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Perhaps the worst-kept secret at TODAY is how much the TODAY Food team — and all TODAY staffers! — truly loves to snack. We're always munching on new products in between meals and meetings. That said, we definitely have our favorites.
These are the top noshes and nibbles we've deemed so totally crave worthy that we created our very own accolades: The Snackie Awards (aka "The Snackies"). After accepting office-wide submissions earlier this summer, we narrowed it down to 10 categories.
The final winners in each category were chosen after a blind taste test hosted by cookbook author Siri Daly (who just announced she and husband Carson Daly are expecting baby No. 4 this spring!). Every snack was judged on its availability, price point and, of course, taste.
Whether you're ready for a morning boost or a midnight munchie, it's our pleasure to reveal our top picks for your next well-deserved treat.
Favorite Cheesy Snack
Simply Cheetos Crunchy White Cheddar snacks don't have any artificial coloring, so they don't have the orange powder that make traditional Cheetos so ridiculously bright. But trust us, you won't miss those orange-coated fingers because these crispy Cheetos are beyond delicious. They are super crunchy and super cheesy since the flavor comes from aged white cheddar. Imagine the flavor of Smartfood popcorn mixed with the satisfying crunch of a Cheeto.
Most Unique Potato Chip
With runners up like Herr's Old Bay chips and Trader Joe's Organic White Truffle chips, competition in this category was fierce. But, in the end, our palates were partial to the totally unique combination of two beloved classics — tangy salt and vinegar and sweet barbecue. Don't let the voodoo dolls on the bag scare you off — they're your flavor friends, not foes.
According to Angie's website, 94% of reviewers would recommend Boomchickapop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn to their friends. We're pretty sure the 6% who wouldn't are just afraid of having to share because this sweet-meets-salty snack is one of the most delicious popped things you can buy in stores. In fact, we'd pay movie theater prices for this delightful snack. It's not too sweet, so it even won over tasters who said they don't usually like kettle corn.
Favorite Nut Snack
Cashews dipped in cashew butter might sound redundant. But redundancy isn't always a bad thing. In this case, it's a beautiful combination of the same delicious nut, albeit in a creamy and crunchy form. Grab a handful of these organic treats and never look at a naked cashew the same way again.
Most Delicious Midnight Munchie
Best eaten by the light of the fridge, or even the freezer, Nestle Tollhouse's Edible Cookie Dough in Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Monster is definitely worth waking up in the middle of the night for. Hopefully you get plenty of mini gems (Nestle's version of M&M's) and semisweet chocolate morsels in every bite. We love this in the peanut butter flavor, but if you'd rather have plain chocolate chip cookie dough, Nestle makes that, too. Also a plus? It's creamy, not crunchy, so you can snack away without waking anyone else in the house.
Favorite Spicy Snack
Late July's Sriracha Fresca chips are nearly impossible to stop eating. One bite and your tastebuds will be soaring on a cloud nine of flavor created by this addictive condiment. Most Late July snacks, like these chips, are free of gluten, suitable for those with nut allergies and made without genetically modified ingredients.
We're not the only ones who can't keep our hands out of the cookie jar when it's filled with these tiny chocolate-filled biscuits. On Amazon, Biscolata Mood Cookies have an impressive 4.8-star average rating from more than 700 reviews (90% of reviewers gave them a perfect 5-star rating). The mood emojis on the outside of each biscuit are fun, but it's the chocolate-hazelnut filling inside that gave these little morsels the edge over other delicious cookies in this category, like Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Cookies and Thinsters Chocolate Chip.
Favorite Vegan Snack
Technically, these would also be a winner if we had a gluten-free snack category (next time!). They're made with ground cauliflower and cassava flour which give them a unique texture that's lighter than a traditional pretzel stick but still addictively crunchy. They're the rare breed of snack that is as satisfying as it is simple. (However, they do make great vehicles if you have a tempting dip nearby.)
Top Keto-Friendly Snack
If the only thing keeping you from going keto is your addiction to Doritos Cool Ranch chips, we have a solution. These zesty ranch-flavored tortilla chips taste as close as it gets but have a quarter of the carbs. Even more importantly, they're packed with protein (19 grams per serving). Nutrition facts aside, the flavor and texture won over tasters who had never tried a traditional protein-style chip before.
Best Meat Snack - TIE
One bite of South African biltong may just ruin American beef jerky for you forever. This marinated, grass-fed beef is air dried and the texture is so soft that the meat almost melts in your mouth. It's smoky, savoy and not too spicy. We love knowing it's sugar free and we're getting 31 grams of protein in just one serving. Plus, it's suitable for those following ketogenic, paleo or Whole30 diet plans.
Take your favorite Buffalo wings, add a touch of natural sweetness from dried fruit, subtract the bones (and all of the mess) and you're left with these delectable chicken bites. The sweetness comes from coconut sugar and apple, but it's not overpowering and perfectly balances out the heat from the red pepper and paprika. This snack is definitely on the spicier side but it packs a great punch of protein.