One of my greatest frustrations when it comes to healthy eating is seeing people focus solely on elimination. At some point between the Atkins and Paleo diet, we cached that everyone should have a scroll of foods on their "Do Not Eat" list. "No carbs, no fat, only fresh produce, and vegan protein", has all of a sudden become the precedent for how serious we are about eating clean.
Though some of these diets do encourage foods that are incredibly good for us, going cold turkey into a new diet is not sustainable. I'm going to say it again, going cold turkey into a new diet is not sustainable! What creates success in eating clean is taking it a step at a time. Start with simply substituting, instead of eliminating, your favorite bad foods for something even slightly healthier. Then with each passing day you choose that better option, you move a bit closer to your health goals. You can start making better choices today with meals as small as your snacks. So I have compiled a list of some of my favorite packaged snacks to help you start. Welcome to my very first list of good ass, healthy ass snacks.
Good Ass, Healthy Ass Snacks
Finding healthy packaged snacks can sometimes feel like a quest to find a unicorn. Most packaged snacks contain filler ingredients or excessive amounts of added sugar, dyes, salt, and even fat. Contrarily, many healthy snack options aren't as filling or are bland in taste and appearance. So there we stand in the grocery store forced to decide whether we will sacrifice health for taste or taste for health? Well the snacks listed below stand as true examples of why we don't have to compromise. They are nutrient dense, made with good, real ingredients, and truly some of my favorites.
Now, I know some will be hesitant to give these snacks a chance, so I am giving away the shelf stable options to try. Just subscribe to AdorablyFit.com by March 10th, 2017 for a chance to win your very own Good Ass Snacks package! The package will include each of the non-refrigerated snacks listed below. Also, you can increase your chance to win by referring AdorablyFit.com to a friend, just be sure they submit your email address in the referral line of the subscription form. You can find more details on the giveaway at the end of this post including the full terms and conditions, but for now, on to these wonderful snacks!
The Good: Trader Joe's has a line of their own packaged tree nuts, but it's specifically their cashews that I cannot get enough of. The Trader Joe's Sesame Honey Cashews have just 7 ingredients that you can read including honey and cocoa. These cashews are full of flavor and have the right level of sweetness to satisfy a sporatic sweet craving. If you tend to crave more savory foods and can handle a little heat, the Trader Joe's Thai Lime & Chili Cashews, which includes spices like Thai lime leaves and paprika, will definitely hit the spot.
The Catch: As you would expect from any snack with tree nuts, you have to eat these in moderation because of its naturally high fat content. These cashews can be upwards of 10g of fat per serving so you should limit your portions to just a handful.
Substitute: The Sesame Honey cashews are a great substitute for sweet cravings such as chocolates, cookies, or other random treats, especially during a midday slump. The Thai Lime & Chili cashews are good for savory or salty cravings like potato chips or cheesy snacks.
Shop: Local Trader Joe's
Allergens: Wheat, eggs, peanuts, fish
The Good: A new favorite snack of mine is That Brown Girl Cooks! Black Eyed Peas Hummus. I just found this a couple of weeks ago and honestly had to put myself on a week break before I could buy my next batch. This hummus is the model example of healthy food tasting great. It's low in calories, fat, carbs, and made with just 8 ingredients you can read. Where many hummus varieties range from 1-7g of fat, this black eyed peas hummus has just 0.5g of fat but tastes like it should have more. Plus, this tasty brand is black girl owned *snaps two times*.
The Catch: Unfortunately, this hummus is still a local brand and only available in Seattle, WA. However, you can go to your local Whole Foods or www.thatbrowngirl.com and let them know that you would like to see this shelved in your city.
Substitute: Swap this black eyed peas hummus in for traditional hummus or other fat heavy dips such as artichoke or nacho dip.
Shop: Seattle, WA otherwise request from www.thatbrowngirl.com or your local Whole Foods
The Good: Perky Jerky is also a recent favorite of mine. I sampled their beef and turkey flavors while grocery shopping and was shocked that the meat was so moist. I found out that it's marinated overnight with real ingredients like pineapple juice and molasses. The meat is also made with no preservatives, added hormones, or antibiotics. Bottomline, the turkey flavors can provide 10g of protein at just 0.5g of fat yet keeps sugar content as low as 5g per serving.
The Catch: You should keep a close eye on the nutrition label across each of the different flavors and meats. The beef jerky in particular, can be upwards of 1g of fat and 10g of sugar per serving, so just play it safe and stick to the turkey options.
Substitute: Snack on this jerky as a substitute for any filler foods, especially snacks that are carb heavy. The high protein can keep you full longer and also helps with muscle recovery from your workouts.
Shop: Local Whole Foods
The Good: In my opinion, California Lavash bread is an exception to a carb restricted diet. This bread has been a long time go to of mine, all the way back to the peak of my healthy eating journey in 2012. This bread is a triple threat to your average carb, it has just 1g of fat, 1g of sugar, 2g of fiber, and 5g of protein for a full 7"x7" sheet! This means you can make a substantial and nutritious sandwich without skimping on the bread.
The Catch: Lavash is still bread. One sheet is 27g of carbs and made with wheat flour so if you are celiac or hard pressed to cut carbs, this snack may not be for you.
Substitute: Eat lavash in place of your favorite bread in snacks and meals such as sandwiches or pita bread.
Shop: Local Whole Foods
Allergens: Wheat, sesame seeds
The Good: The epitome of a clean and minimal diet, there is only one ingredient in this Trader Joe's snack and that is organic dried mango. With this snack, you get several of the same benefits and taste as you would eating a fresh mango. For example, 90% of your daily value of Vitamin A, 10% of Vitamin C, 10% of Iron, 2g of fiber, and 0g of fat makes this snack one you can feel good about.
The Catch: Similar to fresh fruit, the sugar and carb content of even dried fruit will be naturally high. In my opinion, fruit should not be avoided considering its other great nutritional benefits such as fiber and vitamins. However, if you are trying to watch your sugar intake overall, note that this snack carries 21g of sugar per serving,
Substitute: If you struggle with getting your daily serving of fruit, this is a great way to start incorporating more into your diet. You can also eat dried mango as a substitute for any high sugar cravings that you experience.
Shop: Local Trader Joe's
The Good: If chips or salty snacks are your weakness, Beanfields Bean & Rice Sea Salt Chips are an easy win. These chips are made up of black beans, navy beans, and brown rice, but somehow taste just like your average tortilla chip. Because they are bean based, they provide more protein and fiber, but with 36% less fat than traditional corn tortilla chips.
The Catch: Don't get carried away. Beansfields is still a chip, so it's fried and has a higher fat content than many other snacks at 4.5g per serving. They also have a lot flavors that I haven't tried, like Nacho Cheese, that mimic popular chip brands. In order to stay within the nutrition benefits I mentioned above, I suggest that you keep it simple and stick to just Sea Salt.
Substitute: Traditional tortilla or potato chips can become a thing of the past. If you're going to eat a salty snack, these chips give you more bang for your craving. Plus, you can enjoy them just the same alongside your favorite dips like salsa and guacamole.
Shop: Local Whole Foods
Allergens: Dairy, soy, corn, wheat
The Good: Normally wherever you see chocolate, you also see high fat content. However, the 365 Organic Dark Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars let you enjoy chocolate at just 1.5g of fat. These bars also contain coconut which provide an additional sweet note that tastes far better than the average granola bar. If 1.5g of fat is still a bit high for you, keep a lookout for the blueberry flavor which is just as tasty.
The Catch: If you are a chocolate fanatic, these bars won't fully satisfy your craving, but are a great way to start scaling it back from your diet. Also, portion these bars to a maximum of one a day since the sugar is up there at 11g per bar.
Substitute: These bars are best as a staple for emergency food. Keep these on hand for long days where stopping for food will be tough. The high carb count, 27g per bar, should help hold you over until your next meal versus resorting to gas stop snacks.
Shop: Local Whole Foods
Allergens: Soy, tree nuts, coconut, milk, eggs, wheat
The Good: Made Good Apple Cinnamon Bars get a special mention for having just as much good added in as bad taken out. These bars are made with good organic ingredients that you would expect such as oats, apples and agave nectar, but also contain a tasteless and odorless vegetable powder made up of spinach, broccoli, carrots, and more. This combination makes for a nutrient packed bar that holds 20% of your daily value of Vitamin A, C, D, E, B6, and Thiamin. These bars make it super easy to get your vegetables in without even tasting or thinking about it!
The Catch: I am pretty sure these bars were designed with children's school lunch in mind, so they are a bit smaller than the average. They are also a bit heavy on the fat, 2g per bar, so be sure to stay clear of their chocolate flavors in order to keep the fat content down, .
Substitute: Just like the 365 granola bars mentioned above, Made Good bars are a great emergency snack to hold you over until the next meal. You can also look to these bars if you generally struggle to get vegetables into your diet.
Shop: Local Whole Foods
Allergens: None. These bars were intentionally made free of common allergens including soy, gluten, tree nuts, and more.
Well that wraps up my list of favorite packaged snacks. My hope is that you found at least one snack that you would like to try this week. If you are still wary of making the swap, enter for a chance to win my Good Ass Snacks package, which includes: Trader Joe's cashews, Turkey Perky Jerky, California Lavash bread, Trader Joe's Dried Mango, Beanfields Chips, 365 Granola Bars, and Made Good Granola Bars. Full rules are below.
If you like this post, or try any of the snacks listed above, please remember to like, comment or share with friends below. Also, be sure to subscribe or follow @AdorablyFit on Twitter to stay updated on new posts.
Good Ass Snacks Giveaway:
- Subscribe to AdorablyFit.com between the dates of February 20th, 2017 and March 10th, 2017 11:59pm PDT.
- Subscribers before February 20th are auto-entered into the giveaway.
- Secure additional entries to win by referring friends to AdorablyFit.com. Friends must enter your email address in the referral field of the subscription form in order to receive the referral credit.
- Must have a U.S. mainland shipping address.
- Ends 3/10/2017 at 11:59pm PDT.
- AdorablyFit is not responsible for any adverse reaction to the giveaway snacks including ailments, allergic reaction or other.
Winners will be contacted week of March 13th, 2017.