Special Report

Healthy Versions of Old-School Junk-Food Snacks You'd Want to Try

Source: Courtesy of the Hershey Company

Hershey Milk Chocolate Bars
> Alternative: Hershey’s Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate Bars

The Hershey Bar is an American classic, a milk chocolate confection introduced by candy maker Milton Snavely Hershey in 1900. The health benefits of dark over milk chocolate are well documented, and for candy lovers who just have to have a Hershey Bar, a good alternative is the company’s Special Dark offering. It has the same saturated fat content, but is lower in calories and sugars, and has no sodium at all — compared with 35 milligrams per bar for the milk chocolate.

Source: Courtesy of Hot Pockets

Hot Pockets Four Cheese Pizza
> Alternative: Amy’s Cheese Pizza in a Pocket Sandwich

Hot Pockets come in 37 varieties, 11 of them Lean Pockets variations. One of the simpler regular varieties is Four Cheese Pizza, analogous to Amy’s Cheese Pizza in a Pocket Sandwich. Both brands are the same size — four-and-a-half ounces (128 grams). The former lists more than 25 ingredients, including artificial flavors, partially hydrogenated soybean oil (which contains trans fats), and methylcellulose (which has a laxative effect). Amy’s alternative has 16 ingredients, primarily organic, including part-skim vegetarian mozzarella and extra-virgin olive oil. Amy’s Pocket Sandwich also has 20 fewer calories, half the total fat, and almost half the sodium. (Lean Pockets are lower than Amy’s Pocket Sandwiches in calories, fat, and sodium, but still contain trans fats and methylcellulose.)

Source: Courtesy of Town House

Keebler Pizzarias Pizza Chips
> Alternative: Keebler Town House Flatbread Crisps – Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella

Sort of like pizza-flavored Doritos, these Keebler chips were a favorite in the 1980s and a bit beyond. A newspaper story from 1991 notes that they contained gums, artificial color, artificial flavor, preservatives, MSG, and “other flavor enhancers.” Keebler’s Town House Flatbread Crisps are an updated version of these now-discontinued snacks. The version that approximates the flavors of a Margherita pizza still contains a couple of preservatives and some compounds related to MSG, but the gums and artificial colors and flavors are gone, and at 70 calories for eight crackers, they’re a reasonably virtuous snack.

Source: tataks / Getty Images

> Alternative: Easy & Healthy Banana Peanut Butter Spread (homemade)

Koogle was a ’70s-era Kraft product, a peanut-based spread flavored with various things, including bananas, cinnamon, and chocolate. It has long since been discontinued. It’s easy enough to flavor peanut butter, however. The blog dessertswithbenefits.com, for instance, published a recipe for Easy & Healthy Banana Peanut Butter Spread, made with banana powder and flavor and a non-sugar sweetener like Stevia or Truvia.

Source: Courtesy of Kraft Heinz

> Alternative: Applegate Half Time Lunch Kits

The multi-ingredient snack and lunch packets called Lunchables, an Oscar Mayer brand owned by Kraft Heinz, celebrated their 30th anniversary last year. Though nutritionists often criticize them, they remain popular. No other similar product comes close to them in sales — but Applegate Farms — itself now owned by the massive Hormel Foods — offers a healthier alternative. The ingredients include Applegate Naturals meats, Stonyfield low-fat yogurt, and Annie’s crackers and either fruit snacks or graham crackers. Everything is organic and preservative free.

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