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Walking down the snack aisle in the grocery store can be overwhelming. It's difficult to choose a snack that is nutritious and a crowd-pleaser. After using 2,000 taste testers to evaluate over 5,300 samples for the 2022 Healthy Snack Awards, the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab says it found some of the best snacks on the market. Now, snack shopping can be a breeze.
Stefani Sassos, RDN, Deputy Director at Good Housekeeping Institute, stopped by TODAY to share the merits behind the snacks that won the Healthy Snack Awards. While every winner is made from real and recognizable ingredients, it also prioritizes ingredients high in fiber and protein. Serving sizes for each snack include less than or equal to 300 calories, 10 grams of added sugar and 300 milligrams of sodium.
Keep reading to see the winners Sassos — and thousands of testers — loves.
Best crunchy snacks, according to Good Housekeeping
These pistachios are the highest protein snack nut and a top pick with Good Housekeeping's registered dietitian. Though the Wonderful Pistachios team is always coming out with new flavors, the brand's BBQ flavor stood out to the Good Housekeeping Institute this year. Loaded with hickory-smoked flavor, garlic, paprika and salt, these no shell pistachios combine salty and sweet for your afternoon snack.
For those who crave a hot snack to spice up their day, the chili roasted pistachios also made the list of Good Housekeeping Institute's Snack Awards. Completed with tangy vinegar, the snack combines red pepper and garlic for plenty of taste bud sensations.
These vegan, gluten-free and organic chickpea chips hold three grams of protein and three grams of fiber in each serving. Good Housekeeping chose these chips because they act as a healthy alternative to typical tortilla chips, while still bursting with salty lime flavor
Sasso sees these dipper crisps as your new cheese platter essential. Molded for optimal dipping in your favorite guacamole, salsa or spinach and artichoke dip, these gluten-free chips were a top pick with Good Housekeeping testers and nutritionists. Choose from Rosemary Garlic and White Cheddar flavors depending on your dip of choice.
Best fruity snacks, according to Good Housekeeping
A healthy snack that is sustainable and tastes good satisfies three criteria for an ideal snack. Rind-dried fruits can be labeled with those three descriptors as the brand uses upcycled fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste when making the snack. During this process, the brand says it retains nutrients in the dried peels. Sassos adds the snack stands out because it is free from added sugar.
Sassos and the Good Housekeeping Institute Staff would like everyone to know that these are not your average kiwis. Unlike your typical hairy kiwis, these kiwis are smooth and golden. With juicy, sweet flesh that includes more than 20 vitamins, these sunny kiwis will be a crowd-pleaser for those who crave flavor and nutrition. Just one fruit contains more than 100 percent of the recommended daily vitamin C intake, Sassos says.
Sasso loves these smoothie pouches because they are made from real fruit blended with non-fat yogurt. Rather than spending time blending frozen fruit into your homemade smoothie, you can grab one of these shelf-stable smoothies and run out the door. Choose from four flavor combinations — blueberry pear, peach raspberry, strawberry coconut and pear vanilla — that are free from added sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors.
Best kid-friendly snacks, according to Good Housekeeping
Siete's Mexican shortbread cookies make the Siete family nostalgic for their local bakery in Laredo, Texas. The cookies are sweet, crunchy and grain-free as they are made from a sweetened blend of almond flour and pecan pieces. Good Housekeeping backs the snack for its sugar levels, flavor, customer reviews and dash of cinnamon.
Sasso says that testers of all ages devoured these products. But the fruit leathers' merits include more than organic fruit and vegetable flavors: they are bursting with vitamin A and C and free from added sugar and preservatives. In addition to mango, the fruit leathers are available in mixed berry and strawberry flavors.
Are you looking for a healthy snack that your kids will love? Forager Project's organic cashewmilk yogurt is made specifically for children. As your kids choose between the brand's strawberry, mango and berry berry flavors, you can relax knowing that the yogurt contains probiotics, calcium and essential vitamins, according to the brand. Sasso notes that this yogurt is perfect for little ones with dietary restrictions. Though, you'll probably love it too as the product was a hit with Good Housekeeping testers of all ages.
Sasso shared that the kid testers absolutely loved these whole grain snack bars. One snack bar holds as much lutein, a carotenoid we need for good vision, as a cup of raw spinach. Other than helping keep our eyes healthy, the snack provides 100 mg of Omega-3 ALA and 55mg of choline to help support focus and memory, according to Sasso.
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