5 Snacks to Fight Off Hunger

by in Healthy Tips, October 6, 2009

cottage cheese
For me, snacking is a must! It helps me get from one meal to the next — no headaches, drops in energy or stomach rumbling. My secret: choosing snacks that contain hunger-fighting ingredients. Here are five favorites.

Snacking Basics
Snacks aren’t bad. In fact, they are “mini meals” that are meant to curb hunger and help supplement nutrients you may not be getting enough of from meals (like fiber from fruits and veggies). Studies show that waiting too long to eat between meals can cause you to overeat later in the day — not exactly the best way to lose weight or stay healthy.

Stick to snacks that are between 100 and 200 calories each. You especially need them when you have three to five hours between meals. My snack breaks often fall at 10:30am and 2:30pm — about one and a half to two hours between my meals.

1) Peanut Butter and Whole-Wheat Crackers
Combine lean protein, fiber and healthy fat and you’ve got a satisfying snack. Protein and fiber work for cutting down and controlling hunger, while fat takes a bit longer to digest and keeps you feeling full longer. Peanut butter is high in healthy monounsaturated fats, but be sure to portion out one tablespoon to keep calories in check.

Portion: 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter and 4 whole-wheat crackers
Total: 180 calories, 5 grams of protein

2) Vegetable Soup
Don’t eat enough veggies? Try snacking on a warm, hearty vegetable soup — 20 minutes later you’ll feel like a new person. Vegetables contain fiber, which helps you feel full and also helps stabilize blood sugar throughout the day — meaning no gnawing hunger pains. Try a minestrone or bean soup for additional protein. If you’re feeling extra hungry at snack time, add one or two whole-wheat breadsticks or a small whole-wheat roll.

Portion: 1 cup vegetable soup
Total: 100 calories, 4 grams protein

3) Low-Fat Cottage Cheese and Fruit
With its good balance of protein, carbs and fat, cottage cheese is one of the most underappreciated foods. Add fiber with fresh fruit, such as berries, melon, pears or pineapple, for a perfect snack. A 1/2-cup serving contains 7% of your daily calcium needs, which is important for healthy bones.

Portion: 1/2 cup low-fat or nonfat cottage cheese with 1/2 cup sliced or 1 medium piece of fresh fruit
Total calories: 140 calories, 14 grams protein

4) Hummus with Sliced Veggies
This Middle Eastern chickpea spread is packed with protein, fiber and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Veggies like carrots, bell peppers and broccoli make great dippers and add good nutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamin C and, of course, more belly-filling fiber. Two tablespoons of plain hummus has 50 calories and 3 grams of fat, so you’re probably better off measuring out two to three tablespoons instead of sitting down with the entire container.

Portion: 3 tablespoons of plain hummus plus 1 cup of sliced veggies
Total calories: 120 calories, 7 grams protein

5) Trail Mix
Almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts or pecans are full of healthy fat, fiber and protein. A delicious homemade trail mix is simple: Portion out a handful of nuts and mix in two tablespoons of dried fruit like raisins, cranberries or apricots. To minimize calories, choose nuts that are dry roasted or raw. For a change of pace, throw in whole-wheat pretzels or some of your favorite cereal (I’ve been on a Puffins kick lately). Packing your trail mix in plastic bags or containers makes it easy to grab and go. If you find yourself plowing through your snack mix, try using shelled nuts that will take longer to eat.

Portion: 15 nuts plus 2 tablespoons of dried fruit
Total calories: 170 calories, 7 grams protein

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Comments (43)

  1. Kelie says:

    I love a small piece of dark pumpernickel bread smeared with 1 tbsp of pumpkin seed butter and topped with sliced cherry (grape to you in the US) tomatoes. Lovely savoury, umami-ish flavour…

  2. Tempe says:

    Have snacked on low-fat cottage cheese for a long time. Favorite additions are: small sliced tomato or pinch of dried cranberries and slivered almonds, or half sliced banana on top.

  3. Glenda says:

    I just started a reduced calorie-change of lifestyle eating routine and your suggestions have encouraged me. I’ve lost 10 pounds so far and have gained so much energy! Thanks.

  4. Denise says:

    Nonfat cottage cheese with Lemon pepper seasoning is fantastic! You can add tomato wedges or chunked cucumber for added flavor!!

  5. Casi says:

    A wonderful snack is a whole grain piece of hot toast with pea pesto smeared on. And of course it is incomplete without a few halved cherry tomatoes on top. So so so so mouth watering and so healthy and figure friendly! :)

  6. Jo H. says:

    Keep some nonfat light yogurt containers in the freezer; pull one out, remove the top, and microwave it for 30 seconds. You'll have a delicious 100-calorie treat that tastes like ice cream, but is healthy and yummy. I love the Yoplait lemon flavors and their pineapple upside down flavor is to die for when eaten frozen. Yum – I might have to have one right now!

  7. Danielle says:

    Thanks everyone for all the great snack ideas. This is definitely my area of weakness when eating. I am going to prepare a list of snacks and make sure I have all the ingredients stocked in my pantry, so I am prepared for those times when I am hungry for a snack.

  8. lance says:

    For us, snacking is a must, too!

  9. Bill Sr. says:

    My wife and I love frozen grapes, especially green grapes.

  10. ofox says:

    Some of my favorites:
    1/2 c egg beaters, which can be microwaved (60 cal)
    97% fat free beef jerky (70-80 cal)
    Z bars (130 cal), mini Luna bars (80 cal), 100 Cal south beach diet bars, and Fiber One bars (140 cal)
    Hummus with cucumbers (50 cal for the hummus)
    Celery and salsa (black bean salsa for a bit of protein)
    Few pieces of sashimi made w/brown rice (about 100 cal for 3 pieces)
    Soup at Hand (70-180 cal) or Lipton chicken soup in a cup (45 cals)
    Soy Crisps (70-120 cals) which are like rice cakes w/protein

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