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Weight Loss
Evidence Based
An image of the Author and Top Nutrition Coaching nutritionist, Nicolette
Nicolette Star Maggiolo, RD, LDN

9 Best Snacks for Weight Loss: Our Top Picks for Success

Your weight loss journey doesn’t have to be a no-snack sentence. Read on for our dietitian-selected list of snacks that could complement your goals.
An image of the Author and Top Nutrition Coaching nutritionist, Nicolette
Nicolette Star Maggiolo, RD, LDN

9 Best Snacks for Weight Loss: Our Top Picks for Success

Your weight loss journey doesn’t have to be a no-snack sentence. Read on for our dietitian-selected list of snacks that could complement your goals.
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When it comes to weight loss, nothing says "no fun" or “unsustainable” more clearly than restrictive diets, which studies have proven often don’t work. So why wouldn't you want to liven things up with a snack or two?

The widespread opinion is that snacks are bad for you, and since gorging on snacks can make you gain weight, you should stay away from them if you’re trying to lose weight. While they are not entirely baseless, these generalizations can be harmful to long-term success and create unhealthy relationships with food.

The thing is, you don't have to feel like you're falling behind or somehow cheating to enjoy food and still manage your weight. There are plenty of satisfying snacks that can do the trick.

9 Top Snacks for Weight Loss

So which healthy mid-meal foods might help you make your goal-oriented dietary experience more rewarding? Here are a few of the best snacks for weight loss to add to your menu from our expert team:

1. Popcorn

Popcorn is a whole grain that's high in fiber and low in calories. It also contains antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and protect against disease. Plus, it's an easy snack to make at home.

Many store-bought varieties are loaded with unhealthy additives like butter, added sugar, and salt, so a homemade batch is your best bet. Also, keep an eye on portion sizes.

Bottom Line: If you're looking for a crunchy snack that won't derail your weight loss goals, opt for air-popped popcorn with minimal added ingredients.

2. Hummus

Hummus is a great source of plant-based protein and fiber, making it an ideal, filling snack for those looking to stay satisfied between meals. It also contains healthy fats that can help reduce cholesterol levels in the body.

It comes in many different flavors and goes well with everything from carrots and cucumbers to pitas and bagels, so you won't get bored with your snacking routine! 

Most store-bought varieties contain added oils or preservatives, which add unnecessary calories. Look for brands that contain only natural ingredients and minimal added sodium.

Bottom Line: If you're looking for a savory, satisfying snack option without all the extra fat and added sugar found in other products, give hummus a try! Just make sure to check labels carefully when shopping around for options, and remember: It's really easy to make your own.

3. Cauliflower

This cruciferous vegetable is low in calories but still packs plenty of nutrition, including vitamins A, B6, C, and K, as well as folate and choline. It’s also high in dietary fiber, which helps keep digestion regular while providing satiety after eating, helping you feel fuller. The high water content may also aid in weight loss.

While cauliflower does have numerous purported health benefits, be careful of flavor additives while cooking, such as high-sugar, high-sodium sauces.

Bottom Line: When enjoyed without too much added sauce or simply roasted with dry spices), cauliflower can be an excellent source of nutrition that skips the extra fat found in other snacks! 

It's super easy to crisp up in your toaster oven or air fryer, too, making it a great base for quickly experimenting with different flavors, such as curry, garam masala, harissa, or barbecue rubs.

4. Kale Chips

You can make these crunchy chips easily from kale leaves, which provide essential nutrients like vitamins A and E, plus minerals such as calcium and iron. 

Kale also contains lots of healthy antioxidants. Many store-bought varieties are loaded with unhealthy ingredients like butter, salt, and oil, so you'll want to check labels before buying any packaged kale chip products. 

You should also keep an eye on portion sizes since too many of these tasty treats can hinder rather than help your weight loss journey.

Bottom Line: If you want a crispy yet nutritious snack, opt for homemade baked kale chips with extra virgin olive oil over pre-packaged ones. DIY recipes usually contain fewer additives than their counterparts, and they might save you some money!

5. Sugar-free Chocolate

This treat offers plenty of antioxidants thanks to cocoa's rich content. Dark chocolate has also been linked with improved heart health due to its flavonoid content. 

Sugar-free chocolates often come sweetened using alternative sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit for indulgence without extra calories! However, some people may find sugar-free chocolate overly bitter compared to traditional versions. Trying out several brands first might be wise before settling on one type long-term. 

Also, watch your portions closely. Even though there are no real “added” sugars here, the cocoa itself still contains small naturally occurring amounts.

Bottom Line: Those craving something to satisfy their sweet tooth without the added guilt should consider giving sugar-free dark chocolate a try.

6. Edamame

Edamame beans are packed full of protein and fiber, making them the perfect choice when hunger strikes between main meal times throughout the day. They may also help with blood sugar regulation and cholesterol management.

Store-bought edamame pods tend to come preloaded with unhealthy additives or flavorings, such as sodium and oil. As always, the nutrition label is your friend, so check for plain versions you can doctor up yourself at home.

Bottom Line: For a quick, protein-packed energy boost, definitely consider adding edamame to your healthy snacking regimen. They’re delicious lightly steamed or in a crunchy, roasted version as well. If you don't like any of the flavors in the store, try buying edamame frozen and roasting them with your own fixings!

7. DIY Trail Mix

This tasty snack is easy to customize with ingredients that satisfy your dietary preferences. Most trail mixes are also high in fiber and protein, which can help you feel fuller for longer. 

Be careful of some store-bought mixes with too much sugar, oil, or salt. When you’re making your own, try roasted walnuts, almonds, and pecans with unsweetened dry fruits like raisins or blueberries and dark chocolate chips. 

Bottom Line: Making a DIY trail mix is an enjoyable way to enhance your weight-loss plan with a bit more personal flavor and an endless variety of options. This is a great diet aid because it keeps your meal plan exciting!

8. Roasted Chickpeas

Roasting chickpeas gives them a crunchy texture that makes them fun to eat, and you'll get your plant-based proteins and a number of potential health benefits too. They're also low in fat and have a low glycemic index (which is great if you have diabetes) but are high in fiber, which can help improve digestion. 

It’s great to roast chickpeas yourself and season with a little oil and lots of spices like cumin and cayenne. If buying from the store, just watch for oil and sodium content.

Bottom Line: Roasted chickpeas are an excellent choice for snacking when done right. If you're having trouble with the added fats, try experimenting with oil alternatives, like sauces that use crushed flax seed or nuts as a base!

9. Mixed Nuts

Mixed nuts contain plenty of essential nutrients like vitamins E and B6, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and iron. This makes them a very nutritious option overall, especially when you go for the salt-free kinds. They can keep you full, provide an energy boost, and help your heart

While nuts do offer numerous potential benefits and healthy fat content, eating large amounts can send caloric intake levels shooting through the roof due to the amount of fat per serving.

Bottom Line: Eating mixed nuts in moderation is beneficial while dieting. Their small size and high nutrient density make portion planning a must; however, be careful with flavored varieties.

Why Healthy Snacks and Weight Loss Might Go Hand in Hand

Most people define snacks as any food we eat between our main meals, and though many people have vilified snacking because of its potential detriment to weight management, not all snacking is bad.

According to Harvard Health, a little munch here and there can help you manage your appetite to avoid overeating later, keep up with your nutrition requirements if you're dealing with illness, and boost your energy during low points of the day.

So what about the healthy weight connection? Most research says that simply snacking between meals won't impact how much you weigh. On the other hand, there are potential downsides to uncontrolled snacking behavior, so the type of snacks you choose seems to be a major factor. Once you’ve found your favorite nutrient-dense snack (or 10), you’re good to go!

How Top Nutrition Coaching Can Help

Including nutritious snack ideas in your menu plan isn't always easy, particularly when you're trying to achieve broader goals like weight loss, or you're used to eating whatever you like. With so many options to choose from, it can help to have an ally by your side.

With Top Nutrition Coaching, it's simple to build a new meal plan, rethink your relationship with snacks, or just eat healthier in general. We can connect you with a specialized registered dietitian who's on the same page as you are, empowering you to achieve your weight-loss goals in a stress-free way.

Final Thoughts

You don't have to give up snacking to lose weight. Just start thinking more about what you choose. The more you make a habit of trying new things when you feel those hunger pangs before your next meal and prepping your own tasty snacks instead of buying premade ones, the easier it'll be to enjoy your weight loss journey. 

Why not talk to a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in weight loss to start snacking the smart way?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the popular questions we get regarding healthy snacking and weight loss: 

What snacks should I eat to lose weight?

When you’re looking for healthy snacks for weight loss, try eating fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, or whole-grain crackers with hummus.

What is the best evening snack for weight loss?

The best evening snack for weight loss is a small portion of lean protein with some complex carbohydrates, such as fresh fruit and a handful of nuts or almond butter.

Is popcorn good for weight loss?

Popcorn can be good for weight loss if it's air-popped without too much added butter or salt.

Written by
An image of the Author and Top Nutrition Coaching nutritionist, Nicolette
Nicolette Star Maggiolo, RD, LDN
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