In an ideal world, we would prepare all our foods from scratch with natural ingredients from our own pantries…right?? Ok, maybe this isn’t everyone’s ideal world, but it would certainly help us be more confident that the foods we’re eating are made of real ingredients and not a bunch of preservatives and chemicals.
That’s one of the main benefits of cooking at home – you have the control over what goes in (and what stays out) of your food. However, we live in a busy culture where everyone is always on the go. While it’s still possible to set aside the time to prepare more of your own foods, it’s nice to have some easy convenient options you feel good about snacking on in-between healthy homemade meals. Let’s take a look at some of the options out there.
This Chicago-based company specializes in creating nutritionally balanced ready-to-eat meals and snacks that require no refrigeration or heating. Breakfasts selections, such as their Cinnamon Spread & Multigrain Bagel Chips, are less than 400 calories. Lunches are under 500 and offer options like Turkey Pepperoni & Cheese and Black Bean Dip & Plantain Chips. And their many snack options are all less than 300 calories. GoPicnic meals contain no artificial colors or flavors, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, or MSG. Options are also available for people with dietary restrictions such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and kosher. Look for them at various retailers nationwide or subscribe for monthly deliveries on their website.
Naturebox provides “carefully sourced and nutritionist-approved” snacks, avoiding the use of artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, and MSG…all for less than 200 calories per serving. Although you can now find a few of their snacks at Target, they are primarily a subscription-based company. Satisfy your cravings – whether it be sweet and chewy, or savory and crunchy – they have a wide variety of snacks to choose from that can be delivered to your door for $20 per month. They have vegan, vegetarian, and non-GMO options. However, keep in mind that all their snacks are packed in a facility where common allergens such as nuts and wheat are handled, so they are not certified allergen-free. Naturebox provides options for corporate snack ordering as well.
This is another subscription snack company, started by a group of friends who were tired of chips and candy. They set out on a mission to provide healthy, portion-sized snacks with high quality ingredients. All of their 100+ snacks are free from GMOs, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors and flavors. It is very similar to NatureBox, with the most notable difference being the price and portion sizing. Graze offers 8 single serving snacks for $12, whereas NatureBox sends 5 bags of multiple serving snacks for $20.
Brad’s Raw Foods
Brad’s snacks are all raw, meaning they are never heated above 115 degrees. Rather, they dehydrate their ingredients to maintain the nutrients and enzymes, giving you the fuel needed to power through the day. They make raw chips, kale chips, and broccoli poppers in a variety of flavors such as Smokey Chipotle, Frank Sriracha, and Cheeze Louise. All products are certified organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, and soy free. Order online or pick up at various health food retailers.
There are quite a few good options for snack bars these days, most utilizing some combination of nuts/seeds or whole grains with fruit (and maybe just a touch of chocolate to help curb that afternoon sweet tooth). Check out brands like Pure Bar, Kind, Larabar, Epic, and Rise Bar. With these you’ll find a varied selection of organic, kosher, allergen-free options with short lists of whole food ingredients.
Try out a few of these options next time you lack the time (or energy) to prep your own healthy snacks. With better choices readily available we’ll eat healthier and, consequently, feel better. Happy snacking!
Contributed by Rebekah Blakely, RD (Nutrition Director, Wellfit Malibu)