We're talking about beans in brownies, curry in crackers, and activated charcoal in lemonade—all of which taste delicious!
When picking out your snack, aim for one that's 200-250 calories or less. "Equally important is that your snack consists of fiber and protein," says Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD and founder of F-Factor Diet. "Fiber and protein are the two nutrients that fill you up on the fewest amounts of calories. Also, having a snack with fiber and protein will keep your blood sugar stable, therefore preventing excess snacking and cravings."
With the interest in healthy eating at an all-time high, there's been an incredible surge in healthy snacking options. And while there are plenty of products that are simply health halos, there are some niche healthy food brands that focus on using a short list of healthy, whole food ingredients. Check out some of the best new products below and then be sure to avoid these 32 Foods with Health Halos to Stop Eating Immediately.
Moon Juice Vanilla Mushroom Protein
Moon Juice is beloved by health obsessed celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Karlie Kloss, who swear by their products for their snacks and smoothies. All of their products are formulated with esoteric, good-for-you ingredients. In the case of their Vanilla Mushroom Protein, you've got activated brown rice protein (easily assimilated by the body) and reishi and cordyceps mushrooms, which are said to help boost the immune system while building muscle and stamina and supporting the liver, kidney, and adrenals. This mix not only blends well, it won't cause bloating and it's low carb and low sugar.
Halo Top Low Calorie-High Protein "Ice Cream"
Most ice cream replacements taste like glorified frozen, flavored water—not so with Halo Top, which manages to have a creamy texture despite its low calorie count. How low? Pints range from 240 to 360 for the whole pint. But that's not all. Halo is also low sugar, low carb, low fat, high protein, and is made without the use of synthetic growth hormones. Plus they come in a long list of flavors ranging from classic Vanilla to Birthday Cake. "I don't typically encourage ice cream as a go-to healthy snack, but with 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and only about 60 calories per ½ cup serving, there are far worse sweets you can indulge as a snack," says Zuckerbrot who recommends topping your serving with ½ cup berries for an extra 4 grams of belly-filling fiber when your afternoon sugar craving or post-dinner sweet tooth hits. Check out our exclusive list of 26 Diet Ice Creams—Ranked! to find out other best and worst options.
Just Spices Oatmeal Spice Blend
You might think oatmeal is healthy, but most flavored ones are loaded with calories, sugar, and preservatives. Opt for plain, unflavored oats and top them with this unique spice blend from Just Spices, which is made with almonds, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger—no hidden chemicals or fishy ingredients. If you're not into oatmeal, the brand makes a long list of other spice blends to liven up your lean proteins and steamed veggies without adding many calories, fat, carbs, or sugar.
Kite Hill Vegan Almond-Based "Cheese"
Aside from cottage cheese which, let's be honest, isn't the most mouth-watering, cheese tends to be a dietary indulgence. Not so with Kite Hill's artisanal options. Not only are they insanely delicious, they're actually low in fat and calories because they're almond milk-based. Their soft ripened cheese, for example, is made with nothing besides almond milk, salt, enzymes, and cultures and it has just 4 grams of fat per serving (and these are healthy unsaturated fats from almonds), no sugar and 5 grams of protein. "Another reason these are a good choice is that they're fairly low-carb (2-4 grams of carbohydrates)," says Zuckerbrot, who suggests pairing them with high-fiber crackers. Speaking of cheese, though, you won't want to miss the Eat This, Not That!: The Cheese Guide!
Navitas Naturals Turmeric Almonds
If turmeric isn't a staple in your diet, you should make that change immediately. A staple in Asian and Indian cuisine, it's one of the most potent anti-inflammatories. It's also antibacterial, antiviral (read: perfect for cold weather!), and packs flavor minus the calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. The options are endless if you enjoy cooking since the root is very versatile (you can grate it or buy it dried and sprinkle it), but to easily work this superfood into your diet grab this snack from Navitas Naturals. They're a pioneer in the superfood space and this particular snack combines turmeric with heart-healthy organic almonds—no fillers.
Hippeas Organic Chickpeas Puffs
Chickpeas are a healthy high fiber, high protein addition to most people's diets. The most popular way to enjoy them is hummus, but portion control can be difficult and that can be problematic for weight control because one thing hummus doesn't have going for it is that it's high in calories. Instead, opt for a portion controlled high fiber, high protein alternative via Hippeas unique organic chickpea puffs. Available in four flavors, each bag has about 130 calories and there are no additives or preservative and all ingredients are organic. "Pair this snack with a piece of fruit (like an apple, pear, berries) for an extra boost of fiber for minimal additional calories," says Zuckerbrot. "Another great thing about Hippeas is that they're available at Starbucks, so they're a readily available good choice snack when you didn't prepare ahead of time."
Rhythm Superfoods Broccoli Bites
For the next "it" food, it's all about broccoli (at least as far as dehydrated veggies go!). Rhythm Superfood, a pioneer in the kale space with a long list of dehydrated options, launched their range of broccoli bites made using dehydrated broccoli florets tossed in a seasoning of seeds, nuts, herbs, and spices. All of their options are high in protein and fiber and packed with superfoods like cashews and sunflower seeds. Zuckerbrot calls these bites "ideal for smart snacking" and suggests pairing them with an apple for an extra 4 grams fiber (the calories will still be low at around 120).
Living Intentions Sprouted Trail Mix
Living Intentions is a pioneer in the raw and sprouted food space (they've been at it for over a decade!). They're a mission-driven company focused on bring innovative raw, sprouted, gluten-free, and vegan ingredient combinations to the market; case and point their Tropical Bee Pollen Sprouted Trail Mix. All the calories, fats, and sugars come from healthy, whole food ingredients like sprouted Brazil nuts, sprouted hazelnuts (sprouted nuts have more nutritional and digestive benefits than regular nuts), golden berries, coconut chips, and bee pollen powder (bee pollen is the pollen ball that has been packed by worker honeybees into pellets), which is densely packed with nutrients.
Graze Snacks is the Birchbox of snacks. They've got over 100 options, which they'll deliver to you in a curated way every two weeks. Among the options are rhubarb and pear compote, brownies made with beetroot, and beetroot crisp, all of which are free of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, free of high fructose corn syrup, and have 0 grams trans fat. Equally as important—they're packaged in portion-controlled snack packs.
Imlak'esh Organics Sacha Inchi
Also known as the Incan Peanut, Sacha Inchi seeds contain the earth's highest source of plant-based omega-3s—20 times the omega-3 content found in wild caught pink salmon! Omega-3s contain essential fatty acids that have been associated with safeguarding physical and mental health. These are also packed with 8.5 grams of protein per serving and a healthy dose of fiber and iron. You can eat them on their own or they work great in homemade trail mixes, smoothies, and nut butters (you can also cook/bake with them). Alternatively, you can try one of Imlak'esh Organics clusters which combine Sacha Inchi seeds with other superfoods like goji berries, organic mangos, popped quinoa, and cayenne (all organic).
Annie Chun's Seaweed Crisps
Seaweed offers one of the broadest range of minerals of any food on the planet (one serving has more calcium than broccoli and almost as much protein as legumes). It's also fat, cholesterol, and carb free and low in calories. Skip the sushi—white rice is just filler—and instead opt for a crunchy seaweed snack like the ones from Annie Chun's which are baked (not fried) and made with a short list of ingredients for flavoring.
Rule Breaker Bean-Based Brownies and Blondies
Don't be alarmed that one of Rule Breaker's brownies or blondies has 170 calories because they're big—over 60 grams per serving. Note, however, they're so delicious you'll have a hard time stopping at just one. This might surprise you because unlike most brownies lining supermarket shelves these are not only made with a recognizable ingredient list, but they're based on beans—yes, beans—meaning they're packed with protein and fiber. As far as brownies go, this is about as good as it gets. And, no, you won't actually taste even a hint of savory bean flavor.
If you follow digital influencers and models on social media you're likely familiar with Dirty Lemon. The functional beverage brand makes raw drinks aimed at detoxing body, improving sleep, and improving skin/hair health (an energizing blend is launching soon) and they're all surprisingly refreshing and flavorful despite their low 10-calorie count. Dirty Lemon's signature drink is their Raw Detox made with activated charcoal, cold-pressed lemon juice (squeezed on-site just before bottling), ginger, and dandelion root—basically, all powerful anti-inflammatories that most people would benefit from adding to their diet (and when it comes to activated charcoal, beauty routine!).
Organic Gemini TigerNut Raw Snacks
The interesting thing about tiger nuts is that they're a vegetable (you didn't think we'd actually recommend you eat tiger bits, did you?) with a versatile, slightly coconut-y taste. They're a superfood that's growing in popularity and you're all but certain to hear more about them as 2017 gets going. Organic Gemini is the brand, started by a husband and wife team, that are spearheading the introduction of this crunchy snack. In addition to flour, oil, and smoothie mixes, they make a fast-growing assortment of raw snacks. We like them best as a whole, raw, organic snack (you loose fiber if you opt for the peeled variety). You can eat them as is or they go great in Greek yogurt, on a salad, or as an add-on crunchy texture to just about any protein—they pack a whopping 10 grams of fiber per serving (40 percent DV), no sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
Peace Cereal Purple Corn Flakes
The problem with corn is that most crops in the US are GMO. Not so with this cereal, which is made from organic, non-GMO purple corn. It has a clean, delicious flavor while being very low in fat and it has 2 grams of both protein and fiber. And it's purple! The one downside is that it could be lower in sugar (5 gram per 30-gram serving), but that's still lower than most sweet cereals and it's free of high fructose corn syrup, meaning it's the perfect option to help get the kiddos off those Fruity Pebbles. And while we're talking about breakfast and morning foods, make sure you brush up on these 37 Worst Breakfast Habits for Weight Loss!
Purely Elizabeth Blueberry Hemp Ancient Grain
If you know Purely Elizabeth, it's probably because they're the first brand to bring probiotic-enriched granola to the market (probiotics don't tend to hold up well to the heat so this was a major innovation). There's a lot more to the brand, however, including a line of ancient grain blends. If you're tired of classic granola check out their Blueberry Hemp Ancient Grain blend which enriches oats with hemp seeds, amaranth, millet flakes, quinoa flakes, chia seeds, and a handful other organic ingredients. Like most granolas this one could loose a little sugar but—at least—the source is coconut sugar, which is low-glycemic and unrefined. Grains are a great addition to most people's diet and this mix is a delicious way to introduce many that you may have never considered. That said while this is a balanced snack Zuckerbrot is quick to point out that it's calorie dense which may make it a difficult selection for someone attempting to lose weight.
Jicama is one of the most under-the-radar root vegetables ever, so we're betting you never thought to snack on it as a chip. "JicaChips are a great alternative to potato chips," says Zuckerbrot. "Jicama is considered a non-starchy vegetable so they're lower in carbohydrates than traditional potato chips." Flavor-wise, jicama is a cross between an apple and a potato, but it has 50 percent fewer calories and carbs than a potato. One jicama also has as much fiber as eight cups of cooked oatmeal, as much Vitamin C as two oranges, as much potassium as two banana, and it's got healthy gut-boosting prebiotics. Jica Chips is capitalizing on the health benefits and ease of baking of this root veggie with their line of flavored jicama-based chips. They've got six flavors that cover both sweet and savory palettes and one serving has 100 calories and between three and six ingredients.
Urban Remedy Carrot Curry Crackers
Urban Remedy was founded by a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and certified Chinese nutritionist and the brand specializes in functional foods. It's not typical for crackers to help boost your metabolism but the brand's Carrot Curry Crackers do just that. Made with a clean list of organic ingredients, they're low calorie (60 per 50-gram serving) and pack a ton of vitamin A (140 percent DV). Who knew organic carrots and their juices would make a great base for a cracker? Note however that this snack won't necessarily keep you feeling full. "These crackers only have 1.5 grams protein and 1.5 grams fiber per serving, but at 60 calories per serving, they're still low-calorie, and thus suited as a nibble."
One of the first things most people will cut out if they're trying to make healthy changes is pasta. White flour pasta is little more than empty calories. If you're having a tough time cutting the cord, check out Pasta Chips, a line of Italian-inspired snacks made from freshly baked pasta dough. They're not a healthy food, but they're better than regular pasta and certainly better than run-of-the-mill chips (they have 20 percent less fat than pita chips and 60 percent less fat than potato chips). Again, however, these shouldn't be considered a health food per se as they're made with semolina wheat, which is no better than a refined carbohydrate.
Sejoyia Brussel Bytes
These aren't your mama's Brussels sprouts! (Though we happen to think that roasted, baked, and steamed brussel sprouts are all delicious…) Sejoyia's vegan Brussel Bytes blend the hearty, nutritious veggie with kale, cashews and a variety of seasonings depending on the flavor (Cheezy Herb, Chili Pumpkin, or Tamarind Apple). All the ingredients are clean, organic, and easily digestible so this is one snack you can munch on again and again without feeling weighed down. We suggest opting for the Cheezy Herb, which is lowest in calories (80 per 28 gram serving) and sodium (7 percent of DV), while having 3 grams of fiber (11 percent of DV) and 4 grams of protein—they also happen to taste so cheesy and delicious you'll have a hard time believing they're vegan.