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What calorie-free food can I snack on? (Besides celery)

Question: I really hate celery but I want to snack on something that's calorie free. Is celery the only negative-calorie food there is?

Answer: You're right that celery is almost calorie free – only 16 calories for one medium stalk. But it's not the only vegetable that has negligible calories. Feel free to snack on red pepper strips, broccoli florets, cucumber slices and so on – no more than 15 calories per ½ cup serving. If you dip that in two tablespoons of hummus (chick pea dip) your snack is still under 100 calories.

Unless you drink water – or clear tea – no snack is calorie free. But if you have the munchies and want a snack that does minimal damage, limit yourself to 100 calories. And to keep your appetite in check, make sure your snack has protein, carbohydrate and some fibre or healthy fat. Fat free cookies made from refined flour and sugar might taste good, but they do nothing to curb your hunger.

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Fruit is a great snack – a medium sized fruit has no more than 100 calories. But, let's face it, most people don't crave fruit when they want a snack. (Although if you get into the habit of snacking on fruit, you will eventually crave it!) Try these 100 calorie snack suggestions:

  • Half an apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
  • One orange and 3 almonds
  • 10 cashew nuts
  • 14 almonds
  • 3 cups of air popped popcorn
  • 1 ounce of part skim cheese and 3 whole grain crackers
  • 4 dried apricots and 4 walnut halves
  • 2 ounces of chicken breast
  • 3 ounces of tuna
  • 1 hard boiled egg (large)
  • ¾ cup of cooked oatmeal
  • 1 cup of plain or light vanilla soy milk
  • ½ cup of cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup cottage cheese and ½ cup strawberries
  • ¼ of an avocado
  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds

Send dietitian Leslie Beck your questions at dietitian@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on the Globe website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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