Sensible Snacking

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | July 29th, 2008 | No Comments
topic: Family Health, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating, Healthy Home

I never really kept snacks around the house in the past, but now that I have a toddler with a seemingly insatiable appetite, I find myself trolling the chips and cookies aisle for portable and convenient, yet somewhat healthy, snacks. And I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised at the options available since I last was a regular snacker (which was probably in my college years or early 20s.).

Whole grain, soy, baked, low-sodium… even at the most mainstream supermarkets, there are plenty of snacks that have at least moderately redeeming qualities compared to the greasy, salty fare that I scarfed down as a youth.

Between last-hurrah picnics and trips to the beach and pool, and the beginning of the school year, I’m eager to find some new snacks that I can eat (and feed my family) without feeling too much guilt. Yes, I know that even when they’re emblazoned with buzzwords like Soy! All-Natural! and 33 Percent Less Fat!, they’re still not as nutritious as, say, celery sticks or apple slices. But, hey, we all need our salty-food fix, so here are some of my new favorites.

Snapea Crisps

I came across these while grocery shopping one night and, I’m ashamed to say that my husband, daughter and I devoured the entire bag in the time it took us to get home from the store. Salty and lightly crisp, Snapea Crisps have an addictive crunch to them. They’re deceptively high in fat, since they’re cooked with oil, but they do have a little fiber in them (2 grams per serving).

Soy Crisps

I love flavored potato chips and tortilla chips… Salt and Vinegar, BBQ, you name it. Genisoy has taken advantage of the neutral flavor of soy and come up with an entire line of flavored soy chips. My favorite so far are Tangy Salt ‘n Vinegar and Deep Sea Salted, and I like that there’s even a sweet version: Apple Cinnamon Crunch. A generous 17-chip serving of the Salt ‘n Vinegar version has 2 grams of fiber and only 3.5 grams of fat.

Chocolate Covered Edamame

When I saw a little plastic tub of Chocolate Covered Edamame Beans at Trader Joe’s I couldn’t resist trying them. After all, soy is great for you, and so is dark chocolate, right? Together, they’re terrific. The chocolate is rich and melts beautifully in the mouth, and complements the crisp of the roasted edamame perfectly. There’s just a hint of salt, a characteristic that I adore in sweets. Chocolate is, of course, high in fat and sugar, but these are so rich that a small handful goes a long way… and you need the antioxidants anyway, right?

Freeze-Dried Fruit

The toddlers in my daughter’s playgroup are just gaga for Just Tomatoes‘ dried fruits and vegetables. The apples, bananas and corn are particularly popular, and most of the varieties come in both organic and conventional versions. As the company says, “Absolutely nothing added. All we do is take the water out!” This is definitely a treat I can feel good about feeding my kids.

Brown Rice Crisps

Rice crisps are the closest thing I’ve found to corn tortilla chips — they’re not puffy and crumbly like soy crisps, and they’re flat enough to use for scooping up dip. Riceworks has a terrific line of Brown Rice Crisps that are appropriate for celiacs and vegans, and come in interesting flavors like Wasabi, Thai Curry and Sesame Soy.

Have you discovered any new healthy snacks? Please share… lunch-packing season is approaching fast!


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