Once, back in the days when I used to assemble after school snack platters, I presented my go-to dutiful little display of apples and peanut butter and set it on the table before the girls. Phoebe grabbed one or two but Abby stood up and started scanning the pantry. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “You don’t like apples and peanut butter anymore?”
It’s not that, she said.”I like it, but snacks should be…” She thought about this deeply. “Snacks should be crunchy.”
Yeah, I hear you, I said, thinking of the holy grail of all snacks: the Cape Cod kettle cooked potato chip. “But aren’t apples crunchy?”
“No, Mom, they are crispy,” she countered. “There’s a big difference. And plus, they don’t come in a fun crinkly bag.”
Even though Abby has moved, I have not, and have developed a real fondness for healthy-ish crunchy-not-crispy snacks that come in a crinkly bag and that aren’t potato chips. (Not that there’s anything really terrible about potato chips if you have a handful or so, but for me, it’s one of those foods where applying the whole all-in-moderation philosophy of eating is almost laughable.) The good news is that it feels like we are in the middle of a crispy-healthy-crinkle bag Renaissance of sorts. Everywhere I look, there is a new entry to consider, and a new bag to rip open after school, on road trips, or to keep in bulk in the car when I’m shepherding my charges to their various athletic pursuits. Here are six of my most recent favorites.
Crunchy Chickpeas (Saffron Road) They make these in falafel, chipotle, Korean BBQ, sea salt, and wasabi, too, but this flavor is the family favorite. They’re roasted, gluten-free and feel just fun enough to offer to dinner guests with the cheese platter.
Cashew and Tahini Kale Chips (Trader Joe’s) They have these in “Zesty” nacho flavor too, but I think the cashew-tahini one is the more natural tasting option. I also like them crumbled over rice bowls — but maybe that’s because their consistency resembles seaweed.
Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds (Blue Diamond) It’s not like these are so hard to come by (the Blue Diamond line is sold at every major supermarket) but it’s become a ritual of mine to track them down on a road trip when we pull into a rest stop.
Pure Parmesan Whisps (Cell0) An addict herself, my friend Sue is the one who got me hooked on these. I’m not sure they are healthy exactly, but for the gluten-free, carb-free snackers out there, they are gold. (Also falls under the category of If You Bought Parmesan Crisps At Whole Foods You’d Pay Three Times as Much.)
Pomegranate Flavored Pisatchios Sahale has a whole line of these, but the Pomegranate Pistachios are my favorite. No matter which one you choose, you’ll get the signature salt-sweet-crunch-chewy-spicy interplay. So addictive.
Apple Chips (Bare) For the kid who will eat a crunchy apple but not a crispy one. (Look, Abby, it even says “crunchy” on the package!) There is one ingredient on the label here: Apples. That’s always a good sign.