The rise in popularity of the hundred-calorie snack is for good reason: we all want something to snack on now and then, but we really don’t want a lot of calories in the process, particularly when we are trying to lose or maintain weight. As a result, that 100 calorie mark seems to be the tipping point for whether or not people will consume some snacks, and now people have been conditioned to look for some healthy snacks under 100 calories.
Some of the “healthy” snacks that have hit the market in pre-portioned 100 calorie sizes, include cookies and other sweet treats. While most of these sweet snacks are fine to eat in their smaller portions, there are hidden dangers to look out for. Some use artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which isn’t that good for you and which may even increase food cravings. As a result, it’s best to avoid processed foods and artificial sweeteners, and try to stick to healthier snack options.
So, what can you eat that is healthy, satisfying, and low-calorie? Here are a few healthy snacks under 100 calories that are easy to prepare and enjoy:
1. Vegetables and Dip
Always a staple for low-calorie snacking, you can eat virtually unlimited amounts of raw veggies – like carrots, celery and cucumbers—and still come out ahead. The problem is when you add the dip. Low fat sour cream dips (“light”) and hummus give you a reasonable-calorie dip that can balance a veggie/dip snack and still leave you satisfied. Light sour cream has only 40 calories for 2 tablespoons, and with a little green chili or onion flavoring, it can add just enough flavor to your veggies to make you feel like you’ve indulged.
One easy snack under 100 calories is popcorn. This is probably one of the easiest and most brainless options, because they come in pre-packed, 100 calorie bags. Even if you don’t have a microwave everywhere you go, you can still pop it in advance and put it in a plastic baggie for later. Be careful of that 100 kettle corn, though, because it is bound to have artificial sweetener in it, and you don’t want to make a habit of that.
Cheese is always a satisfying and healthy snack. They even come in pre-packaged, 100 calorie or less portions for fast and easy snacking. Some of the pre-packaged cheeses include mozzarella (string cheese), cheddar, and Colby-jack, with some of the low-fat cheese (if you like them) being even more calorie friendly. Another cheese to consider is sliced provolone, which can range from 70-90 calories per slice. Delicious!
While I believe yogurt is a great healthy snack, the calorie content can go over 100 calories if you opt for regular yogurt over Greek yogurt. A cup of Greek yogurt contains only 100 calories and while adding fresh fruit may add a few more calories, if you eat slightly less than a cup you will still hit the mark. But, what about the tradition yogurts in the “light” version? Many of them contain aspartame or other artificial sweeteners, so they aren’t as great as they seem.
All fresh fruit is good for you, but the portions are key. Fruits like grapes have to be measured out, but if you stick to the general rule that a portion about the size of your fist is sufficient, then you will definitely hit 100 calories or less because one cup of seedless grapes has only 60 calories. This is the same for many other high water content fruits, like strawberries and watermelon, who have only around 75 and 45 calories per cup, respectively.
6. Pre-portioned 100 Calorie Snacks
Sometimes you just have something a little more sweet or a small taste of a forbidden food. In these cases, try pre-packaged options like Fiber One brownies or bars, granola bars (sweetened with honey), cereal bars, or cookie packages. If you are really craving a crunch or some salt, there are also chip and pretzel packages in 100 calorie portions. If you absolutely have to have chips, however, try and go for whole grain chips or baked versions.
Sometimes a nice, hot cup of good coffee will satisfy more than any other treat you could eat. Coffee has virtually no calories whatsoever, it has caffeine for a little pick-me-up, and as long as you watch the amount of cream, milk or sugar you put in, you can snazz it up pretty good and still stay under 100 calories. For reference, specialty creamers (like Coffee Mate’s French Vanilla) have around 35 calories per tablespoon, and a teaspoon of sugar has only 16 calories. If you really want to avoid sugar, however, try Stevia instead of other sugar substitutes.
The whole key behind having 100 calorie snacks it to choose something that will satisfy your cravings. If you have different types of snacks available to choose from, you will be less likely to go back for more.
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