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January 3, 2012
7 Low-Calorie Snacks For Your Health, Weight and Cravings

Hungry? Dieting? Or are you simply trying to find foods that are low in calories and keep you full? The following 7 low calorie snacks are heavy on the stomach but low in fat. The ones that fall low on the glycemic index are said to stave off hunger for longer periods of time. Most all, they'll help you keep the pound off.

It takes only 100 extra calories a day to gain 10 pounds in a year. That's one high-calorie snack that you didn't need, or one very unnecessary bottle of sports drink. The extra weight many of us carry around is simply the result of eating for energy--with little regard for total calories. But calories do count, and many people tend to underestimate the amount we eat and overestimate the amount we burn.

Try the following snacks and meals to keep your calorie intake low while you're hungry and stave off the munchies.

1. Soup
A bowl or two of broth-based soup rather than higher-calorie cream soups works well. Add your favourite cut-up veggies, plus a protein such as beans, chicken, or fish, so you have all the elements of an energy-dense, satisfying meal. Due to its thick consistency, soup takes longer to absorb keeping your tummy full for a longer time. In the winter, it is especially satisfying and comforting.

2. Dried Fruits and Nuts
89 calories gets you eight almonds and four dried apricot halves. A pretty good deal considering you’re getting something sweet, savory, chewy and crunchy. Not only that, but nuts we'll keep hunger on the wayside than almost any other snack.

3. Smoothies and organic cottage cheese
If smoothies are made with low-fat yogurt and loads of fruit, you're getting protein, fibre, and calcium. A glass of apple or banana smoothie will surely gratify your hunger for a while. Low fat dairy products, like natural yoghurt, low-fat milk and cottage cheese supply rich amounts of protein and calcium. They have a mild impact on your blood sugar levels that helps delay hunger cues and enhances weight loss.

4. Organic Popcorn
Popcorn has the volume effect. If you have a tub of popcorn and don't add fats (caramel or butter) to it, you can consume it without any guilt. Moreover, it gives you a lot of sensory satisfaction. Try and pop your corn in a pan with coconut oil for maximum health and results. Always make sure your popcorn is non-GMO organic. You can also munch on baked or roasted snacks such as khakra (crisp roti) without worrying about adding additional calories.

5. Raw fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are lower in calories per gram compared to denser foods. To increase satiation, consume a cup of chopped water-rich fruits and vegetables, such as berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, kiwi, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, leafy greens and water chestnuts. If you don't like it plain, prepare a fruit or veggies salad by adding a few drops of vinegar and low-fat salad dressing to it. Also, kamut or spelt pasta with your favourite sauteed veggies provide higher satiety.

6. Whole grains
As whole grains contain all the nutritious part of the grain, they digest slower and more efficiently than refined grains, such as white flour. As fibre-rich, low-glycemic foods, whole grains also help manage hunger pangs. Go for fibre-rich whole grain foods like steel-cut oats, long-grain brown rice and pearled barley.

7. Legumes
Legumes, such as split peas, lentils and beans, contain a unique blend of protein and fibre. One cup serving of cooked split peas or lentils provides up to twice as much fibre as other fibre-rich foods, such as barley, whole wheat pasta, raspberries and pears. Naturally low-fat and cholesterol-free, legumes are heart-healthy. Nutritious legume-based dishes include lentil soup, split-pea soup, chilled bean salads and dals.


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