Functional Snacks Are All the Rage: Here’s What People Are Munching On in 2023

Do you remember when potato chips and pretzels were basically the only things that you could expect to find in the snack aisle at your local supermarket? Times have certainly changed since then. These days, people don’t expect their snacks to simply be empty calories – they want snacks that taste good while also serving some other purpose. The food makers of the world have responded to that demand by creating an endless variety of functional snacks that you can buy in local stores and online.

If you’re looking for a treat that satisfies your hunger while also serving some other purpose, there has never been a better time to be a mindful snacker than right now. Here are some of the popular functional snacks that people are munching on in 2023. You’ll find them online or in stores near you, and they’re well worth seeking out.

THC Gummies

There was a time when there was no such thing as a legal high, but that time is definitely over. Since the signing of the 2018 United States Farm Bill, industrial hemp – and products made from it – are now legal to grow and sell nationwide.

Initially, everyone thought that the only benefit of the 2018 Farm Bill for consumers was the fact that it legalized CBD products nationwide. As it has turned out, though, there are actually several recreational compounds that you can get from industrial hemp – either through direct extraction or by converting CBD into other compounds – that are psychoactive, very potent and completely legal federally and in most states.

Delta-9 gummies, for instance, have proven to be particularly popular among cannabis aficionados who also enjoy snacking. A Delta-9 gummy contains Delta-9 THC extracted from industrial hemp – but since the hemp and the resulting gummies both have a Delta-9 content of under 0.3 percent by weight, they’re completely legal. Delta-9 gummies are surprisingly potent, so you might want to start with just half of a gummy until you get used to the effects.

Roasted Seaweed

Once upon a time, roasted nori seaweed was a snack that was primarily only eaten in Japan and by western adherents to the macrobiotic diet. That, however, has changed with the passage of time. Today, you can find roasted nori snacks in any well-stocked supermarket or health food store, and they’re unbelievably tasty if you enjoy the flavors of the ocean. Some of the most popular flavors of roasted nori include chili, sesame and soy sauce.

Roasted nori is a delicious snack, but it’s also extremely healthy because it’s low in calories and high in vital nutrients. One sheet of roasted nori only contains about five calories, and nori is also one of the most potent sources of iodine that you can eat. Iodine helps to support proper thyroid function, which is important for maintaining a healthy weight.

The best roasted nori snacks include desiccant packets to ensure that they’ll be crunchy when you eat them. Once you open a package, though, you should eat the nori quickly because it’ll absorb moisture from the surrounding air. If you buy a package of roasted nori that turns out to be mushy, the nori probably wasn’t packaged correctly; try a different brand.

Exotic Nuts

There was a time when peanuts, almonds and cashews were the most that you could expect to find in the nut section at your local supermarket, but that definitely isn’t the case today. In stores and online, you can find a wide selection of alternative nuts that are just as satisfying as the old standbys while being higher in fiber and boasting healthier omega fatty acid profiles. If you’re not sure what to snack on first, try baru nuts. They taste a bit like peanuts, but they’re much crunchier. They’re also packed with protein and fiber.

Freeze-Dried Fruits and Vegetables

Are you the type of person who has difficulty eating a sufficient quantity of fruits and vegetables throughout the day? If you are, it’s only because you haven’t tried the freeze-dried variety. You can find just about any fruit or vegetable in freeze-dried form, ranging from apples, bananas and oranges to carrots, broccoli and beets. Since freeze drying leaves fruits and vegetables crunchy, they’re very satisfying as snacks. Fruits can be excellent substitutes for candy, and vegetables can be just as satisfying as potato chips if you add a pinch of salt.

Like roasted nori, freeze-fried fruits and vegetables begin absorbing moisture from the air as soon as they’re opened. With that in mind, it’s wise to avoid buying them in bulk bags unless you intend to eat them quickly or have a plan for keeping the contents dry once the package is opened. If you want this snack to be as enjoyable as it can be, it’s best to buy smaller bags that you can consume immediately.

Popcorn

Popcorn has a bad reputation as a snack food, but that’s only because of the way we often prepare it – by frying it in oil and drenching it in butter and salt. That’s a shame because popcorn is full of air, and that makes it one of the best snacks for dieters. When popped in an air popper, a one-cup serving of popcorn contains only about 90 calories – but it takes up plenty of room in your stomach and helps you feel full. Being a whole-grain food, popcorn is also naturally high in fiber. Compare popcorn to the puffed white rice cakes that you can find in the supermarket. A cup of popcorn contains about three grams of fiber per serving, while rice cakes contain only about one gram of fiber for the same number of calories.

Getting the salt to stick is one of the biggest challenges when you use an air popper for making popcorn. Try using sea salt, which is naturally moist. It’s also worthwhile to consider getting an oil sprayer and misting your popcorn lightly with olive oil before adding salt. A sprayer distributes the oil evenly on the popcorn while adding negligible calories.

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