6 Skinny Dips for Snacking

Skinny Dipping

With football comes major snacking, and this team of dips offers delicious hits of health-boosting nutrients. One note: A winning serving size is 2 tablespoons — closer to the size of a golf ball than a football. Now grab a first-round pick.

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Tomato Salsa

This classic gets the gold star for all kinds of reasons: It's made almost entirely of veggies and provides a nice amount of vitamins A and C, as well as the antioxidant lycopene. Best of all, a serving will cost you just 10 or so little cals. The one spot to watch is sodium: Jarred salsas tend to have more salty stuff than fresh ones sold in the refrigerated aisle. (For the same reason, not-too-salty homemade salsa gets a high five — snack away on a whole cup!) Wondering about green salsas? They're well worth a scoop, with similar cals and more vitamin C.

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With every dunk, you get a satisfying combo of fiber, healthy fats, and protein — all courtesy of chickpeas and tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds). Not only does hummus deliver energy, it also helps keep you fuller on less. Good thing, since this dip can be calorie dense, at about 50 cals per 2-tablespoon serving. Flavored-up versions are a good bet too — as long as they're the veggie-centered ones (spinach, red pepper, tomato), which dole out an added shot of antioxidant goodness.

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Some of these dips star pintos. Others are made with black beans. Either way, you score. Both beans are up there in antioxidants, and when mixed into dips, offer a little bit of filling fiber for not too many calories — about 35 per serving.

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Say it with us: tzah-TZEE-kee. Usually made with some combination of yogurt, cucumbers, and herbs, this dip will earn you about 2 grams of satisfying protein per serving, plus a shot of calcium. Calories can be about 40 per serving but may bounce around depending on add-ins. (As always, scout out brands that keep the ingredients simple.)

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Black Bean and Corn Salsa

The beans bring fiber to the party, the corn may help promote healthy vision, and together this duo provides all nine essential amino acids — the kind your body can't make but can only get from food. Calories are just a tiny bit higher than for standard salsa, at about 20 per serving. Here, too, you'll want to look for brands that go easy on the sodium (less than 200 mg a pop).

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Avocado has nearly 20 vitamins and minerals and legit heart-healthy fat credentials. (And did we mention its potential cholesterol-cutting power?) Despite its high-cal reputation, guacamole is not too far off from many in the gang here, at around 50 cals per serving. The trick to reaping all of the nutritional good stuff? Make sure avocado is first up on the ingredients list, followed by a handful of others you recognize, like onions.

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Dunk These

Of course we want you to scoop up your dip with veggies — but why not branch out from the usual suspects? (No offense, baby carrots.) Other surprising champions of crunch include:

  • Rutabaga (raw or blanched — i.e., boiled until crisp-tender)
  • Endive spears
  • Green beans (blanched)
  • Radishes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Asparagus (blanched)
  • Jicama sticks

Or these, all great raw:

  • Kohlrabi
  • Turnips
  • Swiss chard stems
  • Butternut squash
  • Bok choy
  • This story originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.
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