Insights on protein and fiber snack nutrition

Quitting smoking is one way to help battle cholesterol.

Quitting smoking is one way to help battle cholesterol.

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Last October I was fortunate enough to attend the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Food Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta. The event attracts nutrition professionals from all over the county, and it’s a very energizing and exciting thing to be a part of. There are many different types of educational sessions offered, but by far my favorite part of FNCE is the Expo. This year I learned about some really neat products that I’d like to share with you.

Protein, fiber and variety have taken a big step into the limelight when it comes to snacking. This, along with simple, pronounceable ingredients is something people are seeking out. I was able to sample several products that are catering to these needs.

Nourish Snacks have some wonderfully simple snacks that are free of artificial colors, sweeteners, gluten, dairy and they’re under 200 calories per pack. Instead of snacking on empty calories like chips or candy, Nourish Snacks can be a satisfying and healthier alternative. Available online only, you can visit their website at to check them out.

Along the same line I found Nibblr and Nature Box Snacks. These two products provide a snack “subscription” of portion controlled snacks that are ordered online. Both offer easy, customizable snacks that are mailed out on a schedule you can control. They are a great way to expand your snacking palette with a variety of foods including fruits, nuts, and vegetables with varying textures to give your snack time a little kick. Find them online at and

KIND snacks introduced some new offerings including Strong and KIND and Healthy Grains. Focusing on identifiable, gluten free and non GMO ingredients, these snacks offer high protein, whole grains and fiber in many of their products. They have ventured into the savory side of bars with flavors like Hickory Smoked and Honey Mustard that include 10 grams of protein in each bar. Available in stores, they can also be purchased online at

Tasting all those snacks made me thirsty, which helped me find PACt cranberry extract water by Ocean Spray. PACs, which stand for proanthocyanidins, a natural element in cranberries, tea, chocolate, apples and grapes. These PACs have been found to prevent certain harmful bacteria from sticking, allowing them to be flushed from the body. It’s a great low calorie alternative to cranberry juice with extra benefits. Currently it’s only available in California and Nevada, lucky for us!

MealEnders candy is a product that uses science to help prevent overeating. It works by engaging both the brain and body to redirect hunger and promote satiety. When the stomach is full, MealEnders can help bridge the gap between lingering hunger and fullness. Trying to stop eating while you’re still hungry is difficult and these candies can help. They are available at

One last booth that I’d like to tell you about was sponsored by Nestle. A company that creates many of the food brands we use everyday, they also provide educational materials to help consumers eat healthier. There I learned about their “Balance your Plate with Nestle” program. It is a website designed to help busy consumers create healthier meals using the US Dietary Guidelines. Additionally, there are resources for those shopping on a budget, watching their calorie intake, or both! With the sample menus and tools, they make it simple to make healthy eating easier. I encourage you to visit their website at and explore.

Mary is a clinical dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital and consultant for Pershing General Hospital. Your nutrition questions are welcome — send questions to Mary C. Koch, R.D. in care of this newspaper.


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