7 Healthy After Dinner Snack Ideas

by Andie Mitchell on August 2, 2012

pineapple

Frozen fruit

Try frozen grapes or pineapple. What I love about eating frozen fruit is this: it’s very sweet and it takes a while to eat since you can’t easily chomp through each bite. You’ve got to be slow and deliberate and allow for it to melt a bit on your tongue.  For the pineapple, buy Pineapple Tidbits from Trader Joe’s. One full bag will only cost you 200 calories and it will last at least a full episode of Breaking Bad.  It may even get you straight into your DVR’ed episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey, but who can say?

grapes

For the grapes, wash them and dry well. Store in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags and freeze.
Photo sources: timsackton, adam tinworth

popcorn

Popcorn

Here I suggest buying an air popper and using whole kernels rather than relying on the microwaveable or oil popped kinds. You’ll save hundreds of calories if you can avoid that oil. You’ll also avoid ingesting a number of unnatural chemicals and preservatives. To top your popcorn, try these ideas: a heavy sprinkling (2 tablespoons) of grated parmesan cheese and a dash of garlic salt (adds 50 calories to popcorn), 1-2 melted tablespoons of butter and a few shakes of salt (adds 100-200 cals), 1 tablespoon of sugar and a few shakes of salt and cinnamon (adds 60 calories)

Photo source: ccharmon

greek yogurt

Fat free Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese

In most circumstances, I urge you to use only low or full fat dairy products. This is for a number of reasons, but mainly because I think popular commercial brands of fat free dairy products are often far too processed and contain additives and fillers to make up for fat lost. Also, I see no harm in moderate consumption of whole milk products and their saturated fat content. I believe the fat to be more richly satisfying.
However. Those of us who adore volume, who just jones for big portions, we would do well to stick to fat free yogurt, etc, at night. Why? Because if we know ourselves and we acknowledge that we crave quantity, we will be able to enjoy more of a fat free product than one with fat. Calorically, fat free dairy costs much less considering serving size.  One full cup of fat free Greek yogurt is approximately 100 calories. One cup of fat free cottage cheese is 160 (and low fat is only 180). One cup of fat free ricotta cheese is roughly 160 calories. To flavor the yogurt/cottage cheese/ricotta: drizzle it with one tablespoon maple syrup, honey, or fruit jam (adds 50 calories to the yogurt).
Recommended brands: Stonyfield Oikos, Fage, Chobani
Photo source: mr. t in dc

guacamole_chips1

15 tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole

2 tablespoon salsa (150 calories for chips and salsa) or 2 tablespoons guacamole (200 calories for chips and guacamole)

pb_banana_oats

Sweet banana oatmeal

Cook 1/2 cup dry rolled oats in 1 cup water along with one small sliced banana. The banana pieces should melt into the oats as they simmer and thicken.   Top with two teaspoons of peanut butter or brown sugar. (this full recipe comes in just under 300 calories)

stonyfield froyo

Stonyfield Farm Organic Fat Free Frozen Yogurt

I’m going to give you my word here. This is by far the best commercial brand of frozen yogurt in the grocery store. Listen, you may know of a smaller, independent froyo brand that you love, that you can promise me is tastier than anything else. I’ll believe you and I’ll kindly ask you to invite me over to share some. But this is one that almost all of us can find in stores these days.  It’s ultra creamy and smooth, with an ingredient list you can feel better about than, say, all of the slow churned stuff by Edy’s and Dreyer’s and Breyer’s. And I’m not referring to the Oikos version of Stonyfield froyo, not even the Ben and Jerry’s tart Greek froyo; I’m only committed to this one: Stonyfield Organic in these three flavors: Gotta Have Vanilla, Gotta Have Java, and After Dark Chocolate. A half cup serving of this delicious yogurt is 100 calories, and even more lovely: the whole pint, should you choose to eat it Andie style, will only cost you 400 calories.

celebritycruise-20-1

Fruit and ______________

This last snack suggestion is not one specific item, but rather, it’s my idea of dessert balance. Remember how I told you that I love to pair whatever I’m craving for dinner with a massive side of vegetables? Remember how fond I am of setting a reasonable square of lasagna next to a pile of roasted broccoli? The reason I do this is because it allows the vegetables to be the filling and nutritious part of the plate, and the rest of the meal to be less about filling my stomach and more about filling my mind. It allows me to have what I want and still feel balanced.

whites_pastry_shop-09
I like to apply the same principle to dessert when I can. To do this, I pair a small serving of some dreamy dessert with a bowlful of fruit- usually strawberries, watermelon, or segments of citrus fruit. An example of this might be 2 rich chocolate cookies and a cup of strawberries or a serving of Ben & Jerry’s with a bowl of watermelon or a slice of cake and an orange. The fruit helps to fill me, and the rich treat just serves as flavor. I’m able to enjoy my favorite desserts without wanting to overeat them until I feel full, a task which would undoubtedly end with an empty cake plate and a chocolate mustache.

Now it’s your turn: What snacks do you love to munch on at night? Do you have any go-to goodies that are filling and healthy? I can’t wait to hear your favorites.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Crysi August 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Frozen sliced strawberries & air popped popcorn with brummel & brown melted on it. I also really like it plain, but my hubby complains the salt won’t stick.

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Michelle August 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm

I always feel like I have to have “dessert” at night and usually I want chocolate but I try not to keep that in the house. What usually does the trick though is one (or two) low fat graham crackers with a smear of Trader Joe’s “Better then peanut butter”. I don’t know the calorie count but it’s yummy and the protein does curb the craving for more.

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Everhard August 3, 2012 at 2:42 am

hi Andie, this is my first comment on your wonderful blog.
For a snack, i like to have some Organic Kaoka Almond wrapped with Dark and Milk chocolate. As i live in France, i dunno if you can find them in the US. When i ‘m craving for some chocolate, and if i’m a little hungry, i eat two to four of them, and then, i feel pleased and full.

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Emma @ BITE | Boredom Is The Enemy August 3, 2012 at 4:27 am

Love these, especially the last one. Also a huge fan of night cereal. I avoid it during the day because a proper portion has zero staying power, but a lil’ ramekin is perfect for an evening snack. Especially a dense one like Grape-Nuts or granola.

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Melinda August 3, 2012 at 4:39 am

If I’m looking for something to crunch a serving of dry cereal always works for me, honey nut cheerios is my go to. Something sweet? 1/4cup of my favourite greek honey yogurt and cut up fruit, strawberries, an apple, peaches are in season here right now!

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Barb August 3, 2012 at 5:31 am

Thanks for this post. I love the idea to cook the bananas in the oatmeal. It sounds very good!

I feel as though I have only just started on my journey of being free from the grips of food. Although I began 3 years ago and have seen some improvements in my food behaviours (the way I spell behaviours is a giveaway that I’m Canadian :) I have only just begun to be intentional with my daily meals and find that I absolutely can not have any treats or sweets (and maybe even bread and pastas) at all. It makes me crave more sweets and junk – and then I give in. Have you had a similar experience and does this eventually leave or is this going to be my new life?
I know you’re busy and don’t expect a reply any time soon. I just know we are like minded and it’s good for me to at least reach out.
Have a great day! You are lovely!

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3petitsprinces August 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Hi there, I just wanted to say that I, too, am like some kind of fiend when it comes to sugar! If I have some, and I mean like a piece of cake, I find that for the next 24-48 hours, I crave more sugar! Sometimes I feel like an alcoholic, but with sugar. Sugarholics anonymous? I try to be careful with white flour too. I eat mainly wheat pasta & wheat bread which do not affect me in the same way as white bread/pasta. I wonder if this gets any better with weight lass like Andie’s.

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Natasha August 3, 2012 at 5:36 am

In the past I have mindlessly ate after dinner…then a portion sized snack was the key. But truly why eat when your not hungry? for me now is 2 pieces of good quality dark chocolate…eating after dinner – when I’m not hungry – is no longer part of the equation. It can be tempting at times, but for myself now – grehlin levels in check, and fueling my body in a healtful way all day is money for me….

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Beth August 3, 2012 at 6:05 am

Thank you for this post!

I’m great at meals but snacking is my downfall. I’m so careful about what I feed my family and we always have at least half a plate of vegetables at dinner. Then after my kids go to bed eat a Little Debbie Strawberry Rolls. Yeah, not so great. So far my focus has been to eliminate after dinner snacking but that’s clearly not working. Perhaps I need to focus on having healthier lower calorie snack foods around.

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Lindsay August 3, 2012 at 6:15 am

My go-to snack of late has been sliced carrots, cucumbers and peppers with salsa. I cut the carrots and cukes into coins and I pretend they are chips :) I find that the crunch and the spicy is the perfect combination of filling and satisfying. I also like to make my own microwave popcorn (all you need is a brown paper bag and the kernels), sprayed with olive oil in my reusable mister, and sprinkled with salt. It’s all about the fiber to fill me up!
P.S. Love you and adore you my strangerfriend <3

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Rachel August 3, 2012 at 6:23 am

you are after my own heart with breaking bad and rhonj……

i eat trader joe’s frozen mango chunks as a snack. they are sweet, and you’re right, they take a while to eat. by the time you’re done, you are full!

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Alex August 3, 2012 at 6:36 am

Perfectly ripe bananas sliced in a bowl, sprinkle of sugar and drizzled with milk….crushed walnuts and bits of dark chocolate make it even more decadent.
Frozen strawberries and raspberries, 1 banana, couple tablespoons of lemon, lime or orange juice and some sugar – blend and devour homemade heaven.
Popcorn, drizzled with a little walnut oil and sea salt.
mmmmmm…..

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Chrissy August 3, 2012 at 8:05 am

A cup of strawberries paired with a little Nutella…it’s seriously to die for. I have to resist the urge to just eat the nutella straight out of the jar, but I core the strawberries and use a baby spoon to put a little spread inside each one. Mmmm.

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Ann August 3, 2012 at 8:22 am

banana “soft serve” with peanut butter and honey! :-)

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Emily @ www.main-eats.com August 3, 2012 at 8:36 am

I adore frozen grapes and eat them year-round. I’m also with you on the popcorn. I recently bought an air-popper and love it! The best part is that my husband doesn’t like popcorn (what?!) so I can eat whatever I make all by myself; gotta love that volume!

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TJ August 3, 2012 at 8:54 am

I love to eat the Banana soft serve also. I mix in crunchy peanut butter and call it good. My other go to snack is air popped popcorn w/butter and salt. You are continually inspiring. Thanks :)

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SunnyD August 3, 2012 at 9:29 am

Can you suggest a good air popper for popcorn? The one I have is basically terrible, but I love popcorn and want to be able to make it again.

Love your blog!

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Serena August 3, 2012 at 9:57 am

Frozen bananas dipped in cocoa powder or roasted kombucha squash sprinkled with cinnamon or cocoa powder.

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Jess August 3, 2012 at 11:28 am

We do a lot of hummus and pita chips in the evenings. Also sliced apples with peanut butter. I really love mixtures of things – the variations of taste and texture help me to feel more satisfied, I think. So sometimes I’ll make up a small bowl of a dry cereal (like multigrain Cheerios), some chocolate chips, and maybe some craisins or raisins or peanuts, whatever we happen to have.

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admattai August 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm

these ideas are great! i do like freezing fruit, usually just for smoothies but I’ll have to try it by itself sometime. Lately, these flourless chocolate chip cookies have been my go-to snack (goes without saying, I usually put in more than 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips). recipe is below: they’re quick, easy, and healthy!

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/08/30/flourless-chocolate-chip-cookies/#

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Cas August 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I love to take a cup of frozen strawberries and nuke them till they are all thick and syrupy…then add a containter of light vanila yogurt in the middle. I swear its like a fruit cobbler with ice cream.. sometimes I even eat it for breakfast.

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Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy August 4, 2012 at 6:23 am

Most of these are my go-to after dinner snacks. I find the evenings the hardest to stay on track, so I have to have snacks on hand

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Sarah (The Simple Dietitian) August 4, 2012 at 7:20 am

What a brilliant post! I’m in love with all of your ideas, and could not agree more that part of eating is “feeling full” and the other is “filling the mind.” You put into words what I always think but can never express! ;)

Great post, as always! I’m off to buy some frozen pineapple…sounds divine!

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Kristi @ lifesprinkles August 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm

love the idea of pairing fruit w/ a more decadent dessert!

I’m a big time late-night snacker – my favorite combo is cashews with dark chocolate chips! :)

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Christine August 5, 2012 at 9:15 am

I also love the idea of pairing fruit w/ a favorite dessert. I’m an all-or-nothing type of girl so balance is really hard for me. Your comments on wanting more quantity to fill the void are so true.

I realized that at night I want to “reward” myself for surviving the day and I use to do it with a huge bowl of ice cream. But if I’m being good, I like to drink Celestial Seasons Bengal Spice Tea with almond milk. It tastes just like a chai tea but without the calories, sugar or caffeine and the heat & large quantity are soothing.

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JennC August 5, 2012 at 9:58 am

Thanks for this! I have a horrible late night snacking problem and am always looking for healthier alternatives. Being on the WW plan I usually just grab one of their ice cream treats but I’m trying to move away from the more processed stuff. Sometimes I’ll have a half a cup of cereal with some almond milk too. I love frozen grapes, and I will definitely try that pineapple!

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Jessica August 5, 2012 at 10:43 am

Nutritional yeast is also a great popcorn topper! I like your banana oatmeal bowl. I have a spin on that which is more a meal but satisfies my chocolate cravings in a healthier, less binge-inducing way. It’s oatmeal + banana + a scoop of cottage cheese added right before it’s done cooking. Pour mix over a chunk of unsweetened chocolate and mix it all up. So good.

I love all the ideas from this post and the comments!

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Lauren C August 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I really like pudding with some cool whip. Or even hot chocolate is tasty-again topped with some cool whip and chocolate shavings. Because it’s warm it feels more filling.

I also really enjoy having a few graham crackers topped with almond butter.

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Nicky August 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Mochi Ice Cream! I get these little mochi ice cream balls from Trader Joe’s (6 for $3.59). Each ball is 100 calories so they are nicely portion controlled and super yummy! I like the green tea flavor best.

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The Happy Mother August 6, 2012 at 10:55 am

I usually crave sweets at night, so I have either a bowl of berries with a tablespoon or two of vanilla ice cream melted over them OR I put a peeled banana on a plate with a drizzle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

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Ashley Bee August 7, 2012 at 9:39 am

Such great ideas! My weight post-surgery dropped so much that I’d been lazy with my snacking and now I don’t like what the scale is inching up to. I’ll be moving out on my own soon and will keep these snacks in mind–I LOVE the fruit and ____ idea!

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Rose August 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Hi Andie,

Jill Dupleix is one of Australia’s best food writers. She comes up with great healthy recipes that concentrate on fresh food without adding layers of fat. She isn’t about low fat & low carb just about eating well and enjoying it. Here’s her banana “ice-cream” recipe which I love in summer.

8 firm ripe bananas
2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
Dark chocolate for serving 50 g dark bitter chocolate (70%)

Peel the bananas and roughly chop. Seal in a plastic bag and freeze overnight.

Soften for 20 minutes out of the freezer. Whiz in a food processor until thick, smooth and creamy.

Add the cocoa powder and whiz again

Pile the ice-cream into four martini glasses and garnish with chocolate, or freeze in a freezerproof container for 3 hours until firm enough to scoop or slice.

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Elizabeth August 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I was impressed and encouraged with everything you’ve been saying, and I love how honest you’ve been about everything. But what REALLY got me into your blog was your reference to Breaking Bad (under “frozen fruit”), ha.

As for snacks, I’m all about Fage yogurt.

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Okay Ugur August 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Yoghurt is originally Turkish and the original yoghurt is much more delicious than fake ones.

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tK August 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Lately I’ve been all over chocolate Snak Pak with almonds in it, although I went through a Snak Pak and chopped strawberries phase.

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Red Pepper Jerky November 21, 2012 at 1:24 am

I found it was easier to eat at least one sweet thing a day than cut out everything I love all together. I do eat a lot more fruit and veggies than I did before though.

Red Pepper Jerky

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Maia Sethna February 27, 2013 at 2:42 am

These ideas are absolutely fabulous! :) Love frozen grapes and popcorn too- ideal for munching on! xo

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Michelle Bolt March 6, 2013 at 4:41 am

I love to do a quick “baked apple”. I remove the apple core, slice the apple in half, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (or sugar substitute). Sometimes i’ll throw in a few cranberries or raisins. I cover the bowl with clingfilm and pop it in the microwave for a few minutes. Its quick, easy and tastes just like the filling for an apple pie. Because it is hot it feels wholesome and comforting. Yum.

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Crystal May 27, 2013 at 10:56 pm

I don’t have an air popper and I ran across a little secret online that I thought I would share. You can actually pop the kernels in the microwave with just a brown bag, you know the ones that you use to pack a lunch. Some people were spraying their kernels with cooking spray before putting it in the bag but I have found you don’t need anything. Put it in the bag fold it a few times and cook it like normal microwave popcorn without all the additives. I love to just use salt and Kernel Butter Popcorn Seasoning which has very very minimal calories and comes in a variety of flavors.

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Andie Mitchell May 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm

LOVE that you can just use a paper bag!! Going to change the way I make popcorn! THANK YOU :)

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Peta-Gaye Drummond August 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I love your blog! Thanks for this, I am such an awful snacker. But I will be sure to give some of these a try…yummy :)

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Leesa March 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Dole Banana Dippers Frozen Banana Slices Covered in Dark Chocolate. Made with 67% real cocoa and only 100 calories for each package of 4. Because they are frozen, like Andies fruit, you can savor the chocolate and let the frozen banana melt in your mouth…AND I feel like I have a LOT since there are FOUR per serving!

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Leesa March 6, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Couple squares of dark chocolate and hot vanilla/almond tea by The Republic of Tea (only the very BEST aromatic vanilla smell/flavor ever!)

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