I’ll admit it–I love food. It’s delicious, there are so many different flavors and textures, it’s essential to survival and it brings people together. Food is also intimate–I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten something lovingly prepared just for me, or given something that I took great care to prepare for somebody else.
The problem is, sometimes those foods I love contain a few too many calories, too much sugar, or whatever else that, in excess, isn’t healthy. Another problem is that I sit at the laptop for at least a few hours every day in the early mornings and late evenings as I write out my stories and articles for you to read. While totally fulfilling, I’ve been working on eating less garbage and dictating a lot more so that I am a healthy author.
While I still have to eat, I’ve got a list of snack foods that can help with the munchies without totally killing your health goals.
Before I get started, though, let me just say one thing. Powdered Peanut Butter–have you guys seen this stuff? My amazing friend showed it to me recently and I absolutely ADORE it! I’ve tried a couple of brands, but I’ve got the PBfit brand (no affiliate links in this post) right now. They extract most of the oil out of it, then you can use it powdered or reconstitute it with water or almond milk.
It’s in an idea or two in the list below and you should totally check it out–it’s changed my life! Well, maybe that’s a little dramatic. It’s made my life a little easier as I try to navigate what I deem to be a healthy diet for my family and me.
- Rice Cakes and Peanut Butter–the powdered kind
Did your mom/grandma/aunt/friend ever go through a phase of eating lots of rice cakes? Yeah, well, now I know why
a few every woman I know has gone through a rice cake stage. They are something to eat when you’re trying to take care of yourself, but also trying to make sure you’re not eating a bunch of garbage that makes you feel like garbage!
You can only eat so many plain rice cakes before they taste like packing peanuts, though.
If you reconstitute the powdered peanut butter with a little almond milk or water, you get that amazing nut taste, but with so few calories! Spread that on a lightly salted rice cake (35 calories for the Quaker brand), and you’ve got yourself a treat of about 60 calories that’s satisfying, but low in calories and, imo, pretty healthy.
2. Veggies and Hummus
While veggies are delicious on their own, I’m not prone to simply grabbing a carrot and eating it. They have to be cut up prettily, tossed in a yummy salad, or, one of my favorites–dipped in hummus.
You have to be careful, because hummus can be really fattening/high in calories, however, there are lots of recipes–check THIS one out–that taste great and have less fat than store-bought.
Yes, we’ve heard this one a million times, but do you remember how few calories there are in air-popped popcorn? About 35 per popped cup!! Don’t have an air-popper? You can easily pop 1/2 cup un-popped popcorn it in a pot in about 1 TBS of oil, which doesn’t make it that much more, calore-wise, per popped cup.
The thing about popcorn is, you can throw stuff on it! Try putting some in a few taster bowls, do a short spritz of Pam to get your stuff to stick, then try curry, salt and pepper, cinnamon sugar, my beloved powdered peanut butter mixed with cocoa powder, garlic and parm, or whatever! Don’t limit yourself, friends. It can taste good and be a healthy, low-calorie snack.
You might even want to check out some gourmet popcorn sites to get some flavor ideas.
I love chocolate. I would eat it 10:00 a.m. or later. Not before then, though–that’s just crazy…or so I tell myself.
However, with how addictive that stuff that tastes like heaven is, I’ve been trying to avoid it, lately.
Cocoa powder is a different story, though. While it’s not See’s candy, a tub of Haagen-Daz, or decadent homemade brownies, it has powers of taste when it comes to a smoothie.
Taking it for what it is, a brown-spotted banana will make the recipe below taste like a chocolate milk shake, which you can sip on while you sit and hammer out a thousand words.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Smoothie
2 Bananas, frozen and over-ripe to make them sweeter and less banana-flavorish
1-2 Cups unsweetened almond milk (usually 30 calories per cup, yo!)
1 TBS cocoa powder
1.5 TBS powdered peanut butter (lower those calories/fat while getting the peanut butter taste, people!)
1 TBS smooth or chunky peanut butter (or just add another TBS of the powdered peanut butter)
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Riper bananas lose that banana flavor and mostly just taste sweet. If they’re not frozen, better blend with ice or pour it over ice or it will taste really gross. In my opinion!
5. Oatmeal Peanut-Butter Bites
Mmm. Sometimes, the savory just won’t cut it. And sometimes you’ve already had 3 of the above chocolate smoothies for the day. What’s left? That’s right! Energy bites, balls, frozen cookie dough, or whatever you want to call them.
The problem with most recipes is, sure, you can eat them, but if you’ve got the munchies, one tiny ball that has 200 calories just isn’t going to cut it! These have a lower in caloric content, no processed sugar and, your daily caloric goals permitting, you can have more than one.
Just to let you know, though, these are some of the ingredients allowed in my limited dietary experiment right now, so if you want something that tastes like cookie-dough, you might want to try something else!
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bites
3 TBS Old Fashioned Oats
2 TBS Powdered Peanut Butter
1 TBS Cocoa Powder
3 TBS Whole Grain Crispy Rice (THIS is the type I used)
1 TBS Honey (I use raw and local to help with allergies!)
1 TBS + 1 tsp regular peanut butter
Mix those ingredients up, people! You are probably going to think I’m crazy and be tempted to add in some milk or PB to bring it together, but I’ve done this many times and you just have to keep mashing it together with the back of your spoon. It will come together.
Of course, if you want to add more PB or a little milk, no prob! Just be aware that the milk might make your cereal a little soggy.
Form into 7-8 balls, then freeze to make them stick together.
***According to my ingredients and quick calculations, these are about 47 calories per ball if you make 7 out of the dough. I store them in the freezer and have no long how they keep.
So, you probably read that and thought, gag me. I’m hungry, not looking for rabbit food advice.
However, if you’re watching your calories and want to munch on something, a big salad is one that keeps on going and going, takes up a bunch of stomach space that suppresses your appetite, and–depending on what you put in it–doesn’t have a lot of calories compared to volume.
You can even buy pre-bagged or boxed stuff so that you can just throw on a low-calorie dressing and start eating.
I love adding rinsed beans (garbanzo or black are my favs), a few tortilla chips crunched up, dried or fresh fruit, dried or fresh herbs, rice and I usually save some of my daily nut intake for my salads. Mmm. Actually, I’m eating a salad right now and it’s delicious as well as filling!
Ok. I know what you’re thinking! “Those aren’t low calorie and are full of fat!”
I’m not a nutritionist, however, I’m convinced that we are too quick to shun nuts and seeds. Unless you’re allergic, of course, and then shun away!
Think about everything it takes to grow a plant/tree/whateva. It’s all hanging out in that little nut or seed! And we can eat that and have those nutrients. Maybe it’s more about the nutritional value of the whole of what we eat, not just that something has fat or sugar or cat hair in it?
My bag of pistachios says 120 cals per 1/2 cup in-shell pistachios. Not bad at all! Especially for something that takes forever to eat.
8. Dried Fruit
While you can’t just go and eat a ton of dried fruit if you’re counting your calories, they are pretty amazing at satisfying that sweet craving. I’ve been buying dried fruit for years and tuck it in my cupboard, but I found this recipe for Cinnamon Apple Slices that I’ll be trying out!
9. Copycat Frito Bean Dip
I think my husband would go through a can of Frito Bean Dip every other day if they weren’t so expensive. I found this copycat recipe a few years ago–thank goodness!
Also! It’s a true copycat, taste-wise. It isn’t one of those recipes where they say that it tastes even better than the fried whatever recipe that they baked and are trying to trick you into enjoying. Whew! Rant over.
While tortilla chips have a lot of fat and calories, I’ve dipped baked tortilla chips, pita chips, veggies and crackers in this stuff. Man, it’s so good!
10. Baked French Fries
I really love good french fries. If they’re cold, soggy or floppy, there’s no way I’ll eat them, though. Since they’re loaded with fat and will make you retain 10 pounds in water weight with one bite, though, I try to not eat them very often.
Baked fries, though? They’re full of nutrients and skip out on most of the fat and water-retention.
Here’s a recipe that does, pretty much, what I do. Only difference–I toss mine in rosemary, garlic, onion powder and pepper as well as the salt. You can check out this recipe HERE.
So, there you have it! 10 Snacks that won’t totally kill your dietary standards or goals. Good luck and–I have to ask! Do you have any awesome, healthy snacks? Leave the ideas in the comments!
Also, please feel free to pin or share this post–I’d appreciate it!