Try This, Not That: Snack Edition

The popular Try This, Not That series is back and is all about snacks. And this may be my favorite post of the series.

Personally, I try to eat enough at meals and drink water and tea between that snacks aren’t always necessary. But some days and some times, I have to have one!

Snacks can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. It all depends on what you choose. Many American snacks are stuffed with artificial ingredients that are low on nutrition and designed to make you want to eat more!

So this week, I present healthier swaps for your favorite snack foods.

Please note, I truly believe fresh fruit or vegetables are the best snacks. But if you need something else, give one of these a try.

Full Transparency: I do NOT have financial affiliations with any of the brands mentioned below. They are products that I personally buy and give a thumb’s up — free of conflict of interest.

Instead of a Chewy Granola Bar . . . Try a Lara Bar

The pictured chewy granola bars have wellness busters like corn syrup and artificial sweeteners (a mystery why they need both?). Swap this out for a Lara bar. Lara bars are made with nine or fewer real ingredients and have no added sweeteners. My personal favorite flavors are the chocolate cherry torte, key lime pie, and blueberry muffin.

These are perfect for travel or to stash in your bag for a snack emergency. The good news is Lara bars are easy to find. You can purchase them at many conventional grocery stores, REI, natural foods markets, and online.

Instead of Cheetos . . . Try Hippeas

Confession time. I used to be obsessed with Cheetos. The crunchy ones, the puffy ones, all of them. Once I realized what was in my beloved cheese puffs, I couldn’t stand to eat them anymore. Now when I want a crunchy and cheesy snack, I turn to Hippeas. Hippeas are made from garbanzo beans and other natural organic ingredients and come in a variety of flavors. They are harder to find in the US right now, but you can usually snag them at Starbucks.

Instead of Kraft Mac & Cheese . . . Try Annie’s Organic Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese

Growing up, Kraft Mac & Cheese was in regular rotation. Back then the more violent colored the cheese, the better. Now that I value and appreciate foods that make me feel my best, my macaroni and cheese desires take another direction. Try Amy’s Organic Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese instead. It is just as quick as the Kraft version, but made of natural ingredients that taste great.

Instead of Ritz Crackers . . . Try Mary’s Gone Crackers

A word to the wise: avoid conventional store bought crackers. The reason? They contain trans fats. Trans fats are well-known to increase your “bad” cholesterol (LDL-C) and decrease your “good” cholesterol (HDL-C). Trans fats are essentially poison for your body (see link for more information).

If you glance at the Nutrition Facts on a package of Ritz crackers, you will see “Trans Fats 0g.” When you look at the ingredient list, you see partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil (a trans fat). This is extremely misleading, but make no mistake, there are trans fats in Ritz crackers. The government allows a “small” amount of trans fats to be in products (0.5 grams per serving) without disclosure. So don’t be fooled by nutrition facts!

Instead of Ritz crackers, give Mary’s Gone Crackers a try. These organic, gluten-free, and nutrient packed crackers are a fantastic swap. My personal favorite variety is the original classic. If you decide to give these a try, the Mary’s Gone Crackers website currently has a $1 off printable coupon.

Instead of Ranch Dip . . . Try Homemade Hummus

If you like to dip your crudites in dip, try a better substitute for Ranch Dip. Make your own hummus! Hummus, an occasional treat in my household, is EASY PEASY to make. A handful of ingredients + a good processor and you’re minutes away from enjoying a hearty treat.

HUMMUS AMONG US (gf, v, df)

1 cup organic chickpeas (make your own . . . I promise this will taste better)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp real salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Mix until desired consistency reached. Season to taste. Serve with cut veggies.

Instead of Microwave Popcorn . . . Try Organic Air Popped Popcorn with Skye’s Special Seasonings

About a decade ago I went to a seminar given by a top-rated toxicologist. She spoke about multiple toxins and when asked, said if you should avoid one thing it should be microwave popcorn. The reason is almost all microwave popcorn bags are lined with perfluorooctanoic acid. This acid is extremely carcinogenic (the EPA even agrees on this one) and is linked to infertility and cancer.

At the time, it blew my mind away. I adored popcorn and had multiple varieties of Pop Secret and Orville Reddenbacher in my kitchen cupboard. I immediately chucked my microwave popcorn and dusted off my air popper. Air popped corn is DELICIOUS and after playing with different seasonings, I have a few favorite blends. If you want something sweeter, coconut oil and honey is great over popcorn. If you want something more savory, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder make a good combo.

Take the Try This, Not That Challenge

Pick one of these switches and trial it for the week. Give it three tries before you make a final decision. If your palate is used to movie theater butter microwave popcorn, it may take time to accustom yourself to air popped popcorn (though I think you’ll love this one on the first crack). And if you are used to Cheetos, you may need to try Hippeas a handful of times until it pleases your palate. Rest assured, this is perfectly natural. And progress, really. Because you are resetting your palate to enjoy natural, healthy options that enrich your wellness.

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