100 Calorie Snacks that Aren't Snack Packs

Here are healthy foods that you can safely snack onOne hundred calories. It's just three words, but many of us feel better snacking on something that has that on its nutritional label - it's built-in portion control. That's why we buy so many boxes of those over-processed, boring snack packs with "100 Calories" stamped right on the package, because when it's only that many calories or less, we feel better about our diet and health.

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Unfortunately, we're often less certain about calorie counts when it comes to eating wholesome, unprocessed, and all-natural foods. When you open a carton of almonds, do you really know when to stop yourself from breaching your safe limit? And how many spoonfuls of hummus can you safely have before it actually starts doing you more harm than good?

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We all know certain types of food are better than others, but when we're counting calories or on strict diets, it's hard to quantify those healthy foods. Registered dietician Samantha Lynch understands these snacking woes, because through all of her counseling with everyone from athletes and celebrities to everyday people out of her practice in New York City, she has realized that just telling someone something is healthy isn't enough.

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Because we're a little tired of snacking on just five Oreo thin crisps or three Wheat Thins from those store-bought 100-calorie packs, we asked Lynch to give us a list of 100-calorie snacks that we could enjoy without losing our wits. We have everything from fruits and nuts to vegetables and cheeses on this list, and not only are they 100 calories or less, but they're delicious, too.

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"These 100-calorie snacks are full of nutrients and flavor to keep you energized without sacrificing your weight goals. They all contain healthy fats, fiber, and protein, [which are] the three components that regulate blood sugar, help you stay satiated, and to keep [your] metabolism running efficiently," she says.

Snacking is an essential part of some of our routines that help us stay energetic and sane until the next meal, so here are 10 healthy, all natural snacks that are 100 calories or less.

Credit: Thinkstock/iStockphotoChocolatey Banana
Snacking can include your guilty pleasures, too, and for any of you chocolate fiends, Lynch has a snack that's healthy and 100 calories. She says to melt 1 Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Square (of 60 percent cacao) and dip ½ of a medium banana in it for a fruity, sweet, and satisfying snack.

Credit: ZoonarVegetables and Hummus
Hummus is another tricky health food, because if you overindulge, you're probably eating more of those fatty chickpeas than you need to be. Lynch recommends sticking to 1 cup of vegetables, such as grape tomatoes, bell peppers, and sugar snap peas, with 2 tablespoons of hummus to stay safe.

Credit: Jane BruceWalnuts and Chocolate
Walnuts are a popular nut to mix with sweets that we see in a lot of our baking recipes, but like almonds, too many can be too many calories. To enjoy that nutty, sweet satisfaction that the combination of walnuts and chocolate give us, Lynch says to snack on 10 dark chocolate chips and four walnuts for a safe bite.

Credit: Jane Bruce14 Almonds
It's pretty easy to mindlessly eat these fatty nuts, and if you're not careful, the calorie count can build up. Remember: 14 almonds is your safe limit, so count them out if you want to stick to your plan.

Credit: Photos.comShrimp Cocktail
Here's a snack that's not only 100 calories but incredibly satisfying, too. Three ounces of shrimp with 1 tablespoon of cocktail sauce or salsa allows you to enjoy a little shrimp cocktail and stay safe with your calories.

Credit: Thinkstock/iStockphotoPopcorn
Popcorn can turn into a pretty dangerous thing when you're buying it at the movies and dousing it in butter, but as long as you stay within your limits it can also be a safe and healthy snack. Lynch tells us that 1 cup of air-popped popcorn is only 100 calories and a great way to treat yourself between meals.

Credit: Jane BruceString Cheese and an Apple
Are you a sucker for string cheese? Yeah, we are, too, and thankfully for all of us, one of those and an apple to boot stays within our 100-calorie limit. Make sure to buy the 2 percent part-skim variety of string cheese, and Lynch recommends picking a smaller apple, that's about 2 ½ inches in diameter, out of the bunch.

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- Anne Dolce, The Daily Meal