I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: snacks can make or break a healthy diet.

Between meal bites are a common place for people to ramp up their intake of unnecessary calories, added sugar and saturated fat thanks to traditional snack foods like chips, chocolate and biscuits.

The good news, however, is that you can snack and still be healthy, as long as you make considered decisions. Case in point: the following ten dietitian-approved snacks that are incredibly good for you and are calorie controlled.

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1. Banana – 386kJ/92cal

I know it’s not always what you feel like, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth, a banana (or any other piece of fresh fruit, for that matter) is a very wise choice. Perfectly portioned in its own biodegradable packaging, bananas provide gut-loving fibre and slow-burning energy.

2. Half a cup of edamame beans – 309kJ/74cal

Part of the legume family, edamame beans are jam-packed with plant-based protein, low-GI carbs and satisfying fibre. They even count as veggies! If you like it hot, you could sprinkle some chilli flakes over your beans for a little extra flavour.

3. Three corn crispbreads topped with one tablespoon of reduced-fat cottage cheese and half a sliced tomato – 414kJ/99cal

When you’re after something a little more substantial, thin corn crispbreads are a low-calorie choice. Made with corn, they contribute to your daily target of health-giving wholegrains, too. I like to top them with cheese and some sliced tomato for a quick n’ easy healthy snack.

4. One hard-boiled egg – 235kJ/56cal

High in top-quality protein, hard-boiled eggs are a winner in my books. They also provide vitamin D to support healthy bones, energising iron and heart-healthy omega-3 fats.

5. Half a cup of reduced fat yoghurt topped with one tablespoon of frozen mixed berries – 418kJ/100cal

Yoghurt is a great option for a boost of bone-strengthening calcium, and it also provides muscle-building protein. I recommend buying a plain, unsweetened variety and adding fresh or frozen fruit to sweeten it up if necessary.

6. One carrot and one tbs hummus – 414kJ/99cal

Another snack that’ll help you reach your five a day, carrot sticks and hummus is a very smart choice. I’d recommend pre-portioning your tablespoon of hummus before digging into your snack – otherwise, the whole tub could be gone in no time.

7. Two cups plain air-popped popcorn – 366kJ/88cal

Yes, popcorn is an incredibly healthy snack! Plus, it also counts as a whole grain and therefore provides various essential micronutrients. Buy, buyer beware: I’m singing praises for the plain, air-popped variety… not the buttery, salty goodness you get at the movies.

8. Ten almonds – 286kJ/68cal

Rich in healthy fats to support your heart and brain, raw, unsalted almonds get my tick of approval. Along with plant-based protein and gut-loving fibre, almonds also contain the antioxidant Vitamin E, which supports heart health.

9. Three wholegrain crispbreads topped with two tablespoons of ricotta cheese – 408kJ/98cal

Another cheese and cracker combo, this snack idea heroes ricotta cheese, which is surprisingly low calorie. In fact, half a cup (yes, a whole half a cup of cheese) counts as just one serve towards your daily recommended intake of dairy foods (FYI, if you’re a female between the ages of 19 to 50, that’s two and a half serves per day).

10. Small skim flat white – 470kJ/112cal

Okay, okay… it doesn’t quite squeeze under the 100 calorie mark, but I think you’ll be pleased to know I can make an exception for my beloved coffee. I often enjoy a cuppa for my mid-morning snack – but instead of opting for a large, fancy, flavoured variety, I keep it simple with a small size brew made on skim milk.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.

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