How to Make a Healthy Snack

Healthy Snacks Under 200 Calories

Snacks like potato chips, granola bars, and those ubiquitous Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs tend to be low in nutrients and high in fast-burning energy that soon leaves you hungry again. So what makes a good snack? Start by keeping it between 150 and 200 calories, says Kathy McManus, director of the Nutrition Department at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "Eating 100 calories or less of something is not necessarily adequate to curb cravings and can lead to continuous snacking," she says. Eating more starts to turn your snack into an extra meal, so pay attention to portion sizes. Websites like Calorie Count let you quickly check how many calories are in a snack, like a slice of cheese, or yogurt with fruit.

The other key to a good snack: mixing proteins and carbs, says Connie Diekman, director of University Nutrition for Washington University in St. Louis and past president of the American Dietetic Association. "Nutrient-rich carbohydrates, like whole grains and fruits or vegetables, restore fuel; and protein, like lean meat, beans, nuts, eggs, or dairy, keeps blood sugar from dropping too quickly," she says. And of course, keep that balance delicious! Get started with these six snack ideas.

PARMESAN-DILL POPCORN
Toss 2 cups of air-popped popcorn with 1/2 tablespoon of melted unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan cheese or 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Season with a dash of sea salt and dried dill to taste.
Calorie count: about 155.

SWEET POTATO TOAST
Stir together 1 cup of cooked mashed sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a dash of kosher salt, and dried thyme and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top 1 slice of toasted sourdough bread with 2 1/2 tablespoons of the warmed sweet potato spread and dust with more pepper. Refrigerate the remaining spread in a covered container for another time.
Calorie count: about 155.

MINTED LENTILS
Toss 1/2 cup of cooked green lentils with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a dash of salt. Top with 2 tablespoons of nonfat plain Greek yogurt and sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of chopped fresh mint.
Calorie count: about 170.

SPICY TURKEY THINS
Spread 2 RYVITA Crispbreads with 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and 2 slices of deli turkey each. Sprinkle with a few drops of Sriracha hot chile sauce.
Calorie count: about 170.

BANANA PUDDING
Stir together 1/3 cup of plain low-fat yogurt with 2 teaspoons of honey and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Fold in 1/2 of a thinly sliced banana and top with 2 crushed vanilla wafer cookies.
Calorie count: about 175.

ALMOND BUTTER PORRIDGE
Stir 2 teaspoons of almond butter into 2/3 cup cooked Cream of Wheat (prepared with water and a dash of salt). Drizzle the mixture with 2 1/2 teaspoons of maple syrup.
Calorie count: about 196.