American College of Nutrition Certified Nutrition Specialist | Author | Professor of Nutrition


New Snacks Taste Test, Part 1

Little girl picking applesSchool and football season have started, and that means snacks!

Snacks are so appealing – they are tasty, fun, and take no work to prepare. I am always on the lookout for a snack that gives me all that without the excess fat, sugar and salt.  A snack should make me feel better, not worse.

Tons of new snacks are on the market trying to convince us they are healthy and tasty too. We are in the middle of trying them all, and I must say with one exception we are disappointed. Most fell way short of the mark on taste and texture, while not being very healthy at all.

A few were healthy, but they tasted awful. A few tasted pretty good, but weren’t that healthy either. For the same amount of fat and calories we could have the snack we actually wanted.

The big challenge is that if we think a snack is healthy we eat a lot more of it. A problem if its not really that healthy, or if the snack takes the place of healthier foods in our diet. We can end up eating hundreds of extra calories per day if we don’t look at the labels and know what we are eating.

Snacks are a multi-billion dollar industry, and you can bet companies will do anything they can to convince us their snack is really good for us. Read your labels and be a knowledgable consumer! Remember, none of these snacks beats a good piece of fruit or handful of nuts for nutrition, convenience or taste.

Here are the results:


Terra Chips Sweet Potato Sea Salt Chips, Crinkles. These are everything you want a chip to be. Crispy, crunchy, sturdy enough for dip and good on their own. They don’t provide any calorie or fat savings over regular chips, but they do provide a good amount of vitamin A and 3 grams of fiber, which plain potato chips do not. So in my book these are a win, and they will have a spot in our snack rotation. Unfortunately the Trader Joe’s brand of these chips weren’t as good as the Terra Chips.

Runner Up:

Way Better Simply Beyond Black Bean Corn Tortilla Chips. The package makes these look like chips made of all bean flour, but they are mostly whole grain corn flour. Which isn’t necessarily bad, just not as good as beans. They are tasty with salsa and guacamole, and even alright for snacking on their own. They are the same calories and fat as regular tortilla chips, but with 3 grams of fiber and a little protein they offer more nutrition.

The Rest:

Crunchy broccoli, okra, and kale chips: these all failed the taste test, but had crunch. Some brands had up to 15 grams of fat per serving, which is too much for a “healthy” snack. They can add some crunch to a salad, but again with the high fat content you are way better off using  chopped veggies. These do provide some nutrients though, and if this is the only way your kids will eat veggies its better than nothing.

Crispy chickpeas: I soooo wanted to like these. What could be healthier than beans crisped up? Sadly the texture of these was gritty and starchy rather than crispy.  The nutrition profile is great, so I hope that these will improve and we will have some crispy chickpeas that are actually snack-worthy soon.

Terra Chips Exotic Vegetable Chips. These are a mixed bag. (I crack myself up.) Some of the chips were great, and some had texture problems. The flavors are all pretty good, but when I want a chip its mostly about the texture.

Crispy Snap Peas: these are great if you like eating styrofoam. I just couldn’t get past the texture, especially when the fresh snow peas are so delicious. Definitely not a snack I will eat again.

More taste reviews are coming, so stay tuned!

What are your favorite snacks? I’d love to hear what you like and what you’d like me to taste test.

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