The past couple years have been about ditching fast-food and embracing healthier options.  Supermarket shelves are lined with whole-grain breads, gluten-free pastas, low sodium chips, and nonfat fruit snacks.  But unlike most food trends that eventually fade away like high-low hems and floral print miniskirts, eating healthy is like a little black dress.  It compliments your mood and it’s always in style.

Here are some of the most natural, delicious, and popular snacks of 2012.

Chobani Yogurt

Could Chobani really be any better?  At 140 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fat it’s like a little cup of health food heaven.  But Chobani yogurt has proven again and again that it is not just a breakfast food.  The Chobani website has an extensive list of recipes using the yogurt, ranging from coconut shrimp to chocolate mousse.

Edamame

This little peapod vegetable has been popping up on restaurant menus and grocery stores shelves everywhere.  Whether you buy them whole or pre-shelled, edamame is a simple, tasty snack that needs little more than a quick steam and a sprinkle of salt.  But the ever versatile soybean can be dressed up just as easily with more exotic spices and techniques.

For those seeking a bit more from their afternoon delight, here is a link for a recipe for roasted garlic edamame.

Hummus

Photo: Stuff White People Like

Why is this beige mash up of chickpeas and lemon juice so popular?  Simple.  It makes the perfect dip for virtually any chip, cracker, or vegetable while still falling well within the guidelines for a healthy snack.  Hummus is a great source of fiber and contains no sugar.  Though it’s rather high in calories, it’s a much better alternative to sandwich spreads such as mayonnaise or vegetable dips like ranch dressing.  Plus, anyone who has tried hummus knows that choosing this healthier option is a gain in both nutrients and flavor.  That’s what’s called a win-win.

 Lära Bars

Lära Bars have to win the prize for having the least amount of ingredients listed on their label.  These all-natural bars are made with dried fruit, nuts, and maybe some cinnamon just for fun.  With 20 different flavors, Lära Bars are that perfect go to snack when you’re craving something sweet and deliciously satisfying.  Plus, you don’t need a textbook to figure out what you’re eating.

Kale Chips

Who needs Lays when you can have kale?  This vitamin rich leafy green has been discovered to be a healthier alternative to the classic potato chip.  Unlike water-filled lettuce, kale leaves actually crisp up when baked, transforming the slightly bitter vegetable into a cracker-thin chip.  Toss in a little salt and you have a perfect side for sandwiches and burgers.  Or just bake off a bunch for movie night and munch away.  Even with kale chips it’s hard to eat just one, but this time you don’t have to feel guilty about it.

Here’s a simple recipe to make your own kale chips.

 

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