YONKERS ¬– Snackaholics don’t have to give up their favorite treats to maintain a healthy weight. Satisfying, lower-fat versions of foods like chips, cheese and even ice cream are readily available at grocery stores. Consumer Reports found 12 lower-fat options from traditionally high-fat categories that are tasty enough to try.
Consumer Reports targeted lower-fat foods found in supermarkets in popular categories. Food staffers taste-tested dozens of snacks and the best-tasting products made the list.
“It’s easier than ever to snack smart with some of the more healthful snacks available at grocery stores,” said Jamie Hirsh, associate editor, Consumer Reports Health. “We wanted to include popular categories, and focus on new and interesting products that looked appealing, either because of the ingredients, flavor or personal experience.”
The snacks that Consumer Reports tested have about 70 to 140 calories and two to seven grams of fat per serving. Here are 12 standouts from the tests across five categories:
• Kashi TLC Original 7 Grain were crunchy and had a lot of grain flavor. These crackers cost about $0.37 per serving and have 130 calories and 3 grams of fat.
• Ritz Reduced Fat are the least expensive at $0.15 per serving and were crispy and buttery according to tasters. They have the least amount of calories among the top cracker choices at just 70 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving.
• Special K Multi-Grain crackers are the priciest among CR’s cracker choices at $0.57 per serving, but have just 90 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving. Tasters found these crackers to be crispy, sweet and salty with grain flavor.
• Triscuit Reduced Fat crackers contain 120 calories and 3 grams of fat for $0.46 cents per serving. Food staffers said these shredded wheat crackers were crunchy and toasted with a little salt.
• Cracker Barrel Natural Reduced Fat Vermont Sharp White Cheddar 2 percent milk, has 90 calories and 6 grams of fat, a lot less than the full-fat version. Tasters found it to be smooth and flavorful.
• Sargento Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar 2 percent milk shredded is another tasty option with just 80 calories and 6 grams of fat. Food panelists liked the salty, buttery taste and decent texture.
• Pringles Original 100 Calorie Packs Potato Crisps were salty and crisp and cost $0.46 cents per serving and have 5 grams of fat per serving.
• Ruffles Reduced Fat Potato Chips have a few more calories and fat than the Pringles, with 140 Calories and 7 grams of fat. Tasters described these crisps as thick, crunchy and salty.
• Quaker Chewy Low Fat Chocolate Chunk are chewy, sticky and slightly sweet with bits of dark chocolate. This treat has only 90 calories and 2 grams of fat.
• Kashi TLC Chewy Almond Flax has 140 calories and 5 grams of fat. It costs $0.75 cents per serving compared to Quaker’s $0.34 per serving and has a different flavor. Tasters said the Kashi bar was very chewy, full of nuts and not particularly sweet.
• Chex Mix Traditional tastes crunchy with tender pretzels and flavorful seasonings, according to tasters. It costs only $0.30 per serving and has 110 calories and 3 grams of fat.
• Smart Food Popcorn Clusters Chocolate Cookie Caramel Pecan tasted sweet and crispy and cost about $0.70 per serving. This snack contains 120 calories and 2 grams of fat.
In addition, CR suggests Jell-O Fat Free chocolate pudding or The Skinny Cow Low Fat Vanilla Chocolate Combo ice cream for snackers with a sweet tooth.
All of the snacks have no more than a half-gram of trans fat per serving.
The complete report is available on www.ConsumerReports.org and in the November issue of Consumer Reports on newsstands now.