Hanging-on-the-patio season is officially here, and that means tank tops, flip-flops, and of course, party snacks. This warm weather also means it's time to break out the bathing suits and boardshorts, and while we think you look great just the way you are, you might be feeling like you've hit your burger and potato chips quota. Now is the time to have some more balanced snacks on hand to serve. Having said that, I don’t want anything to do with a party where kale chips make an appearance, so I’ve compiled a list of the best store-bought better-for-you party snacks that I get psyched to serve.
I can confidently ignore the jingle of the ice cream truck (even if it does haunt my dreams) when my cooler is packed with Halo Top. An entire pint has just 280-360 calories and an impressive 20 grams of protein with less sugar than traditional ice cream. That means a standard serving clocks in at just 70-90 calories. I love the S’mores flavor for a true summer vibe, but if entertaining al fresco, it would be fun to set up a retro ice cream bar with a variety of their 24 playful flavors.
Guacamole-making requires impeccable timing with your avocado selection. Under-ripe and your guac is chunky and bland; over-ripe and it’s mushy and brown. Wholly Guacamole, on the other hand, is always perfect and so convenient. I love the classic flavor, which is as close as it gets to homemade, prepared with hand-scooped Hass avocados, real ingredients, and no preservatives. It’s also rich in good monounsaturated fats, making it a super-satiating and heart-healthy choice. Finally, I don’t have to be at the mercy of the avocado gods to serve delicious guac.
We’re going to need a legit vehicle for all that guac, and I’m not just willing to a put out a bowl of sad celery sticks in lieu of chips. These bean-based tortilla chips are naturally gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and they pack 4 grams each of fiber and protein. They’re also surprisingly low in sodium and totally sugar-free, so opening a second bag for the gang is a must.
OK, so between the ice cream and chips I’m probably going to need to get in some veggies, and this Opadipity Greek Yogurt Cucumber Dill Dip makes it WAY more enjoyable. These yogurt-based dips are thick and creamy but way lighter than your typical dill or ranch—just 25 calories per tablespoon. They're also gluten-free with no preservatives or MSG, so go in for the double dip (as long as you don’t get caught!).
Where there’s a patio, there’s beer, and where there’s beer, there’s usually a nut mix somewhere nearby. On my patio, I skip the salty peanuts and opt for Prana organic trail mixes to class it up a bit. Organic, gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO, the Machu Pichu mix is loaded with a variety of exotic dried fruits, nuts, and seeds, packing in a generous load of antioxidants, protein, fiber, and iron. They also have no added salt, so while they are packed with natural flavor, they won’t have me guzzling all the beer.
When I was a kid, sometimes the heat of summer could only be pacified by an icy cold freezie. While I’ll never turn my nose up at “blue” flavored frozen sugar water, these ones from Goodpop are much more my style these days. Made with no added sugar or artificial colors, and 100-percent organic fruit juice, they’re a refreshing and nutrient-dense way to cool down.
I’m not going to even pretend not to be obsessed with La Croix like every other millennial, but when I’m looking for a low-cal summer party drink with a little more sophistication, I’m all over these Sparkling Bitters. With no added sweeteners, artificial flavors, or calories, this slightly bitter bubbly is like a trendy summer cocktail, without the calorie-laden sugar or booze.
Life hack: Put these crunchy roasted broad beans out instead of chips and watch the entire bowl disappear. With four times the protein, five times the fiber, and one-third of the fat of potato chips, the wickedly addictive snacks are a party must. When I’m in the summer grilling mood, I’m all over the Mesquite BBQ flavor but purists will love the Sea Salt as well.