A man needs more than a simple three square meals a day. Throughout your waking day, a few snacks are in order. Packaged foods are obviously convenient to have on hand, but so many are high in fat, sodium and high-fructose corn syrup, and low on the good stuff that will sustain your energy and health. Stay clear of the vending machine. Here are four options for smarter snacking and no, we're not talking about those weak-ass 100 calorie packs of imitation cookies.
Energy bars have become an easy thing to keep on hand, but it often seems like you have to choose between a calorie-laden chocolate-covered option or one that's good for you (and tastes like cardboard). Kind Bars strike a balance with their tasty bars made from whole food ingredients like nuts and fruits that are bound together by honey. They come in a wide range of flavors, but the protein-packed Peanut Butter & Strawberry is a favorite because of its comforting PB&J memories.
$15 for a 12-pack, by Kind Snacks
Dried fruit is as convenient and sweet as candy, but because it's high in fiber, it will keep you fuller longer with no sugar crash. Unlike traditional trail mix that is sometimes loaded with hidden added sweeteners or simply unhealthy ingredients, Just Tomatoes' dehydrated fruit is made with no additives. It's just vine-ripened fruit that has been dried at low temperatures to preserve color, flavor and nutrients. Their bite-size Fruit Munchies are like vitamin-rich Sour Patch Kids—sweet, tart and chewy.
$7, by Just Tomatoes Etc.
Pretzels and chips are high in carbohydrates and starches, but seaweed snacks are not. Unfortunately, most seaweed snacks are paper-thin and don't deliver the satisfying crunch that a 3pm bag of Doritos promises. These crunchy (and addictive) roasted onion nori chips have become our Cool Ranch replacements. Plus, they boast a vast array of anti-inflammatory and brain-boosting nutrients: iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc.
$3, at Whole Foods stores; $24 for a 12-pack at Woobo International
These organic California pistachios open naturally on the tree and are flavored with a natural brine (instead of spray-on flavorings). They'll keep hunger at bay with fiber and protein, and are chockfull of vitamins A and E, along with antioxidants vital for healthy eyesight. What's more, you can have 45 of them in one 160 calorie serving. They come in ten varieties, from Spicy Habanero to Onion Garlic, but the Hickory Smoke flavor is our top choice.
$8 for a 12 oz. bag, by Santa Barbara Pistachio Co.