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FITNESS 2012 Healthy Food Awards: The Best Snacks

The next time you crave something salty, veto the vending machine and reach for one of these "they taste too good to be good for you" snacks instead.

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Healthy chips
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
Claire Benoist
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Best of the Crunch

Every once in a while (or every afternoon, if you're like some of us!) you just have to have a treat that's crunchy and salty but not greasy. To help you get your fix, we worked with our team of nutritionists to choose eight snacks -- after taste-testing dozens -- that are totally satisfying yet contain no more than 150 calories and eight grams of fat per serving. Gratification without the guilt? Consider it in the bag.

What Makes a Winner

Companies submitted more than 120 new salty snacks to FITNESS. Our experts -- Anar Allidina, RD, a dietitian in private practice in Toronto; Keri Gans, RD, the author of The Small Change Diet; and Marissa Lippert, RD, the author of The Cheater's Diet -- analyzed the ingredients and nutrition facts to help us determine which ones deserved to move to the next round of judging. Those finalists were sampled in blind taste tests and voted on by dozens of staffers throughout our company.

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Kettle Brand Bakes Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips

Several taste testers used the phrase blast of flavor to describe biting into these substantial chips, which contain 65 percent less fat than fried versions. (120 calories per 20)

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Kellogg's Special K Sweet and Salty Popcorn Chips

If you've ever polished off something savory only to reach for candy or cookies minutes later, this best-of-both-worlds pick is for you. "The corn-chip-meets-caramel-corn flavor is unexpected but totally delicious!" one staffer raved. (120 calories per 28)

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Archer Farms Spicy Six Grain Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips with Ancient Grains

These triangles, made with protein-packed quinoa and amaranth, were the crunchiest of the bunch. "They're sturdy enough for chunky salsa but have a kick that makes them strong enough to stand alone," one tester said. (140 calories per 9)

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North Fork Rosemary & Garlic Potato Chips

These deliver a "big, smoky taste" but about a third less fat than regular potato chips. "They're so flavorful, I don't think I could overeat them if I tried," a staffer said. (140 calories per 19)

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Food Should Taste Good Salt & Vinegar Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidants, so it's no wonder a single serving of these "tart and tangy" crisps fulfills 150 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement. (150 calories per 14)

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SunChips 6 Grain Medley Creamy Roasted Garlic MultiGrain Snacks

A rippled texture makes these perfect for scooping up dip, but with the cheddar, Parmesan, and Romano cheese in each chip, you may not need it. (140 calories per 15)

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Late July How Sweet Potato It Is Multigrain Snack Chips

Testers liked that these hearty, not-too-salty chips "would pair perfectly with hummus or guac," while our nutritionists loved that they had the least sodium -- just 65 milligrams -- of any of our winners. (130 calories per 9)

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Orville Redenbacher's Classic Kettle Korn

Popcorn is a whole grain, so this snack counts toward the three or more servings you should be eating daily. Bonus: Extra-fluffy kernels mean a pumped-up portion size. (140 calories per 2 1/2 cups)

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2012.

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What do you think? Review this slideshow!

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kkpinnola wrote:

I like this article! Two things to make it better: an actual list we could print to take to the grocery and information about the sodium in each of these snacks.

4/28/2013 10:08:49 AM Report Abuse
allanceella wrote:

The snake is a kind of leisure food and there are many kinds. But i think making them by ourselves is better. Allance food machine supply practical and high-quality snake making machine.

3/6/2013 03:40:58 AM Report Abuse
1drema101 wrote:

It not fat..its carbs and effect on insulin and converted sugar from the process stripped down foods..these so call healthy snacks are not healthy..healthy foods include natural stuff.. whole foods..etc..not false claims..geeze no wonder we struggle with limited choices out there..

1/24/2013 01:13:36 AM Report Abuse

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