2016-09-16 / Community

5 low-calorie snacks that stray from the norm

Snacking may not seem like part of a healthy diet, but the right snacks can help men and women fight midday hunger without contributing to unwanted weight gain. The following low-calorie snacks won’t compromise adults’ efforts to maintain healthy weights, and they might prove useful as men and women look for that extra boost during the day.

1. Popcorn: Popcorn is low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber. Popcorn also is high in polyphenols, which are antioxidants that have been linked to reductions in heart disease and certain cancers. Air-popped popcorn that is prepared without any oil is your best option, as a cup of such popcorn may only add up to about 30 calories. Avoid adding salt or butter or purchasing pre-made popcorn that is heavy on both, as both ingredients can compromise the health benefits of popcorn.

2. Nonfat Greek yogurt: Though it’s not as low in calories as popcorn, nonfat Greek yogurt is still a low-calorie snack that’s high in protein. Nonfat Greek yogurt may have as much as two times the amount of protein as traditional yogurts, and that’s beneficial because protein helps you feel full longer, which should help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid overeating. Nonfat Greek yogurt also tends to have less sugar than traditional yogurts, and its creamy texture gives many people the impression that they are eating something decadent.

3. Hummus: Made primarily from ground chickpeas, hummus is a protein- and fiber-rich snack that has been linked to a host of health benefits, including a reduced risk for heart disease and certain types of cancers. Dip vegetables such as baby carrots into hummus, and you’ll have a low-calorie snack that’s also high in vitamin A and beta carotene.

4. Pistachios: Many people might read the labels of pistachios and be turned off by the fat content. But pistachios are low in saturated fat and high in protein, and a couple dozen pistachios may only amount to about 95 calories. Eat pistachios raw and do not add salt, which can negate their health benefits.

5. Grapes: Grapes might not be as popular as potato chips or other widely available snacks, but they are great sources of vitamin K and are loaded with antioxidants. Grapes are loaded with water, making them a filling snack that can help men and women avoid dehydration. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, one cup of grapes can provide as much as 5 percent of the recommended daily value of dietary fiber despite containing just over 100 calories.

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