Metropolitan Mama’s “BEST SNACKS”

Over the past five months, our editorial team (which included a very eager 3-year-old and 5-year-old) has been sampling snacks. We’ve tasted over 50 brands of chocolates, chips, popsicles, peanut butters, pretzels, and more. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it!

Before accepting samples from companies, we ensured that they were made withOUT high fructose corn syrup and that they had a relatively low ingredient count.

We proudly present Metropolitan Mama’s BEST SNACKS OF 2012.

best snacks Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

 

BEST BAKED FRUIT: Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips

Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

Made with only two ingredients (organic apples grown in Washington State and organic cinnamon), these crunchy chips are an ideal companion for hikes or home. Note that they are 100% organic and gluten free. You can buy on Amazon or at Costco, Whole Foods, Walmart, and a number of grocery stores.

BEST NUT MIX: Sahale Snacks – Valdosta Blend

Sahale Snacks Valdosta Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

Pecans, sweet cranberries, black pepper, and orange zest make for a blend that is sorta sweet; sorta zippy. Can’t really describe it, except that it is AMAZING – “gourmet good.” I saved a bag of this for a post-labor “you did it” luxury and it did not disappoint. You can buy on Amazon or at Costco, Whole Foods, Starbucks, and other retailers.

BEST FRUIT/VEGGIE POUCH: GoGo squeeZ Apple Apple Applesauce

GoGo Squeez Apple Apple Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

100% fruit. No added sugar. Gluten and dairy-free. Mess-free. Smooth and delicious. We’ve only tried the Apple Apple flavor, but the Apple Peach and Apple Banana look appealing too. Buy on Amazon or from Costco, Target, and other grocers.

BEST CHIPS: Late July Organic

Late July Mild Green Mojo Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKSLate July Dude Ranch Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

USDA Certified Organic, these chips are both healthful and scrumptious. We particularly enjoyed the Mild Green Mojo and the Dude Ranch (like Doritos without the chemical-y aftertaste), but none of the tortilla chips will leave your tastebuds lacking. This family-owned company is based in Massachusetts and spans 3 generations. You can buy on Amazon or at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or Costco. P.S. Has anyone tried their cookies?

BEST FRUIT LEATHER: Stretch Island Original Fruit Strips

Stretch Island Fruit Strip Orchard Cherry Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS Stretch Island Fruit Strip Summer Strawberry Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS Stretch Island Fruit Strip Harvest Grape Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

Toss a few of these Original Fruit Strips in your backpack when you’re running around town. Made with real fruit puree and no added sugar, each strip is 45 calories and has 9g of sugar. Orchard Cherry is my favorite, followed by Summer Strawberry and Harvest Grape. You can buy on Amazon or at Sprouts, Costco, Safeway, or Fry’s.

BEST DRIED FRUIT: Philippine Brand Dried Mangoes

Philippine Brand Dried Mangoes Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

We dare you to eat just one of these soft and sweet mango pieces. Little ones will gobble them up too! The only downside? A high sugar count. You can buy on Amazon or at Costco.

BEST CHEESE: Tillamook Medium Cheddar

Tillamook Medium Cheddar Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

This big orange block from the pacific northwest is consistently delish. Paired with crackers, toasted on bread for a grilled cheese sandwich, or grated & melted on an english muffin, it is sure to be adored by anyone who enjoys cheese. You can buy at Costco & Fry’s.

BEST PEANUT BUTTER: Sunland Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter

Sunland Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

I probably would never have picked this out all on my own, but it’s surprisingly decadent. Tim & I swirled it into Vanilla ice cream, but we also enjoyed it plain by the spoonful and with pretzels + fresh fruit. Find it at Whole Foods.

BEST PRETZELS: H.K. Anderson Peanut-Butter Filled Nuggets

H.K. Anderson Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

The pretzel exterior is salty and the peanut butter interior is creamy. Here’s a tip: crush these pretzels into vanilla ice cream for a particularly tasty dessert. Buy on Amazon or at Costco.

BEST LICORICE: RJ’s Natural Black Soft Eating Licorice

RJs Natural Black Soft Eating Licorice Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

Some people like licorice chewy, but we prefer it soft. RJ’s is a New Zealand company that *knows* licorice. The flavor is distinct, without being overpowering. I’d love to taste the raspberry variety as well. Buy on Amazon or on the New Zealand Natural Goods website.

BEST POPSICLE: Jolly Llama Real Fruit Sorbet Squeezeups

Jolly Llama Raspberry Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS Jolly Llama Peach Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

Try these and you’ll be ruined for ordinary popsicles forever. These creamy sorbets are dairy free, gluten free, and contain no artificial ingredients. There are six flavors – raspberry took first place, with peach coming in at a close second. You can buy on Amazon, at Whole Foods, or at Sprouts.

BEST ICE CREAM: Graeter’s

Graeters Chocolate Chocolate Chip Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS Graeters Mint Chocolate Chip1 Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

Before this year, we had never tasted Graeter’s. We were missing out! This creamy ice cream is the kind you want to savor. Made from fresh cream (with no rBST) and sweetened with 100% cane sugar (never high-fructose corn syrup), the ingredients are clearly high-quality. Even the most “basic” flavors beat out other brands. Try the chocolate chip ones because the chocolate they use is top-notch. Buy at Fry’s Food/Kroger.

*TIED WITH*: Haagen-Dazs

Haagen Dazs Five Coffee Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS Haagen Dazs Strawberry Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS Haagen Dazs Blueberry Crumble Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

The Haagen-Dazs pledge is to “find the purest and finest ingredients in the world and craft them into the best ice cream.” This commitment is evident in their product quality. We especially like the FIVE line that features only five ingredients. A few of our favorite flavors are pictured. Available at most grocers.

BEST “FANCY SNACK”: Dark Nuts & Chews by See’s Candies

Sees Dark Chocolate Nuts Chews Metropolitan Mamas BEST SNACKS

When you see the See’s logo, you know you’re going to get good chocolate. The 1-pound box of dark chocolate nuts and chews is an especially good pick. Buy on Amazon or at a See’s Candies shop.

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WHAT SNACK ITEMS ARE YOUR FAVORITE? Please share! 

Do you ever buy snacks/groceries on Amazon? Why/why not?

  • http://inspiredrd.com Alysa (InspiredRD)

    These are all great! We always have a giant box of the fruit leathers on hand.

  • Terri F

    Thanks for a great post!! Must have been a tough job, but someone had to do it, right? I have heard of a few of these, but others are new. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for them!

  • Cheryl

    I saw the Valdosta pecans at Walmart today ($3.88) and picked up a bag since you recommended them. They are tasty! I have tried most of the other recommendations except the chips and nut butter. Nothing seems to beat nutella for me. Tried a friends chocolate Jif and did not care for that. Thanks for the ideas.

    • Stephanie

      Good to know that Walmart sells the Valdosta nut mix! I’ll look for it there.

      I honestly didn’t think I would like chocolate peanut butter, but Sunland made a believer out of me.

  • http://www.crunchyconservativemommy.blogspot.com Crunchy Con Mommy

    Oh my goodness. I am so hungry now, and so sad that there is neither a Costco nor Whole Foods anywhere near me, so I can’t even run out and buy the things I’m drooling over right now (and they are probably closed in the midddle of the night). The popsicles are especially calling my name…

    When did you feel like your kids were safe eating apple chips? We haven’t done many crispy foods with our son yet, but he just turned 3 so he can probably handle more than we’ve given him. I just worry that apple chips would be just soft/chewy enough they’d be hard to get little bites off of, you know??

    • Stephanie

      Those apple chips are actually bake-dried so they’re not soft/chewy at all…only crunchy. The cinnamon adds a little “zip.” My husband was especially a big fan.

  • Katelyn

    Around here we try to stick with fresh fruit or veggies (not a hit with my 2 year old but I keep trying,) cheese, crackers, plain whole milk yogurt, or homemade green smoothie pops. My 2 year old hasn’t been introduced to nuts so we limit them for ourselves as well because he usually wants a taste of whatever we’re eating. He also doesn’t do dried fruit because it’s just too difficult to chew. I’ve never purchased food from Amazon mainly because we eat so little processed foods and because it’s so much easier, faster, and usually cheaper to buy what I need from the grocery store.

  • Jenn

    I’ve thought about buying these types of snacky foods and household goods like toilet paper from Amazon, but never have done it.

    Thanks for the snack list – I’ve been trying to find some new ones that aren’t loaded with sugar or are over-processed. I think I’m going to have to buy a Costco membership just so I can try some Tillamook cheese and See’s Candies are at the top of my list of favorites. So good!

  • http://www.adamshome.blogspot.com erin a.

    I’ll check out the Jolly Llama pops, to see if they are better than the Smooze pops. We are in love with Smooze. They are also on Amazon or Whole Foods. http://www.amazon.com/Smooze-Natural-Fruit-Coconut-Guava/dp/B002LDA2NY/ref=pd_sim_gro_1
    Coconut & Passion Fruit or Coconut & Pink Guava… We imagine we are in Hawaii, but we are really in our own backyard.

    • Stephanie

      Smooze is not a brand we’ve tried. Thanks for the recommendation! Where do you usually buy the pops?

  • http://www.adamshome.blogspot.com erin a.

    I’ve always picked them up at whole foods. But I totally shop from Amazon for similar type things, if I can’t make a trip to Whole Foods for whatever it may be. I love Amazon!

    • Stephanie

      So do I! The prices really can’t be beat…and it’s so nice that the site offers free shipping for so many purchases! Whenever we’re about to make a trip into town to buy something, we always stop and ask, “Can we buy this on Amazon?” :)