6 Healthy snack food trends you need to know about

Jul 8, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Image: Dan Dalton/Getty Images

We’ve all been there. You’re busy at work, typing away on your laptop, when your stomach grumbles loud enough for your whole office to hear. Or you’re lying in bed late at night, cuddled up with a movie on Netflix, when you come down with a serious case of the late-night munchies. It’s hard to resist the temptation to reach for a bag of Lay's chips, but as the brand’s slogan boasts, “Bet you can’t eat just one!” Next thing you know, you’re dipping your hand into an empty potato chip bag only to find greasy crumbs and a guilty conscience.

Want me to let you in on a little secret? Snacking doesn’t always have to be unhealthy to be satisfying. Don’t get me wrong — devouring an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting can be pretty fulfilling, but that pang of regret we often feel afterward isn’t so fulfilling. You don’t have to do away with snacking altogether, because I have some amazing healthy snack trends to tell you about. Get ready to kiss the post-munchies regrets goodbye.

1. Meat-free chicken nuggets


No, I’m not talking about McDonald’s chicken nuggets… Ha! I’m talking about chicken nuggets made with meat substitutes instead of actual chicken. My go-to is Quorn’s nuggets, made with mycoprotein, a healthy protein source that’s naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber. The first time I tried these tasty nuggets, I was convinced they were actually made with chicken because they were so yummy. I can guarantee that if you put these in front of your kids, they wouldn’t even bat an eyelash at them. They’re a great way to ease into a vegetarian lifestyle or to watch your weight.

2. Organic dried fruit


Dried fruit is a great on-the-go snack that you can throw into your purse on the way out the door in the morning. You don’t have to worry about refrigerating it or prepping it at all; plus, it tastes just like candy. I can’t resist Stoneridge Orchards’ all-natural dried cherries — they’re tasty on top of yogurt, baked into granola bars or just by themselves. Or if you have a sweet tooth, Stoneridge Orchards also offers dark chocolate-dipped options that are equally as tempting. Yum!

3. Mushroom powder


I know this sounds weird, but hear me out. You don’t eat the powder by itself, but rather mix it into just about anything for a hidden boost of nutrients. Mushrooms have been revered in Eastern countries for their health benefits, and now they're being touted as the next kale of the vegetable world. Mushroom Matrix started a line of mushroom powders after noticing that health gurus in the U.S. are predicting ‘shrooms to be the next big thing. Each powder the company sells has its own unique benefit, from bone health to enhanced male sexual performance. Try mixing some of this nutrient-packed goodness into hummus or a smoothie for a hidden health boost.

4. Gourmet tuna


Plain Bumble Bee tuna is so last year. Though it’s a bit of a splurge, gourmet tuna is completely worth it, and your taste buds will thank you. My favorite is Tonnino tuna — seriously, I can eat this stuff straight out of the jar (and I may or may not have done that last night…). Putting these yummy olive oil-soaked tuna fillets onto some crackers is a guilt-free snack, especially when Tonnino offers yummy options like lemon pepper, oregano, garlic and even jalapeño for a little kick.

5. Chicken curry dip


Salsa, guacamole and queso are way overrated. Change things up this summer by trying out something like chicken curry dip. Don’t worry, you don’t have to invest in a million different spices or be a culinary expert in the kitchen to master this dish thanks to Sharwood’s cooking sauces. With curry and other Indian foods gaining popularity in the U.S., hop onto this yummy food trend, and experiment with all the yummy recipe options to trick your friends into thinking you’re a master chef.

6. Frozen fruit dessert


You might be thinking, OK, healthy dessert can’t possibly be a thing. Listen up, ye of little faith, because it actually is a thing thanks to Yonanas. This nifty little machine makes a delicious frozen yogurt look-alike, and the only ingredient is frozen fruit. If you have some bananas that are about to go bad, throw those bad boys into the freezer for a day, and then witness the power of Yonanas. You can throw any frozen fruit (or even chocolate!) into this machine, and it’ll come out a smooth, creamy dessert that’ll trick your kids into thinking it’s ice cream. This is a fun way to let them have ice cream for breakfast — they’ll be hooked.

More on healthy snacking

Healthier chickpea chocolate chip cookies
Coconut-banana muffins are a yummy grab-and-go snack
Healthier no-bake Nutella bites