The Best Healthy Snacks to Buy at Target, According to Dietitians
Target can be a great one-stop shop for everything from toiletries to batteries, but one aisle we never let ourselves skip is the snacks section, where some pretty healthy options can be found at surprisingly good prices. But when you’re picking a healthy snack at a big box store like Target, there are some factors to keep in mind.
“If you’re in the mood for a baked good, pick one with a nutritious flour, like whole wheat, chickpea, or almond flour, instead of enriched wheat flour, which is a refined flour,” says Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD. These options provide more protein, fiber, and nutrition, so they’re healthier and more satisfying.
It’s also a good idea to select snacks with a tame amount of added sugar. This varies by category, and the differences can be extreme. The yogurt category is a perfect example of how much sugar can get packed into an otherwise healthy snack — Yoplait’s Mousse Whips, for instance, appear healthy when you take a glance at them — the label reads “Low-Fat” and “Light & Fluffy” — but innocuous-seeming flavors like Raspberry contain 18 grams of added sugar — that’s just one gram less than a Hostess cupcake.
“Compare labels to find products with less sugar, and make sure they don’t have artificial ingredients,” says Cassetty. “Snacks that provide protein can help manage hunger while whole food carbohydrates provide steady energy,” says Cassetty. Sometimes that can mean pairing two snacks to make a whole one.
Avoid snacks with artificial ingredients, like artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives. “These types of ingredients are red flags for heavily processed snacks,” said Cassetty.
Anything that helps you eat more vegetables is a win. Guacamole mini cups are the perfect dip for vegetables. “You’ll get nutritional goodness from avocados — including three grams of fiber, potassium, and anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat, plus the nutrients from the vegetables you pair it with,” says Cassetty. When it comes to vegetables you can dip, think outside the celery stick-and-baby carrot box: red and orange pepper strips, zucchini slices, and jicama.
Cottage cheese is a filling snack that works as well with fresh fruit in the morning as with crackers in the afternoon. “I keep it on hand for snacks because it’s filling, convenient, and versatile,” says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RDN, co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan. “I love that half a cup cup has 13 grams of protein to keep me fuller for longer. It’s possible to make a sweet or savory snack with plain cottage cheese, too — sometimes I mix it with fresh herbs and seeds, and other times with fresh fruit.”
For flavored yogurt lovers, Siggi’s is among the healthiest choices — it’s the only big brand that has low added sugars across the board, including with their flavors. “Some brands of yogurt are more like dessert in disguise, but with Siggi’s, you can trust that you’re not getting an ice cream scoop’s worth of added sugar in your healthy snack. Besides being lower in sugar, a container of Siggi’s has about 15 grams of protein to help curb hunger,” says Cassetty. Fermented dairy foods, like yogurt skyr, have been shown to help you sleep better, too. And the live active cultures nourish a diverse and healthy gut environment, which may help you relieve stress and prevent stress-related health problems, among other benefits.
Cassetty is all for anything that makes it easier to eat fruit, and these bars deliver. “They have no added sugars since they contain nothing but real fruit, but they taste like a sweet snack,” says Cassetty. Plus, unlike fresh fruit, you can stash a bar in your backpack, car, or desk drawer without worrying that it will get bruised, damaged, or forgotten. Considering that most people don’t meet their fruit requirements, this bar, which has one to two servings of fruit, can be a good way to get a head start on the day’s fruit goals.
There’s nothing like hot popcorn while watching a movie at the end of a long day. “I feel good about the fact that the bag doesn’t contain any chemical or plastic coatings, but besides that, this snack is gluten-free and contains no artificial ingredients,” says Cassetty, who notes that popcorn happens to be 100% whole-grain and filled with antioxidants. “It’s a fantastic snack when you’re stressed and want to eat a lot because it’s airy, so the portion size is very generous and satisfying,” says Cassetty.
This snack is great for kids and adults alike, plus it’s just fun. “These blended fruits and pouches are an easy on-the-go snack that helps you get more plants into your diet. Plus it has prebiotic fibers which are good for your gut microbiome,” says Amanda Sauceda, MS, RDN.
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