When you need a quick snack, convenience meal, or just crave a treat, there are many healthier options available that won’t disrupt your healthy diet. Here are a few of my favorite go-to foods that are low in sugar, contain minimal ingredients, and no artificial ingredients.

Snacks

» Hail Merry treats. Made with healthy fats such as coconut oil and almond butter, these treats are a healthier way to get your dessert fix. They contain no artificial ingredients and sweetened with natural sugars such as organic maple syrup and organic coconut sugar.

» Aldi White Cheddar Puffs. If you are looking for an affordable healthier cheese puff for the kiddos, check out Aldi’s White Cheddar Puffs. They are organic, gluten-free, and contain no added sugars.

» BulletProof Collagen Protein Bars. These protein bars are unique to other protein bars considering they contain collagen. Collagen helps to promote skin health and relieve joint pain.

» SkinnyDipped almonds. Nuts make a great protein rich snack. If you are looking for chocolate covered nuts they aren’t loaded with sugar check out the SkinnyDipped almonds.

» Smartcake. These little cakes taste so good, it is hard to believe they are sugar-free. They only contain approximately 38 calories per cake, 5 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. They are soft, sweet and diabetic friendly.

» Simple Mills cookies and crackers. I love Simple Mills cookies and crackers because they are made without refined flour and instead use almond and seed flour, and sweetened with coconut sugar opposed to refined white sugar.

» Beanitos Chips. Made from beans opposed to potatoes, contains 5 grams of plant protein, and no preservatives.

» Alter Eco clusters: 70 percent dark chocolate, organic coconut flakes, and minimal ingredients; these are a delicious way to treat yourself.

» RXBar. Protein bars made with real ingredients, and usually 5 ingredients are less. They are naturally sweetened and contain protein from egg whites.

Hu chocolate bars. Made with cacao, sweetened with coconut sugar, and no artificial ingredients, this is one of the healthiest chocolate bars available.

Drinks

» Rebbl Hazelnut Chocolate Protein drink. It is hard for me to leave Food Matters without one of these rich, creamy, chocolate protein drinks. It taste too good to be a good-for-you drink. It only contains 4 grams of sugar which comes from coconut sugar. It also contains super herbs including maca, ashwaganda and reishi.

» Kombucha. I drink kombucha often to get a dose of probiotics. However, many contain excessive sugar. Look for ones that contain approximately 6 grams or less of added sugar. Some of my favorite brands include Kevita, GT, and Health-Ade.

» Zevia soda. If you are trying to niche the soda habit, consider Zevia sodas. They have zero calories, made with real ingredients, and sweetened with the natural sweetener stevia.

» Sparkling water. Sparking water is available just about everywhere now. But don’t think you have to pay a fortune for this bubbly treat. Aldi and Walmart have their own brand of sparkling water at an affordable price.

» Vermont Village flavored apple cider vinegar. Want the benefits of apple cider vinegar but in a way that actually taste good? Check out Vermont Village flavored vinegars which are a combination of raw apple cider vinegar, honey and a fruit or root, without processed sugars or additives. I am a believer in the benefits of apple cider vinegar -- it has been shown to boost immunity, provide probiotics, and can help with GI disorders such as reflux.

» Califia Farms Better Half Hazelnut coffee creamer. Made with coconut cream, almond milk and sweetened with the natural, zero calorie sweetener, monk fruit.

Convenience meals

» Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola Cereal: Need a quick breakfast that is not a sugar-loaded cereal? Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola is made with ancient grains and free of refined sugar.

» Birch pancake mix. A healthier, convenience pancake option that isn’t loaded with refined sugar.

» Amy’s frozen meals. Many frozen meal brands should be avoided. But Amy’s frozen meals are made with clean ingredients.

» Caulipower pizza. An actually healthier way to eat frozen pizza! Made with cauliflower crust and no artificial ingredients.

» Banza pasta. Pasta made with chickpeas opposed to refined flour which means higher in protein, fiber, and lower in carbs. And, it takes like actually pasta.

Condiments

» Coconut Secret sauces. All of Coconut Secret sauces are free of refined sugar and use coconut sugar as the sweetener. They are also soy free, organic, gluten-free, and contain no artificial ingredients. My favorites include the teriyaki and soy sauce.

» Primal Kitchen dressings. Made with healthy fats, no refined sugar, and clean ingredients. Primal Kitchen brand offers a variety of dressings and condiments including mayonnaise, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and salad dressings.

Mandy Nix is a registered dietician who writes a weekly nutrition column for The News Herald.

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