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While many people are breakfast fanatics, lunch lovers, or dinner devotees, others are simply waiting for snack time to roll around. It could be why the healthy-snack industry is booming. The market for such fare is projected to expand by more than $28 billion, according to a 2023 Technavio research analysis.
If you’re eager to elevate your kitchen pantry, school locker, or desk drawer with yummy noshes made of beneficial ingredients like oats, dates, seaweed, and monk fruit, look no further than this collection of savory and sweet delights to energize your day when you really need a nibble between meals.
For an upgraded take on the nostalgic Lunchables format, try Honey Smoked Salmon Stackers. Paired with the cutest little rice crackers, the protein-packed snack features smoky, savory salmon with a dollop of lemon and chive cream cheese. It’s rich in healthy omega-3s and meets the FDA’s recommendation to eat 8 ounces of seafood a week.
The chewy, chocolaty fruit-based Dirtbag bars were created to satisfy sweet tooths with clean, whole food ingredients like dates, rolled oats, sunflowers, and 100-percent dark chocolate. There are no added oils, sugars, or syrups, and one percent of all Dirtbag sales goes to a mental health initiative broadening access to resources across the U.S.
If you’re a fan of the beloved Japanese soybean, you’re in for a treat. The Only Bean’s dry-roasted edamame bites come in three flavors (sriracha, buffalo, and sea salt) and are chock-full of fiber and plant-based protein while staying low in carbs. They’re also good for the environment because soybeans are one of the most sustainable crops. They can be eaten on their own or added to a salad for extra crunch and umami.
Moon Fruit is made with real whole fruit and no added sugar, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. The freeze-dried fruit snacks are like guilt-free cereal bites without the milk. Made with minimal ingredients — including apples, dates, and gluten-free oats — they are naturally sweet and clock in at only 15 calories.
Created by Senegal-raised, New York-based chef Pierre Thiam, Yolélé chips puts fonio, a West African ancient grain, in the spotlight. The tiny, gluten-free ingredient has been celebrated on the continent for both its nutritional and flavor properties for more than 5,000 years. The whole grain is a source of B vitamins, iron, fiber, and calcium. Fonio is a climate-friendly and drought-resilient crop, and the grain’s supply chain provides income opportunities for local women farmers.
The innovative Popadelics Crunchy Mushroom Chips take shiitake mushrooms — a longtime staple of Asian cuisine — to the next level. Available in the flavors Twisted Thai Chili, Rad Rosemary and Salt, and Trippin’ Truffle Parm, these vegan, gluten-free snacks spotlight mushrooms’ many benefits, including a boost in immunity, supported heart health, and increased energy levels.
Because of its fiber and antioxidant levels, popcorn is a strong alternative to other snacks. Hand-popped in coconut oil, Sweet Chaos Popcorn’s gluten-free, non-GMO kernels come in mouthwatering options like dessert-drizzled Cold Stone Creamery Cake Batter, stupendously sweet Kettle Corn, oh-so-spicy Jalapeño Blue Cheese, and classic Movie Theater Butter.
Like a heartwarming hug for your taste buds, the Bobo’s bars started as a mother-daughter tradition made by hand in Boulder, Colorado. Since scaling their business, they haven’t sacrificed flavor, which includes peanut butter and jelly, lemon poppy seed, and apple pie. The 100-percent whole grain oat bars are gluten-free and built to keep eaters feeling full, fueled, and energized no matter what’s on the schedule for the day.
Sea Monsters are nutrient-dense seaweed puffs. The baked supergrain snacks come in four unique flavors: Spicy Korean BBQ, Sweet Chili, Sour Cream & Onion, and Cheese Pizza. For more traditional slivers of seaweed, Gimme Seaweed is loaded with vitamin B12 and comes in such flavors as wasabi and teriyaki.
Does candy count as a snack? The zero-calorie Mode Chocolate line is sweetened with monk fruit and includes only 1 to 4 grams of sugar per bar. (A standard Hershey’s bar, for instance, has 17 grams.) Mode comes in both dark and milk chocolate varieties, ensuring that all chocoholics will be satisfied.
Love a creamy hummus? Veggicopia’s Hummus Cups are shelf-stable, on-the-go dips. No refrigeration required. Whether fresh vegetables, chips, or crackers are your dipper of choice, the zesty, citrus-tinged spread is a healthy alternative to more gluttonous options. They’re also organic and gluten- and dairy-free.
This vegetarian- and vegan-friendly ingredient is popular for its ability to mimic the look and texture of real meat. Jack & Friends Jerky is a plant-based line that uses jackfruit and pea protein to make bold and savory ginger teriyaki, sweet barbeque, and tomato and poblano pepper sticks that serve as an excellent source of fiber and protein.
Created by chef Charlotte Langley, Scout Seafood Snacks are bursting with omega-3s, 30 grams of protein, and extra virgin olive oil for a dash of healthy fat. The packaging can serve as a bowl and comes with a tuna tin, spork, and crunchy toppers in flavors like za’atar and chili crisp. The company donates 1 percent of sales to nonprofit environmental organizations.
Balancing lightness and crunchiness, Mozaics boast zesty flavor and visible vegetables. Peas are a source of zinc and antioxidants that can strengthen the immune system. The fun, air-popped remix of the green legume — as well as black beans, potatoes, and tomatoes — is free of the top 14 allergens.
Wilde Protein Chips are made of antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken breast, egg whites, and bone chicken broth. The savory chips come in expected flavors like barbecue, buffalo, and salt and vinegar as well as — you guessed it — wilder options, such as versions inspired by iconic dishes like Nashville hot chicken and chicken and waffles.
Mia Brabham is a staff writer at Shondaland. Follow her on Twitter at @hotmessmia.
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