The Best Healthy Snacks
Some want sweet, and some want salty. Some crave crunchy and others smooth. Some go for frozen, and others go for chocolatey. A good nutritionist, I have learned, needs to have a snack to scratch each one of her client’s snacky itches. And being that so many of my clients have gluten intolerance, I try to keep my snack ideas gluten-free as well.
So, I’ll assume you’ve already tired of my tier one snacks: the apples with peanut butter, the string cheeses, the hummus with baby carrots, the yogurt with fruit. You came, you snacked, and you’re still hungry for more.
Best Salty-Crunchy Snack: Bean Chips
High in fiber and protein–and naturally gluten-free– bean chips are a far superior choice to corn tortilla chips when those salty snack cravings hit. Made primarily or entirely from ground bean flours– like chickpeas, lentils, pintos or black beans– these chips are generally a naturally low-glycemic snack. This makes them far healthier than other salty snacks with a largely undeserved “better for you” reputation, like baked potato chips or pretzels. Eat them alone, or dip them in some salsa, hummus or guac if you can spare the calories. My favorite brands are:
- Beanitos Black Bean chips, which have 5 huge grams of fiber and 4g of protein per 140-calorie, 1 oz serving. Empty calories these are not! While still savory, they are also less overtly salty than a standard chip (only 55mg sodium per serving!)…a good choice for fellow snackers looking to limit their sodium intake.
- Mediterranean Snacks Baked Lentil Chips: each 110-calorie, 1 oz serving is a generous 22 chips, and contains a respectable 3g of fiber and 4g of protein. I think of these as a more nutritious substitute for rice crackers, since texture-wise, they’re somewhere in between a chip and a cracker. If you’re avoiding dairy, read the ingredient labels, as certain flavors contain it.
Best Frozen Treat: Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Pops
Step. Away. From. The. Stonyfield Farm. Frozen. Yogurt. Sure it’s fat-free, but each 1/2 cup serving has 18-23g (4.5 to 6 tsps) of sugar. While it may still have a reasonable 100-120 calories per serving, all that sugar will spike le blood sugar, feeding into the sweet-cravings cycle that will ultimately undo all the good eating that you try to do.
Besides, it was just a matter of time before the Greek Yogurt revolution infiltrated the freezer section. But while the vast majority of regular fruit-flavored Greek Yogurts are LOADED with sugar– as is Stonyfield Farms’ “Oikos” Frozen Greek Yogurt by the pint– the folks at Yasso managed to come up with tasty, fruit-flavored frozen Greek Yogurt pops with just 70 calories each and a more reasonable 11-12g of sugar per serving (some of which is from the natural milk sugar in the yogurt itself, of course). The pops are also fat free, contain 6g of protein and have 15% of the daily value for calcium. These nutritional credentials–not to mention a more natural ingredient list– make Yasso pops more impressive than most varieties of those wildly popular Weight Watchers and Skinny Cow low-calorie frozen treat pops as well.
Best Chocolatey Snack: Emerald Cocoa-Roast Almonds
Brilliant! While traditional chocolate-dipped almonds can add mega calories and sugar to an already naturally caloric snack, the clever people at Emerald Nuts thought to just lightly dust their almonds with cocoa powder, adding lots of chocolate flavor with negligible additional calories or sugar. Since both cocoa and almonds are well-established to be antioxidant-rich, heart-healthy treats, this snack truly is a healthy indulgence. 150 calories per 1 oz (1/4 cup) serving, or buy a 100-calorie pack and pair it with a piece of fruit. Again, this is another low-glycemic gem. My only reservation about this product is that it contains artificial sweeteners (I’m not a huge fan), but I certainly don’t think that in and of itself is enough to knock these chocolately almonds off their pedestal.
Best Sweet, Creamy Treat: Kozy Shack No Sugar Added Puddings
Fellow Lactards: time to break out those Lactaid Pills! These are an unabashedly milky treat… and a delicious, low-calorie one at that. Each 1/2 cup serving has 60-90 calories (depending on the flavor), just 4-5g of natural sugar (from the milk), and a shorter, friendlier ingredient list than their key competitor, Sugar-free Jell-O Pudding Snacks. While they do contain one artificial ingredient– Splenda (sucralose)– they don’t contain a Ace-K (a more dubious artificial sweetener), nor do they have artificial colors as do the Jell-O products. Each serving also has 3-4g of protein and about 10% of the daily value for calcium, which is not too shabby! Flavors range from rice and tapioca to chocolate mint, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.