Can Snacks Be Healthy? -
Written by Tim Rigby

Functional foods are no fad; they’re here to stay, and their widespread use continues to skyrocket across every segment of our population. The term “functional foods” refers to the broad spectrum of convenient, nutritious and tasty snacks available to us that serve as useful companions to both our fitness programs and overall health in general. From a consumer point of view, they continue to become more and more affordable all the time.

If you’re interested in improving your nutrition, it would be wise of you to eradicate some of the age-old stigmas associated with these versatile products. Gone are the days when “fitness snacks” were nothing more than chalky, block-solid protein bars that tasted like they were made out of drywall. Even before these hit the market, there of course existed those initial brands of “sports drinks”, which, despite offering dehydrated athletes the opportunity to re-balance their electrolytes, contained an extraordinary amount of fattening sugar.

Thankfully, functional foods have been refined and broadened over the years. The forms in which they are produced are much more varied now; they are much healthier and nutritious. They come in a seemingly infinite number of delicious flavours and tastes; they’re much more closely scrutinized and checked for quality assurance, and they cater to segments of the population seeking to avoid things like artificial sweeteners, gluten, dairy and excess sugar. Ultimately, they’re useful to everyone, not just athletes.

So, let’s now take a more detailed look at each of the most popular forms of functional foods:


The king of functional foods continues to be bars. The versatility and development of bars seems to be expanding on a daily basis, and their convenience is abundantly evident. There are now available to us a variety of bars including protein, carbohydrate and energy bars which often contain non-stimulant energy-promoting ingredients like certain amino acids. You can also find a blend of macros in meal replacement bars which also have a level of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.

Bars are becoming increasingly delicious as producers widen the variety of flavours offered, and often these come with natural sweeteners like stevia, rather than artificial flavours. By consuming bars, you can save yourself the trouble of having to mix powder into a liquid and blend it, then having to lug a shaker bottle around. You simply eat them like a candy bar. Need more protein instantly? Carbs? Fats? Just pick your bar and carry on!


Whether young or old, who doesn’t love the thought of munching down delicious cookies? The trouble with traditional cookies, of course, is the very high sugar and fat content. Thankfully, healthy and nutritious cookies have come to the forefront of fitness snacks in recent years. Distinct from bars, cookies generally contain the same choice of ingredients to satisfy your nutritional needs. They tend to be produced with an even more savory level of deliciousness. Developments in cookie packaging means that the product will stay moist and chewy for longer periods of time. So, if it’s protein, carbs or fats you’re looking for (or a blend of all three), then don’t shy away from munching down a convenient and nutritious cookie treat of which you’ll love the taste!


As part of an ongoing effort to satisfy consumer choices and preferences, supplement manufacturers have also developed an array of functional snacks that are produced in the same formats as the many decadent snacks we’ve come to love. Are you a fan of the tasty treats we call chips, nuts, sticks, beans or puffs? Well now you have a multitude of nutritious options available in your favourite snack formats. These delicious snacks have their origins in rice cakes from the early 1980s, which were bland and tasted like drywall. Nowadays, you have literally dozens of flavour options and widespread formats so you can eat healthy and also enjoy the snack every step of the way!


If you could take a morning meal favourite and turn it into a high-protein healthy snack, why wouldn’t you? In their never-ending quest to provide you with convenience and choice, supplement manufacturers have recently introduced functional foods in the forms of mixes. The most popular of such a category is pancake mixes. By simply replacing your traditional pancake mix with one that’s loaded with nutrition, you’re getting spectacular benefits from something you would be loving to eat anyway. Also, within the realm of mixes are those designed to make brownies, but instead of baking your usual, sugar-loaded and fattening brownies, these new mixes allow you to enjoy your favourite snack format in a healthy and nutritious way.


Love peanut butter? Cheese spreads? Jams or marmalade? Well, we do too. The unfortunate problem with each of these is that they tend to possess a lot of unhealthy ingredients and bad fats – not to mention a variety of preserving chemicals. Thankfully, healthy spreads are now available to us. Peanut butter, of course, is not unhealthy unto itself, but usually the traditional brands we associate with it can add unwanted fat. Newly developed, all-natural spreads can be just the thing you’re looking for to add a few extra grams of healthy things like protein and good fats – not to mention the taste which is out of this world!

The global functional foods market is currently valued at around $35 billion and is forecast to soar up to $43 billion within the next four years.
CookiesHealthyProtein barsSnacksSpreads

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