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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 Roundup: Healthy Chocolate Brownies

I’ll admit that I get chocolate cravings a lot. Sometimes I want a simple piece of dark chocolate. Once in a while, I have a hankering for fudgey ice cream. And often, I crave a gooey brownie.

Since my craving for brownies strikes pretty regularly, I can’t always satisfy it with a real, delicious, fattening brownie, or I’d surely pack on the pounds. I try to stick with healthier brownies during the week, and then have a more indulgent kind on weekends (and sometimes Thursdays end up counting as part of the weekend!) and special occasions.

Here’s a roundup of four of the healthiest chocolate brownies I’ve tried—a ready-to-eat one, two frozen varieties, and an easy baking mix.

Glennys'

Type: Ready-to-eat 100-calorie brownies.

Quick Facts: One brownie has 100 calories, 4 grams fat, 7 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein.

Ingredients: Contains mostly organic, recognizable, and natural-sounding ingredients, such as organic cocoa, organic soy flour, organic butter, organic whole eggs, organic milk chocolate chips, and organic evaporated cane juice.

Tastes Like: Slightly drier version of those thin Entenmann’s single fudge brownies.

What I Liked: These are easy to eat on the go. And since one brownie has only 100 calories, you can have one anytime without feeling guilty.

What I Wasn’t Crazy About: They’re kind of thin. I generally like thicker, gooey-er, chunkier brownies. I finished it really quickly and wasn’t fully satisfied. They do taste pretty chocolately, though.

 

 

Smart

Type: Frozen treats.

Quick Facts: One brownie with vanilla ice cream and fudge topping has 200 calories, 4 grams of fat, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and 5 grams of protein.

Ingredients: These contain the longest ingredients list of any brownie on my list. The ingredients include artificial flavor and color. There’s not much real cocoa listed other than some cocoa powder. Then again, it’s not really a fair comparison since these have the ice cream and fudgey sauce that the others don’t. On the plus side, the flour is enriched with minerals, so you get some health benefits.

Tastes Like: Chocolate cake with frozen creamy white stuff on top (good but not really an ice cream taste). The chocolate part tastes more like cake than a brownie to me.

What I Liked: I like that you can microwave these and make them warm (don’t put them on for too long—you don’t want the ice cream to melt too much). But they don’t really taste like brownies, so they don’t really satisfy the brownie craving; they satisfy the cake craving, which is different! And if we’re going in that cake direction, I prefer the Smart Ones Double Fudge Cake.

What I Wasn’t Crazy About: There are two single-serve brownies in the box, and sometimes I’m tempted to eat both! If you have a box of 10 goodies, you know you can’t eat them all, but when there are only two, you’re more tempted…

Vitabrownies'

Type: Frozen treats.

Quick Facts: One brownie has 100 calories, 2 grams of fat, 6 grams of dietary fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

Ingredients: These include a lot of real ingredients such as whole wheat flour, egg whites, cocoa, organic evaporated cane juice, real chocolate chips, and walnuts. Bonus: there are lots of added vitamins and minerals. But note that these include maltitol, which has a laxatative effect on some people.

Tastes Like:  These remind me of the Smart Ones in that they are a bit more cake-like than brownie-like (not very fudgey or gooey). My friend thinks they taste a little cornbready.

What I Liked: These make a pretty satisfying snack–one fills me up more than a Glenny’s. And it has tons of vitamins!

What I Wasn’t Crazy About: These are a little grainy tasting and not super-chocolately. They might satisfy your hunger but not your chocolate craving.

no

Type: Baking mix.

Quick Facts: One brownie has 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, 1 gram of dietary fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Ingredients: These are made with all-natural ingredients such as unbleached wheat flour, pure cane sugar, Dutch cocoas, and egg whites. The only thing you have to add to the baking mix is vanilla yogurt (or plain yogurt and vanilla flavor). SO easy!

Tastes Like: These taste like real brownies! Hooray! They’re gooey and have a similar taste to Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines homemade brownies.

What I Liked: I love that the box includes a recipe for how you can make just a single serving. Not everyone wants a whole tray of brownies to his/herself, and not everyone has chocoholics in the family who’ll want some. If you do want to make these for the family, throw out the box and trick your family into believing they’re Duncan Hines. These are so good that your family might not be able to tell they’re fat free.

What I Wasn’t Crazy About: These do take a bit more work than the frozen or ready-to-eat ones. (But they’re still easy!) Also, even though they’re not bad for you, they don’t have the added vitamins/health benefits that the VitaBrownies do.

The Verdict: I’m not sure I have an absolute favorite; it depends on the situation. When I’m at work and I need an afternoon snack, I reach for the Glenny’s. When I have been eating crappily and I want to be good to my body, I eat the VitaBrownies. When I want something fun and pretty to eat, I dig into a Smart Ones. And when I want something that tastes the most like an actual brownie, I make the No Pudge ones!

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