There are so many good reasons to make healthy snacking part of your weight loss plan. A wholesome nibble can help you stay satisfied between meals, making you less likely to feel ravenous and overeat. A healthy snack can also quell cravings and ward off feelings of deprivation, helping you ignore junk foods’ siren song. The only catch? It’s not always obvious which snacks are actually satisfying and healthy.
To help you uncover some options you may not have tried before, we asked nine women who’ve each shed over 20 kilos (and have managed to keep it off!) what they snacked on to lose the weight. Their suggestions for the best healthy snacks for weight loss are all delicious, filling, and serious craving crushers. Try swapping them out for your usual go-to's, and they might just help you slim down, too.
1) Banana with PB2 Chocolate
Brittany W., lost 24 kilos
Brittany always loved snacking on fruit like bananas to shut down her sweet tooth. But once she began working to lose weight on Weight Watchers, she realized she needed something more substantial to keep her satisfied until her next meal.
So she started dipping her banana in 2 tablespoons of PB2 Chocolate, a low-calorie peanut-based protein powder that becomes creamy and peanut butter-like when mixed with water. When she was extra hungry, she’d spread the PB2 Chocolate on a chocolate rice cake and top it with a banana and 5-10 raisins. “I felt like I was having a treat, but it was a healthy one. And my kids loved it too!” she says.
2) Homemade "frozen yoghurt"
Lindy O., lost 25 kilos
Lindy had always been an ice cream fanatic so saying goodbye to her favorite food to lose weight just wasn’t an option. So she came up with a healthier replacement: plain yoghurt combined with a scoop of protein powder and a few chopped almonds. After popping the mixture in the freezer, she’d end up with a sweet, ice cream-like treat.
“It allowed me to realise that I didn’t actually need or want the ice cream after all,” says Lindy. “By substituting more nutritious foods for those that weren’t helping me get closer to my goal, I realised I’d reach my goal of actually feeling good.”
Theresa V., lost 70 kilos
“Having healthy choices helped me break the chips and lollies habit,” says Theresa, who lost the weight with Weight Watchers. When she needed something to power her through a late-day workout, she’d reach for two hard-boiled eggs, a handful of almonds, or a mini Babybel cheese. The protein would keep her satisfied, so she wouldn’t end up overeating at dinner when she got home, she says.
4) Green smoothies
Deb H., lost 36 kilos
A blood test revealed that Deb’s not-so-healthy lifestyle was putting her on the fast track to , which runs in her family. To bring her blood sugar under control—and lose the excess weight she was carrying around—she started reaching for snacks that would stabilise her blood sugar.
“I started linking proteins to fats and a carbohydrate for a smoother glucose release,” she says. Her favorite snack to make were smoothies comprised of 75% green veggies and 25% fruit (like berries) with a spoonful of coconut oil or avocado. She also enjoyed eating almond butter-topped apples. The combos staved of her cravings for sugar—which helped her lose 36 kilos in just 1 ½ years.
5) Dessert hummus with fruit
Sarah P., lost 23 kilos
While spending time at a weight loss resort, Sarah fell in love with the chef’s peanut butter hummus—a dessert hummus made with chickpeas, peanut butter, water, PB2, and honey. “It’s sweet enough to satisfy cravings, and the [suggested] portion is small enough that it ends up being far fewer calories than if I ate a spoonful or two of peanut butter from the jar,” she says.
She loved spreading the hummus on a banana or apple as an after-dinner treat. “I didn’t even crave dessert anymore. It makes me feel like I’m not depriving myself,” she says.
6) Raw and roasted veggies
Michelle S., lost 72 kilos
Michelle credits her incredible weight loss to veggie-based snacks (as well as an app that made it easy to track her calorie intake). Her favourites: orange and yellow vegetables like carrots, capsicum, and sweet potatoes. They’re loaded with carotenoids, which research suggests might help lower waist circumference, body mass index, and insulin resistance.
“I’ll often eat them plain and raw since sauces aren’t worth the calories,” she says. When she needs something with a little more oomph, she’ll slow roast the veggies and sprinkle them with crushed cashews or sliced almonds. Pro tip: To ensure you have enough roasted veggies to last you the week, prep them in advance and pre-portion one cup servings into Tupperware containers.
7) Mug cake
Lisa G., lost 32 kilos
While working to shed over 30 kilos, Lisa’s go-to was Weight Watchers’ 3-2-1 Mug Cake. (To make it, mix 3 Tbsp cake mix with 2 Tbsp water in a mug and microwave for 1 minute.) For a quick, high-protein frosting, she’d top the cake with a spoonful of fat-free whipped cream mixed with PB2 Chocolate.
“It gave me my fix without overdoing it,” she says. “It made me feel like I was eating the real thing, just a healthier version of it.”
8) Homemade guacamole with tortilla chips
Jaz J., lost 23 kilos
“I’m a lover of all things spicy, and when I was heavier, one of my go-to snacks was spicy chips,” says Jaz, who founded her own line of ab-sculpting belts after losing the weight. To satisfy that desire for her old favourite, she’d enjoy homemade guacamole and tortilla chips.
“Avocado is a great healthy fat, so it’s a good option for someone looking to feel fuller longer, as long as you watch your portions,” she says. Making the guac herself allowed her to add as much spice as she wanted, while the tortilla chips delivered the crunch she craved. To keep calories in check, measure out a 1/4 cup serving of guac and stick to a single serving of a whole-grain chip.
9) Fruit with nuts and a hard-boiled egg
Christina J., lost 54 kilos
Christina’s favourite snack to curb cravings for sweets is a hard-boiled egg paired with a handful of blueberries or cherries, and nine raw almonds. “It’s so satisfying, and it’s the perfect combo of lean protein, good complex carbs, and healthy fat,” she says.
This article originally appeared in Prevention