Who doesn’t love a good snack? They’re essential for staving off hunger between meals and keeping you fueled from your early morning workout until your late night dinner with friends. But small bites can also be a nutritional trap, providing few nutrients and tons of unnecessary calories. A 2012 study examining the diets of nearly 5,000 adults found that almost a third of their daily calorie intake was from “empty,” or nutritionally void, snack calories.
But mid-afternoon morsels don’t have to be a caloric black hole. These 20 low-calorie snacks are easy to make — and at 200 calories or less per serving, you won’t feel naughty after nibbling. Plus, they’re loaded with fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals essential to your health and well-being. Nosh away.
20 Healthy Low-Calorie Snacks
1. Amaranth “Popcorn” Recipe (180 calories)
Popped like a corn kernel, amaranth offers a nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch with every bite. Even better: This unique ‘popcorn’ is packed with nutrients that make it more comparable to a leafy green than a grain (or a buttery, movie-theater treat). Just a quarter-cup of these seeds houses seven grams of protein and seven grams of fiber, making it perfect for when you want to fill up fast.
2. Banana Nutella Protein Muffin Recipe (165 calories)
Yes, a banana nutella muffin can be low-calorie (major win). Made with two scoops of protein powder, flaxseeds and Greek yogurt, these pastries are delicious and full of antioxidants and fiber. Grab one post-workout, or just when you’re craving a sweet snack.
3. Mini Peanut Butter and Apple Sandwich Recipe (200 calories)
This finger food is packed with granola, cinnamon and raisins, which add an extra flair to the classic apples and peanut butter snack you may have eaten when you were a kid. Bonus: You can make the granola up to two weeks ahead of time and store it in an airtight container to save you time in your busy, grown-up life.
4. Spicy Baked Chickpeas Recipe (153 calories)
As satisfyingly chewable as chips, and flavored with cayenne and chili powder for a kick, these bite-sized crunchies are sure to be a hit with any crowd. Plus, the prep is so easy you’ll be mixing up more batches before you know it.
5. Peach Homemade Greek Yogurt Recipe (100 calories)
Whipping up your own Greek yogurt blend will ensure you avoid the mega-dose of sugar packed in most fruit-flavored grocery store brands. With just six ingredients, you won’t have to worry that this snack contains any hidden additives or sweeteners.
6. Vegan Artichoke Dip Recipe (73 calories)
Order artichoke dip at Applebee’s and you risk gorging on over 1,000 calories. But with this vegan version, you can consume a quarter-cup serving for just 73. A puree of artichokes, white beans, green chilies, shallots and spices, this mix takes just minutes to make in a food processor.
7. Raw Rainbow Collard Greens Wrap Recipe (113 calories)
While this wrap may feel substantive, it definitely clocks in at a snack-sized serving with just 113 calories. Packed with hummus, carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers and more, this leafy roll-up will leave you satisfied (and sure to meet your daily veggie requirements).
8. Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes Recipe (134 calories)
Bake these cakes on Sunday night and you’ll have veggie-packed patties you can snack on all week. Yielding 18 little pies chock-full of all your favorite healthy ingredients (yes, including kale), this snack is sure to become a staple. Serve with a side of ketchup mixed with Sriracha.
9. Healthy Green Goddess Dip Recipe (128 calories)
Your crudité plate has officially met its new partner in crime. This light, tasty topping is made with avocados, Greek yogurt, watercress and other good-for-you ingredients. It pairs perfectly with any seasonal assortment of veggies — and will make your plate look that much prettier, too.
10. Apple Pie Granola Bar Recipe (155 calories)
Ditch the store-bought granola brands (which are often packed with artificial ingredients) for this delicious DIY bar. Made with chunks of dried apple, pecans, toasted oats and cinnamon, each bite will satisfy your apple pie cravings — while serving up only five grams of sugar. Make a batch ahead of time and then stash some in your desk so you’ll always have something to nosh on.
RELATED: 15 Guilt-Free Mug Cake Recipes
11. Parmesan Carrot Fries Recipe (83 calories)
Deep fried ‘taters might be tempting, but these carrot fries taste just as good. Roast your carrots and top them with some fresh Parmesan and basil for a sweet and savory treat that packs only 83 calories per serving. Want more options? Try these seven other French fry recipes you’ll love.
12. Healthy Baked Peaches and Cream Recipe (153 calories)
Swap heavy whipped cream for a refreshing honey-mint Greek yogurt topping in this light and summery dish. With just 10 minutes of prep time and 10 minutes of cook time required, this dessert-like snack is a no-brainer.
13. 3-Ingredient Homemade Larabars Recipe (199 calories)
Sweet dates, nuts and fruit come together to perfectly mimic your favorite grocery store snack bar. Even cooler: You can create your own custom flavor combos by adding a little bit of cinnamon, vanilla or raw cacao powder to your base ingredients. Mix and match to satisfy your cravings!
14. Gluten-Free Breakfast Cookies (184 calories)
These cookies are so guilt-free you can even eat them in the a.m. Combine almonds, walnuts, flax and a few other good-for-you ingredients to form bite-size bowls you can fill with almond milk or seasonal berries. Pop one in your mouth for just 184 calories — and feel your hunger melt away.
15. Peanut Butter and Jelly Breakfast Muffin Recipe (61 calories)
One batch of these mini muffins will yield enough to nosh on all week. Mashed bananas and Greek yogurt cut the fat found in regular muffins, and peanut butter adds a satisfying dose of protein to the mix. Feel like going crazy? Drizzle warm peanut butter on top for an extra-decadent twist.
16. Homemade Beet Hummus Recipe (145 cals)
Not only is this hummus a shocking shade of pink — it’s also packed with protein. You’ll get six grams per quarter-cup serving, plus a dose of good-for-you antioxidants, thanks to the phytochemicals in beets. Serve this snack with some pita chips, or a side of veggies if you’re feeling extra virtuous.
RELATED: 14 Creative Chia Seed Recipes
17. Sweet and Savory Rosemary Pecans Recipe (108 calories)
Hosting a dinner party? Whip up a batch of these for your guests to snack on before your meal is served. Pecans are a solid source of healthy fats and protein — and the salty-sweet combo of flavors will ensure you please every palate.
18. Mini Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins (83 calories)
Can’t get enough fall flavors in your life? You’ll dig these bite sized treats. (Plus, did you know pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A?) Cranberries add a dash of tart and fruity flavor to the mix. And thanks to the fact that these babies are made with Greek yogurt instead of butter, each mini muffin contains just three grams of fat.
19. Vegan Baked Apples Recipe (103 calories)
Take this fruit to the next level by roasting it with cinnamon, peanut butter, light brown sugar and some savory spices. Drooling yet? The oh-so simple prep will be complete in just 10 minutes. Just be sure to take your apples out of the oven once the skin starts to wrinkle.
20. Zucchini Bread Recipe with Chocolate Chips (128 calories)
Who says a healthy snack can’t include chocolate? This bread is made with applesauce to keep each bite moist — and low fat! The half-cup of chocolate chips adds the gooey goodness you’re craving. Cutting back on sugar? Sub the chocolate for walnuts instead.
Originally posted August 2014. Updated October 2015.