1. Chips from Food Should Taste Good
This company has not only created a flavor of chip for every mood or occasion, but the ingredient lists don't sound like instructions from a Dr. Dreadful playset. Hatch Chili, Toasted Sesame and even Hemp for those of you feeling extra munchie. The Hemp is actually tasty — a very earthy flavor with rugged crunch. My boyfriend loves Ruffles and Lay's, so he describes my Hemps as "yuck," but if you're adventurous check them out. Food Should Taste Good wins 100 cool points from me because when they say "natural" they mean it. Check out the ingredients for the Sweet Potato chips: Stone Ground Corn, High Oleic Sunflower Oil and/or Safflower Oil, Sweet Potato, Corn Bran, Evaporated Cane Juice, Sea Salt. Yeah. That's it. And get this — Food Should Taste Good even rolls out Chocolate and Kettle Corn tortilla chips. Chocolate is the perfect flavor imitation of those mini chocolate donuts you could eat by the sleeve, with the perfect mix of salty sweet. Try dipping both kinds of dessert chips in some homemade vanilla ice cream (from your local mom-and-pop ice cream shop, because you're a lazy bastard like me) or even organic peanut butter. But let's face it, homemade ice cream is where it's at because that mass produced crap tastes like chocolate cancer.
2. Primal Strips: Meatless Vegan Jerky
No, I'm not vegan, but I fear not the soybean. I find that some of my best healthy snack discoveries occur in the checkout lane where I'm impulse-buying like a mad man. Primal Strips were last week's find. I tend to shy away from "meatless" foods that parade around as meat because I don't like their attitude, but these looked just plain awesome:
The guy in front of me was just about to evacuate the debit card machine area, so I went for it with the Mesquite Lime. The packaging is ridiculously hard to tear open, so use them teeth. Or get primal, if you will (had to). Luckily, the plastic force field is only a tool to lock in the juicy juices with what tastes, feels and looks like pulled pork. I've had Jack Links Beef Jerky, Slim Jims and even my own homemade jerky, but the fact that there is not a trace of meat in these things is amazing. You could rip it out of the plastic sleeve and slap it between bread because it's so moist, tender and flavorful, just like the pulled pork at Sonny's BBQ. I've since gone back to try the Thai Peanut which kicks an equal number of asses. It's got an Asian zing with a peanut sauce that I usually have with Pad Thai or lettuce wraps from Chili's. If you're not vegan, great! You'll like these anyway. If you are vegan, great! Just please don't tell me about it more than once.
3. Organic Z Fruit Ropes: Clif Bar & Company
While most organic snack bars are still trying to live up to the legacy of the Clif Bar, this company has already pounced into the fruit realm. I call them my organic fruit twisties because I'm five years old, but these Clif Fruit Ropes totally flatten Fruit Roll-Ups. Well... you know what I mean.
The chewy, gel-like consistency similar to Gushers and Fruit By The Foot proves that looks can be deceiving— the Clif Fruit Ropes are USDA Certified Organic. The grape ones actually taste like grape instead of an artificial grape flavor base and corn syrup.
|Get the fuck off my fruit twisties.|
4. Newman's Own Organics: Family Recipe Cookies
I'm pretty sure these are not certified, but they're fucking delicious and contain... mostly legit ingredients. You can't really expect much when it comes to packaged cookies, but they are better than most of what's out there. I decided to try these one day on a whim (no, they weren't near the register) and the Orange Chocolate Chip totally melted my face off. The cookies are bite-sized which makes it easy to eat the entire bag is an assembly line fashion if you have no self-control, so beware of that. As for the ingredients, I'm a bit iffy: Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour, Organic Sugar, Chocolate Chips (Unsweetened Chocolate, Sugar, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla), Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Egg Whites, Oats, Organic Orange Oil, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate. I could do without a couple of these, but being that they are packaged cookies, it's not really surprising. But are they worse than mainstream cookies? Check out the ingredients for chocolate Teddy Grahams:
"ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), SUGAR, GRAHAM FLOUR (WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR), SOYBEAN OIL, COCOA (NATURAL AND PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL, MALTODEXTRIN, CALCIUM CARBONATE (SOURCE OF CALCIUM), SALT, BAKING SODA, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SOY LECITHIN (EMULSIFIER), CHOCOLATE, CORNSTARCH."
You be the judge.
5. PUFFINS, MO FUGGA
As a cereal connoisseur, Barbara's Puffins are where it's at. Peanut Butter, Cinnamon and even Peanut Butter & Chocolate are worth every cent. The pieces of Peanut Butter cereal look like yellow Cap'n Crunch after a shot of steroids and a protein shake, yet lighter and crispier.
The ingredient list is short and sweet, nothing too scary. As far as the nutrition facts go, most cereals only show minor discrepancies when you really get down to it, but I find that Barbara's Puffins pack more protein and less sugar than most mainstream brands. But don't stop at the cereal - try Barbara's cheese puffs, granola bars and animal crackers. Nom.