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Your Guide to the Snacking Food Groups

A taxonomy of tasty for parents who snack (and want to eat healthier).

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This article was produced in partnership with Simple Truth®.

The greatest joy of parenting is the bond between parent and child. The second greatest joy of parenting is that the person who makes all the rules is in prime position to break all the rules. For every responsibility that parents take on, there’s a moment, sometimes late at night or when we’re otherwise alone, when we get to toss aside all the family regulations. We leave dishes in the sink overnight, we walk through the living room with our shoes on, and we treat ourselves to screen time before all our other work is done. And after another long day of convincing our kids to eat the healthiest food and most well-balanced meals that we can put together, there comes the moment when we sneak away for some unregulated time in the snack drawer.

No matter how committed we are to healthy eating, snacks are a critical part of the parental diet. Between the time crunch, the constant movement from home to school to extracurriculars and back, and availability of kid-sized portions of food around us constantly, parents turn to snacks again and again to keep our energy up from the morning school bus to the midnight couch session. And if parents are going to keep any kind of control over the amount that they eat, we’ll need to keep a clear eye on the genres of snack that modern society has produced and on those magical items that combine the tastes we crave with the nutrition that we need. And to do that, we’ll need to settle the age-old battle between the twin titans of Snacking Food Groups: Sweet and Savory.

Inside the heart of every grown-up beats the heart of a kid who is forever on the hunt for a sweet treat. From cookies and candy to chocolate-covered raisins and bars of every kind, there are thousands of ways to improve your day with a quick blast of sugar. Parents tend to indulge in these snacks behind closed doors or in kid-heavy situations where it’s easy to point the finger of blame elsewhere.

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But refined sugar and chemical additives are usually high on the list of ingredients that parents are trying to avoid. Luckily, though, there are many roads to sweetness, and a little ingenuity reveals all the treats that are kinder to our health. Fruit can be a saving grace here, bringing sweetness to snacks like Simple Truth™ Blueberry Cashew Trail Mix Bites and Simple Truth™ Sweet Plantain Chips without the sugar overdose.

Savory snacks are a temptation to parents partially because they’re the “adult” snacks- not just a quick fix for a sweet tooth or a burst of energy from a sugary treat. A parent who turns to popcorn or pretzels for an easy bite to eat is, on some level, acknowledging the mantle of adulthood. Even potato chips, in all their infinite variety, require a palette that can distinguish between the tang of sour cream and onion and the deep salty umami of the classic BBQ.

Savory snacks, though, can be just as loaded with bad fats and excess salt, and parents who raid the chips have no health advantage over their sweet-toothed compatriots. There’s a saving grace, though- as all the thousands of items in the chip aisle remind us, there’s more flavor at stake in savory snacks than just salt- there’s the earthy crunch of nuts, the fragrance of pesto or tahini, or so many other flavors. So it’s very possible to get our flavor fix while steering towards more responsible ingredients.

One technique discovered by Dads in the mists of antiquity is to shift from potato-based snacks to nuts and seeds. There are other, more inventive substitutions too, like Simple Truth™ Popped BBQ Protein Crisps, which deliver all the flavor of BBQ potato chips on popped discs of soy protein. Even more ingenious are Simple Truth™ Sea Salt Cassava Chips, cassava root chips fried in sunflower oil, and Simple Truth™ Sea Salt Veggie Straws, which have 30% less fat than regular potato chips. With Simple Truth®, there’s a universe of novel, creative, and *delicious* savory snacks just waiting to be discovered.

Which is better- sweet or savory? The answer to that question can only be found deep in the hearts of hungry Moms and Dads. The main benefit of snacks, after all, is that after a long day of rule enforcement sacrifice for others, we finally get a little taste of exactly what we want. More and more, we can indulge that impulse with snacks that satisfy our cravings with ingredients that are better for us.

Kroger’s Simple Truth® provides all-natural ingredients for fresh creations suitable for any diet. We have a lot of love for these brands in this article, and while it is sponsored content, we are honest fans.