31 Great-Tasting, Guilt-Free Snacks!
By John McGran
Sometime during the past decade or so football rambled past baseball as America's favorite pastime. Mr. Bad Food says that vote is sorely in need of a recount -- snacking between meals is far more popular than the two sports combined.
Care to argue? We can chew on this from now until Super Bowl Sunday and beyond. But I bet many of you are sitting at your computer with some sort of food or drink perched nearby.
There's nothing wrong with a nosh now and then... as long as your choice of snacks isn't limited to the high-sodium, high-fat, high-cal, partially hydrogenated oil-oozing kind of cakes, cookies and chips that weigh down our diets as much as they strain the shelves at the local market.
Mr. Bad Food isn't foolish enough to suggest snack-free dieting. I am, however, foolish enough to urge you to look at your eating habits in an entirely different manner. When you forget about labels such as meals and snacks -- and consider your caloric intake as a whole -- you are well on your way to your final diet.
Your final diet... hmmmm, sounds like a great name for a book. And lo and behold it is!
Mr. Bad Food, a man who for years has relied on between-meal snacking to survive his many attempts at dieting, sat down with Abby Aronowitz, author of Your Final Diet to get a grip on our need to snack.
Abby is a member of Mensa (members must pass an IQ test and achieve a score above 148) and the American Psychological Association. Despite these achievements, Abby turned out to be one of the most entertaining interviews this writer has ever enjoyed. (Please, no letters... that's meant as a joke! Super intelligent people can be bubbly and fun -- Abby is proof of that!)
Abby, that's her smiling face pictured at left, wants us to change the way we think of food and eating. Easier said than done, I agree. But since you clicked into this column to learn the names of the super 31 guilt-free snacks, I think you'll stick around through a little lesson on how to eat waffles and ice cream for breakfast and still lose weight.
Got your attention with that last statement, didn't I? Well, if you choose the right waffles and the right ice cream, yes indeed, you can eat waffles and ice cream right after rolling out of bed and not suffer the guilt or extra fat and calories that you might think would accompany such a decadent-sounding day starter!
For the record, Abby recommends you create your breakfast dream with an all-natural ice cream (not "supreme" -- it's too caloric) such as Breyers, and Van's original whole-wheat waffles.
If you are like me, you might be asking, Dear Abby, what gives you -- a private practice psychologist -- the right to write about healthy eating?
Well, Abby might respond, Dear Doubter, weight management is my area of expertise and I formerly worked as a consultant for Weight Watchers. Dieting is so psychological... it's not only about food for many of us."
For the yummy snack foods that won't wreck your diet or your desire to lose weight, read on.
In a perfect world -- well, Abby's perfect world -- we would lose the junk food made from junk, find healthier alternatives, and blur the line between full meals and between-meal snacks. To help drag you into this world, Abby hand chose only the best-tasting healthy foods she could find. And yes, she taste-tested each and every one.
"Too many 'healthy' foods taste like Styrofoam or cardboard," she notes. "At least that is our perception. But there is a new generation of health foods that are fabulous. I researched by tasting and spitting for a couple of years -- then I tested them on my patients.
"Most Americans won't set foot in health food store so I recommend foods they will like so they will possibly go back and try other items.
"We need to stop thinking of foods as meals and snacks... and keep it all as food. Something like chicken veggie soup and handful of chips and salsa can be a meal. Once you program snacks like chips into your meals, you're less likely to abuse them anymore.
"When you eat things like a toaster waffle and a scoop of natural ice cream for breakfast, or three slices of turkey with half a chocolate bar and an apple for lunch, you begin to blur the line between snacks and meals."
Ready for the main course -- the list of 31 junk foods you should eat?
Abby says, "These foods have no artificial ingredients, such as partially hydrogenated oils, colors, flavors, preservatives or artificial sweeteners. Incorporating these foods into your day will prevent binge eating their unhealthy counterparts.
"Think of them as a meal by themselves or as part of a meal. This assures that their calories are not added above and beyond meals, which could get you in trouble.
"You don't go off your diet to have chips, cookies, ice cream and chocolate. They become your diet and will most likely help you to become a much healthier eater than you are now."
The Healthy Junk Foods
· Newman's Own Organics cookies: Fig Newmans (low fat), chocolate chips, orange chocolate chips, double chocolate chips, and mint chocolate chips. (Try warming them in a toaster oven). TIP: Try his Tops & Bottoms Delicious Chocolate Wafer together with Natural By Nature Organic Whipped Cream.
· Brent & Sam's All Natural line of cookies, such as oatmeal raisin pecan and chocolate chip pecan.
· Heaven Scent cookies, especially Graham Angelica's (these are good frozen)
· Karen's Fabulous Biscotti
Chips 'n Pretzels 'n Popcorn
· Robert's American Gourmet, The Dude's Chips and Pirate's Booty
· Lay's DORITOS Natural White Nacho Cheese tortilla chips
· Garden of Eatin' Sesame Blues (taste like corn chips)
· Newman's Own pretzels, or Pennystick pretzels
· Snyder's of Hanover Pumpernickel and Onion organic pretzels
· Little Bear Lite Buttery popcorn (already popped and packaged in a bag)
· Bearito's Crunchitos (taste like Cheetos)
· Wise Potato Chips (ingredients: potatoes, natural oil (not partially hydrogenated), salt). I prefer lightly salted.
· Lay's Potato Chips "Classic"
· Good Health Organic Chips, "Cracked Pepper"
· Lay's Smartfood popcorn, white cheddar cheese
· Poppycock, original flavor. (Better plan for eating the whole box in one sitting, just in case. They're incredibly addicting and a lot of calories, but worth it!)
· Genisoy chocolate Soy Nuts (To die for, with 4g of protein and 2g of fiber!)
· Banner Chocolate Bridge Mix (almonds, raisins and peanuts drenched in chocolate). What a delicious meal! Eat the whole box for lunch and count as 420 calories with 10 g protein and 6g of fiber.
· All-natural ice cream, such as Breyers. Check ingredients!
· Kozy Shack chocolate pudding, rice pudding (try it hot with cinnamon), flan.
· Ah!laska chocolate syrup, with filtered raspberry seltzer and a little Silk (vanilla soy milk) or milk (preferably organic).
· Ah!laska Organic Cocoa (also good with a little vanilla Silk soy milk or organic milk).
· Van's original whole-wheat waffles with all-natural maple syrup, butter, ice cream or strawberries and all-natural whipped cream (i.e., Natural By Nature).
· Newman's Own chocolate bars
· All natural salsa, such as Newman's Own
· Tropical Source chocolate raspberry bar and other chocolate bars.
· Cloud Nine chocolate bars
· Tree of Life almond butter with Nocciolate hazelnut spread (tastes like Nutella but is organic... spill out most of the oil in both, and eat together out of the jar or on cinnamon raisin toast). Yummy!
· Barbara's Nature's Choice Coconut Almond Chocolatey Dipped Desserts
· John Wm. Macy's Sweet Sticks, Java Cinnamon
· Stretch Island Fruit Leather. (I like to eat it with small bites of chocolate!)
· Stacy's Baked Pita Chips (As healthy as white flour can be, but they're chemical-free.)
· Barbara's Bakery Puffins, Cereal and Milk Bars
Abby warns, "The worst fats are the fake ones! Say good-bye to partially hydrogenated oils."
This site was last updated 01/27/05