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 BAKED FRUIT: Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
WHAT SNACK ITEMS ARE YOUR FAVORITE? Please share!
Do you ever buy snacks/groceries on Amazon? Why/why not?