healthy snacks for weight loss
You may wonder if it’s possible to lose weight while not giving up snacks.
If you choose healthy, whole-food options with a lot of protein and nutrients, snacks can be integral to weight loss. Some can even help keep you full throughout the day and limit your cravings for unhealthy foods.
Here are 29 healthy, weight-loss-friendly snacks to add to your diet.
Nuts are an ideal nutritious snack.
They’re linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and may help prevent certain cancers, depression, and other illnesses (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
Despite being relatively high in fat, they are very filling. Several studies suggest that eating nuts in moderation can help you lose weight (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Nuts provide the perfect balance of healthy fat, protein, and fiber. They contain 180 calories in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving, on average.
Because they don’t require refrigeration, they’re perfect for taking on the go.
Red bell peppers are extremely healthy.
Although all bell peppers are nutritious, red varieties are particularly high in antioxidants like beta carotene, capsanthin, and quercetin (6Trusted Source).
They’re are also rich in vitamin C. In fact, 1 large red bell pepper contains over 300% of the daily value (DV) for this nutrient (7).
Pairing 1 large red bell pepper with 3 ounces (85 grams) of guacamole adds healthy fat and fiber while keeping this snack’s calorie count under 200.
Plain Greek yogurt and berries make a delicious, nutrient-dense snack.
In addition to being a great source of calcium and potassium, Greek yogurt is also high in protein (8).
Berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants around. Eat a mixture of differently colored berries to get an array of these powerful compounds (9Trusted Source).
Combining 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of plain, full-fat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup (50 grams) of mixed berries provides about 10 grams of protein and under 150 calories.
Apples and peanut butter taste fantastic together.
Apples are high in fiber and polyphenol antioxidants that improve gut health and reduce heart disease risk (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Peanut butter may have additional benefits for heart health. It has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides (12Trusted Source).
That said, peanut butter is fairly high in calories. Although it generally hasn’t been linked to weight gain, it’s best consumed in moderation.
A medium apple with 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of natural peanut butter provides a nice balance of sweet flavor with crisp and creamy textures at under 200 calories.
Cottage cheese, flax seeds, and cinnamon each have impressive health benefits. Together, they’re incredibly healthy.
Cottage cheese is high in protein and very filling, and full-fat varieties boast conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid linked to health benefits (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
Flax seeds are beneficial for weight loss and blood sugar control. They may also reduce breast cancer risk (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar and may improve gut health (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Here’s an easy recipe that provides about 15 grams of protein with fewer than 150 calories:
Cinnamon flax seed pudding
For this recipe, mix the following ingredients in a small bowl:
- 1/2 cup (80 grams) of cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of ground flax seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon (5 grams) of cinnamon
- A dash
of stevia or other sweetener, if desired
Celery sticks with cream cheese are a classic low-carb, filling snack.
Celery contains luteolin, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and may help prevent cancer (19Trusted Source).
Five small celery sticks with 2 ounces (60 grams) of cream cheese harbors fewer than 200 calories.
Kale is incredibly healthy, as it’s loaded with fiber and antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol.
These compounds decrease blood pressure and may reduce your risk of colon cancer (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
A 1-cup (67-gram) serving of raw kale provides more than 100% of the DV for vitamins A, C, and K (23).
This easy recipe for kale chips provides about 150 calories:
- 1 cup (67 grams) of bite-sized kale leaves
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoons (1.5 grams) of salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place kale pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 10–15 minutes. Watch them closely, as they can easily burn.
Dark chocolate and almonds make a rich, satisfying, and portable snack.
Dark chocolate is loaded with flavanols that may lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk, provided the chocolate contains at least 70% cocoa solids (24).
Almonds are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and have beneficial effects on blood sugar control. Studies also show that they can reduce appetite and help you lose weight (4Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source).
Both dark chocolate and almonds are high in magnesium. One ounce (30 grams) of each provides about 300 calories in total, depending on cocoa content.
Cucumber and hummus go well together.
Cucumbers contain cucurbitacin E, a compound that may have anticancer effects (27Trusted Source).
Hummus is made from chickpeas, olive oil, and garlic, which reduce inflammation and may improve heart health (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).
One cup (52 grams) of sliced cucumbers dipped in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of hummus has about 180 calories.
Healthy snacks don’t need to be complicated. Just a single piece of fruit can be incredibly satisfying.
Portable, easy-to-eat fruits include bananas, apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, and oranges.
Tomatoes and mozzarella cheese are a flavor match made in heaven — and they’re healthy, too.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
Mozzarella is high in protein, calcium and vitamin B12. It may also decrease heart disease risk by raising your levels of HDL (good) cholesterol (33Trusted Source).
One cup (149 grams) of cherry tomatoes paired with 2 ounces (60 grams) of mozzarella cheese has under 200 calories.
Chia seeds are loaded with fiber and can be included in all types of diets, including vegan and ketogenic diets.
They’re also high in antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and improve heart health (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).
Although they don’t have much flavor, chia seeds do take on an interesting, jelly-like consistency when soaked in liquid. This snack has fewer than 200 calories:
Chia seed pudding
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of chia seeds
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) of water
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of peanut butter
- A pinch
of stevia or other sweetener, if desired
Combine chia seeds and water in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Stir in cocoa powder, peanut butter, and sweetener.
Eggs are one of the healthiest and most weight-loss-friendly foods you can eat.
They pack plenty of protein, as well as vitamins K2 and B12.
Eggs are incredibly filling and may reduce the number of calories you eat for many hours, which should help you lose weight (36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source).
Although their high cholesterol content gave them a bad reputation for years, more recent studies suggest that moderate egg intake doesn’t have any effect on your risk of heart disease (38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source).
Two large, hard-boiled eggs contain about 140 calories and 13 grams of protein.
Carrots are among the best sources of carotenoids, including beta carotene, which your body can convert into vitamin A.
The carotenoids in carrots may reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and cataracts (40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).
It’s a good idea to pair carrots with a creamy salad dressing or dip because fat increases your absorption of carotenoids.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of baby carrots with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of blue cheese dressing provides about 200 calories.
Cheese is a delicious food that’s filling enough to be a snack on its own.
Although cheese is high in saturated fat, its role in heart disease is unclear. Some studies suggest that saturated fat doesn’t raise your risk of heart disease (43Trusted Source, 44Trusted Source).
Additionally, studies show that up to two servings of cheese per day don’t raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, even in people with elevated levels (45Trusted Source, 46Trusted Source).
A 2-ounce (60-gram) serving of cheese provides about 14 grams of protein and 200 calories.
Beef jerky or beef sticks make great high-protein, portable snacks. That said, it’s important to choose the right type.
Some jerkies are loaded with sugar and preservatives. Beef sticks generally don’t contain sugar, but many are made from low-quality meat and contain other questionable ingredients.
Look for jerky and beef sticks made from grass-fed beef, with as few added ingredients as possible. Grass-fed beef contains more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef (47Trusted Source).
Most beef jerkies and sticks contain about 7 grams of protein per ounce (28 grams). A wide variety is available online.
A whey protein shake is a good snack when you need something substantial until your next meal.
Studies show that whey protein can help you gain muscle, lose fat, and improve body composition (48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source, 50Trusted Source, 51Trusted Source).
Many great whey protein supplements are available online. Look for types without added sugar.
Here’s a recipe for a shake that contains about 150–200 calories and 20–25 grams of protein, depending on the type of protein powder used.
Whey protein shake
- 8 ounces (225 ml) of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop (30 grams) of whey powder
- A pinch of stevia or other healthy sweetener, if desired
- 1/2 cup
(140 grams) of crushed ice
For this recipe, combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Canned fish is a fantastic, healthy snack that requires no refrigeration.
Salmon and sardines are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids that decrease your risk of heart disease and other health problems (52Trusted Source, 53Trusted Source, 54Trusted Source).
Fish is also a great source of weight-loss-friendly protein, potassium, and vitamin B12. Many types of fish are also high in magnesium.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of salmon or sardines contains 17–23 grams of protein and 130–180 calories.
Edamame is a dish of steamed unripened soybeans.
It’s a great snack for vegetarians or anyone who enjoys their unique flavor and texture.
Edamame is rich in the antioxidant kaempferol, which has been shown to cause weight loss and lower blood sugar in animal studies (55Trusted Source, 56Trusted Source).
It is also high in folate and several minerals, including iron, magnesium, and manganese.
One cup (155 grams) of edamame has around 17 grams of protein and 180 calories.
Marinated artichoke hearts are delicious and nutrient-dense.
They’re a good source of fiber, vitamin K1, and folate.
Studies suggest that artichokes help protect the cells lining your arteries and contain prebiotic fibers that nourish the beneficial bacteria in your gut (57Trusted Source, 58Trusted Source).
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil contains about 190 calories.
Pear slices and ricotta cheese make a satisfying snack with a sweet taste and creamy texture.
Pears, especially the peels, contain polyphenol antioxidants that have strong anti-inflammatory properties (59Trusted Source, 60Trusted Source).
Ricotta cheese is rich in protein and calcium. In a 12-week study, older adults who consumed 7 ounces (210 grams) of ricotta cheese daily experienced improvements in muscle mass and strength (61Trusted Source).
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of ricotta cheese with 1 small, chopped pear provides about 12 grams of protein and 250 calories.
Dried coconut is tasty, filling, and portable.
It’s high in fat, including medium-chain fats that may increase metabolism, promote weight loss, and improve brain function in people with impaired memory (62Trusted Source, 63Trusted Source, 64Trusted Source).
Make sure to get the unsweetened type, since many packaged options harbor sugar. Unsweetened dried coconut packs about 185 calories in 1 ounce (28 grams).
A wide variety of dried, unsweetened coconut is available online.
Turkey roll-ups are delicious and nutritious.
Turkey contains high-quality protein, which helps you feel satisfied, preserves muscle mass, and burns more calories during digestion than fat or carbs (65Trusted Source, 66Trusted Source, 67Trusted Source).
The recipe below boasts about 20 grams of protein and 180 calories:
- 4 slices of turkey breast
- 4 teaspoons (20 grams) of cream cheese
pickles or cucumber strips
Place turkey breast slices on a large plate. Spread 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of cream cheese on each slice. Place a pickle or strip of cucumber on each turkey slice and roll up.
Olives are one of the nutritious staples of the Mediterranean diet.
They are very high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and provide powerful antioxidants like oleuropein.
The plant compounds in olives may reduce inflammation, insulin resistance, and cancer risk (68Trusted Source, 69Trusted Source).
Depending on their size, 25 green or black olives have 100–175 calories.
Avocados are among the most nutritious and satisfying foods on the planet.
Studies show that they can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, improve symptoms of arthritis, and protect your skin from sun damage, (70Trusted Source, 71Trusted Source, 72Trusted Source).
What’s more, avocados are high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and monounsaturated fat.
Sprinkle half a medium avocado with salt and a dash of cayenne pepper for a savory, filling snack with around 130 calories.
Ricotta cheese is as versatile as it is healthy.
It can be combined with vegetables and fruits or baked into a casserole or cheesecake. It also works great on its own, with just a touch of added flavor.
Here’s a quick recipe for a satisfying snack with 14 grams of protein and about 200 calories:
Ricotta cheese with cocoa
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) of full-fat ricotta cheese.
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of unsweetened cocoa powder.
- A pinch
of stevia or other sweetener, if desired.
Place ricotta cheese in a small bowl. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and stevia.
Sun-dried tomatoes contain more lycopene than regular tomatoes (73).
What’s more, they are usually packed in olive oil, which helps your body absorb more of their lycopene (74Trusted Source).
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil provides 170% of the DV for vitamin C and just over 200 calories.
Cantaloupe is a nutritious, tasty fruit.
It boasts powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation, keep your eyes healthy, and reduce your risk of disease (75Trusted Source, 76Trusted Source).
Very high in vitamins A and C, cantaloupe is also a good source of potassium.
Combining cantaloupe with prosciutto (dry-cured ham) creates a balanced, sweet-and-salty snack for under 200 calories.
Try cutting 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of cantaloupe into wedges. Wrap each wedge with 1 slice of prosciutto.
If you have leftovers from a nutritious lunch or dinner, you can eat them as a snack.
Just make sure to store your leftovers in the refrigerator to keep them from spoiling quickly.
When your next craving hits, aim for whole foods instead of highly processed, fattening options.
Having some healthy and nutritious options in reach can stave off your appetite and help boost weight loss.
All nutrition information for the foods listed in this article is from the USDA Foods DatabaseTrusted Source.