By Carrie Havranek
There are so many reasons we’re big fans of Target but the explosion of the food section of the last few years has made shopping there even more enjoyable. Now in addition to filling our carts with all sorts of cute and clever items, a few smartly-packaged healthy-looking snacks usually end up in there as well because let’s face it: Who doesn’t love snacks?
But snacking can add up quickly if you aren’t paying attention or snacking smartly. Ideally, we want to maximize your nutrition when we’re reaching for something in mid-afternoon to sustain us until dinner (hello, nuts!) or keep the kids under control in the back seat during long car rides (looking at you, dried fruit). Otherwise, we just end up feeling worse, right? We’ve found a few that we really like, and it’s no accident that many of them are organic and from better-for-you Target house brand, Good and Gather.
Any form of mango — fresh, frozen, dried — that comes into my house will unquestionably be eaten within 48 hours of purchasing it, so with these dried ones, I usually buy two bags. I like this particular brand because there’s no extra sugar added during dehydration; mangos are sweet enough on their own. Fresh is often better because it’s less processed, but dried fruit in the car wins hands down because it’s less messy. You get a couple grams of fiber and some potassium in each serving.
You can count on Target to have the big 20-ounce bags of these almost always available, and what’s great is that they’re already shelled so you can just dig right in. The salt and pepper option is tasty, but we wouldn’t turn down any of them, really. Pistachios contain monounsaturated fats (heart healthier than saturated ones) and are a great source of all kinds of minerals including potassium, copper, and manganese, along with vitamin B6.
Deglet Noor pitted dates are smaller than Medjool dates and much softer, making them easier to eat out of hand. Dates can be expensive, but these are reasonably priced; I found them for $3.99 for a 10-ounce container at my Target. Dates contain magnesium, potassium, manganese, and copper, along with 3 grams of fiber for every 1/4 cup serving. And because they’re so naturally sweet, you only need a couple of them to satisfy your sweet tooth.
String cheese is a perennial fave among kids — whether on their own or when paired with mini pretzels and fresh-cut apples. Organic cheese can get pricey, especially when it’s packaged directly for snacking, but this one retails for about $2.99 at my local Target. And we all know cheese is a good source of protein, right? 7 grams in each serving! And because this string cheese is organic, you can count on it to be made with milk free of rBST, rGBH, and antibiotics. Oh, and the most important part? They’re mild and creamy and taste just like you’d want mozzarella to taste!
These organic chickpea-based puffs prove that you can make something delicious and nutritious and snacky without sacrificing anything in the taste department. The Nacho Vibes version has 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber and won’t leave your fingers coated with a neon-orange residue. They’re just the right level of cheesiness—in the best, non-fake way possible.
You know how mixed nuts often have lots of peanuts because they’re cheap in comparison to many other nuts? Well, there are no peanuts at all in this mix, leaving you free to enjoy all the pecans, almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts. There’s just the right amount of salt here, and these nuts come in at 5 grams of protein per ounce, and also pack some good amounts of magnesium, iron, and manganese.
These bite-sized, gluten-free organic granola balls have a cute factor going for them, sure, but they also taste great too. With strawberry pieces and strawberry puree, and rolled oats, they’re not too sweet and have a decent amount of vitamins in them thanks to veggie extracts. These minis are better than the average granola snack, too, with 2 grams of protein and fiber apiece, 6 total grams of sugar, no saturated fat, and 12 grams of whole grains. Also available in Mixed Berry, Chocolate Banana, and Chocolate Chip varieties.