Every year, as students of all ages head back to school, parents inevitably find themselves searching anew for the latest, better-for-you, healthy school snacks that their kids can pack into their lunchboxes and backpacks—snacks that feed their minds, as well as their bellies. They’re searching for foods that their kids will enjoy, but that they feel good about serving them.
That’s one of the key reasons why we launched the “Best Healthy School Snacks” contest in 2015 (see “‘Best Healthy School Snacks’ award winner” for details on last year’s winner). We gathered together some of the best healthy school snacks released within the past year that fit the criteria of controlled portions and/or calories, all made with nutrition-forward ingredients like healthy grains, fruit, seeds and nuts (see “Best healthy school snacks of 2016” for the complete list of this year’s candidates). We then put these selections forth to the Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery audience for voting.
This year, Veggie Pretzels from Good Health came out on top as the winner, collecting 30 percent of all votes. The products clearly align with trends in better-for-you snacking. A signature feature of the ingredient mix is Good Health’s “Extra Goodness” blend, which offers vitamin equivalents found in 2½ cups of broccoli (25 percent recommended Daily Value of vitamin A), 1 beet (10 percent DV vitamin C), 5 tomatoes (15 percent DV vitamin E), 7 cups of spinach (20 percent DV vitamin B6) and 2 carrots (20 percent DV vitamin K) per serving. Other herbs and vegetables and includes in the mix include garlic, onion, green and red bell pepper, parsley, shallots and shiitake mushrooms. The pretzels are then simply seasoned with Himalayan salt.
In order to learn more about Veggie Pretzels and its origins, we reached out to Mary Schulman, vice president of strategy at Good Health Natural Products.
Douglas J. Peckenpaugh: What is the history of Good Health Natural Products?
Mary Schulman: Good Health Natural Products, Inc. was built on the belief that the secret to a great “Lifeitude” (loving life to the fullest) is feeling good. Founded in 1994, Good Health has lived up to its credo from the beginning by creating products with only the finest ingredients and unique flavors to deliver delicious, crispy and crunchy snacks. A leader in good-choice snacks, Good Health has pioneered unique snacking categories with its innovative products and continues to exemplify its passion for making life—and good snacks—even better.
DJP: Why did the company decide to focus on creating better-for-you snacks?
MS: We started Good Health with the mission to create great tasting snacks that are also better-for-you. We believe this gives every snacker something better without sacrificing flavor. Each and every snack we make gives our loyal customers savory, crunchy options which taste better than traditional chips, pretzels, etc.—while not asking them to compromise on nutrition or flavor. Good news: Consumers now have delicious savory snacks they can eat without worry!
DJP: What was the inspiration for the Veggie Pretzels?
MS: Our core mission is to help families make good decisions when it comes to snacking. As a mom with three young children, empowering them to make good snack choices makes me happy. The key to this success is that we have created snacks that not only taste great, but are free of hydrogenated oils, contain zero grams of trans fat and no artificial colors. With our Veggie Pretzels in particular, we wanted to shake up the pretzel category with something innovative and unexpected. We were inspired to bring a healthier, yet tasty, option to families and kids. Each bite contains the crispy crunch and savory delight of regular pretzels, but adds “Extra Goodness!” and Himalayan salt renowned for its health benefits and high mineral count.
DJP: How did you determine the ingredients to add to the “Extra Goodness” nutrition blend?
MS: We wanted to create a product that was filled with the same nutrients and vitamins found in vegetables, while crafting a well-balanced blend that helped meet recommended daily vegetables servings—all in the name of great flavor. We know that kids don’t always enjoy eating their vegetables, so we wanted to make a snack that kids would love to eat that hid these nutrients inside. That’s why we chose vegetables that contain many essential nutrients that children need, like vitamins A, C, E, B6 and K. From personal experience, my 4-year-old son loves to eat our Veggie Pretzels, but what delights me most is when he looks at the front of the bag and excitedly says, “Look Mom!” What he’s pointing at is the Extra Goodness! It contains the nutrition of 2.5 cups broccoli (25 percent vitamin A); 1 beet (10 percent vitamin C); 5 tomatoes (15 percent vitamin E); 7 cups spinach (20 percent vitamin B6); 2 carrots (20 percent vitamin K) per serving. This makes me feel like I’ve done just a little better!
DJP: Why did you choose to include bamboo plant fiber in the Veggie Pretzels?
MS: We use bamboo fiber in our Veggie Pretzels because it’s a sustainable insoluble fiber option and it helps with a great crispy texture.
DJP: What other types of better-for-you snacks does Good Health offer?
MS: We have a robust array of snacks that include a variety of products packed with the same nutrients and vitamins found in veggies, including our new Eat Your Vegetables chips, new Gluten Free Pretzels, new USDA Organic Black Bean & Rice Tortillas and of course our Veggie Pretzels. Our lineup also includes avocado oil, olive oil and sweet potato kettle-style chips; Veggie Stix, chips and straws; several flavors of popcorn; peanut-butter-filled pretzels; and apple chips, all of which are free of hydrogenated oils, contain zero grams of trans fat and no artificial colors.
DJP: Where are Good Health snack products distributed?
MS: Good Health snacks are available nationwide in both natural markets as well as major grocery stores.