February is American Heart Month! While most of us tend to think about hearts in the romantic sense this month, the Center for Disease Control is encouraging us to focus on our physical hearts as well. In the United States, cardiovascular disease — including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure — is responsible for one out of every three deaths. It is the number one killer of American women and men, and it is a leading cause of serious illness and disability.
The good news is that heart disease and stroke can be prevented, and this month is a great time to refresh our memories about the small but important actions we can take. One of those actions is eating a heart-healthy diet. Today Kaitlyn is sharing 28 healthy snack ideas – one for each day of the month!
Kaitlyn writes…….. I don’t know about you but I am a major snacker! I could sit and eat a whole bag of tortilla chips with some salsa. Snacking is the hardest part of my diet to keep in check. Junk food always seems so much more convenient and tasty. But I’ve made a goal to change up my snack habits so today I’m sharing delicious and nutritious snacks under 200 calories. My goal with this list was to find things that are easy and convenient while also being totally satisfying and filling. You won’t find any 100 calorie packs of Oreos on this list, because let’s be honest, who in the world is full after 5 mini Oreos anyway? ;-)
28 Healthy Snacks Under 200 Calories
1. 1 cup pineapple cubes sprinkled with 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes – 175 calories
2. 1/4 cup hummus with 1/2 cup baby carrots, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber and 1/2 cup sliced red pepper for dipping – 150 calories
3. 1 cup sliced strawberries dipped in 1/2 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt and frozen – 115 calories
4. 1 apple with 1 tablespoon almond butter – 170 calories
5. 1 small apple with 1 oz sharp cheddar cheese and 2 oz deli turkey – 200 calories
6. 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips with 1 cup cherries – 200 calories
7. 1/2 cup no sugar added applesauce mixed with 1/4 cup granola – 150 calories
8. 1/2 cup blueberries mixed with 1/2 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt and 1/2 cup granola – 200 calories
9. 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries, and 1/2 an apple (sliced) mixed with 1 tbsp raw honey and 2 tbsp lime juice – 170 calories
10. 1 banana spread with 1 tablespoon almond butter and a sprinkled with 1/2 a tablespoon of granola – 200 calories
11. 3 cups air-popped popcorn and an apple – 170 calories
12. 1 apricot with 1 oz cashews – 200 calories
13. 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes, 1 cup chopped cucumber and 1/4 cup red onion mixed with 2 tablespoons feta cheese and drizzled with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice – 190 calories
14. 1 cup grilled pineapple sprinkled with cinnamon and 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese – 155 calories
15. 1 small avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper and topped with a spoonful of salsa – 140 calories
16. 1 oz turkey jerky and 1 pear – 160 calories
17. 1 small can chicken mixed with 2 tablespoons greek yogurt and 2 teaspoons dijon mustard and eaten with 1 cup sliced cucumber – 170 calories
18. 1/4 cup black beans mixed with 1 tablespoon guacamole, 1 tablespoon salsa, and 1 tablespoon greek yogurt – 120 calories
19. 1 baked sweet potato with 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese and sprinkled with cinnamon – 130 calories
20. 1 hard boiled egg with 1/2 cup baby carrots, 1/2 cup sliced cucumber, 1/2 cup sugar snap peas and 4 tablespoons tzatziki sauce for dipping – 200 calories
21. 1 cup cubed watermelon topped with 1/4 cup feta cheese and 1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill – 150 calories
22. 1 cup shelled edamame sprinkled with sea salt – 160 calories
23. 1 cup jicama spears with 1/4 cup guacamole for dipping – 170 calories
24. 1 piece of whole wheat bread with 1 tablespoon almond butter and drizzled with 1/2 tablespoon raw honey – 190 calories
25. 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas (1/2 cup canned chickpeas rinsed and drained, tossed with 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and baked for 20 minutes at 400 degrees) – 160 calories
26. Lettuce wraps made with 2 pieces of ice burg lettuce, 2 oz deli turkey meat, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons dijon mustard – 160 calories
27. String cheese and 1 cup of grapes – 140 calories
28. 1 cup freeze dried fruit (apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries etc) – between 60 and 100 calories
Bonus Tips for Healthy Snacking
- Take advantage of healthy pre-packaged snacks. I’m always on the lookout for healthy packaged goods that are minimally processed. They are just so nice to have on hand! I’m a big fan of freeze dried fruit (Trader Joe’s has a huge selection), baked apple chips (my favorite brand is Bare), Lara and Kind bars, roasted cashews, and sweet potato chips (Terra brand is delicious). They are perfect for keeping in my purse or the car when I’m doing errands.
- Always read food labels! Just because something is low in calories doesn’t mean it isn’t loaded with harmful additives. For instance, typical deli meat has a long list of ingredients. It’s a lot more than a thinly sliced turkey breast! Look for minimally processed, nitrate free meat. I especially like Applegate brand deli meat.
- If you can afford it, buy pre-chopped veggies and fruits. You’re a lot more likely to eat things like broccoli, cauliflower, pineapple and watermelon if you don’t have to go to the work of cutting them up!
- Use healthy dips to make raw veggies more appealing. Most grocery stores carry snack sized portions of hummus, guacamole, and salsa. Even a couple of tablespoons of homemade ranch dressing isn’t very high in calories. I also love tzatziki for a little something different. Costco even carries snack portions of the tasty Greek dip!
- Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks and get rid of the junk food! If I had to choose between an apple and a package of Oreos every time I looked in my pantry, I would fail miserably. I’m always going to go for the Oreos. So I keep the junk out of the house in the first place. I also like to keep things on hand that don’t have to be cut up like bananas, mandarin oranges, blueberries, baby carrots, sugar snap peas etc. You have to make eating healthy just as easy as eating junk food.
- Portion out your snacks. I save money by buying things in bulk but if I sit down with a giant back of cashews I’m probably going to end up eating way more than the recommended portion size. So I like to measure out smaller portions from bulk bags that I can easily grab when hunger strikes.
- Steer clear of chips, pretzels, crackers etc. Unless you have an iron will, it’s so easy to eat way too many crackers! And the recommended portion size is rarely satisfying. If you really need something crunchy, combine a few crackers with veggies and fruit so you can still fill up.
- Look for high fiber foods. They are generally the most filling while being low in calories.
- Don’t be afraid to add a bit of protein and fat to your snacks. Combing fruit with cottage cheese or some deli turkey with a few carrot sticks will leave you more satisfied than the fruits or veggies by themselves.
This Valentine’s Day – and every day – don’t forget to give your own heart some extra love!