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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.

BOTTOM LINE: Pleasantly surprised.

Usually, I bring fruit to the office for my mid-afternoon snack. But sometimes, a little crunch is needed. Before I knew it, a bag of soy crisps was staring me in the face. To be honest, they didn’t look particularly appealing.

Tiny rice-cake snacks? The word “Styrofoam” comes to mind: dry, bland and tasteless. One bite in, however, and I was converted. This was a great little snack! They are satisfying, crunchy and they pack a nice taste punch.

A few stats for the Salt & Pepper flavor:

  • calories/ounce – 107.7
  • % of total calories that come from fat – 14.3% (9 fat calories per gram)


Salt, salt, salt. 380mg in 1.3 oz of snack. That is a lot of sodium – about 16% of your daily-recommended allowance, in fact. (The Bar-B-Que flavor has 22%!) So, this is something to consider, especially for those who are watching their salt intake.

Addictive. Is that a bad thing? Kind of – yes. The first time I ate these, I didn’t finish the bag. The second time around, I was ready for another bag 5 minutes later. Maybe that was just my mood. But, I can fall into eating blindly and nonstop when there’s a munchy snack like this.

Last summer I hung out with a friend of mine who lives in LA. She has gorgeous skin and hair; she’s beautiful, joyful, successful, and healthy. I would probably drink lighter fluid if she told me that it was the secret to her glow.

Lucky for me, lighter fluid was not the secret. Really, there is no secret other than a healthy and active lifestyle. She does, however, swear by GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha.

With a taste and smell akin to vinegar, it may not strike you as immediately appetizing, but I would recommend that you try it.

Health Benefits

Its health benefits have been lauded for thousands of years. Some trace Kombucha origins to the Qin Dynasty in China where it was allegedly known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” because it aided in digestion and balanced energy.

Kombucha is made from a fermented mix of tea, sugar, and a symbiotic "colony" of healthy bacteria and yeast. The resulting beverage is a raw food that is fat-freelow in calories and carbohydrates, and jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and organic acids. It’s also got a healthy serving of probiotics.

Beverages are all too often the place where sneaky and unnecessary sugar and calories go to hide. A person could go crazy trying to find a delicious drink, free from artificial sweeteners and additives! But, not if I have anything to do with it. I’ve found an alternative and it involves going completely Naked.

The Naked Juice Company has promised to make juices and smoothies with no less than 100% juice. Not juice "drinks” that are only 15% juice …100% juice! There’s so much juice in these Naked smoothies that each 15.2 oz bottle contains an entire pound of fruit, which is equal to three of your required daily servings. That’s a lot of fruit. In fact, Naked Juice is even sold in the produce section! What are the chances that you were going have that much fruit today, huh?

I’ve had two of their flavors so far: Red Machine and Green Machine. Both were delicious, but Green Machine is certainly my machine of choice. Red Machine, also fantastic, is made with cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and a whole lot more. It has a sweet, bright, and tart taste that perks you up and fills you up, without making you feel too heavy.

Now on to Green Machine, shall we? As promised by its name, it is a deep green color, almost threatening, unless it reminds you of your old friends the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And while at first it appears just to be pureed vegetables, I beg: don’t let that put you off. Instead, let’s turn the bottle around and take a look together.

“Who says indulgent can’t be healthy?” ask the makers of Sahale Snacks. And there is no better way to describe their nut-based snack packs: indulgent and healthy.

My healthiest snack intentions are sometimes derailed. Bananas and nuts are great, but after a month or so – YAWN. Sahale Snacks provides something a little more exotic to fill your tummy and your taste buds. Plus, Sahale has a wide diversity of snacks, which is great for anyone who has ever been in a snack rut.

My favorite is the Soledad Almond Blend – which has a serious cayenne punch to it, but I also really like the Socorro Macadamia Nut Blend – a smoother, more savory blend of macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, papaya, and mango.

Stats (Soledad Almond Blend):

  • Serving Size – 1 ounce
  • Calories – 130
  • Grams of fat – 9 grams
  • Sodium – 60mg
  • Dietary fiber – 3 grams
  • Sugars – 7 grams
  • Protein – 4 grams

The Ingredients:

  • Almonds: protein, vitamin E and a crunch.
  • Flax Seeds : omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid; big on protein and fiber.
  • Dates: fat-free, cholesterol free sweetness with energy from carbs, plus a good source of antioxidants and fiber.
  • Balsamic: low-calorie, fat free flavor that may help boost calcium absorption and aid digestion.
  • Cayenne: Mainly here for the kick, but in larger quantities has been suggested to improve blood flow.


Taste, nutrition, and diversity. This is a great addition to your snack regimen. The nuts are healthy and add a good crunch factor, while the dried dates add a sweet and chewy counterbalance. Plus, the flavors are really unique for a snack, balsamic vinegar and cayenne aren’t your typical snack ingredients. I also really like their ingredient list, which other than the main ingredients I listed above, only includes tapioca syrup, organic evaporated cane juice, organic white distilled vinegar, sea salt, and honey; a list that is not too complicated and doesn’t include anything I wouldn’t usually eat.

There’s nothing like a good multi-tasker to make you feel on top of things. And in the spirit of multi-tasking, I bring you a kid-friendlygrownup-friendly,HEALTH-friendly snack that satisfies my hunger pangs with little inconvenience.

Let’s examine it as a three parter, shall we? First I’ll hit the health angle, then move on to convenience (because let’s face it, rarely do we have time to get all gourmet at snacktime), and finally, taste. As for the kid-friendly stuff … well, that’s mostly advertising. As you can see, this is a snack with some personality – Dora the Explorer’s personality, that is. I’m talking about individual packets of Frozen Edamame made by Seapoint Farms.

These edamame snacks come shelled in packages of eight, each one containing a 1 ½-ounce serving, perfect for carrying around. If you don’t have little ones, never mind the picture, it’s what’s inside that counts.

Is it healthy?

Here’s what’s inside a 1 ½ ounce (43 grams) pack:

  • Calories – 59
  • Total Fat – 2 grams
  • Sodium – 17 grams
  • Carbs – 5 grams
  • Dietary Fiber – 2 grams
  • Sugar – less than 1 gram
  • Protein – 5 grams

Not too bad, huh? I was impressed by there being only 59 calories in each pack because they actually are satisfying. And only 2 grams of fat – phew, plus no trans fats and no cholesterol. And to wrap it up, there are 5 grams of protein per pack, which is especially good news if you’re buying these for your kids, because protein is an essential building block for bone, muscle, and cartilage. Protein also helps to fight hunger, which is an important part of your snack’s job. I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed, these edamame packs are good for you and utterly guilt free.

Is it easy to prepare and eat?

I recently started a new job and sadly, the new establishment does not have the smorgasbord of snacking options that the other was so kind to maintain. Luckily though, in this snacking void I have found one treat on hand that is perfect for the days when you need some serious crunch with a bit of spice.

Snyder’s Honey Wheat Sticks Pretzels are salty and slightly sweet with the crunch of a serious pretzel.

Are these things healthy?

  • Serving Size – 1 ounce
  • Calories – 120
  • Total Fat – 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 24 grams
  • Sugar – 2 grams
  • Dietary Fiber – 2 grams
  • Protein – 3 grams

The calorie count here for one serving seems about average, and since it’s a filling serving, no real damage done. It’s also great to find a snack with some sweetness without breaking the sugar bank. As for fiber, I’m certainly glad it showed up for the party, but since the recommended daily allowances for fiber are around 25 grams, the two grams here are no big revelation, though they are appreciated. The 3 grams of protein are also nice to have in a snack, so overall, I think it’s a pretty safe bet. I wouldn’t rely on them for my nutritional needs, but they have contributed, while doing little harm as a snack.

How I like ‘em

Brown mustard is just the kick that these subtly sweet sticks need. It’s just a bonus that this dipping condiment is low in calories (1 tablespoon contains about 15 calories) and has no fat and no sugar! The natural grazer within is calmed as these delicious sticks can carry me from one meal to the next.

Snack Review: Scrack’s Griss Pomodoro e Basilico (Tomato Basil)

I recently spent time in Italy, where, not surprisingly, I ate really well. One of the things that struck me most about the food was its simplicity.

Italians generally aren’t into complicated preparations—no fancy sous-vide cooking methods or heavy sauces; they prefer to just use a few high-quality, fresh ingredients, and let those ingredients speak for themselves. For example, to make a delicious margherita pizza, Italians basically just use flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Forget the processed cheese blends and jarred sauces we use in the U.S.; they’re all about natural flavors and goodness.

This food principle, that beauty lies in the simplicity, doesn’t just apply to an Italian’s meals but to snacktime, too. When in Rome, I peered around some grocery stores, and I noticed there weren’t thousands of brands of processed snack foods like we have here. An Italian friend explained to me that they’re more likely to have “real food” as a snack, like a small sandwich, instead of a big bag of chips and dip. And if they do eat a packaged snack, it’s usually something pretty simple, like bruschetta or crostini crackers (which are the same concept as bruschettas you’d get in a restaurant–bread with oil, tomatoes, and basil—but in cracker form). I saw several brands of these treats in Italy, and when I returned home, I was happy to discover that similar kinds of snacks are sold in the U.S., too. I had just never noticed them before, amidst the twenty-thousand other chips, pretzels, cookies, etc. we have here.

I sprinkle these nuts in my cereal, oatmeal, and granola, I use them in homemade trail mixes, and I eat them plain by the handful!

Why I like them:

  • The flavor. Most flavored nuts are either too salty (e.g.,smokehouse almonds) or too sweet (e.g., honey roasted peanuts). And plain, raw or natural almonds are too bland for some people. But Blue Diamond’s Oven Roasted Almonds with Sea Salt are the perfect happy medium—just the right amount of flavor without all the unhealthy gunk. I love the roasted flavor, the crunch, and the delicious addition of sea salt. (The Oven-Roasted line also comes in No Salt, Vanilla Bean, and Cinnamon Brown Sugar. The No Salt ones are great, too—you still get the roasted flavor, so you don’t reallymiss the salt. I’ve never tried the vanilla or cinnamon ones.)
  • The handy container. The Oven-Roasted varieties all come in special, easy-to-open containers (you twist off the top, which is great—I hate nuts where you pull back the sharp aluminum lid; I’ve cut myself twice that way!). The container also has a cool scale on the side so you can measure 1-oz portions. (Speaking of portion control, Blue Diamond does makewhole natural almonds in 100-calorie packs, but the Oven-Roasted flavors only come in the large containers for now.)
  • Their versatility. As I mentioned in my intro, I eat these several different ways! I usually eat them with breakfast food or by themselves as a late-morning or afternoon snack. Nuts are a great option for a morning snack because they help give you energy.
  • The health benefits. Almonds are a good source of the antioxidant Vitamin E, as well as calcium, magnesium, protein, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

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.


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.


New, Flavorful Crackers You Can Munch on Without Guilt


Kellogg’s health-focused Special K brand has been expanding beyond breakfast foods lately. First, they came out with meal bars and protein water. Now, they’re moving into the savory snacks category with the launch of their new crackers, in two varieties, Multi-Grain and Italian Tomato & Herb. I like Special K products (I often eat the plain cereal or the bars), so I was excited to give these crackers a try.



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!)


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