This week the Food Channel announced its Top Ten Snack Trends for 2010 and the vast majority of them are great news for people who are working on losing weight and getting healthier. Here are the trends and some ideas for each.
1. Chip and Dip 2.0: The trend is going away from traditional potato chips to more healthful dippers like multigrain pretzels or lighter chips, such as Popchips or new Potato Flyers, from Pirate Brands. And the dips are far from French onion. Hummus in a variety of flavors is making a big push into snacktime. Tribe has a new line of hummus, called Tribe Origins, which are topped with chunky flavor additions. Tribe Origins comes in four flavors: Classic, Spicy Red Pepper, Tomato & Veggie, and Zesty Spice & Garlic, all of which are protein, fiber and flavor packed.
2. Small and Sensational: Restaurants are downsizing some of their offerings, such as sliders, snack wraps and tiny tacos. None of these things are health food, per se, but if you’re having a burger craving, it’s easier to stay within your calorie limits when dining out.
3. The Drink Shift: Beverages are getting away from high-fructose corn syrup and gassy colas toward more sensible green teas, lightly sweetened lemonades and fruit-infused waters. Some great drinks to try include O.N.E. flavored coconut waters, Hint fruit-flavored calorie-free waters and Honest Tea’s Half & Half lemonade/tea blend.
4. Goin’ Nuts: No longer off limits to people on weight-loss plans, nuts and nut blends are finding their way into snacktime. Nuts contain healthy fats, which are part of a balanced diet. The key is portion control, and places like Starbucks are adding nutty choices to their grab-and-go snack choices. One great addition is Sahale Snacks in single-serve pouches, which blend fruit, nuts and spices into a satisfying 150-calorie or so snack.
5. Fruits: The Low-Hanging Snack: Here’s an encouraging stat — Fresh fruit is now the No. 1 snack among kids aged 2 to 17. Fresh fruit is popping up in unexpected places, like Disney theme parks and fast-food restaurants. And if you like your fruit frozen, check out Edy’s/Dreyer’s new line of Antioxidant Fruit Bars, which come in Acai/Blueberry or Pomegranate flavors. (Both flavors are excellent and only 60-70 calories per bar.)
6. Cruising the Bars: Protein bars are a great grab-n-go snack or meal, depending on your calorie allotment or nutritional needs. Larabars are great for a substantial afternoon snack of dried fruit and nuts, plus they don’t melt in the heat. They’re perfect for stashing in your purse when everyone else is hitting the theme park churro stand. If you’re looking for protein, a personal fave is whey protein-packed Detour, which comes in many sizes and calorie levels (the Caramel Peanut low-sugar smaller size is great). They have a cool online tool to help you find your perfect bar.
7. Sweet and Salty: Caramel with sea salt is most definitely not diet food, but you can partake of the salty/sweet trend with something like a serving of salted pretzels dipped into a tablespoon of almond butter or perhaps a Clif Mojo Bar for around 200 calories and 10 grams of protein.
8. Yogurt, Redefined: When it comes to yogurt trends, it’s all Greek to us. The style of yogurt, which is creamier, thicker and more protein packed than regular yogurt, can be found just about everywhere. Some great brands to try: Voskos, which has wonderful little snack-sized cups of flavored Greek yogurt, and Chobani, which has a fruit stand of flavors in nonfat and 2 percent fat.
9. Bodaciously Bold: Super spicy foods are cranking up the heat in unexpected places. And spicy foods have another benefit aside from a blast of flavor: They can boost your metabolism. One crazy place to find spicy is in Prometheus Springs capsaicin-spiked drinks. The Lemon-Ginger drink is great because a little goes a long way and the flavor combo is great.
10. Nostalgia’s New Again: OK, this trend is one to stay away from if you’re trying to lose weight. We’re talking about a renewed love of TastyKakes, Ring Dings and Twinkies. But if you can control your cravings, there is a built-in benefit to these snack cakes: They’re individually wrapped so you can enjoy one every week or so as a “cheat” snack.