News with a Twist

Easy low-calorie alternatives to hummus & pita chips

Hummus with pita chips may seem like a figure-friendly option, but it’s actually one of those nutritious snacks that can pack on the pounds!

It’s good for you — after all, hummus is essentially chickpeas and olive oil — but it’s also calorie-dense, with about 280 calories per half-cup serving (about what fits into a single cupcake wrapper).

Combine that with a couple of handfuls of pita chips, and you’re easily looking at a “healthy” snack with more than 500 calories!

And here’s the thing about most pita chips – they’re touted as a diet-friendly option, but most brands – even those marketed as “naked” or “multigrain” – aren’t much more than white bread, with “enriched wheat flour” listed as the first ingredient.

A better bet: If you like the flavor of hummus, but have trouble controlling how much you’re dipping, try it as a sandwich spread. You’ll get the flavor you’re craving, without all of the calories.

If you’re looking for a lower-cal dip, try low-fat plain Greek yogurt in place of mayo or sour cream to make your favorite creamy dips with less than 100 calories per half-cup serving (and the added benefit of 10 to 12 grams of protein).

You can use whole grain crackers like Triscuit Thins or Mary’s Gone Crackers (btw one of the few whole grain gluten-free crackers on the market), but again, keep an eye on portions to keep calories in check.

Or save even more calories by using veggies for dipping.  Think red, orange, and yellow peppers, cut into strips, or zucchini and squash, sliced into little chip-like rounds.  Regardless of the veggies you choose for dipping, you really can’t go wrong.

And the end result:  a deliciously creamy dip, and a snack for 75% fewer calories than the same amount of hummus and pita chips!


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