A snack is a portion of food, often smaller than a regular meal, generally eaten between meals. Snacks come in a variety of forms including packaged snack foods and other processed foods, as well as items made from fresh ingredients at home.

Traditionally, snacks are prepared from ingredients commonly available in the home. Often cold cuts, fruit, leftovers, nuts, sandwiches, and the like are used as snacks. The Dagwood sandwich was originally the humorous result of a cartoon character's desire for large snacks. With the spread of convenience stores, packaged snack foods became a significant business. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick, and satisfying. Processed snack foods, as one form of convenience food, are designed to be less perishable, more durable, and more portable than prepared foods. They often contain substantial amounts of sweeteners, preservatives, and appealing ingredients such as chocolate, peanuts, and specially-designed flavors (such as flavored potato chips).

Beverages, such as coffee, are not generally considered snacks though they may be consumed along with or in lieu of snack foods.

A snack eaten shortly before going to bed or during the night may be called a midnight snack.

Snack Review: SmartFood Popcorn Clusters

smartfood

I love popcorn, but I never really make it or buy it as a snack because I eat too much of it! (Yes, it’s low in calories for a single serving, but one of those microwave bag has three servings, and I usually eat the whole thing…) That’s why I was glad to hear that SmartFood started coming out with single-serving Popcorn Clusters, in three different flavors.


I tried all three flavors: Honey Multigrain, Cranberry Almond, and Chocolate Cookie Caramel Pecan. (I was surprised they don’t have a cheese flavor like the original SmartFood!)

 

Pros:

  • You get a really good amount of popcorn in the bag for so few calories (110 or 120 calories depending on the flavor).
  • One bag was surprisingly satisfying, which surprised me. (It takes a lot for me to feel full!). Maybe they were filling due to the fiber; they are made with chicory root fiber. There are 5 grams of fiber in every serving.
  • They’re fortified with calcium (around 20% of your daily value in a bag).
  • They don’t contain preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors.

Cons:

  • All three flavors tasted a little too similar, and they were all were a little too sweet. It made sense for the chocolate one to be sweet, but the other flavors didn’t seem like they needed to be so sugary-tasting (although they weren’t that high in actual grams of sugar; 10 grams per bag). The honey multigrain flavor consisted of popcorn with whole brown rice that I think would have tasted better drier and plain like Kashi puffed cereal. Similarly, I prefer plain popcorn mixed with my own cranberries/almonds to the too-sweet cranberry almond flavor. (But maybe that’s just me; I honestly prefer, simpler, unadulterated (bland?) healthy food sometimes!) The chocolate flavor was definitely my favorite; because it made sense to me to have that one taste so sweet (and I love chocolate…). The popcorn clusters had chocolate cookie pieces, caramel, and pecans, flavors which go together really well. And there aren’t too many ingredients, just brown rice syrup, chicory root fiber, popcorn, sugar, chocolate cookie, pecans, soy lecithin, calcium carbonate, natural flavors, and salt.

Overall: I’d definitely buy the chocolate one again. I loved the chunks of chocolate and nuts on the popcorn! I’ll eat these as an afternoon snack or as a light, guilt-free dessert when my sweet tooth acts up after dinner.

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