It’s 3 o’clock in cube-land. You’re in the post-lunch lull, bored. You’re no longer interested in that Excel spreadsheet you’ve been slaving over for an hour, and you just need a break. More specifically, you need a snack break. The vending machine is calling your name. Loudly. What do you do so you don’t wreck your waistline? So you don’t get that sugar spike quickly followed by that horrendous crash? Hitting the machine once every now and then won’t wreck your life, but planning your snacks ahead will keep you from scarfing those plastic chocolate Donettes or satisfying your sweet tooth with a pack of M&Ms.
Here are a few snacks that have landed on our FBG desks recently, and we had to share.
Dole Fruit Gels
These 70-calorie babies from Dole are the perfect treat for my post-dinner sweet tooth or my afternoon lull. They come in strawberry gel with pineapples or cherry with mixed fruit. I was partial to cherry and Jenn favored the strawberry, so try them both and pick your fave. They’re sugar-free and sweetened with maltitol (a corn-based sweetener), but the mixed-in fruit gives it the perfect amount of sweetness. You still get 5 grams of sugar and 1 carb per serving, but for a dessert or snack, it’s a great sweet treat. It would be great if they were more natural or had fewer ingredients listed, but a 70-calorie “dessert” that my hubby likes is a winner in my book. (He sniffs out sugar-free and fat-free like a blood hound.)
Like my hubs, I often don’t do well with sugar-free and fake-out type products. I’m the type that would rather buy the full-cal version and just eat less of it than have a terrible-tasting knockoff. And when someone tells me that cookies are whole grain and have all sorts of goodness in them, like tons of folic acid and vitamins, I kinda figure they’re going to taste all hippy-granola. But oh, how I loved me these LUNA cookies. I’m not sure how LUNAmanaged to sneak in all of the whole grains, fiber, and protein and still manage to be delicious, but they sure did.
First, the cookies. LUNA’s cookies come in three kinds: peanut butter chocolate, chocolate mint and berry pomegranate. The cookies are 130-150 calories, with nine whole grains, 3-4 grams of fiber and 2-3 grams of protein. Plus, they’re moist and delicious. My faves were the mint and peanut butter, but the berry pomegranate was good too; it tasted like an oatmeal cookie with berries. My onlycomplaint withthe cookies was that they were bar-shaped, not round like cookies. A minor complaint, I know, but I like my cookies round for the full cookie monster experience.
I also tried the White Chocolate Macadamia bar, which has 190 cals, 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. It was definitely more granola bar—both in shape and in taste—than the cookies. Jenn seemed to really like these and their macadamia flavor, but I don’t know if I can accurately judge them because I so burned myself out on those yogurt-covered granola bars several years ago and I couldn’t stop comparing these to those. I’ll stick with the cookies even if they aren’t round!
Sonoma Crisps Baked Fruits
If you want a little crunch in your munch, I’ve got the treat for you. If you’re like me and sometimes crave food solely for the texture, Sonoma Crisps will be a perfect go-to snack for the crunchy category. This crispy snack is made with baked fruit—no oil included—for a final product that is fat-free, high in fiber and low in calories.
The Apple Sticks come in three flavors—original, cinnamon and golden delicious—and come in 70-calorie bags with 2 grams of fiber. Each bag contains the equivalent of 1.5 apples. The snack looks like little French fries and have the crunchy texture of stale fries (not in a bad way!). They taste really natural, and you can tell the difference between all three varieties. Jenn and I liked cinnamon the best.
While the apples are good, the Raisin Crunch was my fave Sonoma Crisp product by far. The raisins are inflated (don’t ask me how, I have no idea!) to make them light and crunchy. I’ll say that again: They taste like raisins but are crunchy! I thought this was too cool. They are great as a snack, but I’ve also dropped them in salads for added texture and crunch. At 60 calories a bag, the raisins also have protein, fiber and iron.
While carrot sticks and celery are always a healthy treat, sometimes a snack-pack, cookie or crunchy treat is what you’re craving. And with these suggestions, you really can’t go wrong. What are your go-to afternoon snacks? —Erin
If you want to try the Dole Fruit Gels for yourself, comment below of email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll send you roughly a year’s supply of coupons for them! All you have to do is live in the U.S. or Canada and tell us how you’ll use them!