The 13 Best Healthy Snacks for the New Year, According to PureWow Editors
We’ve no doubt been munching on sugar cookies, baked Brie and puppy chow all holiday season long. But once 2022 began, we turned our sights to healthier snacks that won’t leave us creeping toward the pantry 20 minutes later. Not only do these treats energize us and keep us full between meals, but we legitimately crave every tasty product on this list, despite their better-for-you status. Here are 13 of the best healthy snacks you can eat this year, according to our editors.
1. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is easy to make at home, but there are tons of ready-to-eat brands out there that save us time in the kitchen. (We’re particularly fond of the Coco-Melon and Orchard varieties from RIND Snacks.) Our assigning commerce editor Nicole Briese calls Target’s toasted coconut chips “surprisingly delightful,” while senior SEO editor Alexia Dellner loves the dried mango from Trader Joe’s. “It’s probably not the healthiest because it’s so sugary,” she says, “but hey, it’s technically just fruit, right?” Right—dried fruit is packed with nutrients and contains about nearly four times as much fiber, vitamins and minerals as its fresh counterpart. As long as it doesn’t contain added sugar, its sugar content is all natural.
2. Seaweed Snacks
Multiple people on our team are obsessed with seaweed snacks, aka dried, edible seaweed that’s typically seasoned with salt or a specific flavoring. They can be a satisfying alternative to chips, thanks to their savory flavor and delicate crunch, and they’re packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Assistant editor Nakeisha Campbell loves the teriyaki seaweed snacks from TJ’s, and warns that “they’re dangerous, because I can finish like three bags in five seconds.” If you haven’t tried them before—or don’t live near a Trader Joe’s to try Campbell’s pick—try these organic seaweed snacks from Thrive Market, which are roasted in organic safflower and sunflower oils before being seasoned with sea salt.
This brand of organic chickpea snacks has been slinging good-for-you treats since 2016. Hippeas products are gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO and free of soy and nuts. The plant-based snacks boast 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving, so they’re far more satisfying than the pretzels you keep in your desk drawer. There are four puff flavors and three chickpea chip flavors to choose from, but it’s unlikely we’ll ever dethrone our all-time fave, the Vegan White Cheddar puffs.
4. Daily Harvest Smoothies
Commerce editor Liv Kappler swears by Daily Harvest’s smoothies, which make getting your daily fruits and veggies in a breeze. The chef-crafted sippers are made from farm-frozen produce, nuts, seeds, superfoods and spices, and are free of additives and preservatives. All you have to do to prepare one is add liquid (such as water, milk or coconut water) and blend until smooth. There’s a nine-item order minimum, but the smoothies will last you a while, since they arrive frozen. Flavors include Mango + Greens, Strawberry + Peach and Cold Brew + Cacao.
5. A-Sha Hakka Style Noodles with Chili Sauce
Sometimes, a 99-cent packet of microwave noodles is exactly what you need to combat an afternoon slump, but they won’t keep you full for long. A-Sha’s air-dried premium noodles, which are made from fiber-rich whole wheat flour, are a more satiating alternative. Instead of the noodles swimming in broth, they’re coated in a flavorful sauce that you stir in yourself. Each serving boasts 11 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, compared to Maruchan Chicken Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup’s 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. They’re also much lower in fat (1½ grams vs. 12 grams). A-Sha has a few flavor options, but our favorite is hands-down the spicy chili variety. (Pro tip: Stir a little Kewpie mayo into the noodles for a creamier sauce.)
6. Cleveland Kitchen Backyard Ranch
Social media strategist Ali Brown uses this leaner ranch dressing and dip whenever she can, be it with wings, crudités, sandwiches or salads. It’s made with kefir yogurt and fermented cabbage, meaning it’s packed with probiotics and supports gut health. (It also means the dressing has 60 fewer calories per serving compared to its leading competitor.) Despite being gluten-free, keto-friendly and non-GMO, this pick from Cleveland Kitchen still has that herbaceous ranch taste you love, courtesy of vinegar, dill, garlic and a few other basic seasonings.
7. Catalina Crunch
When we were kids, we thought cereal could be one of two things: healthy or tasty. But it’s 2022, so there are countless options out there check both boxes. Case in point: Catalina Crunch’s keto cereal. These popular cereals are loaded with plant-based protein and fiber (11 and 9 grams respectively, to be exact) and free of gluten, sugar and artificial ingredients. Made from a blend of seven plant proteins and fibers that work wonders for your gut, the cereals’ flavors are inspired by nostalgic faves of your youth, like Cinnamon Toast, Maple Waffle and Chocolate Peanut Butter.
8. Alani Nu Protein Bars
Hot take: Many protein bars you see at the store are nothing but glorified candy bars. The healthiest ones are high in protein, low in sugar and contain at least 3 grams of fiber. Enter Alani Nu’s line of protein bars, which contain 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar and a whopping 16 grams of protein each. But like most healthy foods, it doesn’t matter how good for us they are if they’re practically inedible (we’re looking at you, chalky, hard-to-chew meal replacements). Luckily, these are equal parts satisfying and delicious, thanks to the brand’s creative flavors. (Think Peanut Butter Cup, Confetti Cake, Blueberry Muffin, Fruity Cereal and Cookies and Cream.)
9. Sonoma Creamery Cheese Crisps
Don’t let dairy keep you and cheese apart ever again. These addictive crisps from Sonoma Creamery are naturally lactose-free, so you can nosh all you want without getting a dreaded stomachache. They’re also free of gluten, since the crackers are made with organic brown rice and organic oat bran instead of wheat flour. Account manager Sabrina Colan says they’re “amazing for high protein/low-carb peeps,” and she’s right—each serving contains 10 grams of protein and only 5 net carbs. Take your pick from Cheddar, Everything Cheddar, Bacon Cheddar, Parmesan, Pepper Jack and Savory Seed cheese crisps.
10. Kroger Simple Truth Plant-Based Buffalo Cauliflower Dip
Our director of brand partnerships Alyce Tassoni gives this spicy condiment from Kroger a rave review, and it’s no surprise why. Two tablespoons contain only 40 calories and 3 grams of fat, not to mention a satisfying 2 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber. You can thank cauliflower for the dip’s lean numbers, along with red bell peppers, carrots, hot sauce, almonds, almond butter, red onion and lime. Serve it with crackers, tortilla chips, celery sticks or pretzels.
11. All the Hummus
This Middle Eastern dip is shockingly popular for a reason, that reason being that it’s damn delectable. Not only is hummus creamy, versatile and filling, but it’s also bursting with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals (like folate and manganese), thanks to being made from chickpeas. We buy Trader Joe’s dill pickle hummus whenever it’s in stock, but our staff recommends substituting TJ’s spicy hummus dip or Wegman’s caramelized onion hummus until it returns. You can use any of these as a sandwich spread, gyro condiment or dip for pita chips and pretzels, but crispy veggies like cucumbers, carrots and bell peppers are our go-to.
12. Better-for-You Chocolate
Because no diet will ever keep us from craving dessert. Instead of digging into the office candy bowl every 15 minutes after lunch, lean on one of these options to satisfy your craving and avoid a sugar crash. A few of our team members are gaga for HU’s chocolate, which contains no refined sugar, dairy or soy lecithin. The chocolate only has three main ingredients: cacao, coconut sugar and cocoa butter, all of which are organic and fair trade. Choose from Simple, Salty or Mint Snacking Gems or eight different chocolate bars. If you’re on a keto or low-carb diet, senior account manager Ali Felber recommends Evolved’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Keto Cups, which are vegan, paleo, gluten-free and contain 10 grams of healthy fat and only 2 net carbs.
You’re going to need something to wash down all these snacks with, right? OLIPOP is the perfect substitute for your daily soda. Loaded with prebiotics and plant fiber, these drinks are more like fizzy tonics than actual soda. Each 12-ounce can contains only 5 grams of sugar, 3 to 8 net carbs and 50 calories or less, as well as 8 to 9 grams of fiber that will keep you full before dinner. They’re sweetened with cassava syrup, stevia leaf extract and natural fruit sugars instead of weird artificial sweeteners. You’ll be shocked how much they taste like the real thing, whether you try the Vintage Cola or Orange Squeeze.