Halloween arrives tomorrow, and with it, what I call the “season of snacks.” In a few weeks, you can count on family and friends gathering for pre-holiday get-togethers, football, and travel. The party might just be at your house! If you’re having guests over, or get the impromptu kind, it’s good to be prepared with easy things you can have on hand to arrange in a bowl. It’s nice to have things that are quick and easy on hand, so you can enjoy time with your guests, or at least have the time to do something besides being chained to your kitchen stove.
If you are traveling (especially with kids), you already know that there may be unforeseen delays. If you don’t have something you can bring with you and rip open in times of “distress,” you will hear about it. But you want to keep the kids calm and happy with something that is at least reasonably healthy, and while I’m not a mom, I can see from “field research” that trying to pawn carrot stick off on a cranky kid at an airport as a “good snack” doesn’t work a lot of the time.
Are there things that quench a full blown snack attack, that you can much and crunch, quickly, without too many fats and calories. Are there healthy snacks that satisfy? When the urge to munch is imminent, when you need something instantly that’s salty, savory and tasty, or you need something to put out in a bowl for a hungry crowd when you’ve had no time to shop, I’m suggesting four unique snack foods that satisfy adults and kids alike. At an event called “Snack Attack” in NYC, I discovered companies that make sweet, savory and salty snacks that actually have some nutritional redeeming qualities, and that are not all that bad for your waistline!
Lesser Lesser Evil as the name implies, is better for you than a lot of the alternative. This company was founded in 2004, with a commitment to make all-natural snack food with healthier ingredients. Their first product launch under the LesserEvil brand was the line of all-natural Kettle Corn, which eventually led to their second product; a more innovative puffed potato snack called, Krinkle Sticks. Other yummy snacks, followed.
Lesser Evil has a number of different varities, but I tested (with a multi-generational crowd), the Lesser Evil Krinkle Sticks Sour Cream and Onion, This is one of those classic snacking flavors everyone knows, and loves. but the Lesser Evil Potato-based Krinkle Sticks are: all Natural, Gluten free, sugar with no cholesterol, no preservatives, no trans fats or saturated fats at all, and they are even Kosher. The full-sized bag (4.5 oz.) has 4.5 servings, which is about 35 sticks. This sounds like a lot, but they’re addictive, so be forewarned, but each serving 120 calories, and 220mg of sodium so even if you lost control and ate the entire bag, it wouldn’t really be that bad. There is absolutely no way that you could tell they’re not full of salt, fat and other bad for your waistline, things. The guests at my home when I received this bag of snacking fun, polished it off in ten minutes flat! If you want to feel good about buying snacks, here is another reason: 10% of the purchase price goes to support Autism Speaks.
Another totally addictive snack that is sweet and satisfying, is Lesser Evil Kettlecorn, Black & White, 6.5 oz Bags (Pack of 12) Price: $30.00 at amazon.com (there is a regular kettlecorn, too). You can get plain kettle corn and it tastes good, but this version has something better: half the kernels are coated in chocolatey goodness. This creates a harmonious balance of sweet and salty, without blowing your calorie budget. It is devilishly good, and we are glad to call it LesserEvil. And yet, these nuggests of crunchy, sweet goodness, are still all-natural, with less fat, and gluten free. They’re made from whole grain with no preservatives. One cup is only about 110 calories.
Want to stock up? Visit www.lesserevil.com to find online and local to find Lesser Evil.
Some chips are just plain addictive, and that’s definitely the case with Kettle Brand. Their regular chips are good, but the limited edition chips they have cooked up (in their kettle?) for Kettle Brand’s 30th Birthday are absolutely amazing. Kettle Brand is one of the leaders in the premium kettle-cooked category. With 24 current flavors and five different lines – Original, Baked, Krinkle Cut™, Organic and the newest, 40 Percent Reduced Fat – it produces more kettle-cooked chip flavors and varieties than any other brand in the U.S. The company also launched a tortilla chip line with six different flavors in 2010, Kettle Brand® TIAS!
I am not a “snacker” by nature, but when I opened the Kettle Brand Salsa with Mesquite to test them, I ended up eating almost the entire bag! I kept telling myself to limit my snack to just one serving (which in this case is about 13 chips out of a 5oz. bag with 5 servings), but I couldn’t help myself. These were so delicious, I had to be tempted. I kept dipping in for “just one more” until “one more” became several servings (each is about 150 calories which isn’t horrible, but still…I have never ever eating an entire bag in just one sitting! It takes a very special chip, to tempt me that much!
The reason I was sampling the chips, is big news. Kettle Brand has brought back four favorite retired flavors for a limited time. Kettle Brand Red Chili ; Kettle Brand Jalapeño Jack; Kettle Brand Salsa with Mesquite and Kettle Brand Cheddar Beer. These are what I’d call “adult” flavors, with a bit of heat and spice, and all the crunchy goodness of a high quality chip. The collection hit stores last month, and they’ll be available all year, but will be gone again, by next summer. It must have been difficult for the great folks at Kettle Brand to decide which four flavors to bring back, because they have more than 40 that have been developed over three decades. To learn more about the chips that were chosen, keep reading.
- Red Chili –Introduced in 1982 after Unsalted and Lightly Salted, this flavor mirrors the taste of sriracha sauce combined with a vinegar tang and Cayenne pepper for a searing red chili heat. These spicy chips follow the trend for more spice in food these days, but no matter the reason, the season, or the year, “heat & spice” are always in fashion.
- Jalapeño Jack – Originally debuted in 1989, this flavor is touted as looking a bit like a piece of Pepper Jack cheese. In fact, if you love Pepper Jack, you’ll love this slightly salty cheese chip, perked up with a spice of red and green peppers and jalapeño.
- Salsa with Mesquite – First launched in 1999, this is the one bag of chips I couldn’t resist (although Cheddar Beer, below, was a close second). These chips are so flavorful, redolent with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and garlic blend and a hint of lime, the produce a chip that’s sweet, smoky and salty.
- Cheddar Beer – After debuting as a fan pick during the brand’s first People’s Choice vote in 2005, this flavor earned a cult following. A combination of tangy sharp cheese with malty beer notes forms a perfect balance of smooth and salty flavors. Cheese are beer are like a Chanel Bag, always loved, appropriate and welcome.
These chips are cooked in small batches in pure, all-natural oils. All Kettle Brand products are made with a Natural Promise – all natural ingredients, no trans fats, no artificial colors or flavors and no preservatives. Kettle Brand products are made with Non-GMO ingredients and it’s the first and only potato chip brand to be verified by the Non-GMO Project (a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices).
The four classics are available in 5 oz. bags retailing for $2.79 in select natural food stores, while Jalapeño Jack and Red Chili will debut in 8.5 oz. bags and retail for $3.49 in grocery stores this Fall. The collection is now also available online at BuyKettleChips.com.
Also in the savory, salty and crunchy category, good for mini-dipping, are Baguette Chips from Pillsbury. You can grab a whole handful of 21 chips for just 130 calories, and enjoy the flavors of Italian Cheese & Herb, and Chedder Sun-dried Tomato. Both are delicious with healthy dips, like hummus (four of us went through one bag in less than half an hour). These taste savory an delicious, but there are 50% less fat in these chips (well, more like little bagel crisps) vs most regular potato chips. They are also very versatile. They are solid enough to be topped with mini bits of cheese, or used for dipping, but you can also use these little rounds of crunch to float on top of soups for a savory surprise, or sprinkle them up atop a salad like croutons, to make it special. At just $2.99 a 7 oz. bag, you can afford to be “fancy” without failing your waistline or your budget.
To satisfy those who need a bit more protein in their snacking, there’s KRAVE Jerky. These are not just the same old, same old beef jerky that you find at the local convenience store. Far from it. KRAVE has sophisticated flavors such as Lemon Garlic, Garlic Chili Pepper, Curry, Pineapple Orange, Basil Citrus, Sweet Chipotle, Chili * Lime, and Smoky Grilled Terryaki. Guys love them, but honestly, so do the ladies. Cut these up bit-sized and put them in a pretty bowl, and they’ll be gone before you can turn around! But the sodium, fat and calorie count of these really aren’t bad. Depending upon the style and the meat (natural turkey or beef), the calorie count for 1 oz. ranges from a lean 50 calories to 100 calories), The turkey based Basil Citrus variety has no fat at all, (yes, zero) although it does have 610 mg. of sodium and 16g of sugar. But for a salty and savory snack of protein, it’s a small price to pay. I’m already addicted to the Garlic Chili Pepper with just the right combo of heat and sweet. These KRAVE snacks are not just delicious, they are housed in re-sealable pouches that are perfect for purse or plane. A package has a shelf life of one year, but I’d be willing to bet yours won’t last one week! Visit www.KraveJerky.com to learn more.
ADVICE-SISTERS HOLIDAY WAIST-NOT TIP: Use your less doinant hand when picking up snacks. You’ll eat less.