The problem with snacking is, more often than not, you're munching on processed crap. The calories add up and before you know it, you're eating loads of extra calories.
Not so with these low-cal eats. They're delicious and satisfying without destroying your diet.
What to eat: 1 radish
Radishes contain compounds called phytosterols, which help lower cholesterol. Slice one up and throw into your salads to add a nice, crunchy texture. Feast on 20 of the fittest foods, too.
What to eat: 1 slice of raw bell pepper
Bell peppers are packed with vitamin C—which supports a healthy immune system—and have a high-water content, so you’ll feel fuller, longer.
What to eat: 1 floret of cauliflower
What cauliflower lacks in color it makes up for in nutrition. Cauliflower contains a phytochemical called sulforaphane—which has been linked to preventing prostate cancer—and is rich in the mineral boron, which is said to help build muscle and increase testosterone levels. Quick tip: Try steaming or even microwaving cauliflower; it’ll preserve its vitamin content better than boiling.
What to eat: 1 strawberry
Rich in cancer-fighting anthocyanins and ellagic acid, strawberries also contain the most vitamin C-per-serving of any fruit. Use a couple of these rich-colored berries as the base for a healthy smoothie recipe.
What to eat: 1 scallion
Scallions are abundant in Vitamin K, which plays a key role in forming and strengthening bones. Mix a chopped scallion into an egg white omelet to add savory onion flavor—without the fat (or the tears).
What to eat: 1 stalk of celery
That thing you crunch on during football games might actually help you score. Eating celery is said to help your body release pheromones and improve your sex drive.
What to eat: 1 cup of fresh spinach
You might not get Popeye arms from eating spinach, but it's still one of the most nutritionally dense foods out there. The leafy green is loaded with essential vitamins. One cup contains more than your daily requirements of vitamin K (which is great for bone health) and vitamin A (which can help improve vision).
What to eat: 1 dill pickle
Dill pickles are great for promoting healthy skin and soothing a finicky stomach. Dill—and the other spices and herbs in the pickle brine—helps maintain good digestive health.
What to eat: 1 cup of romaine lettuce
Romaine is high in vitamin C, making this salad superstar a heart-healthy choice by preventing cholesterol from sticking to the walls of your blood vessels. If your family has a history of heart disease, romaine should be a daily staple in your diet.
What to eat: 1 can of heart of palm
Palm hearts add crunch to salads and stirfrys and are packed with potassium—important for muscle strength and lowered blood pressure.
What to eat: 1 tomatillo
First things first: remove the inedible husk. Then roast the tomatillo under the broiler, or grill over an open flame, to bring out its smoky flavor. Puree into a dippable salsa verde or sauce for your meats.
What to eat: 4 spears of cooked asparagus
Asparagus is likely one of the best superfoods out there. It helps balance insulin levels, is a natural diuretic, lowers blood pressure and can help fight depression. A major bonus—asparagus is also a powerful aphrodisiac. Chop off the woody ends, then toss on the grill for 5 minutes for a perfectly charred side dish.
What to eat: 1 broccoli floret
Broccoli contains a fairly substantial amount of nutrients including vitamins A, C, folic acid, fiber and calcium. Adding more broccoli to your plate could help prevent cancer, regulate blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
What to eat: 1 cup of diced cucumber
Cucumbers contain potassium and Vitamin C and form the basis of deliciously healthy Greek salads.
What to eat: 1 cup of raw mushrooms
The go-to for vegetarians (thanks to their meaty flavor), mushrooms are beneficial for carnivores, too! Shrooms pack a lot of the antioxidant selenium, which also helps the body absorb vitamin E (for healthy skin and hair).
What to eat: 1 lemon
Add lemon juice to food and brighten up your dishes. Or squeeze some into a glass of water to support liver and gall bladder function. “The citric acid in lemons helps break down lipids and stimulates digestive juices,” says Elson Haas, M.D., author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition, who does a 10-day lemonade cleanse each year to reduce body fat and cholesterol. Check out the best 8 fruits for better health.
What to eat: 1 apricot
Apricots are high in Vitamin A and C, potassium, and fiber and make a great low-fat, cholesterol-free and sodium-free snack. These peach-like fruits naturally help regulate the body’s digestive system.
What to eat: 1 cup of diced summer squash
Score some squash to protect your peepers. It contains high levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds that prevent blindness.
What to eat: 1 cup of cabbage
A cup of cabbage has more than two grams of fiber and 32 milligrams of Vitamin C. It’s also a good source of folate, a B-vitamin that aids in preventing heart disease and improving memory.
What to eat: 1 egg white
Protein-packed egg whites have virtually zero fat and no cholesterol. For a healthy breakfast, whip up this ridiculously good (and good-for-you) egg white omelet from Bobby Deen.
What to eat: 1 tablespoon of Paremesan cheese
A single tablespoon of Parmesan cheese has two grams of protein, plus calcium and phosphorus for stronger bones. Read about the highest protein cheeses, ranked.
What to eat: 1 tomato
Is it a fruit or a vegetable? Whatever you call it, tomato is packed with Vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene—all healthy nutrients. Additionally, tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and might decrease your risk of stroke.
What to eat: 1 tablespoon of hummus
Hummus is a mixture of ground chickpeas, sesame seed paste, olive oil, and spices for taste. With more than a gram of plant-based protein and more than a gram of unsaturated fats per tablespoon, this snack dip makes everything tastier and healthier.
What to eat: 1/8 of a melon
Melons are high in potassium, vitamin A, and beta-carotene, which boost immune function and promote skin health. To help heal muscle cramps, try eating a salad of chopped cantaloupe.
What to eat: 1/8 cup of sugar-free gelatin
Sugar-free gelatin is a good source of the elements copper, which keeps blood healthy, and selenium, which promotes reproductive and hormonal health. There are six grams of protein in a tablespoon of this delicious dessert.
What to eat: 5 olives
Five olives have nearly 2 grams of healthy fats, plus plenty of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals.
What to eat: 1 plum
Plums are good sources of vitamins A, C, and K, which help blood clot and can be used topically for reducing bruising. “Plums also contain phenols, and their function as antioxidants has been well-documented,“ says nutritionist Natalia Stasenko, RD.
What to eat: 1 pineapple slice
Pineapple is known to have anti-inflammatory properties to help your muscles recover, making the tropical fruit an ideal post-workout snack.
What to eat: 1 star fruit
“Star fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of fiber, and rich in antioxidant flavonoids,” says nutritionist Megan Tubman, RD. “Eat raw, with peel, on its own, in fruit salads, or in salsas.”
What to eat: 1 carrot
The beta-carotene that gives carrots their vibrant color also acts as a potent antioxidant—preventing cell damage, slowing aging, boosting immunity, and fostering healthy eyesight. Roast sliced carrots with a little bit of olive oil in a 400-degree oven to make carrot "chips."
What to eat: 1 cup of air-popped popcorn
"Naked" popcorn has less than half the calories of the oil-popped variety, and you would have to snack on 4 cups of air-popped popcorn to equal the number of calories in a snack-sized bag of chips! A 2012 study showed that popcorn contains higher levels of antioxidants than other whole-grain foods, fruits, or vegetables.
What to eat: 1 cup of cooked leeks
Leeks can be subbed into recipes that call for onion, lending a more delicate flavor with a hit of sweetness. A staple of soups, leeks are rich in Vitamin A (protective effect on eye health) and Vitamin K (helps with blood clotting).
What to eat: 1/2 cup of Brussels sprouts
High in fiber and protein, Brussels sprouts may protect against cancer because it's rich in indole—a phytochemical. To prepare, slice sprouts in half and saute in a little olive oil and chopped garlic, or roast on a sheet pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper for 45 minutes in a 400-degree oven.
What to eat: 1/2 cup of cooked snow peas
Snow peas are a good source of fiber (which helps you lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy digestive tract) and immunity-boosting Vitamin C.
What to eat: 10 grapes
Research has shown that consuming high-glycemic foods (like grapes) after workouts produces a greater amount of glycogen, replenishing what you’ve depleted after a hard workout. And a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating two servings of whole fruits, particularly grapes, reduced your risk of Type-2 diabetes by 23% (compared to eating one serving a month).
What to eat: 1 cup of okra
“Okra has a blood-sugar stabilizing effect,” says dietician Julie Eltman of Creative Nutrition. In addition, studies have shown that okra has a higher concentration of antioxidants than many high-antioxidant fruits and veggies.
What to eat: 1/2 an apple
An apple day might not only keep the doctor away, but also put him out of business, given this high-fiber food's nutrient-packed profile. Apples boast high levels of phytochemicals, flavonoids, and carotenoids—all of which help lower disease risk and protect against cancer. And it'll help manage your cholesterol levels, too.
What to eat: 1 peach
Peaches are packed with fiber and vitamins A and C, and the antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps boost the immune system and lower your risk for chronic diseases.
What to eat: 1/2 grapefruit
Research has shown that grapefruit contains compounds that reduce insulin levels and help your body metabolize fat. Big vitamin C (anit-oxidant) source, helps repair muscles after intense workouts. “It’s a great appetite suppressant,” says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. “It also contains pectin, a soluble fiber that’s been shown to slow the progression of atherosclerosis.” See what other old-school fruits you should be eating.
What to eat: 1 cup of green beans
Green beans are one of the highest sources of the mineral silicon, which is integral for bone health and the formation of connective tissue, thus helping the body heal on a profound level. For a healthy side dish: sautee blanched beans with halved cherry tomatoes, chopped garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
*To blanche, add green beans to a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl of ice water. This will "shock" the beans and halt cooking, preserving their bright green color.
What to eat:1 cup of tomato juice
There might be more to tomato juice than a good Bloody Mary. A 2013 study found that athletes who downed the drink experienced quicker levels of muscle recovery after strenuous exercise than those who drank fizzy energy drinks.
What to eat:1 small packet of raisins
Researchers found that people who ate a handful of raisins three times a day saw a drop in their blood pressure, possibly due to their high potassium content. Raisins are also packed with dietary fiber, which may reduce the stiffness of arteries.
What to eat:10 cherries
Cherries rival bananas in high potassium content, which we have already mentioned helps reduce blood pressure. These tart fruits also contain good amounts of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
What to eat:1 tangerine
Like its citrus brethren oranges and grapefruits, tangerines are packed with Vitamin C, which has been linked to a bevy of benefits: repairing tissue, promoting bone growth, keeping gums healthy, and healing cuts and wounds.
What to eat:6 medium raw oysters
This protein powerhouse has high levels of selenium (for metabolism) and zinc (for immune function and wound healing).
To shuck an oyster: Take the tip of the oyster knife and push it into the hinge of the oyster shell (as opposed to the side that opens) because the shell is thicker there and is less inclined to crack. Separate the top and bottom halves, but make sure you don’t lose the flavorful liquid that’s inside. Use the curved part of the knife to separate the oyster from the shell. Serve fresh oysters over a pile of shaved ice.
What to eat:1 cup of saurkraut
Studies have shown that fermented foods, like Korean kimchi and saurkraut, have a slew of health benefits, including increased weight loss and higher levels of antioxidants.
What to eat:1 kiwi
Ounce for ounce, kiwis contain twice as much vitamin C as oranges, and the carotenoids in kiwis keep your eyes in peak condition.
What to eat: 1 cup of cubed watermelon
The summertime staple might just be the perfect pre-workout snack. A recent study from the Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena in Spain found that watermelon juice an hour before a workout helped athletes reduce recovery heart rate and the level of muscle soreness.
What to eat: 1 Asian pear
The Nashi, or Asian pear, looks like an apple and tastes like, well, a pear. Its high fiber content helps promote digestive health and heart health (by lowering blood cholesterol levels).
What to eat: 1 cup of canned beets
Mom always told you to eat your greens, but be mindful of your reds, too. Beets help dilate blood vessels, which improves blood flow throughout the body. They’re also packed with iron, which helps deliver oxygen throughout the body and ward off anemia.