7 Smart Snacks for Weight Loss

It's far too easy to pack hundreds of extra calories in your day with snacks — talk about a diet downfall! Who doesn't crave salty, crispy, sweet or creamy treats? Fortunately for all of us, you can fulfill those delicious desires with the right snacks for weight loss. Skip the guilt — and the extra pounds — with these seven yummy options.

  1. Seaweed snacks: Dried seaweed snacks satisfy your salty urges, helping you stay away from fatty potato chips and carb-heavy pretzels. The flavorful crisps only have about 30 calories per serving, and Annie Chun's makes them in flavors like wasabi, cracked pepper & herbs, and brown sugar & sea salt.
  2. Ricotta and honey: Drizzle 1/4-cup of nonfat ricotta with a tablespoon of honey for a sweet, creamy delight that's even better than ice cream. At just 110 calories, plus calcium and protein from the cheese, you really can't go wrong. Honey even contains polyphenols to help your immune system fend off illness.
  3. Popcorn: As addictive as chips but without all the yucky stuff, popcorn is a whole grain that's packed with fiber. Watch out though — cooking oils and rich toppings can add mega fat and calories, so stick with the air-popped variety. Popcorn is cheap and easy to make at home, or you can cheat like I do and buy Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt popcorn. The best part? You can scarf two cups of the stuff for only 110 calories. Sprinkle with a dash of cayenne for a slight metabolism boost.
  4. Apples and Cinnamon: Spice up slices of Granny Smith or Red Delicious apples with a healthy sprinkling of cinnamon. This fruity treat has just 65 calories per apple, but loads of flavor. As a nutritional bonus, you'll get antioxidants from the apple along with anti-inflammatory power from the cinnamon.
  5. Whey protein: Protein fills you up for the long haul, helping to eliminate cravings later on. Whey protein also has nutrients like potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium for strong bones. It even helps you build lean muscle mass, ensuring you get the most from your workouts. The Organic Whey brand packs a whopping 15 grams of protein into each 82-calorie serving. Blend it with a handful of strawberries, a cup of water and a dash of raw, organic sugar. Yum!
  6. Hummus with crackers: Hummus is the new peanut butter. It has a fraction of the calories and fat as its nutty cousin, plus an assortment of nutrients like iron, protein and folate. Pair an ounce of this savory chickpea puree with a serving of whole-grain crackers. Try Ak-mak, which are made with organic stone-ground wheat. The crunchy, creamy combo is only 160 calories per serving, and you can choose hummus flavors like olive and roasted red pepper for extra zest.
  7. Greek yogurt and blueberries: This perfect pairing is a classic for a reason. Cool, creamy and sweet, the snack offers a probiotic boost along with antioxidant healing power. Choose plain, nonfat yogurt and top with 3 ounces of organic blueberries for a calorie count of less than 150.

Image: rennes.i

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