The first thing you’d notice if you were to walk into the Women’s Health test kitchen is the view (when you’re on the 29th floor overlooking Central Park, it’s hard not to). But the second thing you’d notice is the snack stash.
At any given moment, there are dozens of options that companies have sent us to try out, some of which aren’t even available in stores yet. And that’s only the test kitchen. Our editorial office around the corner (while lacking in the picturesque view department) holds its own when it comes to food freebies.
So we can say with confidence that when a new healthy-snack trend is on the rise, we’re among the first people to know about it. (Case in point: we saw the CBD-infused invasion coming way before it peaked.)
This year has had a lot of fun new snacking moments so far, from the influx of meat-alternative products to new picks that use cheese as the main (and sometimes only!) ingredient. Here, the top crazes to make room in your pantry for.
1. More And More Protein
This of-the-moment macro is being added to tons of snack foods, from chips to sweets. And the old standby energy bars are packing even higher levels of protein than they did previously. Also exciting: Manufacturers are using new sources (think: peas or egg whites), offering you more ways to load up on filling and muscle-building protein between meals.
2. Mushroom-Based Snacks
Snack manufacturers love ‘shrooms because they’re naturally vegan, gluten-free, and low-carb (so! many! buzzwords!). WH eds love them because…all of the above. And they’re crazy-tasty, of course.
Old-school cheese puffs have some (much better for you) competition these days. No matter which flavors or ingredients you’re into, there’s a puff product for you—and a lot of them come with added bonuses, like being vegan or high-protein.
4. Lower-Sugar Yogurts
Remember when almost every label touted that your favorite yogurts were “sugar-free”…and that was code for “contains artificial sweeteners“? The new trend is using the OG stuff in smaller quantities—so you don’t blow your daily sugar budget in one snack.
Yogurt isn’t the only snack packing good-for-your-gut bacteria these days. Tons of products now come with a dose of probiotics—so you can help your gut by munching on chips, bars, puffs. Take your pick.
6. Healthy Chips 3.0
First, there were baked chips. Then, kale chips answered your crunch-salty craving prayers. Now, the latest wave of better-for-you chips are here in the form of quinoa chips, rice chips, lentil chips—the list goes on.
7. Faux Meat
With the rise of the Impossible and Beyond burgers, it makes sense that between-meal bites are getting into the meat alternative game, too. In the snack-food aisle, it’s less about imitating meat and more about satisfying plant-based swaps.
8. Granola Bites > Granola Bars
While granola and granola alternatives may not completely own this scene—you can also find cookies, jerky, and fruit snacks in bite form—they do dominate it. WH eds like granola bites because they mean your hunger level can dictate how much or little you have in one go, not snack manufacturers. Plus, they’re just fun!
9. Stealth Veggies
First, cauliflower raided the frozen food aisle at Trader Joe’s in the form of new versions of “rice” and gnocchi. Now, snacks have been hit by the cauli’ craze, too—see: cheese crackers with cauliflower added as an ingredient. Other veggies are being added to the mix now, too.
10. Cheese-Based Snacks
There’s never been a better time to be a cheese lover. Snacks that contain cheese—and sometimes only cheese—are huge. You can find options that are crispy and crunchy, sweet, or savory—and everything in between.