Ready for Some New Healthy Snacks?
Time to feature the winners from the Healthy Snacks Party highlighted in my previous post. Yes, yes, I know the best healthy snacks don’t come in packages—fresh veggie and fruit snacks are the true winners. But when you’re on-the-go, it’s nice to have travel-ready snacks that your kids love and aren’t too salty, sugary or processed.
It’s tricky to find snacks that can truly earn the “healthy” tag, as packaging can often be deceptive. That’s why I brought my Nutritional Guidelines and Fooducate app when I went hunting for snacks to test. See the details below:
The Raters: 22 kids and 12 adults.
The Rating Scale: 0-5 star ratings
The Products Came From: Whole Foods, Giant Food, Trader Joe’s, and MOM’s Organic Market.
Nutritional Criteria: (Based on Nutrition Guidelines)
Sugars: 1g or less (looking at added sugars only, I did not count sugars from all fruit snacks)
Sodium: 240mg or less
Fiber: 2g or more
Saturated Fat: 1-2g or less
Vitamins: any vitamin OR fiber ≥ 10%
Ingredients: avoid the term “starches”, “palm oil”, and “hydrogenated oils”
Meeting these criteria: All snacks in our testing needed to earn a B- or better on the Fooducate app, and match at least 4 out of the first 5 of the Nutritional Criteria. All snacks had to meet the “Ingredients” criteria—no starches or palm/hydrogenated oils.
Allergen Information: All items are dairy-free except for the lentil crisps, and all are certified gluten-free except for the Somersaults. With the exception of the pistachios, all are nut-free, but the Somersaults, lentil crisps, watermelon seeds, and black bean chips are from facilities that also process nuts.
Best Healthy Snacks
Rater Comments: “Great flavor”, “Like veggie sticks, but much better”, “More please!”
My Comments: The clear winner for kids. This snack disappeared the quickest and inspired the most passionate responses from kids. I think the ranch flavor sealed the deal. Although healthier than any other veggie sticks-like snack I’ve seen, these are probably the most processed snack of the bunch.
Fooducate Rating: not in system yet
Nutrition Strengths: 4g protein/3g fiber per serving, whole food ingredients, only 5 ingredients
Rater Comments: “Surprisingly light and delicious”, “More flavor than regular chips” “Great substitute for regular chips-tasty!”
My Comments: Kids just loved these chips, almost all rated them 5/5. One of the snacks parents were most interested in purchasing.
Nutrition Strengths: whole food ingredients, only 3 ingredients, no sodium, no sugar, no saturated fat
Rater Comments: “More flavor than regular rice cakes”, “I want to take these home!”, “Better than rice cakes”
My Comments: This is one of the few non-fruit snacks that has no sodium yet was still a kid favorite. So nice to have a no-salt snack! These are basically thin rice cakes, but I think they are not as dry and they have more flavor. June adores these and calls them a popcorn cracker.
Adult & Kid Favorites
Nutrition Strengths: 4g fiber per serving, whole food ingredients, no added sugar, minimally processed
Rater Comments: “Tastes like real apples!”, “Love the whole food snack”, “Better than others I’ve tried!”
My Comments: Almost all kids and adults rated these 5/5 for taste. This brand seemed to really stand out from the crowd for apple chips.
Nutrition Strengths: 6g protein/3g fiber per serving, healthy fats, whole food ingredients, no added sugar, rich in B vitamins
Rater Comments: “Perfect snack!”, “I’ve never tried these-delicious!”, “Love not having to crack the shells”
My Comments: This was by far the favorite adult snack, just about all 5/5 ratings, with some passionate reviews. If you haven’t yet tried pistachios without the shells, you should definitely give these a try! Although it likely won’t make a nut-lover out of your child, kids that already liked nuts/seeds also loved these.
Nutrition Strengths: Has 2-3g more fiber and protein than regular tortilla chips, whole food ingredients, only 4 ingredients
Rater Comments: “Just like blue tortilla chips!”, “I love these with the guacamole”, “Tastes yummy!”
My Comments: Most everyone seemed to think these easily matched regular tortilla chips in taste.
Nutrition Strengths: 6g protein/3g fiber per serving, good source of folate and B vitamins, whole food ingredients
Rater Comments: “Tastes like sweet sunflower seeds”, “Perfect snacking bite”, “Great crunch”
My comments: Most adults and kids liked this snack (average rating 4/5), but I was one of the few that loved it. While it’s healthier to just eat sunflower seeds, the size of these little discs is perfect for snacking and easier to eat on the go. Amazon delivers individual-sized snack packages of these.
Biggest Surprise Winner:
Nutrition Strengths: 10g of protein per serving! Good source of iron, magnesium, phosporus, only one ingredient
Rater Comments: “These are fun!”, “I’d like to eat these every day”, “Crunchy like a mix between sunflower and sesame seeds”
My Comments: Any kid or adult tester who liked sunflower seeds also liked these. Some liked these a lot better. Although they are more expensive than sunflower seeds, the novelty got kids and adults excited, and there are a ton of seeds in the bag.
Nutrition Strengths: 3g of fiber per serving, only 4 ingredients, whole food ingredients
My Comments: the kids liked all the popcorn products (I served 4), but this was the favorite.
Nutrition Strengths: 5g of protein and fiber per serving, whole food ingredients, only 4 ingredients
Rater Comments: “A little dry”, “Almost too crunchy”, “I love this!”
My Comments: I was disappointed in the lower ratings because both June and I love crunchy chickpeas. They are crunchier and drier than nuts, so it may be an acquired taste. However the 10% that rated these highly just loved them.
Rater Comments: “Sawdust”, “Can I spit it out?”, “I almost gagged”, “Absolutely delicious!”
My Comments: This snack definitely got the most attention for being both exotic and inedible. There were 3 out of 12 adult testers that really liked them, and even thought they might be interested in buying them. At first crunch, I thought it was like biting into bamboo, and then everything softened and I tasted a sweetness that was quite nice. I was one of the few who actually liked it!
Note: There were more winning snacks than I had room to present in one post. More to come!