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Healthy Snacks: 6 Foods You Can't Overdo

Healthy Snacks: 6 Foods You Can't Overdo

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Forget the portion police. We asked Chicago nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., which snacks wouldn't violate any healthy-eating laws. "The bottom line," she says, "is vegetables are the lowest calorie food group. So they're the only food you can eat with abandon." (Read on for one exception.) She shared this list of the best snacks for days you don't want to pay attention to portions.

Homemade Cucumber Pickles

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Make it: Thinly slice cucumbers; douse in rice vinegar.

Pretty simple, right? "Cucumbers only have 16 calories per cup and the rice vinegar only adds 1 calorie per teaspoon but tons of flavor," Blatner says. This low-calorie snack should be a staple in your healthy diet (along with these 20 Best Foods for Weight Loss).

Air-Popped Popcorn

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"Because popcorn is mostly air, you can eat a lot for minimal calories," Blatner says. "You get about 3.5 cups for only 100 calories." And since popcorn is naturally a whole grain, you also get 4 grams of filling fiber. For extra flavor add paprika, chili powder, vinegar and pepper, or cinnamon.

Zucchini Carpaccio

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Make it: Thinly slice zucchini; drizzle with lemon; sprinkle with pepper.

The secret to this healthy snack is in the lemon. "Cutting the zucchini very thin allows the lemon to tenderize it, so it's extra delicious!" At only 19 calories per cup, with flavorful and low-calorie lemon and pepper as seasoning, this may become your favorite way to eat squash.

Canned Artichokes

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Blatner recommends rinsing and draining to reduce the sodium content. Then dig in! Artichokes have one of the highest antioxidant contents of all fruits and vegetables. "So you're not only getting just 16 calories each," Blatner says, "you're also getting healthy anti-aging, disease-fighting antioxidants." Call it youth in a can. (See the Top 10 Get-Gorgeous Foods.)

Homemade Kale Chips

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Make it: 1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash 2 bunches of kale, remove stems, tear into small pieces. Toss with 2 tsp olive oil and spread on baking sheet. Salt lightly. Bake until crisp and slightly golden around edges (10 minutes).

"These satisfying chips only have 34 calories per cup, versus a cup of bagel chips, which would be four to five times more calories."

Finger-Food Veggies

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"Veggies are mostly water—about 90 percent," Blatner says. So you'll feel full long before you overdo it. Plus, veggies are one of the most portable snacks around. "Celery, carrots, grape tomatoes, snow peas and broccoli are the best finger-food veggies." Pop them in a plastic bag and eat on the go. It'll save you from giving in to drive-thru disasters!