Nearly all Americans snack at least once a day, most often to satisfy cravings, according to a recent snacking report. For some, frequent snacking may replace a typical meal or two.
Regardless of your health goals, what you choose to snack on matters, especially if you snack often. A healthy nutrient-rich snack can fill in nutritional gaps and boost energy. But sugary junk foods can leave you feeling tired and craving more food fixes.
Pairing protein or small amounts of heart-healthy fat with carbohydrates promotes satiety and gives you sustained energy while keeping calories down. Below is our list of tasty, low added-sugar snacks under 200 calories (according to the counts at the USDA nutrient database unless otherwise linked to), which will keep your stomach full and your waistline slim.
Avocado on whole-wheat toast
This heart-healthy avocado spread on toast makes for a tasty, super-satisfying snack.
- 1 slice whole-wheat bread, toasted = 76 calories, 4g protein, 1g fat, 2g fiber, 1.4g sugar
- ¼ avocado, mashed = 80 calories, 1g protein, 7.37g fat, 3.4g fiber, 0.33g sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste = 0 calories
- Total: 156 calories, 5g protein, 8.4g fat, 5.4g fiber, 1.7g sugar
Banana peanut butter graham sandwich, open-faced
This delicious combo comes in handy as an after-school snack and is a favorite among (my) kids.
- ½ small banana = 45 calories, 0.55g protein, 0.2g fat, 1.3g fiber, 6g sugar
- 2 teaspoons peanut butter = 64 calories, 2.4g protein, 5.5g fat, 0.5g fiber, 1.1g sugar
- 1 graham cracker sheet = 65 calories, 1g protein, 1.5g fat, 0.5g fiber, 4g sugar
- Total: 174 calories, 4g protein, 7.2g fat, 2.3g fiber, 11g sugar
Popcorn with almonds and chocolate chips
Air-popped popcorn adds volume and texture to this indulgent snack, for few added calories.
- 2 cups air-popped popcorn = 62 calories, 2.07g protein, 0.73g fat, 2.3g fiber, 0.1g sugars
- 2 tablespoons almonds (0.6 oz), dry-roasted with salt = 102 calories, 3.6g protein, 9g fat, 2g fiber, 0.8g sugar
- 0.5 ounce semi-sweet chocolate chips (approx 2 tsp) = 35 calories, 0g protein, 2g fat, 0g fiber, 4g sugar
- Total: 199 calories, 5.7g protein, 11.7g fat, 4.3g fiber, 4.9g sugar
Apple slices with sun butter
A savory spread made from sunflower seeds that is appropriate for those with peanut or tree nut allergies.
- 1 medium apple (Gala), sliced = 98 calories, 0.43g protein, 0.21g fat, 4g fiber, 18g sugar
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter = 99 calories, 2.8g protein, 8.8g fat, 1g fiber, 1.7g sugar
- Total: 197 calories, 3.2g protein, 9g fat, 5g fiber, 19.7g sugar
Greek yogurt with strawberries, sprinkled with flaxseed
Greek yogurt packs protein, strawberries boast vitamin C and antioxidants, and flaxseed boosts fiber and omega-3s.
- 1 container plain low-fat Greek yogurt (7 oz; 200g) = 150 calories, 20g protein, 4g fat, 0g fiber, 8g sugar
- ½ cup strawberries, sliced = 27 calories, 0.6g protein, 0.25g fat, 1.7g fiber, 4g sugar
- 2 teaspoon flaxseed = 20 calories, 1g protein, 1g fat, 1.3g fiber, 0g sugar
- Total: 197 calories, 21.6g protein, 5.25g fat, 3g fiber, 12g sugar
This filling low-calorie snack offers omega-3 fats and can double as an appetizer or mini-meal.
- Jumbo cooked shrimp (5) = 100 calories, 19g protein, 1.5g fat, 0g fiber, 0g sugar
- Cocktail sauce (2 tablespoons) = 40 calories, 0.5g protein, 0g fat, 0.5g fiber, 8g sugar
- Total: 140 calories, 19.5g protein, 1.5g fat, 0.5g fiber, 8g sugar
A simple, fun-to-eat snack that is rich in soy protein, edamame can be bought frozen and quickly defrosted whenever hunger strikes.
- ¾ cup edamame in pods (salted) = 165 calories, 13.5g protein, 5.25g fat, 6g fiber, 3g sugar
- Total: 165 calories, 13.5g protein, 5.3g fat, 6g fiber, 3g sugar
Whipped cottage cheese with dried apricots on Wasa bread
Whipped cottage cheese works well as a protein-rich spread, while the dried apricots offer a hint of sweetness.
- 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) low-fat whipped cottage cheese = 45 calories, 7.5g protein, 0.5g fat, 0g fiber, 2g sugar
- 2 multigrain Wasa crackers = 90 calories, 4g protein, 0g fat, 4g fiber, 0g sugar
- 6 dried apricot halves = 51 calories, 0.7g protein, 0.1g fat, 1.5g fiber, 11.2g sugar
- Total: 186 calories, 12.2g protein, 0.6g fat, 5.5 g fiber, 13.2g sugar
Hummus with sugar snap peas
Any veggie pairs well with hummus, but sugar snap peas are a crunchy treat when they’re in season.
- 4 tablespoons hummus = 140 calories, 4g protein, 10g fat, 4g fiber, 0g sugar
- 1 cup sugar snap peas = 35 calories, 2g protein, 0g fat, 2g fiber, 3g sugar
- Total: 175 calories, 6g protein, 10g fat, 6g fiber, 3g sugar
Spinach and blueberry smoothie
Blend these ingredients for a delicious protein- and fiber-rich smoothie.
- ¼ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt = 36 calories, 6g protein, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 2g sugar
- ½ cup non-fat milk = 42 calories, 4g protein, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 6g sugar
- ½ medium banana = 53 calories, 0.6g protein, 0.2g fat, 1.5g fiber, 7g sugar
- ½ cup blueberries = 42 calories, 0.6g protein, 0.2g fat, 2g fiber, 7g sugar
- 1 cup fresh spinach = 7 calories, 0.86g protein, 0.1g fat, 0.7g fiber, 0.1g sugar
- Total: 180 calories, 12.6g protein, 0.5g fat, 4.2g fiber, 22g sugar
And there are also snacks under 200 calories that may sound good but are actually disappointing. Try to avoid these snack fails.
Half of a double chocolate cupcake
Just half of a chocolate cupcake delivers over 4 teaspoons of sugar.
- Total for half of a double chocolate cupcake = 160 calories; 6.5g fat, 17g sugar
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A third of a bagel with cream cheese
A bagel with cream cheese has close to 450 calories. Share it with two friends to stay within your snack calorie budget.
- One large bagel = 337 calories, 2g fat, 7g of sugar
- 2 tablespoon of cream cheese = 102 calories, 10g fat, 1g sugar
- Total for a third: 146 calories, 4g fat, 3g sugar
Four tablespoons (¼ cup) of Ben and Jerry’s Out of this Swirled Ice Cream
Eat only four spoons of this ice cream to stay under 200 calories. That small scoop will also deliver a quarter of your daily saturated fat limit and over 3 teaspoons of sugar.
- ¼ cup (four tablespoons) of this Out of this Swirled = 155 calories, 5g saturated fat, 14g sugar
One ounce of frozen hot chocolate
A few long sips of this drinkable chocolate delivers 8 teaspoons of sugar – your daily limit.
- Seven of the 16 ounces of frozen hot chocolate at Dunkin’ Donuts = 175 calories, 32g sugar
Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, author and health journalist.