healthy snacks

Top 10 Low Fat Snacks

Do you find yourself munching on snacks through different times of the day?

Low fat snacks are great to help you feel full longer. Most nutrient-dense foods consumed as snacks also have fiber which slows down digestion. Hence, these mini-meals can leave you feeling satisfied longer and less hungry all the time. 

In planning what to eat, it’s important to learn how to listen to your hunger cues throughout the day. Remember that snacks can help you slowly transition from your last meal to the next. Thus, it shouldn’t be as heavy as either your actual lunch or dinner.

Read on to find out Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute’s list of top low-fat snacks. (Note that this might not be for keto dieters as they usually focus more on high fat, high protein food instead.)

The science behind snacking 

Snacking seldom gets mixed opinions and we understand where this is coming from.

Kallo, a Dutch organic food maker, conducted a survey and it revealed that women who snack at work gain 100,000 extra calories yearly. When you convert this, this is equivalent to almost 50 more days of additional food intake.  The extra 500 calories per day may not be a lot for some but this may contribute to weight gain. 

The truth is, snacking can be as healthy as your major meals for the day. After all, it provides the energy your body needs to function optimally. It also curbs your appetite so if you’re one who has the tendency to binge-eat, eating nuts or fresh fruits may do the trick.

However, the usual pitfall lies in the portion frequency of your snacks. This kind of meal still puts calories in your body. When you often eat ultra-processed snacks with excessive fats, sugar and salt, that is where the problem begins. 

People have different snacking habits. US market research reveals that the typical snack options are candy, popcorn ice cream, chips, cookies, soft drinks, tea, seeds, yoghurt, crackers and milk.  There is also a strong association between snacking and weight gain and maintenance, and lower or high diet quality. 

A word of caution on snacking

It is safe to say that the food you choose would determine whether snacking is good or bad for you. The quality and portion of the food you eat are essential and so in this blog, we are listing down the best options you should incorporate into your diet. Here are some of them:

Healthy snacks you can’t go wrong with

Whether you are at work, at home, in school, or outdoors, snacks come in handy. However, it’s easy to grab whatever is convenient in cases like this. Hence, it’s important that you fill your pantry with a healthy selection of treats that can help you feel satisfied.

1. Banana chocolate bites

26 calories per bite

banana chocolate bites snack

Banana chocolate bites, when taken in the right amount – bites as the name says,can be a healthy treat! This isn’t only pleasing to the tastebuds, but is nutritious as well. 

This is a low-calorie snack that you can munch for breakfast too. As a workout snack, it does wonders as well. As a matter of fact, bananas are the best for fitness experts and athletes who are watching their carb intake. 

2. Popcorn

106 calories per 1 oz (28.4 g)

popcorn snacks

Yes, popcorn is not only for the movies. It can be the perfect snack too. In fact, it is rich in dietary fiber that is low in calories. It serves more fiber than whole bread. No wonder many people don’t feel guilty bringing a giant bucket of this in the theater. But, homemade is different from the flavored ones you buy. Making your own is healthier. 

Generally, your popcorn is whole grain. Eating it is often associated with a lower risk of serious diseases like diabetes, heart diseases and other health problems. The Federal dietary guidelines suggest that half of the grains you eat should be whole.  

3. Protein bars

200 calories in a 50g bar

protein bars snack

How good are protein bars? 

Protein bars are a common source of nutrition, especially for bodybuilders. They are enjoyable and suitable for individuals with a busy lifestyle. 

There are many protein bars you’ll see on the market, so you have to be careful. They are not created equal. There are healthier versions. How would you know if you’re picking the right one for you?

The usual protein bar has 5 to 10 grams of fat, 5 to 10 grams of fiber, and 25 to 35 grams of carbohydrates as compiled by Healthline. Be mindful of protein bars with added sugar, or the brands that use unhealthy sweeteners. They add extra fructose which may only sabotage your diet. Choose the brand with whole food protein options. 

4. Nuts

170-200 calories (a handful, depending on the kind)

Nuts, when eaten in the right amount, can be very good for the heart. 

It is true that nuts are high in fat (except for chestnuts), but they are the right kind of fats that when taken in the right amount, can be an important contribution to your health, particularly to your heart. Including it in a balanced diet protects your cells from damage for it is rich in antioxidants.

Hazelnuts, pistachios, and almonds are also efficient sources of fibre. If you need to regulate your digestion, having nuts for snacks would help you do just that. It comes with polyphenols that promote good bacteria in your gut. 

5. Dark chocolate

170-180 calories per ounce

Anybody with a sweet tooth should be fine including dark chocolate on their snacks. 

While not to be confused as a health food, dark chocolates are dense with nutrients that may have a positive impact on your health. They originate from the cacao tree which is one of the best sources of antioxidants.

There are studies supporting the effects of dark chocolate in improving a person’s overall health and lowering their risk of heart disease.

With the flavanols that this snack has, you stimulate the lining of the arteries, endothelium, which reduces blood pressure. 

When it comes to chocolates, the purest cocoa bean, the better. You wanna stay away from brands that have added sugar. Your portion size also matters! Bites should remain bites. When you eat more than the suggested serving, that’s when you gain extra sugar, fats and calories!

6. Kombucha gummies

11 calories per gummy

Image source:

There’s enough research backing the effects of traditional, fermented foods in preserving the beneficial bacteria in the gut. In this kind of conversation, Kombucha is always a special mention, and that’s for a favorable reason.

As one of the fermented foods, kombucha is a low-sugar snack option. It’s cheap and it’s simple to make at home. There are also health food stores that offer an alternative with kombucha gummies. The calories would depend upon where you get yours, but roughly they are about 35 cal for each gummy. 

7. Hard-boiled egg

155 calories for every 100 grams

Another quick snack to make is hard-boiled eggs. 

Hard-boiled eggs are a popular source of high-quality protein. Two large eggs could provide you with at least 13 grams of the said macronutrient. If you are looking for a satisfying yet worthy snack to have on your regular menu.

The benefits of protein in the body are not a secret. First, the body digests them easily compared to carbohydrates. Thus, snacking on them will make you full. Second, they regulate blood sugar that keeps your energy level stable. Then, they have Vitamin D that may suffice for your vitamin D requirement on a daily basis. Lastly, they feature other important nutrients such as choline, zeaxanthin, and lutein.

8. Energy balls

200 calories for every bite

Energy balls feature a satiating mix of healthy fats, carbs and protein. They are also rich in fibre which would offer you at least 100 to 250 calories that vary based on ingredients used. 

If you want a go-to snack to match your busy lifestyle, energy balls are suitable for you as they are portable. You can munch them as a post-workout food as they are definitely guilt-free and nutritious! 

When eating an energy ball, you are unlikely to crave food which is great if you are losing weight. In the right amount, it could be enough to fuel you with energy that keeps you going for the day. The usual recipes are banana, pumpkin, and chia seeds. You can be as creative as you can for as long as you stay low-calorie. 

9. Dates

20 calories for an average size

Dates are convenient snacks and they are delicious and nutritious.

As a Morrocco native, dates used to be royalty that is eaten to fight off fatigue. They are common in warm climates across the globe and they can be an energy-boosting snack that is filled with vitamins and nutrients. Generally, they can contribute to your overall health when eaten in the proper amount. 

While it’s true that dates are full of natural sugar, they are not the kind that would do your health harm. In fact, they are excellent snacks provided that you eat them in moderation. This fruit is high in fibre and polyphenols. It can be a great alternative to empty-calorie sweets. 

10. Chia seeds

73 calories for every spoon

Chia seeds have emerged among Western diets for the last couple of years. They are so nutrient-dense that they have become a popular addition to healthy food choices.

Known as Mexican chia, or Salba chia, these edible seeds are ideal to include in your oats, drinks, pudding, smoothies, jam, protein bars – the list goes on. They are flexible and you can add them to any food that you like for a snack for some extra fibre. 

Though small, chia seeds can be your exceptional source of kaempferol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and quercetin. The antioxidants found in them can also fight off free radicals in the body. These free radicals are the reason for cell damage and oxidative stress. To lower the risk of health issues associated with them, chia seeds can help.

If your goal is to reach your daily allowance of fibre, you just need to have an ounce of chia seeds in your snacks. They efficiently absorb water and increase the satiation in your stomach, which will both cause you to eat less. No wonder they are common among people who are on a diet!


30 calories for every 100 gram

The World Health Organization recommends that you consume at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables daily (in five portions) with the exemption of sweet potatoes, potatoes, and other starchy foods. This makes watermelon an amazing part of your snack selection and your health will thank you for it as well!

There are so many creative ways to eat watermelon for a snack – you can mix it with greek yoghurt sprinkled with almonds, you can turn it into a smoothie, you can infuse it with cucumber, or just simply have it as is. You could never go wrong with it cold, fresh and raw. 

Since watermelon is 92% water, it will keep you hydrated. It can make you feel full without the extra calorie. This fruit comes with different kinds of nutrients like vitamins A and C, magnesium, and potassium. A cup can give you a boost of antioxidants, cucurbitacin E, and lycopene which are all effective in fighting off free radicals and optimizing heart health. 


122 calories for 100 grams

Edamame is more than just a side dish. It goes with frozen and fresh varieties that can give color and texture to your snacks without the extra calories.  

As a young soybean, edamame is a plant-based food choice that is gluten-free and low in calories. It doesn’t have cholesterol, and it can be a source of calcium, iron and protein. You’ll conveniently find this in the frozen vegetable section of supermarkets. 

Vegans, or those weightlifters and bodybuilders, who seek a high-protein snack can add this to their diets, as a cup of this produces 18.5 grams of protein. Since it is a whole source, it gives amino acids for your body which can be supplementary to your animal protein that is still the top-tier source. 

Thus, when consuming edamame as a snack, steam and sprinkle it with a pinch of salt. You can find it fresh, although the frozen alternative is the easiest to grab from the store! It’s simple to prepare, and it’s a fun bite! You’ll get a high-protein snack with a nutty flavor on the side which you can eat on its own, or add to your sushi or salad. 

Vegetable sticks and dips

158 calories may vary based on the serving

Dips can be quite a tricky inclusion in your diet because that’s when you accidentally sneak in some calories, but if you’ll be intentional and cautious, it can be a fun snack to have together with vegetable sticks!

Vegetable sticks and dips are quick to make. You only need about ten to 15 minutes to put everything together! If you’re still wondering if it’s healthy for you – you just have to select your vegetables wisely. Go for the low-fat vegetables or legumes. Those with reduced dairy components will be your friend. 

We hate to break it to you but full-fat cream cheese isn’t the type of dip that we would recommend here. Among the healthy choices are ranch greek yogurt, honey mustard, lemon-herb, peanut butter, garlic avocado, and hummus dip. In the end, portion matters. For as long as you don’t exceed, you’ll be fine. 

The veggies you can throw in are carrots, cucumber, zucchini, celery, edamame and chickpeas. You can be as creative as you can here!

Healthy low-calorie snacks for weight loss

We have established that snacking on the wrong food is what causes weight gain, but when it’s done in the right way, it can actually promote the opposite. There are researches that show how snacks can be nutritious most especially when they are rich in fibre and protein. 

Hence, if you’re in the middle of a weight loss journey and you want to improve on your diet, snacking can be your savior for it will help you make it from one meal to the other without binge-eating in between your heavy meals. 

Have a healthy supply of the following snacks to keep your energy at bay:

– Fresh fruit and nut butter

– Roasted kale chips

– Sweetcorn fritters

– Low-fat Greek yogurt

– Basil radish dip and cucumber

– Crackers with cheese or hummus

– Blueberries

– Pistachios

– Egg muffins

Debunking the image of snacking

Throughout the years, snacking has gained a bad reputation for derailing a diet. But, that only happens for individuals who are not mindful of what they eat – both in quality and quantity. 

Make sure your snack is as raw as it can. If by any chance this is not possible, review the Nutrition Facts label to have more insight on the calories that you take in your body. Consider the low-fat snacks we have listed for you here at Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute and make snacking fun and healthy!

whole foods

Are Whole Foods Actually Healthy

How do you know you’re eating healthy whole foods? How do you even know you’re eating whole foods, to begin with?

Nutritionists generally consider plant-based foods as whole foods because they are in their simplest form. They even consider them as “real” foods. These foods do not go through processing (or as little as possible) and do not have manufactured ingredients in them.

Legumes and whole grains, for example, retain their fiber unlike when food manufacturers add artificial substances which potentially remove these nutrients. Foods that undergo too much processing like canning, milling, or freezing sometimes lose phytochemicals that are beneficial to our bodies.

That said, food processing is necessary when the intention is to extend food’s shelf life. However, when food loses its nutritional quality, they only become food products. Whole foods are as fresh as they come, whether as a harvested crop or animal produce. 

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute is on a mission to help people have a quality life with length of life. In this article, we hope to share valuable information about whole foods so you can decide whether they are healthy or not.

What are whole foods examples?

whole foods

Whole foods are fundamentally close to their original form or source in nature. This is why vegetables, fruits, root crops, and whole grains are the typical whole foods we know. For instance, you can freshly pick them from the garden without any additional processing. Just wash them or boil in clean water, add rock salt and pepper, and you’re good to go.

Whole Foods: Milk and Dairy Products

We know milk, and most dairy products, as a good source of minerals and vitamins. Milk is packed with calcium, and it keeps our bones strong. They also have sodium, phosphorus, and potassium, which regulate the heart’s rhythm and blood clotting. 

Some studies reveal how enough calcium lowers blood pressure and even the risk of hypertension. On the other hand, some research links them to the reduction of obesity in children and improvement of body composition and effectiveness of weight loss for adults. 

Despite the nutritional value of milk and dairy products, many are still skeptical of consuming them because of the high cholesterol and fat content they contain. It still boils down to a well-balanced diet that makes one benefit from the nutrition of these foods. 

Whole Foods: Fruits and Vegetables

Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet is a better way to get the fiber of these whole foods. Supplements are good, but merely relying on them isn’t going to give enough nutrients for your body. You can even get vitamins like A, C, D, and E from fruits and vegetables.

Eating these foods and including them in almost every meal would allow you to obtain the macronutrients that your body needs for optimal performance. Just stick to the non-starchy vegetables and fruits such as pears, apples, and green and leafy vegetables. 

On the fruits and vegetable spectrum, there are at least nine different families that you’d find. Each of these comes with various plant compounds, which could be advantageous to your health. The trick is to eat a variety of colors and kinds so that you give your body the mix of nutrients it deserves!

Whole Foods: Nuts, Beans, and Seeds

Nuts, beans, and seeds are the best mono and polyunsaturated plant oils, fibres, healthy fats, and protein. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals, which help in regulating body weight and burning energy. 

Research suggests that adding these whole foods into your diet could also protect against chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. 

Nuts alone could help with satiation, fat absorption and energy expenditure. There are many nutrients and antioxidants in nuts. Nutritionists often prescribe nuts for weight loss even if they have calories. Why? Our bodies don’t absorb them. A part of its fat stays in the fibrous wall, which is beneficial for digestion. 

Whole Foods: Seafood, Poultry, and Meat

Seafood, poultry and meat have protein that plays a significant role in growth and development. They have other crucial nutrients like iron, zinc, iodine and vitamin B12.

Picking unprocessed seafood, poultry and meat is the healthier choice, for this could minimize your consumption of salt and saturated fats. As much as possible, go for the lean cuts and follow the recommended portion size to realize their benefits in the body.  

When it comes to this kind of food, moderation is still the answer. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends 455 grams of seafood, poultry and meat to consume the essential nutrients that they offer. This recommendation is for unprocessed red meat. Discretionary food choices usually list bacon, sausages, and salami, for example. 

Benefits of whole foods

A Yale study showed that eating minimally processed foods, mostly plants, help promote health and prevent diseases. Whole foods help lower the risk of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and cancer, for example.

Whole food starches like squash, sweet potatoes, and brown rice are satisfying but low in calories. They make you feel full and provide fuel for your body without adding unnecessary weight. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables generally help reduce the chances of getting cardiovascular diseases. 

What can you do to enjoy the benefits of whole foods? You can start switching white bread with whole-grain bread, for instance. Instead of drinking fruit juices in tetra packs, why not eat the whole fruit equivalent? If you like ham and deli meats, you can roast chicken or pork as a healthier option.

What not to eat

what not to eat

Refined carbs

Contrary to what whole foods are, simple carbs have refined grains and sugars stripped of their nutrients and fiber. This process often happens with pasta, dough, pizza, white bread, sweet desserts, white flour, and other breakfast cereals. 

The body digests these refined carbs quickly, and since they have a high glycemic index, they could trigger the spike in blood sugar levels. They can also be responsible for fluctuations in energy and mood. They are also the culprit in the building-up of fat around the waistline. 

Eating simple carbs floods the bloodstream with sugar, and this is a primary trigger to insulin surge. This is what stimulates hunger and cravings for sugary carbs. These are the reasons why people overeat, gain weight, and become insulin resistant. 

Ready-to-eat foods

When you prepare foods to consume without the need for cooking, they are ready to eat. They only need refrigeration, minimal heating, and shelving that require specific guidelines to avoid contamination and the formation of bacteria. 

There might be advertisements claiming that RTE foods are nutritious; however, they are processed, feature unhealthy fats, with added preservatives, and are packed with refined sugar and higher salt content.

It is highly advisable to consume ready-to-eat foods in moderation.

Foods with added sugars/sweeteners

Many people have a “sweet tooth,” a fondness or craving for sweet food. Often, people eat food with processed and refined sugars like cakes and candies to satisfy “sweet tooth” cravings. These are calorie-dense foods that don’t provide healthy fuel to your body.

Sugars are simple carbohydrates. It is common to see them as an additive in various types of drinks and foods. It isn’t a secret that consuming a lot of them would cause serious health problems. They could trigger diabetes, weight gain, and tooth cavities. 

It is still difficult to see the point of adding sugar into food and drinks because they have empty calories. They are not the best source of energy, and the body doesn’t digest them easily. Making this a big part of your diet may cause imbalances in your body in the long run. Worse, you might experience health complications.  

Healthy foods to eat everyday

healthy food

We cannot underestimate the benefits of eating real food. Getting them closer to their natural state is the best way to maximize their nutrition for your body.

Unprocessed, nutrient-filled, chemical/additive-free – a diet high in whole foods are not only effective for losing weight, but it would also free you from the risk of diseases. So, start consuming more whole foods!

Make clean eating a part of your lifestyle! Obtain as many critical nutrients as you can. Associate seeds, nuts, and legumes in your daily menu. Also, add whole grains, vegetables and colorful fruits to your plate. 

Did you know that you can “train” your palates to like healthy food? Eat more whole foods and control your cravings for processed foods to see the difference. You’ll find that you will be craving more real food once your body finds absolute satisfaction in them.

For more healthy recipes, you can find more here in Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute. Enjoy better food, a body in motion, and the best diagnostics and continued community support for a healthy and quality life.