The holidays are winding down, and after weeks of festive indulgences, the treats you’ve collected from family, friends, and coworkers—the ones that have managed to go uneaten, that is—are probably looking less and less appealing by the day. You may even find yourself wishing you could wave your hand and replace all those leftovers with healthy, low-calorie snacks, simply for some variety.
The new year may still be a few days away, but it’s never too early to get started on your New Year’s resolutions. And for many people, that includes ditching the bad habits developed over the holidays and getting back to living a healthier lifestyle.
Starting with changing your snacking habits. Here are 11 low-calorie snack ideas that are tasty, satisfying, and easy to prepare. Even better, they will support your healthy lifestyle goals rather than be a deterrent to them.
1. Carrot and celery sticks
Carrot and celery sticks are a school-lunch staple for a reason. They’re easy to transport, can handle being away from the fridge for a while, and are full of vitamins and nutrients. Plus they’re delightfully crunchy. If you need more options, throw some bell peppers into the mix.
2. Hummus or peanut butter
If vegetables aren’t really your thing, try them with hummus or peanut butter—you might just change your mind. In addition to adding variety to your healthy snack go-tos, you’ll also get some fiber and protein out of the deal.
3. Berries and cream
If you have a sweet tooth, this is the snack for you. Berries and cream help solve the pesky problem of the all-too-common craving for sweets, and are packed with nutrients and low on calories. Mix them with a light whipping cream and you’ll feel like you’re indulging in dessert, not a low-calorie snack.
4. Apple slices
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? You could also say “An apple a day keeps the snacks at bay” because apples are very filling. If you know you’re going to be on-the-go for a while, grab an apple. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re able to run errands or finish working on that presentation without hunger distracting you.
5. Hard-boiled eggs
Eggs can be prepared in about a hundred different ways (okay, that might be a slight exaggeration). Hard-boiled eggs are great for snacks because, like many other items on this list, they’re easy throw in your bag for later and you can eat them without utensils if you’re in a pinch. Boil a dozen or so eggs ahead of time and keep them in your fridge—then you can grab one or two (and perhaps a little bit of salt) whenever you need a quick snack.
6. Unicity Complete Vanilla
Technically Complete is a whole meal, but if you find yourself snacking in lieu of preparing a full meal, then consider Complete your go-to “snack.” (If you really only need a snack-sized portion, a half serving will do the trick!) It’s full of nutrients and won’t leave you hungry for another snack in a half hour—and it’ll keep your taste buds happy.
7. Greek yogurt
The best thing about Greek yogurt—aside from its health benefits—is its versatility. If you’re not into plain yogurt, simply add fresh fruit, granola, honey, or nuts. If you’re looking for something savory, Greek yogurt can be used to make a lightened-up Ranch dressing for your veggies, or you can add it to caprese salad (in place of the mozzarella cheese).
8. Homemade protein balls
Protein balls are great snacks and can be either sweet or savory. It’s best to make them yourself rather than buy them at the store, though. Simply make a batch at the beginning of the week and they’ll be waiting for you in the fridge whenever you need them. Try this Pumpkin Protein Balls recipe from Unicity!
9. String Cheese
Snacks don’t get much easier than this. Each cheese stick is around 80 calories and is filling enough to tide you over when your next meal is still a few hours away. It’s a good source of calcium, too.
High in protein and low in calories, jerky has all the makings of a good snack: it’s easy to carry around with you and is more satisfying than a lot of snacks that are packed with sugar. Just be sure to pay attention to the nutrition labels as you’re shopping—some jerky contains a surprisingly high amount of sugar, not to mention sodium. Jerky is best when consumed in moderation, so try to save it for when you need to temporarily change up your snack rotation.
There’s no rule that says popcorn must be consumed during movie parties. Enjoy it whenever you need to refuel! (And avoid the kinds that have a lot of butter.)
Variety is the spice of life, so it’s worth the time finding a good mix of low-calorie snacks you actually enjoy eating. Let us know in the comments what snacks are helping you stick to your healthy-eating goals!