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10 of the Best Healthy Snacks to Get at Whole Foods

Choosing healthy snacks can be hard, especially in a store like Whole Foods where you'd think all the options are healthy.

While shopping for healthy snacks, keep in mind that food companies are always trying to make a profit. Many use clever marketing to earn your business, by using healthy-sounding buzzwords like "superfood" or using the color green to make it seem like the product is more natural or nutritious. Always check the ingredient list and nutrition facts label when you are shopping. Here is a short list to help you while shopping in Whole Foods. These are all snack food items, but don’t forget that sometimes the easiest, healthiest snack is a whole piece of fruit or a handful of nuts. You might notice a common theme in this list — choose snacks that have short ingredient lists to avoid highly processed items.

RX Bars

These bars are a bit higher in calories for a snack bar (210-220 calories per bar), but I love their emphasis on using a few ingredients instead of a highly processed product. The front of the bar’s label displays the major ingredients (typically some combination of dates, nuts, egg whites, and flavoring). Chocolate Sea Salt is perfect for sweet cravings and packs 12g protein and 5g fiber. They also have a kids line that is smaller and lower in calories (130-140 calories per bar) if you want a smaller snack.

Siggi's Skyr yogurt

These aren't as portable as the other options, but this Icelandic-style yogurt is packed with protein and is super filling. It's a thick type of yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt. Choose the plain unsweetened version (to avoid added sugars) and add your own fruit or almonds for a perfect snack. Plain comes in individual containers of 150g, which provides 90 calories and 16g protein with only 4 grams of sugar.

Terra Chips

Have a craving for something salty? Terra chips are made from a mix of root vegetables, like yucca, taro, and sweet potato. These veggie chips provide a bit of sweetness along with the salt, with 150 calories per serving. The original flavor ingredient list is short and sweet: vegetables, oil, and salt.

EPIC bites

You may have heard of EPIC jerky, which has many different types of meat and flavors available. These are bags of bite-sized pieces, that are gluten-free and paleo-friendly. Try the original venison flavor - per 6 pieces, it provides just 50 calories and 10g protein and contains only venison plus herbs and spices. Even the flavored bites have short ingredient lists, making this choice a good non-perishable snack. Jerky tends to be higher in sodium, so if you are limiting salt intake, eat a small amount or choose a different snack.

Biena Chickpea Snacks (sea salt flavor)

The ingredient list for these chickpea snacks is great: chickpeas, sunflower oil, and sea salt. They are also available in single-serving packages, which is perfect to throw in your bag for later. Per serving, calories range from 130-150, with 6-7g protein and 6-8g fiber - which will keep you full until your next meal.

Mini Perfect Bar

Perfect Bars are popular right now, and for good reason — flavors like dark chocolate chip peanut butter (yum!) and maple almond are tempting. However, the high-calorie count (290-320 per bar) and the long ingredient list is a bit of a turn-off. So I turned to their mini line instead. The mini versions are 100 calories per bar, with 5-6g sugar and 4-5g protein. The ingredient list is still long but contains lots of powders like kale, kelp, and apple, and many seeds, adding lots of vitamins and minerals. They are high in fat since they contain nuts and seeds, which will help keep you full.

Halo Top

This is a dessert option! These ice creams are the best substitute I have found for regular ice cream, especially in terms of texture. Whole pints range in calories from 280-360 and also come in dairy-free flavors. Try oatmeal cookie or chocolate mocha chip! This is a more processed item on the list, so although it’s (very!) hard, aim for a few servings per week at most.

Mary's Gone Crackers (original)

These crackers are a great option to pair with hummus or nut butter. They contain several different grains and seeds; per serving, these crackers deliver 140 calories plus some good healthy unsaturated fats.

Mango slices

Dried fruit is a good option, as long as there are no other added ingredients like sugar. My favorite is the dried mango, available in packages or in the bulk food section of many Whole Food stores. It’s chewy, similar to a fruit leather snack — and very portable. Keep the snacking to a minimum, though, because the fruit is more concentrated in its dried form so it’s easy to overdo the calories and sugar, as mangoes are naturally sweet.

Whole popcorn

Yes, this one requires some preparation, but popping your own popcorn is much healthier than any packaged pre-popped version. At home, try adding salt, cayenne pepper, or cinnamon to the popped kernels. Popcorn is low in calories and high in fiber — a great snacking combo, especially if you are craving something crunchy.

Keep in mind, the closer a snack item is to a whole food, the better!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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