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Crunchy Snacks Ranked according to Nutrition, Ingredients, Taste.

** Editors Note: This post was updated January, 2023

America is a snacking nation. Read any article and you'll read stats about how people look to snacks as a main source of nourishment for the day. No more breakfast, lunch then dinner. Nope. Instead it's more snack, snack and snack. And there are a bevy of snack options out there...the selection puts the cereal aisle to shame. 

Here's the thing. Most snacks don't nourish. And that's a problem.  If there isn't a balance of nutrients, you will eat more and more and more. Hello extra pounds and declining health. BUT darn it, those crunchy snacks just taste sooooooo gooooooood. And all that crunching is relaxing, almost meditative. 

We are here to help. We've been analyzing and testing crunchy snacks all the time.  The goal is to maximize nutrients (protein, healthy fats, fiber, real food ingredients) and minimize the "crap" (sugar, sodium, weird ingredients). 

To make things easy we have ranked snacks into THREE Tiers.

Tier One: Snacks that will fuel the body and hopefully taste good to you too. These are the winners. They have protein, fiber, healthy fats and a short list of ingredients. 

Tier Two: These are the snacks that are still pretty darned good, but likely fall short in one of our key categories. For example, protein and fiber may be too low and/or the snack may be a little "naughty" in another category like sodium or sugar, or calories may be relatively high for the serving size. But we still think Tier Two snacks have value. 

Tier Three: These snacks will not "fuel" your body.  But that is not to say that the Tier Three snacks are "bad".  It is more that the calories may be mostly empty.  If you love your Tier Three snack, enjoy it, but keep the portion in check. Words like "natural", or a very short ingredient list, do not guarantee a nutritious snack. 

Let's get down to business!

Our Methodology. Let's be clear; we needed to be able to COMPARE the snacks -- independent of the varying serving sizes and packaging. So we use the gram weight as our base to then evaluate: calories, fiber, protein, sugar, sodium, and fat. These are ALL compared on a gram per gram basis. This method allows us to fairly compare the fiber in a serving of popcorn where one serving is often 3 cups to the fiber in a crackers where the serving is 15 crackers. See the point?  What is more subjective in our analysis is the commentary about taste and ingredient purity. However, we take all of these factors into consideration for our rankings.

Drum Roll Please....

Tier One Characteristics: Based upon the serving size in grams, these crunchy snacks have at least 10% fiber, 15% protein, UNDER 6% sugar -- again, based upon their serving size in grams. 


Bada Bean Snacks Crunchy Broad Beans (Sweet Sriracha). These are roasted fava beans and a couple of other companies make them. The Good Bean makes a version that also contains green peas, and Nuttee Bean Co. has several flavors.  But Bada Bean's Sweet Sriracha flavor is hands down our favorite in terms of taste. And just look at the nutrition data! Fiber, protein, simple ingredients, low calories. Only weakness is the somewhat high sodium value.

Why Tier One: Even the calories/gram come out good here. 110 calories, 4g fiber, 6g protein, and only 2g sugar. Winner! Simple ingredients.

P-nuff Crunch Peanut Puffs (Cocoa). Wow. When we discovered that Pop Chips' Nutter Puffs are no longer available, we went searching for a replacement. And guess what? We prefer this snack's taste and nutrition bona fides!  It's mostly sweet, but satisfies that savory craving too. If you like a crunchy puff with a decidedly peanut flavor, try these. We lean to the Cocoa flavor, but the Cinnamon and Original are also good. Tier One status is earned with its simple ingredients of ground navy beans, rice, peanut oil, organic cane sugar and other easily recognizable items. The 3g fiber and 5g protein per 130 calorie serving make our cut. One caveat, there are 3g sugar, which puts the puffs on the cusp of losing its Tier One status, so if you are avoiding sugar, skip these.  Oh, and these tasty puffs are Shark Tank and Mark Cuban approved.

Biena Snacks Roasted Chickpeas (Habanero). You may be noticing a pattern...Sriracha, Habanero...Yes, we like some spice. If you don't, the "Rockin Ranch" flavor is also good. What is great about this snack is that you do NOT have to like garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) to enjoy the yum factor here. These have more calories per gram than some of the snacks we recommend, but the 130 calories per serving is still very sensible. What you get for those calories is 5 grams of fiber AND 5 grams of protein. And virtually no sugar (1g)! Biena's are high in sodium (330 mg), the highest of all the Tier One snacks we recommend. Other honorable mentions in this roasted chickpea category: The Good Bean Favas + Peas (has sugar, less fiber but MORE protein) and Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas (a little sugar, about same protein and fiber. We liked their Falafel flavor.).

Chomperz Seaweed Snax (Jalapeno). The BIG difference here is that the FIRST ingredient listed is seaweed. Other seaweed chips/crisps list the rice flour first, and it has a HUGE impact on the nutrition stats. BIG. Chomperz earns its Tier One ranking because 1/2 package (15g) has 40 calories and 4g protein. That's nearly 27% protein per gram. BUT these tasty bites have NO fiber. Sugars are near zero. We let Chomperz into the First Tier despite its zero fiber because we think these are unique, have VERY simple ingredients and are worth your look. But they can be PRICEY at $3-$4/bag! And a bag is a measly two servings. We suggest buying on Vitacost when they are having a 20% off deal.

Wilde Protein Chips (Nashville Hot Chicken): You read that right, "chicken"! It's the first ingredient in these crunchy and flavorful chicken chips. For those who like the idea of a protein chip, but aren't so crazy about soy protein, these are made for you. They do have a little of that "protein chip" texture, but we think the flavor, uniqueness, and high protein level (10g per 30g serving) make up for it. We also like that there are 10g of NON-saturated fat in each serving. So what's to NOT like? Well, there are a lot of calories per serving! But the new formulation also incudes 3g fiber! For a high protein chip, these are worth a try!

Kibo Chickpea Chips.  The nutrition data on these tortilla-like chips easily qualifies them for Tier One status with 4g of fiber, 7g of protein, 1g sugar and simple ingredients (28 gram serving). The individual bags don't seem empty like many of the other crunchy snacks we've tested. On the flavor side, the "Pico de Gallo" got the best reviews with "Sea Salt" as second and "Mediterranean Herb" last. The first ingredient is chickpea flour followed by rice flour and then Soy Protein Concentrate. We mention the soy because many readers avoid it even when the soy is non GMO. The sodium is in the medium range for a crunchy snack. The company also makes Lentil Chips, which we prefer, but there is only 1g of fiber in each serving. 

Beanfields Bean Chips. We tasted MANY tortilla style chips. And these are a nutrition winner. We recognize that when it comes to a tortilla chip, people are PICKY PICKY PICKY. So, our advice is to try these because for a 130 calorie serving, you get 4g fiber and 4g protein. NO sugar. And the sodium level is lower for these than any other in this Tier One category. All flavors have 4g fiber and 4g protein. Also offering the same nutrition in this tortilla style chip category are the Black Bean Chips from one of our other favorite brands, Beanitos. If you are a tortilla chip eater, definitely seek out these chips and Beanitos to see if you can take your snacking game up a nutritional notch.

Quevos.  The first ingredient is egg whites. We've sampled egg white based crunchy snacks in the past and said, "no thank you!" These are different. Quevos are thin, crispy and light. We sampled all 3 flavors and the Mesquite BBQ came out on top.  Quevos fuel with 8 grams protein, but calories are higher at 150 per 28g serving.  And sadly, the bag seems rather empty.  The snack goes fast. Quevos just make the hurdle in terms of fiber at 3g per serving. Despite the long ingredient list, most of the inputs are spice related. Another plus, the 10g of fats should satiate!

Hippeas Sriracha Sunshine. This chickpea puff barely makes the cut. Four grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. It's pretty good, but 170 calories per serving. Geez. We really like the texture and taste, so if you're not watching your calorie intake, go for it!  Hippeas also have 3g sugar per serving, which is at the higher end for our Tier One snacks. Other flavors include Bohemian BBQ, Far Out Fajita, Vegan White Cheddar, and Vegan Nacho Vibes. Chickpea flour is the first ingredient followed by rice flour. There really isn't another brand that makes a "curl" like this one. 

Iwon Organics Protein Puffs or Stix  Iwon makes both "puffs" and "stix". We are partial to puffs.  The nutrition for both crunchy modalities is similar. The cheddar flavor is bold and the texture is softer than many in the puff category (such as Hippeas). If you like more crunch, go for the Stix. Before you gasp as the 180 calories, note that the serving size on the nutrition label is larger than standard (42g vs. 28g). Also, especially for the Puffs, the bag is only about 1/3 full. Those calories go fast. Each 42g serving yields 180 calories, but on an equivalent per gram basis it comes out at 4.286 calories/gram which is similar to the roasted chickpeas and less than the Beanfields' tortillas or the Peatos. There is also 5g fiber and 10g protein.

PeaTos Curls No Cheese  These crunchy cheetoh style snacks come in several flavors and are uber crunchy. The Fiery flavor really does have some bite. "No Cheese" has a true cheddar taste that is more adult in its approach. In terms of the nutrition profile, it barely makes Tier One. Each 28g serving has 140 calories, 3g fiber and 4g protein and NO sugar! But, if you like Funyuns, check out the PeaTos Rings, which have less calories per serving, but the same fiber and protein. You can buy PeaTos via In terms of ingredients, it's fairly simple as you can see from the image below. Their big "claim" is being a way better snack vs Cheetohs. 

Beanitos Hint of Lime. This is another worthy tortilla chip and we like the hint of lime flavor.  Each serving has 130 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.  Pretty impressive especially since there's virtually no sugar and sodium is lower for these crunchers as compared to many of our Tier One favs. And what's not to like about the ingredients, whole great northern beans beans and/or navy beans, sunflower oil, rice flour... The downside is that ANY healthier chip does have a slightly different texture than "regular", but some of our Team prefers it.

Julian Bakery ProGranola (Vanilla Cinnamon). By popular demand, our survey participants demanded that both popcorn AND granola be considered in the crunchy snack academy awards! And so we tested and compared nutrition data for a number of brands. Bottom line is that most granolas are sugar and/or calorie bombs with little protein. So it was easy to say "nope." But a few did rise to the good snack occasion. And only ONE had the nutritional muscle to make the Top Tier. BUT, despite the fabulous nutrition stats, (97 calories per 1/3 cup; 12g fiber; 12g protein, NO sugar), the taste may be off-putting for many. Our group was 50-50 on acceptance. Two hated it, one likes a lot and the other was fairly neutral. The sweetness comes from monk fruit. If you are familiar with monk fruit as an alternative sweetener, you'll know whether it's a yay or nay. IF you are NOT familiar with monk fruit, learn more and possibly try this granola if you are looking for crunch that isn't a chip! Additionally, you typically end up with A LOT of crumbs at the end. We use ours in an overnight oats recipe! 

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These are the snacks that have some of Tier One's strength, but they just don't nail it in our key categories of protein, fiber, low sugar and simple ingredients. These are snacks that you should not feel guilty eating BUT you should mentally check in that they lack the body fueling properties of Tier One. These snacks have at least 10% protein by serving, 5% fiber and less than 10% sugar.

Harvest Snaps (Mango Chile Lime). These aren't as crunchy as some chips and crackers, so keep that in mind. But they do pack a lot of tasty yum and come in varying flavors. They get Tier 2 mainly because of the sugars, 3g/serving, which is more than many of the other options out there and the softer texture. The 28g serving size has 140 calories, 3g fiber and 4g protein. Salt is on the lower end of our spectrum and black beans is the first ingredient followed by canola oil, rice and seasoning.


Outstanding Foods Puffs (Pizza Partay) These tasty puffs are crunchy but a little bit softer in the crunch because they are "puffs." We think the curls are tastier than the Iwon Organics Puffs in Tier One.  These have a better mouth feel. However, Outstanding Foods' puffs don't make Tier One because they lack fiber with only 1g per serving. The protein (7g per 28 gram serving, 130 calories) impresses and the ingredients are not uber simple, but still quite good. The source of protein is pea protein. The puffs are gluten free. 

Popadelics Crunchy Mushroom Snack (Rad Rosemary & Salt) First let's give kudos to the very simple ingredients: dried shiitake mushrooms, sunflower oil, organic seasoning blend. Nice. Next, the taste won over every "tester" with a very natural flavor that is earthy & good. The basil shines. In terms of nutrition, the calories per gram are above average for the Tier. Don't get thrown off by the single serve bag's 180 calories as the serving size is 40g versus typical 28-30g. Fiber comes in high for the Tier at 15% and protein a little lower at 7.5%. Given the taste, simple ingredients, and ample fiber, we think this is a worthy snack!


Harvest Snaps Popper Duos. Wow. We love the BIGGER size of these "poppers". There is just something pleasing about a bigger bite. Duos are also flavor loaded. We sampled BBQ Ranch. We like the 4g per 140 calorie serving, but wish for more than 2g fiber. Calorie count is slightly high versus other snacks for the same gram size. However, the bigger puffs feel like MORE. No empty bag here. Sodium levels are higher, but not the highest we have in the Tier 2. Try these. We are fans. (Harvest Snaps also makes Crunchions and the Sour Cream & Onion make our Tier 2. The other 2 flavors are Tier 3 due to low fiber.)

Snak Yard Shiitake Mushrooms. Wow. The crunch. The ingredients tell the story: fresh shiitake mushroom, vegetable oil, maltose, salt, seasoning. Because the mushroom of choice is shiitake, the fiber amount impresses, 4g per serving. Protein at 2g is not as impressive. We let this snack squeak into Tier 2 because the vegetable base -- real vegetable, not "flour". HOWVER, there are 10g of sugar! Not good! But again, there's a lot to like here. If you are avoiding sugar, look above to the Popadelics. No sugar! 

Popped Water Lily Seeds form BOTH Taali AND Bohana.  We recently discovered this snack, and we are so happy we did. If you are a popcorn fan, you MUST try. The taste is similar, but different. No kernels will get stuck in your teeth and these puffed seeds stay fresher longer. We tried a number of flavors from both companies. The Soulful Spice and White Cheddar were winners. In fact, we liked all the flavors EXCEPT the plain Himalayan salt -- too boring! One serving is 2.5 cups, has 120 calories, 3g protein and a measly 1g fiber. Qualifying for Tier Two was close, but the protein, super simple ingredients and generous serving size make these crunchy snacks winners.

The Vegan Spicy Nacho Cracklins from Beanfield's just miss Tier One status. We applaud the simple ingredients, 3g fiber and 4g protein (from beans and chickpeas) in each 130 calorie serving. However, we weren't too excited about the flavor. We also tried the Chile Limon flavor, which we thought had a more salty taste than anything else. Had we loved the flavor, we may have bumped these uber crunchy swirls to the preferred Tier. Another weakness is the high salt content along with the issue that the bag, once opened, is about 1/5 full! Just feels empty in there! But for those who like some major crunch, TRY 'em. 

Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers (Sea Salt). We first tried the cheddar flavor from this brand and found them dull in taste. BUT then we tried the basic fine ground sea salt flavor and it is much better. These crackers are gluten-free and have pure ingredients that make them a winner for many. We think 150 calories for a serving of crackers is high. However, there are 8g of healthy fats in there that come from the nut and seed flour blend. And we also like that there is ZERO sugar and 3g protein. The fiber is weak at 2g. 


Off the Eaten Path Veggie Crisps. The nutritional data here is impressive, but the thin crispy chip like cracker missed Tier One based upon weak protein. One serving packs 3g of protein, 3g fiber and no sugars. And what is not to love about this ingredient list: rice flour, sunflower oil, dried green peas, dried yellow peas, dried black beans, sea salt. What may not work for many is the taste. It's different, but we like different. 


Boom Chica Pop (Sea Salt). Yes, popcorn is a decent snack. And while it's not "crunchy", it's close. Our survey respondents pleaded with us to include popcorn in our comparative analysis. So we did. And our team does stock popcorn. We love that a cup is minimal in calories, has decent macros and gives the jaw some chewing work. 4 cups is the serving size here. 140 calories, 7g satiating fats, 4g fiber and 3g protein. Also showing just as much goodness, Smartfood Delight in Sea Salt and PIPCorn Sea Salt. Skinny Pop was also considered, but has less going for it than these others -- less nutrients, more calories. 


Way Better Snacks (Sweet Chili). Notice anything? Yep, another spicier flavor. And while we tend to highlight snacks with some kick, our goal is also to familiarize you with different brands. Way Better is a good one. The brand relies on simple ingredients such as sprouted seeds and grains and along with good flavor, these chips boast decent nutrition data. The Sweet Chili whole grain tortilla chips are way low in sodium compared to many other crunchy snacks. 130 calories per serving, 3g fiber and 2g protein. Protein is a bit weak and why Tier Two is its home.


Lesser Evil Power Curls (Spicy Salsa). If only there was more fiber!! But alas, with virtually none, we had to place these super tasty and crunchy curls into Tier 2. The calories per gram are also on the slightly higher side 4.64/gram. There are 130 calories in a 28g serving (about 14 curls). Protein comes in at 6g, which we like. Ingredients are all organic and natural (cassava flour, cage free non GMO dried egg whites). And we really liked the flavor big time! Sodium is also on higher end.


Quest Protein Chips (Sour Cream and Onion). We felt we needed to include a true "protein chip" in our analysis. There are others out there and if you favor one, check the label and steer clear of soy protein isolate as the protein source. It's low quality. Google it to learn more. Quest's version has a much better protein source: milk and whey. However these chips (and most protein chips) pack a sodium punch and you taste it. You definitely know you're eating something manufactured. We'd advise that if you LOVE the nutrition data, try these and see. Serving size is 32g (larger than standard), so calories/gram are on the lower end. Only 21g fiber, but 21g protein!! No sugar.

Trader Joe's Just Beets. Not a chip. But the crunch is there, so we think it qualifies. And if you love beets, do yourself a flavor and try them. The downside from a nutritional standpoint is that there are 17g of sugar in a package which, to be fair, is larger than a standard chip serving of 28-30g or 1 oz. The Just Beets package is 37g or 1.3 oz, and the whole package only has 140 calories. So the calories on a gram for gram basis are LOW, but sugars high. Fiber is also pretty impressive at 7g and protein at 4g. Sodium on the low end too! Sugar is what keeps it from Tier One.

That's it for Tier Two. While we sampled other products that had the nutrition data to qualify for Tier Two, we left them off because there was consensus that the snack did not taste good.  So that leaves us with Tier THREE -- everything else. These are snacks that a) really miss the target in one of our evaluation categories, or b) are just empty in terms of ANY nutritional value. 

Drum roll again please.

TIER THREE Snacks. These are the snacks that do NOTHING for you in terms of nutritional benefit. BUT, if you LOVE them, just moderate the amount you consume. KNOW that they should be considered a TREAT.

No images. We're going basic here. This is our list of other snacks that we tend to find tasty OR that others have insisted are worthy of our analysis -- meaning some of these losers are the "go to" snacks of family, colleagues, athletes and friends! Hopefully after reading this article, they won't be!

  • Spudsy Sweet Potato Puffs. There are 4 savory flavors (one sweet) and we say "WOW!" to the Sour Cream & Onion. These vegan puffs (more like a curl) have sweet potato flour in them and derive their impressive 4g protein per 140 calorie serving from pea protein isolate. But there is no fiber in a serving, hence the tasty nibbles do not satisfy our Tier 2 requirements. But the ingredients are solid, not too much sodium, and we think the taste is way above average. 
  • Pop Bitties (Maple Sea Salt).  We single out this flavor because it's unique and soooooo tasty. Shaped like a "crisp", these savory and sweet morsels make the Team happy. Everyone likes. The ingredients are fabulously wonderful and the calorie count is low at 120 per 28 gram serving. But there's only 1g fiber, 2g protein, sodium is higher than some of our choices and there's sugar. Other flavors have less sugar. There's also sweet potato based crisps, but we prefer the whole grain based crisps. 
  • Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins. When we sampled these crispy, thin, crackers, our first thought was, "what's the point?" The one major fan of the snack told us that they are the perfect vehicle for hummus or another dip. BUT we are interested in snacks that taste good on their own and these are just too bland to be enjoyed alone. We'd rather have a spoonful of the hummus and skip the empty calories of these crackers. Yes, they do have 3g protein, which is decent (Tier 2 decent), but marry that with no fiber, little flavor and a first ingredient of unbleached wheat flour...and we say, do better.
  • Enjoy Life Lentil Chips (Dill & Sour Cream). These are so light, airy and crunchy. The flavor is mild and pleasing. We really wish the Plentils packed some fiber. But alas, while the 3g protein is commendable, with no fiber, Tier 2 is not in reach. 140 calories per serving and 1g of sugar. 6g of fats with only .5g being saturated. We like that. The ingredients are fairly simple: lentil flour, potato starch, salt, turmeric, canola oil, paprika followed by the seasonings. Nothing worrisome here.
  • Open Nature Flatbread. These are crispy and we can see once again that they may work well paired with hummus, turkey or another sort of topping. But as a stand-alone snack, they offer little in the way of taste nor nutrition. This is a Safeway private label brand. The 4 piece serving has 120 calories, 0g fiber and 2g protein. And with the first ingredient being unbleached wheat flour, we were not impressed.
  • Vea Mini Crunch Bars (Sweet Potato). No one that sampled these enjoyed the taste. One serving is 30g and has 140 calories. We frown at the 7g of sugar (4g are ADDED), the weak 2g protein and 2g fiber. 
  • Good Thins Baked Chickpea Crackers (Garlic and Herb). These are tasty, thin and crunchy. We liked them a lot. However, there are better options (Helloooo Tier ONE!), so we were able to happily say "not again" after taking into account the 3g sugar, paltry 1g fiber and 2g protein. Nothing to write home about with respect to the ingredients. We give the folks at Wheat Thins some credit for trying. 
  • PopChips (Any Flavor). We do like the crunch and especially the new "Ridges" variety in Tangy BBQ. But the chips are just a salty crunch and not much else. There is no fiber, a measly 1g protein, and sodium is on the higher end. If you must, then do. But try and eat real food with them.
  • Garden Veggie Straws (Sea Salt). Don't be fooled. Just because "Veggie" is in the name does NOT mean there is any real nutrition in these sticks. Each serving has less than 1g protein and less than 1g fiber. But there are healthy fats...and a lot of sodium. Despite the name, it's "spinach powder" that is the "veggie" ingredient. We suggest a handful of nuts for your healthy fats and skip these.
  • Food Should Taste Good (Multigrain Tortilla Chips). And these do taste good. These tortilla chips are on the cusp of Tier 2 and 3. We like the ingredients and lower sodium level and that there is no sugar. But at 140 calories for about 10 chips...that's a lot. And there is only 2g each of fiber and protein. 
  • Terra Sweet Potato Chips. Simply put, these are calorie bombs. Comparing across all the snacks, these come in at the highest in terms of calories per serving on a gram for gram basis. 160 calories! And then there is also sugar and virtually no protein. On the upside, these chips are tasty, have healthy fats, 3g fiber and pretty much no sodium. So all is not lost.
  • Cheeze-it (Original). High in calories, and in some of the Team's opinion, low in taste. But kids seem to love these squares. The ONLY thing going for the cheddar chip/cracker is the decent level of protein. There is no fiber, and sodium levels are HIGH. Ingredients are subpar as well. 
  • Pirate Booty (Aged White Cheddar). Sorry folks, these are FOR SURE a Tier 3 snack. On a gram for gram basis, the calories are the same as the Cheeze-its, which means on the higher end. Sodium levels aren't quite as bad, but it is fairly high. There is virtually no fiber and an anemic amount of protein. Cornmeal is the first ingredient. 
  • Stacy's Pita Chips (Simply Naked). We were super disappointed when we realized that these pita chips yielded the HIGHEST sodium level of ALL the snacks we analyzed. These really are salt bombs. A serving has an acceptable 130 calories, no sugar, no fiber and a solid 3g protein. BUT the sodium level is 270 mg. The salty veggie straws, which are also very high, are at 210 mg. Way too much.
  • Annie's Cheddar Bunnies. Parents seem to gravitate to these cheesy crackers as an alternative to Cheeze-its or Goldfish. And while they contain organic ingredients, they don't have much to offer nutritionally, unless salt is a desired food category! They have 1g sugar, 3g protein (good), and no fiber. 

Whew! How'd we do? Tell us! We love to hear from our Athletic-Minded readers. 

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