When speaking about fitness and nutrition, snacks are generally referenced in a negative light. However, used as part of a healthy nutrition plan, they can be invaluable in helping you get or stay in shape.
While you can call pretty much anything a snack, it is always preferable to eat whole foods rather than shakes & bars when possible.
Below, I have listed my top 7 snacks under 200 calories. I chose them based on taste, nutritional breakdown, convenience/portability, and how filling they are.
1) Greek Yogurt & Almonds
Greek yogurt has about twice the protein of regular yogurt and is very high in calcium. Research supports the idea that following a nutrition plan high in skim- & low-fat dairy makes maintaining a healthy weight more likely. Make sure to pick the single serving container of Fage Total 0% (100 calories). Almonds are a good source of healthy fat and pack a variety of vitamins and minerals. However, because they are very calorie dense, you must control portions, so the 100 calorie packs do that for you.
2) Hard-Boiled Eggs & 1 Apple
In the past, egg yolks have gotten an unjustified bad rap. Yolks, in moderation, may not raise the risk of heart disease. Additionally, half of an egg’s protein and essentially all of its nutrients exist in the yolk, which makes whole eggs much more filling than just the whites. If possible, choose organic, cage free eggs, which have a higher concentration of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids than eggs laid by caged hens fed a nonorganic diet and also often pumped full of antibiotics. Apples are low-calorie, relatively high fiber fruits with high amounts of vitamins. High water content makes them very filling, and they travel well. 2 medium sized eggs and a small apple will fill you up for a while.
3) Air-Popped Popcorn
You can eat 6 whole cups of popcorn for a snack under 200 calories. While popcorn does not have a significant amount of protein, its sheer volume makes it an excellent choice for those who like crunch. At 30 calories per cup, you can eat a lot of it without breaking the calorie bank and feel very satisfied when you’re done. As a bonus, a 2012 study showed that a serving of popcorn has more antioxidants than a day’s worth of fruit and vegetables.1 It also has a significant amount of fiber and is 100% whole grain. Ideally, you should use an air popper as opposed to microwavable bags, which often contain unnecessary chemicals2 and fillers.
4) Cottage Cheese & Strawberries
This snack contains over 20 grams of protein, calcium, vitamin C and fiber. Opt for organic strawberries if available, as this fruits’ thin skins makes them more likely to absorb pesticides than thick skinned fruit like bananas. If Friendship brand cottage cheese is not available in your area, choose a comparable nonfat or low fat brand. A 5 ounce container of the 1% cheese is 110 calories, and adding 1.5 cups of strawberries to it (at 75 cal) means that your snack comes in at just 185 calories.
5) Ham Wrap With Mustard, Lettuce & Tomato
This “snack” packs about 30 grams of protein and a large amount of fiber. Choose the Flat Out Light Original Flatbread Wrap (90 cal) for 9 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein. It is also low in fat, but high in nutrients. Add 4 oz of ham (a good choice is Applegate Farms brand), which adds in 100 calories. Piling on the vegetables in lettuce and tomato will make it even more filling without adding a significant amount of calories, and some yellow mustard will make it extra tasty.
6) 1 Slice Protein Bread & Natural Peanut Butter
Start with 1 slice of P28 bread at 130 calories. P28 bread packs 14 grams of protein per slice. It is available online and in a growing number of supermarkets. Peanut butter is very filling, though watching portion size is extremely important. Make sure you add 2 teaspoons (65 calories), not tablespoons or you will definitely go over 200 calories! If you make this ahead of time, create a roll up before wrapping in foil to make it much less messy but just as filling. By using P28 bread versus regular bread, you gain 9 extra grams of protein and save carbohydrates as well.
7) Sugar-Free Jell-O & Greek Yogurt
Sugar free Jell-O is very low in calories, and a whole package (80 cal) makes 4 cups of Jell-O. Drinking 4 cups of water alone will make you full, and Jell-O goes a long way in satisfying a sweet tooth without killing you in sugar and fat. Adding a Chobani blueberry yogurt at 100 calories adds antioxidants from the berries and the Greek yogurt boosts protein content. This snack does, however, require some planning, as you will need to make the Jell-O ahead of time.
There are an infinite number of healthy, filling snacks under 200 calories, and you should experiment with different food combinations to find what works best for you. Hopefully, though, this list will provide you with some options that will keep you full, lean and healthy.
- Popcorn: The Snack With Even Higher Antioxidant Levels Than Fruits And Vegetables. Science Science Daily. Mar 2012. ↩
- Kirschner, C. Is Microwave Popcorn Safe To Eat? Mother Nature Network. Aug 2012. ↩