Saturday, February 2, 2013

Whole Foods Snack Shopping

With the Superbowl tomorrow, blogs and supermarkets are going crazy with Superbowl snack ideas. I'd love to contribute with recipes, but my lack of kitchen limits me there. So, I did my favorite thing. I went to Whole Foods on Friday morning before anyone else was up and wandered for over an hour, soaking in every aisle, covering the store a good 3 or 4 times. I probably look crazy to every employee. I can just see them saying What is she still doing here?! She's already been in the baking aisle four times this morning, and she barely even has anything in her basket. Oh, and now she's taking iPhone pictures?!. Well, my craziness is your benefit, because now you have a wide variety of healthy snack ideas that you can find at Whole Foods, and sometimes at regular grocery stores too! Here we go...

At the Vegetarian Foods Festival in Boston last October, I tasted all the varieties of these Way Better chips. They are amazing! They have lots of sprouted seeds and whole grains in them, making them super healthy, crunch, and delicious. I loved the three varieties pictured, and the sweet potato chips, which Whole Foods didn't have in stock at the time. There's also a spicy variety, which I didn't care for, but I'm sure would be delicious for a spicy foods fanatic.

What do you enjoy your multigrain chips with? Salsa, of course! My personal favorite is something fruity, like this peach and mango salsa (especially with sweet potato chips). The problem I usually find with jarred salsas is that they often have a lot of sugar added, even if it's a savory flavor. This Number 9 salsa has just veggies, no sugar, so it's a good option. But it's also more expensive. Your best bet at any grocery store is to spend a little extra cash or head to the Latin Foods aisle, which will have more authentic brands that aren't catered towards America's sugar addiction.

These Boom Chicka Pop popcorns from Angie's Popcorn have gotten me through several road trips from Maryland to Providence. I love both varieties, but I'm partial to the kettle corn (thanks, mom, for raising me a kettle corn addict). Angie's also has a variety of other popcorns that look delicious, I just haven't gotten around to trying them yet!
These protein pretzels are awesome. They have 5 grams of protein per serving, as opposed to about 2 in regular pretzels. They do taste a little "healthier" than most pretzels, but are delicious nonetheless.

These 34 Degrees crisps are super thin and crispy, and they're perfect for topping with flavorful cheeses. There are several flavors, although I've only tried the whole grain, natural, and rosemary ones. I loved them all, they're really addictive just because they're so incredibly thin. They are pretty expensive as far as crackers go, so save them for a special occasion.

Another special occasion cracker: raincoast oat crisps. I crave these all the time. They have the perfect balance of crunch, sweet, savory...everything. I've only tried the raisin rosemary ones, which are to die for. But, the price may also knock you dead. Thankfully, Trader Joe's came out with a similar product for a fraction of the cost, with all the flavor! Go Trader Joe's! 
More cheese vehicles: Blue Diamond Nut Thins. They have a great salty, nutty flavor that matches with more mild cheeses like brie or goat cheese. I love the pecan, hazelnut, and almond ones, since they are a perfect base for different cheeses.

Speaking of cheese, these are some awesome cheddar cheeses. I love cheese with dried fruit mixed in, like this cranberry cheddar. I've also seen Stilton with apricots or mango and ginger. Both delicious. Cabot's sharp extra light cheddar has a great strong flavor, but 75% less fat than original cheddar. Yum!

I always love snacking on edamame, especially when they are still in the shell. It's a lot more fun to pop them out of the shell as you're eating them rather than just grabbing handfuls. Plus, you end up eating less when you have to work for your food! These are super cheap and easy to make, just microwave or boil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

For people that aren't huge fans of multigrain tortilla chips, baked ones are a great option. They taste the same as regular tortilla chips and are extra crispy. I've seen baked scoops too, which are perfect for dips.

I've never tried these Back to Nature graham crackers, but they look delicious. Apple cinnamon?! Yum! Plus, they are whole grain and low fat. Serve them topped with greek yogurt, nuts, and chopped apples, or use that combination as a dip.
For drinks, there are tons of options much healthier than bottles and bottles of soda. You can buy bottled unsweetened green tea, then sweeten it yourself with sugar(you'll most likely end up using less sugar than is in pre-sweetened teas) or stevia. You could also serve this light lemonade, which uses some sugar and then compliments it with stevia. That way, you end up with just a few calories but the same taste as sugar-sweetened lemonade. Trader Joe's also carries products like these two. 
Another one of my favorite drinks is sparkling water. I love the lime flavor on its own, but for those who prefer sweeter drinks, adding pure fruit juice to sparkling water is a great way to make a healthier soda option. I like pomegranate juice with lime sparkling water, orange juice with the orange flavor, and the strawberry lemonade pictured above with the lemon flavor.
In addition to these store-bought snacks, easy homemade options include:
veggies and guacamole (mash up an avocado with salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste)
apple slices with peanut butter and cinnamon
frozen grapes
toothpicks stacked with a grape tomato half, a chunk of fresh mozzarella, and a basil leaf, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.
toothpicks stacked with a grape tomato half, a chunk of feta cheese, a kalamata olive, and a cucumber slice, drizzled with vinaigrette dressing
A cucumber slice topped with low fat cream cheese, smoked salmon, and fresh dill
Enjoy your Superbowl Sunday and healthy snacks to go along with it!
(Did you like this post? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!)