healthy snacks to buy

FNCE Finds - 10 new food products you should try

 
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I’m writing this on the plane as I fly back home after a crazy (but awesome) long weekend in Chicago at the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). I spent the past four days with 10,000 other dietitians in the windy city getting up to speed on the latest nutrition research, networking, visiting with friends, and tasting way too many new food products. The conference is always a blast and well worth it.

Each year the expo features 100s of food brands, offering samples, coupons, giveaways, and more. Listed below are a few of my favorites. Check them out and let me know what you think!


 

1.     YumButter

Not only do I love these nut butters but I love the company's mission. For each jar or pouch of yumbutter you purchase, they feed a hungry child in Guatemala. They have a variety of flavors and many are mixed with chia and hemp seeds for added nutrition (like omega-3s).

 

2.     Crazy Richard’s PB powder

Not only is their peanut butter amazing, but this is the first PB powder I’ve seen without added sugars that actually tastes good.

A lot of pb powder companies brand the product as low-fat. Low-fat does not necessarily equate to healthfulness. To me, the healthy fats are one of the huge benefits of peanut butter in the first place. I like PB powders not because they're low in fat, but because they're easy to add a little peanut butter taste to smoothies, banana ice cream, or even peanut sauces and stir-fries.  Plus, they're great for camping or backcountry adventures, without the extra weight to carry.

 

3.     La Colombe

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While some swear they need coffee to wake up in the morning, coffee usually makes me feel completely off. It usually upsets my stomach, gives me a headache, or makes me shake. For me, La Colombe is different. A few mornings this past weekend, I was feeling especially tired after late nights networking and early morning education sessions, so I thought I’d give it a try. I tried both the seasonal peppermint and the mocha and LOVED both! These draft lattes are super smooth and gave me the perfect amount of energy without making me shake or feel sick. Unfortunately, La Colombe is not in Montana yet, but I was happy to hear I can order them on Amazon.

 

4.     Kitchfix Granola

You have to try the Lemon Berry Chia! It's flavored with lemon oil, and is absolutely amazing. I typically recommend looking for granolas and bars with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving, and Kitchfix products have just 6 grams. The granolas are all lightly sweetened with apple juice or maple syrup and have the perfect amount of sweetness without tons of added sugar. They also happen to be grain-free.

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5.     Bolthouse Farms Plant Protein Milk

Bolthouse farms is my favorite brand of salad dressings because of their ‘cleaner’ ingredients, amazing taste, and variety of options. I love their 1915 Organic Juices too and am just overall a big fan. I was excited to meet them at FNCE and try their new products. They were showcasing their new line of plant-based milks (now in stores!) which were very good. The milks are dairy free and are made with pea protein. Most milk alternatives (almond, soy, cashew milk, hemp milk, etc.) don't quite compare to cow's milk when it comes to protein, calcium, and vitamin D. But the Bolthouse farms products are the best I've seen yet! They have 10 grams of protein per serving (cow's milk has 8), and are also high in calcium and vitamin D. I would recommend the unsweetened or original versions, as the chocolate and vanilla are high in added sugars. Keep an eye out in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, these will be coming soon!

 

6.     Regular Girl

Yesterday, I posted a picture to my InstaStory of a handout I got from the Regular Girl booth. It showed the different types of poops and what each type means - dehydration, constipation, diarrhea, or normal. I was surprised by how many people saw this and commented back with questions! For constipation we may need to be drinking more water or incorporate more fiber into our diets. For diarrhea, we may need more soluble fiber to help bulk up our stool - oatmeal, beans, nuts, apples, blueberries.

Regular girl offers a prebiotic and probiotic fiber supplement you can easily add to a meal to boost the fiber content and keep you regular. We need about 25-30 grams of fiber each day and the majority of Americans do not meet these needs. I added some of the Regular Girl supplement powder to my smoothie this morning and could not even taste it. So many supplement powders alter the taste or texture of the meal, so I loved that I could not tell it was there.  Stay tuned- I just registered with them to be able to offer you coupons and samples! Let me know if you're interested and I'll hook you up!

7.     Daily Harvest

If you're trying to simplify meal prep you should also check out my Meal Prep Made Easy Workbook. It's loaded with recipes, tips, worksheets, meal plan charts, and more.

I'd heard of Daily Harvest through social media in the past, but had been a bit skeptical to try. I was happy to connect with them at FNCE and try a few of their flavors. Daily Harvest offers a smoothie subscription, delivery service. They send you containers of frozen smoothie ingredients and all you have to do is add liquid and blend. They're a great way to simplify meal prep and keep healthy go-tos on hand. I was super impressed with each one I tried. They tasted great and are healthy too!

 
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8.     Califia Farms Pumpkin Creamer

I was really impressed with this product and it's good for you ingredients. I loved the seasonal pumpkin creamer because it's made with real pumpkin puree and spices - no artificial ingredients or taste. You can actually see the spice granules so you know it's the good stuff. Perfect for those with allergies - it also happens to be soy-free and dairy-free.

9.     Simple Mills Frosting

Simple Mills has quite the impressive line up of products. I've tried a few in the past, but their frosting was new to me. Each time a friend has a birthday, I struggle with what to use for frosting. It's hard to find a quality frosting without hydrogenated oils or mystery ingredients and I don't always have time to make it from scratch. But Simple Mills has done it! They have a chocolate and vanilla frosting made without hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and only 7 grams of sugar per serving and it seriously tastes amazing!

 

10.  Manitoba Flaxmeal

Flaxseeds have been trendy lately – but did you know our bodies can’t actually break down the outer shell to reap the benefits of the Omega-3s and other nutrients? In order to absorb the anti-inflammatory Omega-3s, the flax seeds must be ground into a meal before eating. This company makes a ground flax that is amazingly soft and tasty. I’ve tried other brands but nothing compares to the soft texture of this brand.

 


Store-Bought Snacks Registered Dietitians Love

It's great when we have the time to plan ahead with homemade snacks, but when we're juggling crazy schedules, and last minute things come up, it's not always realistic. Choosing packaged products can be challenging as many are loaded with excessive sodium, saturated fat, and sugar. Although none of these ingredients are the end all be all (see 3 Reasons to Stop Hating Sugar), too much of each has been linked with many chronic diseases. Although they aren't worth obsessing over, they are things to keep in mind when reading nutrition labels.

 

 

When reading nutrition labels, there are a few things to look for. If a certain brand does not meet each guideline listed below, that does not mean you should not buy it. Use your best judgement to determine if it seems more like a treat food or something you would consider a healthy snack (What is 'healthy' anyways?).

Even when foods are labeled healthy, natural, no added sugar, low sugar, low fat, low calorie, etc. - they're not always what we expect, so be sure to read labels and find what's important to you.


Here are a few guidelines when choosing healthy snack brands:


1. Simple Ingredients
2. 3+ grams/serving of fiber
3. 4+ grams/serving of protein
4. Less than 8g of sugar
5. Less than ~200mg sodium
6. No artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame)

 

Thankfully, there are plenty of 'healthy' options to choose from. I asked a few of my dietitian friends from across the country what they love to snack on. Below are a few of our favorites.


Thank you to Nazirber De La Cruz, RD, Grace Farren, RD and Cynthia Miranda, RD for their insight and keeping me posted on all the coolest snack foods. Their ideas are scattered throughout this post. Be sure to check them out on Instagram for more food and nutrition inspiration- the girls are geniuses!


 

Nuts & Nut Butters

Nuts are a great option for a healthy snack. They are high in protein, fiber, and good-for-you fats to help fill you up and keep you satisfied until your next meal. I usually buy nuts in the bulk section and choose raw with either no salt or lightly salted. If you buy in bulk you can portion out a 1/4 cup serving in reusable containers or ziploc bags to grab when you need it.

When buying nut butters, read the ingredients. I prefer it to read just nuts and possibly salt. Many brands have extra added sugars and oils which, to me, aren't necessary for a good peanut butter. If you choose to buy natural peanut butters, try storing your jar upside before opening for the first time. The oil will naturally separate and storing it upside down will help to disperse the oil throughout to make stirring easier. After opening, store your jar in the fridge to prevent the oil from rising back to the top.

 

1. Artisana Organics Nut Butters
If someone in your family has a peanut allergy - this brand has a ton of options! They have almond butter, cashew butter, and pecan butter all available in squeeze pouches. 

2. Justin's Almond Butter & Peanut Butter Squeeze Pouches

3. Wild Friends Classic Peanut Butter (also available in squeeze pouches)

4. Brazil Nuts - amazing source of magnesium!

5. Adam's Natural Peanut Butter - this is what I have near me, I ALWAYS have a jar in my fridge

6. SunButter - This is great for those with nut allergies. It is made from sunflower seeds and tastes great!


 

Granola

There are SO many granola brands these days! Keep in mind fiber (at least 3g) and sugar (less than 8g) when choosing a brand.

  1. Love Grown Granola

  2. WholeMe Single Serv Granola

  3. Purely Elizabeth Granola

  4. Bear Naked Granola

  5. Nature’s Path Organic Granola

  6. Nature Valley Granola Crunch


Bars

  1. Gorp Energy Bar These are the best! The come in resealable wrappers to save for later. This are my go-to bar to bring on the chairlift. This company also makes an energy bar mix to make your own at home.

  2. Larabars

  3. RxBars

  4. KIND

  5. Kashi bars

You may notice numbers 2 and 3 are higher in sugar. However, they're made with only 4-6 whole food ingredients so these are natural sugars not added sugar. They're also a great source of fiber and protein, which can help to slow the digestion of sugars in our bloodstream, to maintain stable energy, moods, and fullness.


 

Miscellaneous Snacks

  1. KiiNOA Puffed Quinoa Snacks (Grace says cinnamon is the best!)

  2. Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame or Frozen Edamame (they taste different, try both!)

  3. Biena Snacks Roasted Chickpeas - LOVE these! easy high protein snack

  4. Larabar Bites

  5. Fruit Bliss Dried Fruit Snack Packs
    I love the apricots and figs. I also buy dried fruit in the bulk section, just be sure to read the ingredients, sugar should not be listed, fruit is naturally sweet!

  6. Boom Chicka Pop popcorn

  7. Skinny Pop popcorn

  8. Sabra Hummus Snack Cups

  9. siggi's dairy Icelandic-style Skyr - more protein than sugar! Their drinkable yogurts are great too.

 

*Disclaimer: I am NOT affiliated the brands listed above. I included Amazon links for the image and more information on each product. The links are affiliate links so if you do choose to purchase, I do receive a small compensation from Amazon. However, I only link to brands I truly support and recommend.