ snack for quite some time, but many fail to realize that eating more than a ¼ cup of almonds per day can raise your fat intake extremely fast. Almonds are a source of healthy fats, but controlling the portions is extremely important.
#6: Cottage Cheese
While many of you may not enjoy the taste of cottage cheese, this low calorie snack can provide a large amount of healthy protein. Casein, which is a slower releasing protein than whey protein, is found naturally within cottage cheese. So, if you’re looking for a late night, low calorie snack to consume before bed, cottage cheese is one of your best options.
One cup of cottage cheese will provide you with approximately 200 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 23 grams of protein. If you want to spice up the taste of your cottage cheese, drop your serving size down to ½ – ¾ cup and add in some honey or sliced fruit.
#7: Fiber One Brownies
With the Fiber One Brownie you can ditch the post-lunch bag of cookies for this low calorie, delicious brownie. At only 90 calories, the Fiber One Brownie packs only 3 grams of fat and 18 grams of carbohydrates. You don’t have to ditch your brownie cravings in the New Year. With this low calorie brownie you can have a tasty snack throughout your day for under 100 calories.
#8: Hard Boiled Eggs
If you love having your eggs in the morning, but don’t have the time each morning to scramble them up then hard boiled eggs are an excellent choice for you. Now you can even purchase hard boiled eggs premade and packaged, saving you the time and hassle of boiling them yourself.
Each large egg contains approximately 75 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 6 grams of protein. With no carbohydrates, hard boiled eggs are a great morning or afternoon snack choice for those looking to keep their carbohydrate intake low. Eggs will also provide you with essential vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B, Vitamin D, zinc, and iron.
Starting your morning each day on the right foot can set the tone for your day. Waking up and devouring a greasy breakfast burrito or a pack of donuts will leave you feeling like you have to make-up throughout the day for the unhealthy food choice you made in the morning. So, you need to get your morning started with a healthy, low calorie snack.
Oatmeal is the perfect, low calorie snack to enjoy in the morning. A slow releasing carbohydrate source, one cup of cooked oatmeal is going to yield around 150 calories with approximately 3 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein. With only 150 calories this allows you 50 calories to add some fruit or honey of your choice to bring the oatmeal flavor to a new level.
#10: Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich
Ice cream is one of those sweet treats we all enjoy and can get the best of us sometimes. A pint of Ben & Jerry’s later and you find yourself eating 1200 calories more than you should have eaten for the day. But, you can ditch the high calorie, heavy fat ice cream for a tasty, sweet tooth satisfying, low-calorie ice cream snack. Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches pack only 150 calories per sandwich with 2 grams of fat and 31 grams of carbohydrates. Coming in a variety of flavors this tasty snack should always be stocked in your freezer so you can indulge on ice cream when the craving hits.