Snacks can be 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 nine 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.
9 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 Recipen (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.