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I get questions all the time about what the best choices for snack foods are. I don't eat snack foods very much because for the most part they're not all that good for you. It's sort of like fast food -- most of it is so terrible and so bad for you that you're best off just avoiding them altogether.
The lists of fast foods on the Dr. Gourmet web site are an effort to help you know what are better choices when you are going through the drive through. Likewise, there are some better choices in snack foods out there and in the next few weeks I'll share taste testing results with you.
A clear winner is the Kashi TLC Mediterranean Bruschetta crackers. They have a great flavor of basil and sun-dried tomato. They are just salty enough and would make a good choice for your next party. While there is the drawback that they are high in calories -- 4 of them have 120 calories -- they are also high in fiber at 3 grams per serving. They are so rich tasting that 4 of them are pretty satisfying.
Annie's (the folks who made their name with organic mac and cheese) are really branching out these days. They have little crackers that are meant to compete with Goldfish but are shaped like little bunnies. The bite size Whole Wheat Bunnies are really good. I have become more and more careful about products with lots of chemicals and stabilizers and it's great to look at a package and see words that you understand in the list of ingredients.
These guys have a nice nutty flavor with a hint of cheese. A serving is 50 bunnies with 3 grams of fiber. That's a lot more than Goldfish which reports less than a gram for the same size serving.
Like the Annie's Bunnies, the Back to Nature Harvest Whole Wheats have an understandable ingredient list. These are almost identical to Triscuits and have about 3 grams of fiber in a serving of 7 crackers. Nabisco Triscuits themselves have only 4 ingredients and are high in fiber at 3 grams.
Newman's Own has a huge line of pretzels, but their high protein pretzels are really good and pack a whopping 4 grams of fiber in a serving of 21 pretzels. These are really tasty and they have a saltier flavor than you would think from the 230 mg in each serving.
I picked up Garden of Eatin' Baked Blue Tortilla Chips because they also have a lot of fiber and are lower in fat. The fat they use is high in Omega 3s which is a bonus. These are really tasty and would be fantastic with your favorite salsa.
These were selected because of their taste first but also the higher fiber and lower fat content. If you look for snacks using those guidelines, you'll likely get a healthier choice. Keep in mind that all of these are snack foods and are pretty calorie dense. You are still better off eating an ounce of nuts than an ounce of tortilla chips.
Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!
Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.