By DIANE HENDERIKS, Good Morning America Health Contributor
(NEW YORK) — A snack or two a day can help keep the weight away. Whether you want to lose weight or just eat healthier, adding a couple of snacks each day is a smart habit to get into.
In a perfect nutrition world, we’d all make fresh homemade snacks every day but life is not perfect and we get so busy that prepackaged snacks can be a convenient, healthy addition to your diet. Look for wholesome snacks that will keep you satisfied and are around 200 calories or less. Choose those that have lean protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates and good quality fats with no artificial flavors or sweeteners, all natural components, and stay away from nutritionally void sugary snacks like candy and soda.
You should never get to the point where you are famished so prepackaged snacks can really help stave off hunger and keep the metabolism going when away from home. An interesting outcome of this piece is that as an added and unexpected bonus these are all gluten-free.
Stonyfield Farm Oikos 0% Organic Greek Yogurt Super Fruits
This yogurt is amazingly guilt-free and good for you. Stonyfield Organic 0% Oikos is made with organic non fat milk and has about twice the protein of regular yogurt, a nice calcium boost and just 130 calories. It’s made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, antibiotics and artificial hormones. Acai, pomegranate and raspberries are the three superfruits found in this delicious, satisfying and creamy treat.
NuGo Dark Mint Chocolate Chip Bar
The NuGo Dark Mint Chocolate Chip Bar is like a delicious and healthy version of a thin mint cookie. Each bar and has 200 calories, 10 grams of protein, is non-dairy, gluten free, vegan and all natural. What’s cool is that it’s the only protein bar company that uses real, antioxidant rich dark chocolate. They have a huge assortment of bars that are all delicious.
Simply Snackin’ Dried Chicken Breast with Mangos & Papayas
This is most certainly not your conventional jerky — it’s moist, lean, savory dried chicken breast with flavorful mangos and papayas. It contains all-natural ingredients, nothing artificial and no added MSG. This is an excellent grab-n-go high protein, low calorie snack with only 60 calories per satisfying package. Simply Snackin offers a variety of dried chicken and beef sirloin snacks that contain flavorful mangos, berries, papayas, cherries and other artisan ingredients and four of the six flavors are gluten-free.
Ginny Bakes Love & Nuts
This chewy and flavorful fruit and nut bar is made with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, raisins, cranberries, Medjool dates and pistachios. It’s organic, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher and is a super satisfying snack with 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and 200 calories.
Mediterranean Snacks Rosemary & Cracked Pepper Baked Lentil Chips
These baked lentil chips are delicious, all-natural, gluten-free, crunchy and have only 110 calories in a 22 chip serving. They will satisfy your chip munchie craving and come in other great flavors like Sea Salt, Roasted Pepper, Parmesan Garlic and Cucumber Dill. My kids love them and they are such a refreshing change from the average chip.
Mini BabyBel Light
Mini Babybel Light is family friendly treat with just 50 calories and 6 grams of protein each. Pair one of these delicious, creamy wheels with some veggies and a few healthy crackers and you’ve got yourself a great snack. I throw them in my kids lunch boxes and they love opening the red wax to reveal the cheese and the wax actually seals in flavor and nutrition.
Lucy’s Brownie Cakes
Just one of these rich, decadent bite-sized chocolate brownies will healthfully satisfy your chocolate craving with just 120 calories, zero grams cholesterol and zero grams trans fat. They are also gluten-free, vegan, kosher and made from organic, non-GMO ingredients.
A handful of almonds (about 23) provides an ideal combination of protein, fiber and heart-healthy unsaturated fats to combat between-meal energy highs and lows and sustain satiety. One serving of almonds (28g) delivers 6 grams of power-packed protein and has 13 grams of unsaturated fat, with only 1 gram of saturated fat. When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin, and niacin.
Popcorn, Indiana’s Sea Salt Popcorn
For popcorn lovers like me, this is happiness in a bag. Popcorn, Indiana is an all-natural, gluten-free, whole grain snack made from just three ingredients; farm fresh corn, canola oil and a light sprinkling of gourmet sea salt. Each serving has just 130 calories, 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. They offer a wide assortment of popcorn flavors including White Cheddar, Movie Theater, Smoked Cheddar, Wasabi and various Kettle corn flavors.
Stretch Island Fruit Company Autumn Apple Fruit Strips
We are talking the whole fruit and nothing but the fruit here. Every one of these strips is 100% natural, made from real fruit puree, has no added sugar or artificial additives, provides ½ serving of fruit and is just 45 calories. They come in a variety of flavors that both kids and adults love.
Diane Henderiks is a registered dietitian, the founder of Dianehenderiks.com and a Good Morning America health contributor.Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio