Snack Awards 2012: 34 Amazing Low-Cal Snacks
What’s your snacking sweet spot? Is it the 9 a.m. post-exercise refueling? The 4 p.m. office pick-me-up? The before-bed milk-and-cookie moment? After nibbling our way through hundreds of brand-new products (you’re welcome), we’ve crowned 34 healthy and insanely tasty winners. They’re certain to satisfy your cravings—no matter what time of day it is. Read on to find your favorite and enter to win all of our healthy snack award winners for a tasty and slim summer.
Best for Work: 479˚ Popcorn Fleur De Sel Caramel
(100 calories, 4g fat per 1-oz pouch; $2 each)
Popcorn is a low-cal snack, but dousing it in caramel can ruin the effect. Not so with this ﬂeur de sel version: Its kernels are coated with just enough agave nectar and brown sugar, plus a sprinkle of salt.
Best for Work: Quaker Cinnamon Roll Soft Baked Bars
(140 calories, 4g fat each; $3 for 5 bars)
Jonesing for coffee cake? These breakfast bars are “a dead ringer for the real thing”—minus the guilt. Each packs in 5 grams of ﬁber and 6 grams of protein (as much as an egg!) to keep you full until lunch.
Best for Work: Chobani 0% Blood Orange Greek Yogurt
(140 calories, 0g fat per 6-oz cup; $1.50 each)
Greek yogurt already gets props for its creamy texture and high protein count. But the tart-sweet ﬂavor of blood orange—and chunks of the fruit to boot—puts this option over the top.
Best Snack for Work: Sunny Shores Mann’s Snacks On the Go! Sugar Snap Peas
(25 calories, 0g fat per 3-oz bag; $3 for 5)
“A great change of pace from my usual bag of mini carrots,” said one panelist. These fresh peas offer just as much crunch and are packaged prewashed.
Best for Work: SkinnyGirl Daily On-the-Go Bars
(200 calories, 8g fat each; $10 for 5 bars)
Snap this cocoa-loaded bar into two 100-calorie pieces so you can treat yourself before and after that meeting. “Salty, sweet, and chewy, this takes care of all my cravings,” raved a taster.
Best for Work: Dole Pineapple Frozen Fruit Single-Serve Cups
(45 calories, 0g fat per 3-oz cup; $2.50 for 2)
This improved version of the classic fruit cup (sans sugary syrup) uses a clever technology to freeze juicy pineapple at its peak ripeness without degrading the texture. Simply defrost on your way to the office.
Best for Post-Workout: Peanut Honey Pretzel Luna Bar
(190 calories, 8g fat per bar; $1.50 each)
Craving a salty-sweet combo after a gym session? This daintily sized bar hits the spot in a hurry, while supplying 3 grams of ﬁber and 9 grams of protein to speed muscle recovery.
Best for Post-Workout: Sargento Natural Blends Cheese Snacks
(80 calories, 6g fat each; $4.50 for 12 sticks)
This cheese stick gets past the typical blandness problem by pairing two types—cheddar and mozzarella—into one tasty, portion-controlled, calcium-rich snack.
Best for Post-Workout: Oh Boy! Oberto All Natural Teriyaki Beef Jerky
(80 calories, 1g fat for 1 oz; $6 for a 3.25-oz pouch)
Jerky may sound old-school, but several reviewers who were trying the dehydrated beef snack for the ﬁrst time fell in love. Just one serving packs in 11 grams of truly satisfying protein. “It’s so ﬁlling!” said a convert.
Best for Post-Workout: Clif Mojo Dipped S’Mores
(200 calories, 9g fat per bar; $1.50 each)
Of the dozens of bars we sampled, this one—which combines high-protein peanuts, pretzels, and a light layer of chocolate—earned the highest marks. “It seems naughty and healthy at the same time,” said one workout fanatic.
Best for Post-Workout: 365 Everyday Value Double Feature Trail Mix
(150 calories, 11g fat per ¼ cup; $5.50 for a 16-oz pouch)
“So addictive!” said our testers about this blend of almonds, cashews, sour cherries, and mini peanut butter cups. Our advice? Portion them out before digging in.
Best for Post-Workout: Somersault Snack Co. Cinnamon Crunch Somersaults
(140 calories, 6g fat for 14 pieces; $4 for a 6-oz bag)
A serving of these tiny sunﬂower seed biscuits supplies as much protein as a handful of almonds, but with half the fat—making them a great nut-free way to refuel.
Best for Parties: Tostitos Multigrain Scoops! Tortilla Chips
(140 calories, 7g fat for 12 chips; $4 for a 10-oz bag)
Upgrade your tortilla chips with these winners. They boast 8 grams of grains per serving and a bowl-like shape that’s perfect for piling on healthy dips, like a veggie-packed salsa.
Best for Parties: Cape Cod Waffle Cut Sea Salt Potato Chips
(140 calories, 7g fat for 17 chips; $3.50 for a 7-oz bag)
These all-natural crisps owe their fresh and subtle ﬂavor to only three ingredients: potatoes, canola oil, and sea salt. “They’re proof that you just can’t beat the basics!” enthused one snacker.
Best for Parties: Angie’s White Cheddar Kettle Corn
(160 calories, 10g fat for 2 ⅔ cups; $4 for a 4.5-oz bag)
The generous serving size of this sweet-and-savory popcorn means you can munch freely. And unlike other cheese-coated varieties, noted a tester, “It doesn’t leave a mess behind.”
Best Snack for Parties: Annie’s Organic Honey Wheat Pretzel Bunnies
(100 calories, 1g fat for 1 oz; $3.50 for a 7-oz bag)
“I could eat this buttery goodness all day,” said one taster. Luckily, you can snap up a whopping 32 of these bunny-shaped bites without derailing your diet.
Best for Parties: Kashi Zesty Salsa Pita Crisps
120 calories, 3g fat for 11 crisps; $3 for a 7.9-oz box)
Staffers were over the moon about the zingy ﬂavor of these crisps; a serving contains 10 grams of whole grains and 5 grams of ﬁber. “Yummy even without dip,” said one.
Best Snack for Parties: Marzetti Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip
(60 calories, 5g fat for 2 tablespoons; $3.50 for an 8.75-oz cup)
This chip topper gets a heart-smart dose of omega-3s from fish oil and extra tang and creaminess from its Greek yogurt base.
Best for Evening: Newman’s Own Organics Family Recipe Cookies
(140 calories, 6g fat for 5 cookies; $3.50 for a 7-oz bag)
These “super-crisp” mini oatmeal cookies up the ante by adding in lots of large chocolate chunks—without breaking the calorie bank.
Best Snack for Evening: Lifeway Mango Frozen Kefir
(90 calories, 1g fat per ½ cup; $4.50 per pint)
Keﬁr has long been big with the healthy crowd, thanks to its calcium and protein content and good-for-you probiotics. This frozen version has all of those beneﬁts, plus it “tastes like a creamsicle,” said a sampler.
Best for Evening: Almond Dream Vanilla Lil’ Dreamers
(100 calories, 4g fat each; $5 for 8 sandwiches)
“Super-creamy” and “subtly nutty” were used to describe this nondairy ice cream sandwich. Made from cholesterol-free almond milk, it has half the fat of the classic treat.
Best for Evening: Nestlé Skinny Cow Milk Chocolate Dreamy Clusters
(120 calories, 6g fat per pouch; $4 for 6)
“They’re the perfect combo of deliciousness,” said an editor in praise of these treats. And with caramel, crunchy bits, and milk chocolate all in a 120-calorie pouch, what’s not to like?
Best for Evening: Whole Fruit Black Cherry Fruit Bars
(80 calories, 0g fat each; $3.50 for 6 bars)
Chill out from the scorching summer heat (and get your fruit ﬁx) with an ice pop that’s packed with real tart cherries. “This tasty bar is way better than ice cream,” said one happy tester.
Best for Evening: Kozy Shack Lactose Free Chocolate Pudding
(130 calories, 3.5g fat each; $5 for 6 cups)
Pudding that's lactose-free? Yes, it's not only possible, it's downright divine, said one dessert devotee. "It's just like the pudding my grandma used to make." Now that's high praise!
Online Exclusive: Dole Real Fruit Bites
(90 calories, 1.5g fat per pouch; $3 per bag)
Made with fruit, yogurt, and whole grain oats, these little nuggets are breakfast in a bag. Fruits include apples, mangos, pineapples—oh my!
Online Exclusive: Olympus Greek Yogurt Nonfat
(88 calories, 0g fat per 6 oz tub; $2 each) We’ve all heard about the health benefits of Greek yogurt. And now it tastes better than ever! Olympus Greek Yogurt, which is actually imported from Greece, touts 10 different flavors—all rich and creamy, a delicious indulgence that’s good for your body and will keep you satiated during your workout or just an afternoon in the office.
Online Exclusive: Food Should Taste Good Kettle Cooked Sweet Potato Chips
(140 calories, 8g fat per 15 chips; $4)
These 3-ingredient chips are cholesterol, trans fat, lactose-, gluten- and preservative-free (beat that!). These crunch munchies are salty and sweet—one of our favorite combinations.
Online Exclusive: Two Degrees Bars
(190 calories, 2g fat per bar; $2)
These bars are socially conscious (every bar purchased provides a meal for a child in need) and oh-so-good. Plus, they're all natural, vegan, low sodium, gluten-, and GMO-free. We love the cherry almond variety and can’t get over the real banana flavor of the chocolate banana bar.
Online Exclusive: BOOMCHICKAPOP
(130 calories, 8g of fat per 3 2/3 cups; $4 per bag)
Move over microwave popcorn, BOOMCHICKAPOP is just 35 calories per cup. That’s about as guilt-free as it gets! And we promise, it tastes just as good.
Online Exclusive: Tribe Hummus Blends
(60 calories, 3.5g fat per 2 tablespoons; $3 per 8 oz tub)
An all-natural, preservative-free hummus has arrived – and man, is it good. With three flavors: classic, roasted garlic, and sweet roasted red peppers, this creamy dip is a sure way to help everyone feel satisfied.
Online Exclusive: CLIF Kit’s Organic Bars
(180 calories, 9g of fat per bar; $1.75 per bar)
With only four or five ingredients per bar, this line’s claim to fame is its simple organic ingredients and rich, moist texture. Four delicious flavors will keep you coming back for more.
Online Exclusive: KIND Nuts & Spices Bars
(200 calories, 3.5g fat per bar; $2 per bar)
We love all four flavors of this tasty snack bar. From Madagascar vanilla almond to cashew ginger spice every variety is protein packed, low in sugar, and nutrient rich for 200 hundred calories. Stash these bars in your purse or gym bag for an afternoon pick me up.
Online Exclusive: LesserEvil Original Sea Salt Krinkle Sticks
Bridging a gap between potato chips and French fries, this snack will answer even your most intense salt craving. There’s no reason to revert to those fast food fries now!
When You Need More Than a Snack: Kashi Steam Meals Chicken Fettucine
(270 calories, 7g of fat per package, $4 per meal)
Okay, we know. This isn’t technically a snack, but we had to include these steamed meals because they are just so convenient! Sometimes your schedule gets packed and you find yourself in need something a little more substantial than a snack. But that’s about all you have time for. Pop one of these meals in the microwave for four minutes and voila! Dinner is served.