Frugal low calorie snacks. Is it possible?

Frugal Low Fat, Low Calorie Snacks

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Low Fat, Low Calorie Snacks

Do you have suggestions for frugal snacks for someone on a low fat, low cholesterol, and low calorie diet?

Popcorn Is Low-Cal

My favorite low calorie snack is plain popcorn. You can air pop it or put it in a microwavable container (allow about three-quart size for three tablespoons of kernels). I often shake a teaspoon or two of Parmesan cheese over it to add flavor with very few calories. Prepare carrot and celery sticks, radishes and a low calorie dip and keep them in the fridge for snack attacks. Eat plain cereal or add milk for a healthy, lower calorie snack. One cup of most cereals plus one-half cup of milk is under 200 calories.

Buy in Season

Looking for low cal snacks? Choose whatever fruit is in season. Right now apples are in season. Eat them whole or slice and dip them in plain nonfat yogurt or light vanilla yogurt. Check your grocer weekly for the cheapest fruit per serving. Usually something good is on sale. We recently bought a three-pound bag of apples for $.99 and a three-pound bag of tangerines for $1.99! Stock up on yogurt when it is on sale, too.

Carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, zucchini strips and bell pepper strips are healthy and delicious eaten raw especially with a homemade dip. We make buttermilk ranch style dip with equal parts low-fat or non-fat buttermilk and low-fat or non-fat mayonnaise, a few shakes of onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, dried parsley flakes, or whatever seasoning mix you have on hand. To vary our dip, we sometimes add a spoonful of lemon juice or mild vinegar. Once again, to save money, buy whatever fresh veggies are in season or on sale and buy the non-fat mayonnaise on sale.

Another healthy and tasty dip to enjoy with veggies is homemade guacamole. Peel and mash a soft avocado with a fork and add salsa or picante sauce. An alternative addition is fresh or canned tomatoes, minced garlic and onion powder. A squeeze of lime juice is also tasty in guacamole. Avocados are high in fat, but it is a healthy fat, which is great to eat in moderation.

Just stay away from processed snacks. They are hard on your health and your wallet.
Pam in AR

Try Homemade Trail Mix

You could make your own trail mix by either making or buying a low-fat granola mix, nuts like walnuts or almonds, and some dried fruit (like craisins, apples, etc.). Usually the more you want the granola to stick together, the more honey you will need to add, which will add more calories. If you don't have the ability to dry your own fruit at home, usually you can pick up small amounts at a co-op or local health food store. For a great recipe for a slow cooker granola, click here.

You could make sugared nuts. It adds a few calories, but it can make nuts more palatable if you're not fond of them plain.

When I think of snacks, I typically think of items I can eat quickly and without a lot of mess at work. But protein-based snacks fill you up better. Potstickers would be good too since they're either steamed or pan-fried; if you're watching sodium, you can skip the soy sauce based dipping sauce. Or enjoy spring rolls (full of vegetables!). How about tortilla or flat bread "pizzas" (lots of veggies and little cheese)? My mother used to make zucchini appetizers when we were young. I always thought they tasted just like pizza.
Carmen in WI

Success Secrets Shared

In 2009, I lost 40 pounds without having to forgo my penny-pinching ways. I really believe eating healthy and living frugally go hand-in-hand. Here are some of my favorite, frugal, and diet-friendly snacks!

  • carrots sticks (cut up a larger carrot) with low-cal or low-fat dressing
  • baked potato, margarine, and broccoli
  • yogurt with cereal mixed in
  • egg white omelet (save the yolks for dressings)
  • oatmeal
  • any piece of fruit that's in season (my favorite is a navel orange)
  • homemade muffins made with whole wheat flour and applesauce


Oil Substitutes for Baking

I am on a low fat/low cholesterol diet. I try to eat lots of fruit (buy what's in season and it is cheaper), fat free vanilla yogurt and almonds (bought on sale with a coupon). I bake snack breads and muffins that I make with less or no oil. Applesauce and baby food prunes are great substitutes for oil in baked goods. I also like carrot sticks with low fat veggie dip as a snack. My son got me hooked on that.

Make Pita Chips

You can also make fat-free pita chips. Buy whole-grain pita bread. Cut into wedges with a pizza cutter. Split each wedge into two pieces. Spritz with cooking-spray and sprinkle with seasoning blend. If you need to watch your salt, use the Mrs. Dash salt-free blends or Spike Salt-free. Place into a very hot oven (450 degree F is good) and bake until edges start curling up and turning brown. They should be deliciously crisp when they cool.

I also make a lovely sandwich spread using 1/2 cup shredded carrot, 1/2 cup shredded low-fat sharp cheddar, and a couple of tablespoons of either non-fat yogurt or fat-free mayonnaise. Spread on the pita chips, use for making a sandwich, or use to stuff celery sticks instead of pimiento cheese!

Take the Next Step:

  • Get cash back on the groceries you buy. Checkout 51 can show you how!
  • Continue to trim food costs by visiting our food & groceries section to get tips and tools for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.

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Debt Book