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In search of a healthy savory snack? Here are 6. They’re actual beans, vegetables, nuts, or intact whole grains instead of fried potatoes or white flour. (Looking for healthy crackers? Here are 6 of our favorites.)


1. Crunchy fresh vegetables & dip

vegetable platter with various sliced vegetables and dip in the middle
Sea Wave/stock.adobe.com.

Have we ever mentioned that you can’t beat snacking on crunchy fresh vegetables?

It’s not just their intact fiber, vitamins, and more. It’s also hard to find another snack that doesn’t top 50 calories per cup...which leaves plenty of room for hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, etc.

Take your pick. Go with cauliflower or broccoli florets, bell pepper, celery, or jicama. Or try tiny cukes, mini sweet peppers, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, or snow peas.


2. Nuts coated in super-savory flavors

can of Blue Diamond Bold salt and vinegar almonds
Marlena Koch/CSPI.

Nuts have plenty of pluses like good fat, fiber, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E. You can’t say that for chips. But you can dress up nuts with chip-like seasonings. Blue Diamond Salt ‘n Vinegar Almonds do it with only 140 milligrams of sodium per ounce. (The seasoning is on the surface, so it’s easier to taste the salt.) And since most of us eat too much sodium—which raises blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke—less is more.

Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds (150 mg of sodium) or Target Good & Gather Hickory Smoked Almonds (135 mg) might remind you of bacon. Live near a Trader Joe’s? The Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo (160 mg) is almonds plus cashews coated in a sesame-poppyseed combo. Just don’t eat the whole bag at once.


3. Crunchy roasted beans

bag of Saffron crunchy chickpeas
Marlena Koch/CSPI.

Snacks like Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas beat bean or “veggie” puffs or chips. You’re getting whole roasted chickpeas instead of bean flour or veggie powders diluted with refined flours or starches. The payoff: a nice 5-or-so grams of intact fiber and protein per 130-calorie serving.

Saffron’s flavors go from basics like Sea Salt to Korean BBQ or Bombay Spice. Another good bet: Bada Bean Bada Boom Crunchy Broad Beans

Or use our Healthy Cook’s recipe to make your own Spicy Chickpea Poppers. Mmm.


4. Soybeans made simple

bag of edamame
Marlena Koch/CSPI.

Edamame might be the world’s most snackable beans. Sure, the young soybeans take a few minutes to prepare. (Microwave or boil, sprinkle lightly with salt, pop out the beans, eat.) But they’ll wait patiently in the freezer for you.

Digging in soon? Buy refrigerated edamame. No need to heat! Or try crunchy, shelf-stable Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame anytime a craving hits.


5. Roasted seaweed sheets

packet of gimme roasted seaweed snacks
Gimme.

If you’ve ever eaten nori-wrapped sushi, you’ll recognize the pleasantly salty taste of the seaweed in Gimme Roasted Seaweed Snacks.

Gimme brushes its sea veggie with oil, then roasts it for an ultra-crispy yet light snack. (None of the varieties top 60 calories or 70 mg of sodium per pack.)

Tip: Crumble the Seaweed Snacks over a sushi-inspired bowl. Try brown rice, salmon or tofu, shredded carrot, avocado, scallions, and sesame dressing.


6. Popcorn

bag of Whole Foods 365 Popcorn
Marlena Koch/CSPI.

Popcorn is tailor-made for healthy snacking:

  1. It’s a whole grain.
  2. Most pre-popped bags are made with healthy, unsaturated oils like sunflower or canola. (You can’t say the same for microwave popcorn. Most contain saturated palm oil, which stays solid at room temps.)
  3. Popcorn is high in volume...so it’s low in calories per bite.
  4. The salt is on the surface, so it doesn’t take much to taste great.

Try pre-popped Whole Foods 365 Organic Reduced Fat & Sodium Popcorn or Skinny Pop Popcorn. Neither tops 85 milligrams of sodium per serving (over 3 cups!). Or pop your own kernels on the stovetop or in an air popper.