5 Healthy Crunchy Snacks

1. Roasted Edamame

You may be familiar with edamame from Japanese restaurants, where they're often served steamed. But these immature soybeans really shine when laid out on a pan, spritzed with oil, salted, and roasted until crispy. You'll never believe these addictive little poppers are loaded with not only vitamins and minerals, but also fiber and a hefty dose of protein.

2. Apple Slices

If you're used to eating apples whole, you'll gain a new appreciation for them sliced up and arranged prettily across a plate. This fun finger food pairs well with protein-rich dips such as peanut butter or cottage cheese (add cinnamon for some zing). It's also perfect with an ounce of low-fat cheese cubes; the combination of sweet and savory in every bite really satisfies.

3. Flavored Popcorn

Popcorn's crunch is unmatched, and it delivers fiber. If you're tired of having it plain, try adding your own flavors. Melt a small amount of butter over the popcorn or apply a few spritzes of butter-flavored spray, then experiment. Want Cajun corn? Add garlic, paprika, onion, and cayenne. Looking for a sweet treat reminiscent of country fair? Sprinkle sugar or sugar substitute and cinnamon over the popcorn.

4. Kale Chips

Kale is one of the most nutritious leafy green vegetables out there, but it also crisps up perfectly into a decadent potato chip substitute. Fresh kale leaves can be washed and dried thoroughly, laid out on a cookie sheet (parchment paper works well too), sprinkled or sprayed with oil, slightly salted, and baked until the edges brown but not burn. Eat straight off the sheet.

5. Freeze-Dried Fruit Crisps

Found in some breakfast cereals and sold separately in lots of varieties, this twist on fresh fruit has been found to offer levels of antioxidant phytochemicals. These crunchy little nuggets travel well and are fun to eat. Mix and match several types and add nuts if you need a protein boost.




American Institute for Cancer Research. "Freeze-Dried Fruits Are a Good Health Choice?" Web. May 2006. http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page+NewsArticle&id=9917&news_iv_ctrl=0&abbr=pr_

Syracuse University, David B. Falk College of Sport & Human Dynamics. "SU Dietetic Intern Finds Nutritious Replacement for Potato Chips." Web. http://falk.syr.edu/NutritionScienceDietetics/Default.aspx

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "What is Edamame?" Web. www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442453006