For many families, spring and summer can be the busiest times of the year. Between sports, end of school year activities, trips to the cottage and busy lives in general, it seems like mealtime routines are sometimes hard to maintain. I love to have a stash of tasty, reasonably healthy snacks on hand to fill in the gaps when things get really hectic. I’ve recently tasted a few new (or new-to-me) products that I’m happy to share because they fit the bill for my family. Most are Canadian-made by small food producers so it feels good to support these entrepreneurs. I may never eat another fishie cracker or chocolate chip granola bar again!
Bella Quinoa Skinny Crackers – These are the newest flavour in enerjive’s fantastic product line, created by Ottawa’s culinary wizard Korey Kealey. Made from quinoa flakes, millet, sunflower seeds and lots of other good things, these gluten-free crackers pack an Italian-inspired savoury punch. Because they are so crispy and flavourful, they are enjoyable to eat (unlike some tasteless healthy crackers) yet also very satisfying, either as a snack or as part of a meal. I particularly like that they are high in fibre and low in sodium; they’re also a great source of iron. I enjoy them on their own, or with dips like hummus. Skinnys are available in several flavours but the Bella are my favourite (with chocolate a close second).
The Simply Bar – Created by Toronto’s Cathy Richards of Wellness Foods who was looking for a filling and nutritious snack that didn’t upset her sensitive stomach (she has Crohn’s disease), Simply Bars are delicious and keep my hunger at bay for hours. The tasty high-protein bars come in several varieties and are gluten free, low in sugar and calories, as well as being vegetarian and kosher. There’s even Simply Whey bars which are nut and soy free plus loaded with calcium. My husband really enjoys their Simply Protein Chips too.
Neal Brothers Kettle Chips – every so often, only chips will satisfy my snack craving. Canadian food gurus Neal Brothers Foods have introduced a new line of naturally-flavoured kettle chips to celebrate their company’s 25th anniversary. So what makes these chips different? They are cholesterol and preservative free, made from non-GMO potatoes. I’ve tried the Pink Salt and Vinegar, the Himalayan Pink Salt and the Sweet & Smoky BBQ varieties and all were delicious without tasting over-seasoned. I also really liked the fact that they didn’t make my fingers all greasy. I’m eagerly anticipating the launch next month of their Maple Bacon chips!
Greens+ Hip to be Healthy Squares – this grab and go raw food snack hails from Toronto’s Genuine Health and is made with 100% natural and 75% organic ingredients, including raw oats, almond butter, brown rice crisps and a patented energy-enhancing, research-proven mixture called greens+ which is a 100% natural blend of 29 nutrient-rich superfoods, sea vegetables and high-energy herbal extracts. Unlike many energy bars, the squares are low in calories and contain just a small amount of natural sugar while serving up a generous helping of protein and fibre. I particularly like the dark chocolate coated version.
Sea Salt & Pepper Brown Rice Crisps – these crunchy little Christie crackers feel like a guilty pleasure because they are so darn tasty. Gluten free, they are made with whole grains and are relatively low in sodium though they have a surprisingly salty taste. The best part? Each serving (9 crackers) dishes up 2 grams of fibre and just 90 calories. They’re so yummy they’re great on their own but equally delicious with cheese, dips, etc.
Buckshots – made from buckwheat, an ancient, gluten-free grain, buckshots are tasty little nuggets packed with crunch and flavour. Produced by Manitoba’s Stone Milled Specialty Grains, a family-owned business doing small-batch custom milling of other gluten-free products such as wild rice, Buckshots come in four yummy varieties and are a great source of iron and amino acids. They’re made of just buckwheat groats, canola oil and natural seasonings.
Disclaimer: I was provided samples by enerjive, Wellness Foods and Neal Brothers; I have happily purchased more since tasting their products.