Snacking has gotten a bad rap over the years because, as with all things, overindulging can be problematic. The research on whether snacking is “good” or “bad” is mixed. When snacks are presented to us in the form of high-sugar, calorie-dense, highly-processed foods (office donuts will be the death of me) and we’re eating out of boredom or emotion, mindless snacking can be unhealthy. However, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Healthline, if snacking is planned and portioned, it can be a great way to supplement nutrients and curb your appetite so that you don’t overeat at your next meal.
When I’m at Trader Joe’s, I spend most of my time in the snack aisle, perusing options that will satisfy my mid-day hanger but won’t leave me feeling tired, bloated, or guilty. The next time you find yourself at TJ’s, check out these healthy snack options that you won’t regret later:
1. Vegan Kale, Cashew, & Basil Pesto
Say hello to your new favorite pesto dip! This vegan kale, cashew, and basil pesto spread pairs perfectly with pita or veggies. Pro tip: this dip doubles as a pizza or pasta sauce, if you want to get fancy. I always have one stocked in my fridge for a mid-day pick-me-up.
2. Organic Hummus
When I’m shopping at TJ’s, I always toss one of these bad boys into my shopping cart. Hummus is a plant-based protein, is packed with vitamins, contains ingredients proven to have positive effects on inflammation, and is high in fiber. It tastes incredible with veggies, pitas, and pretzels, and keeps me nice and full so that I’m not snacking on junk before dinnertime.
3. Organic Popcorn with Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Afternoon craving for a salty snack? This organic popcorn with EVOO has your back. It’s simple, salted to perfection, and so enormously tasty. I’d most definitely suggest portioning out this popcorn into plastic bags or snack containers because, if I’m being honest, I’ve fallen victim to eating the whole bag at once. Example 391,287 of me being my own worst enemy…
4. Popcorn with Herbs and Spices
If you find yourself dreaming of an even more savory snack between meals, this flavored popcorn was made for you. It boasts flavors of sea salt, dill leaf, celery seed, and onion powder, packs a punch, and is the solution to satisfying your most savory cravings.
5. Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds (with Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar)
“I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!” – Buddy the elf, but also me, regarding these decadent dark chocolate almonds. I have a powerful sweet tooth and I’ve always been a fan of all things covered in chocolate, but these chocolate almonds are my absolute favorite. They’re sprinkled with turbinado sugar and sea salt and are an ideal option for all of the times that you’re coveting a flawless combination of sweet and salty.
6. Almonds, Chocolate, and Cashews Trail Mix
Not only is trail mix an all-time classic hanger-curbing snack, but this flavor is PRE-PORTIONED into cute little baggies that have brought my snacking game to the next level. For me, this feature is 100 percent necessary, because this blend of almonds, cashews, and chocolate defies my inner boundaries of portion control and I could easily and blindly eat an entire 15-oz. bag in one sitting.
7. Freeze-Dried Fuji Apple Slices
Ahhh, these freeze-dried Fuji Apples make my heart sing. Between the tangy flavor and the satisfying texture (slight crispiness meets styrofoam), I find myself a true believer. They perform well on their own but are also a great addition to salads, yogurts, smoothies, and cereal.
Power bars, like the RxBar, are a great snack for all of your grab-and-go needs. I’m a bit of a bar addict (mostly because I’m lazy and they’re undeniably easy), but I’m specifically attracted to Rx Bars because 1) they are packed with a few, simple ingredients and 2) are a great way to get a healthy fix of protein, fiber, and healthy fat. The Chocolate Sea Salt flavor is my go-to, but all of their flavors are worth a try.
9. Inner Peas Baked Green Pea Snack
These crunchy, airy pea sticks are a great option if you’re looking for a mildly-flavored, savory snack. They’re lightly salted, crispy, and delightfully simple. Contemplate your inner peas with this trusty, TJ’s snacktime favorite. My newly discovered power move is dipping these guys in hummus, and I’m a huge fan.
10. Organic Almond Butter
And on the third day, God created almond butter. Almond butter is a great source for healthy fat, vitamins, minerals, and fiber and pairs perfectly with sliced apples, bananas, Greek yogurt, smoothies, and toast. The limit for the uses of almond butter simply does not exist. If you don’t have almond butter on deck in your pantry, it’s time to invest!
11. Organic Greek Whole Milk Yogurt
Greek yogurt is rich in probiotics, protein, calcium, and healthy fat, and has a lower sugar content than traditional yogurt. I get the plain flavor and zest it up with granola, honey, cinnamon, and bananas to satisfy my sweet tooth. Nom, nom, nom.
12. Sweet & Spicy Natural Buffalo Jerky
Confession: I’m munching on this jerky at this very moment. I have always been a beef jerky fan, but I’ve been burned by brands that harbor preservatives, nitrates, and added MSG in my past. This Trader Joe’s brand of jerky is minimally processed and uses organic beef. Disclaimer: though a tasty and protein-packed option, this snack still contains a high amount of sodium and saturated fat so enjoy responsibly.
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