If you've ever tried dieting while on a budget, you'll know that it's no easy feat. Most health foods are high in price, and it's easier to reach for a 50 cent bag of chips when cravings strike.
Luckily, there are some snacks that will satisfy your cravings without emptying your bank account. And most of them are portable enough to carry to class or work with ease.
Here are 15 snack ideas for anyone on both a diet and a budget:
1. Skinny Pop popcorn
Skinny Pop is the food of the gods. Without the logo on the bag, you wouldn't even know that it's a low calorie snack. The popcorn tastes exactly as popcorn should. And what's better than losing weight without altering the quality of your food?
2. Apples and peanut butter
When chocolate cravings strike, the best alternative is peanut butter. And while some of us can eat it straight from the jar, others need to spread it on something.
Apples were meant to be combined with PB, and both of these items are cheap and easy to find. If you're really feeling risque, you can add chocolate chips to your peanut butter covered apple slices as well. It's even better than eating a cookie.
3. Baby carrots and hummus
Baby carrots are scrumptious on their own, but add hummus and you've hit the snack jackpot. And the best thing about hummus is that it now comes in all sizes. You can binge veggies and hummus on the go.
There are also tons of hummus flavors, including roasted red pepper and cilantro jalapeno. I get hungry just thinking about them all.
4. String cheese
While cheese isn't the healthiest option out there, low-fat string cheese makes up for this with its portion sizes. As long as you stick to only having one, a stick of cheese makes a great snack when you're dying to eat something unhealthy.
Of course, resisting a second and third helping of cheese is always the real challenge.
5. Rice cakes
Eating rice cakes is the equivalent of eating deliciously flavored air. They don't make you feel bloated and heavy. And they come in a range of flavors. You can try caramel apple or chocolate if you're feeling dessert, or white cheddar if you need something more savory.
Also, you can top rice cakes with pretty much any spread. You have to love healthy snacks with variety.
6. Celery sticks with peanut butter
If the apple and peanut butter combo is too sweet for you, you can try spreading peanut butter on celery sticks instead. You'll be surprised by how well these foods go together.
7. Nature Valley granola cups
This is more of a cheat snack than an everyday one. But Nature Valley's granola cups come in almond butter and peanut butter flavors, and they make a solid substitute for peanut butter cups. So if you're a Reese's fanatic like I am, try adding these to your diet.
Your taste buds will thank you.
8. Frozen grapes
I'm not sure why frozen grapes taste so superior to normally refrigerated ones, but they do. So if you're into snacking on fruits, pop some in the freezer.
Just try not to crave a margarita too hard while you're chomping on them.
9. Kale chips
Somehow, kale chips manage to do just that. It's probably the seasoning that creates each flavor, but who's complaining? These are considerably better for you than regular potato chips, and they don't taste half bad.
10. Granola bars
If you like having choices when buying your healthy snacks for the week, granola bars offer plenty of those. There are so many brands and flavors on the shelves, I'd be shocked if you couldn't find at least one bar with ingredients that suit you.
If chowing on edamame is one of your favorite parts of going out for Japanese food, you're in luck. Stores like Trader Joe's sell the beans for reasonable prices, meaning you can snack on them at home now too.
The most work you'll have to do is add salt or seasoning. And with some brands, even that isn't necessary.
12. Grab and go almonds
Any almonds are great for snacking, on the go or no. But if you can find these pre-packaged ones in bulk, they're fabulous for keeping in your bag.
And let's be real. It's always a good idea to have emergency snacks in your bag.
Popchips aren't necessarily healthy in terms of nutrients, but they taste great and don't make you pack on extra pounds. They're light, low in caloric value, and absolutely delicious. Plus, they come in every common chip flavor.
Eating these is the equivalent of eating a regular bag of chips, only without all the consequences. It's almost too good to be believable.
14. Greek yogurt
With Greek yogurt, there are so many brands and flavors to choose from. And while yogurt isn't the most appetizing snack on its own, you can always throw in some fruit to amp up the flavor.
15. Dark chocolate
If you really can't resist dessert, dark chocolate is fine to snack on in moderation. And you can find it pretty much anywhere.
The real trick is finding brands that use pure dark chocolate or cacao, instead of processed junk that defeats the purpose of choosing dark over milk.