Stock up on these three delicious and nutrient-dense snack ideas that satisfy hunger without causing weight gain

By Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D.N.
Updated: January 06, 2015
Corbis Images

Let's face it-we love to eat! And in the U.S., snacks make up more than 25 percent of our daily caloric intake. But over time, mindless munching can result in unwelcome pounds. The key is to choose nutrient-dense foods that come bundled with protein or fiber (ideally both) to help you feel satisfied longer. Portion control is also crucial-I recommend capping snacks at no more than 200 calories, the perfect amount to tide you over until your next meal. (For more, see 20 Sweet and Salty Snacks Under 200 Calories.)

Here are three great snack ideas to power you through your day:

Mid-Morning: Greek Yogurt Parfait

Pass on the local deli's yogurt parfait, which is usually drowning in sugar-laden fruit syrups and granola. Instead, make your own in a pretty glass by layering 6 ounces of protein-rich nonfat Greek yogurt and ½ cup chopped fruit (user's choice-anything goes from berries to apples to mango to grapes!). Sprinkle on a dash of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of granola cereal, and enjoy. For added crunch, flavor and nutrition, swap the granola topping with half a bag (save the rest for the next day) of Coconuts for You, toasted coconut-chia granola, or Cocoa Loco, dark chocolate-chia granola, from my new healthy snack line, Nourish Snacks. (Here, 10 Greek Yogurt Recipes You've Never Seen Before!)

Nutrition:

• Typical deli yogurt parfait: 340 calories, 13g protein, 2g fiber, 31g sugar

• Greek Yogurt Parfait (with Coconuts for You or Cocoa Loco by Nourish Snacks): 200 calories, 19g protein, 3g fiber, 12g sugar

Afternoon: 2-Minute Trail Mix

When you're on the go and running on empty, trail mixes are a great way to get fast fuel that'll stick with you. But store-bought versions can be bulked up with refined carbs, chocolate candy, and sugary yogurt coatings. Before leaving the house, grab a baggie and fix your own by tossing in 1/2 cup of whole grain cereal, 2 tablespoons nuts (like almonds, cashews, walnuts, or peanuts) and 1 tablespoon dried fruit (try chopped apricots, raisins, or cherries). Want a decadent twist? You can also swap a spoonful of dark chocolate chips for a spoonful of nuts. And if you're craving the tropics, try Cashew Colada by Nourish Snacks, made with roasted cashews, toasted coconut chips, and dried pineapple. Yum!

Nutrition:

Typical store bought trail mix (3/4 cup): 300 calories, 9g protein, 3g fiber, 16g sugar

2-Minute Trail Mix (3/4 cup): 200 calories, 7g protein, 4g fiber, 9g sugar

Cashew Colada by Nourish Snacks (1 bag): 200 calories, 4g protein, 4g fiber, 10g sugar

Late Night: Parmesan Popcorn

Skip the greasy theater popcorn temptations, and complete your movie date night on the couch with my healthier homemade version of Parmesan Popcorn. Microwave ¼ cup popcorn kernels, mist with oil spray, and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (or a dash of cinnamon and sugar) for a delicious, lighter version that'll satisfy your midnight munchies. Or better yet, snag a bag of Mr. Popular, half-popped non-GMO corn kernels from Nourish Snacks-at just 190 calories and 5 grams of fiber, they've already developed quite the "crunch-cult" following at NBC.

Nutrition:

Typical small theater popcorn (1 bag; 6 cups): 370 calories, 5g protein, 10g fiber, 0g sugar

Parmesan Popcorn (5 cups): 160 calories, 7g protein, 5g fiber, 0g sugar

Mr. Popular by Nourish Snacks (1 bag): 190 calories, 1g protein, 5g fiber, 0g sugar

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