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Top 10 American Snack Foods

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Michael Wynands This is the fuel that keeps America going between meals. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 American Snack Foods. For this list, we're not considering specific brands, but rather the most popular types of food to satisfy those midday cravings. Special thanks to our user Rico Goldstar for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 American Snack Foods


This is the fuel that keeps America going between meals. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 American Snack Foods.

For this list, we’re not considering specific brands, but rather the most popular types of food to satisfy those midday cravings. While Americans may turn to a lot of quick fixes throughout the day to ward off hunger such as gum, breath mints, a spoonful of peanut butter or even a cigarette, these don’t really count as a proper snack. And while other individuals go in the complete opposite direction with heavier snacks like pizza, sandwiches or hamburgers, these are clearly hobbit-like extra meals, not snacks, so we’re also excluding those.

#10: Yogurt

You’re at the office and it’s mid-morning when your stomach starts to grumble. The temptation might be to run to the vending machine and grab the first carb-heavy snack you can find. But many health-conscious Americans head to the fridge instead, opting for mood boosting B-12 vitamins, a probiotic kick to help digestion, and a dose of calcium - all packed into a single-serving cup of yogurt. Whether plain, mixed with fruit, or flavored, this creamy dairy product may not be as tempting as something with a “crunch”, but it’s delicious and nutritious. Marketing still has some work to convincing kids to eat it, but the tube sure helps!

#9: Beef Jerky

It’s a quintessentially American snack that the rest of the world too often fails to appreciate. But honestly, no serious U.S. road trip is complete without it. Nutritionally speaking, a 1oz serving of this salty goodness contains up to 15 grams of protein, which is about 25% of your daily recommended quantity. Beef jerky is so American it actually predates the founding of the country, with some sources saying Native Americans were its originators. The word “jerky” comes from the Native American Quechua word “ch’arki”, meaning “dried, salted meat”. And considering NASA’s been giving it to the astronauts since the nineties, it might just be the best snack in this solar system.

#8: Hummus With Veggies

Hummus has all the protein, complex carbs and Omega-3 fatty acids you need to help you push through that midday energy slump. Traditionally made from chickpeas, tahini (a sauce made from ground sesame seeds), garlic and lemon, it’s definitely not short on flavor. All that it’s missing is the perfect vessel to dip it in - and for many Americans, mixed raw veggies provide the much needed satisfying crunch and fresh taste to make it a great snack. This trendy duo can be bought pre-packed in many grocery stores, but with a few simple ingredients it can easily be made and packed to-go at home too.

#7: Granola Bars / Energy Bars

Whoever first thought about taking food and compressing it into a portable rectangular shape should be given an award for pushing human civilization forward in a big way. Bars are as convenient of a snack as you can get, and are a huge industry in the States. Your traditional granola bar generally consists of some rolled oats, nuts, and honey. While that might be the classic bar found in brown bag lunches of school children for decades, the undeniably convenient format has led to every possible variation you can imagine. Cereal bars to replace breakfast, protein bars after hitting the gym, the list goes on.

#6: Cookies

When America’s sweet tooth starts to act up, there’s only one real place to turn - the cookie jar. People are passionate about cookies, and it’s easy to understand why. There are few more mouth-wateringly delicious smells than fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. We recognize that not everyone is comfortable around an oven, but even if you’re not a baker, the Girl Scouts or grocery stores have you more than covered. Let’s face it; Sesame Street isn’t going to let a character develop a crippling addiction unless it’s to a true American classic. If they’re good enough for Cookie Monster, they’re good enough for us!

#5: Nuts

Roasted, salted, candied, chocolate-covered or left “au naturel”, nuts are an American favorite. While we often lump them together in a bowl and dub them mixed nuts, every kind of nut is distinct. Walnuts are the oldest known tree food. We’ve been eating them since 10,000 BC. Never seen a shelled cashew? That’s because it’s poisonous! Pistachios are so adored that they’re called the “happy nut” in China. Let’s not forget the classic ball game nut - peanuts! Okay, so technically they’re not nuts but legumes, but regardless, they’ll always hold a special place in the heart of America. However, as of 2012, they’re only the second most consumed “nut” in the States, after almonds.

#4: Crackers

Possibly the greatest edible vessel ever, crackers have been elevating and making other foods seem less sad for decades. Thanks to crackers, we don’t need to eat peanut butter from the jar. They’ve given us something to put slices of cheese on. Crackers are the support that holds most hors d’oeuvres together at cocktail parties. And as such, crackers are essential to American snacking and come in many varieties. Major household brands include Ritz, Wheat Thins, Triscuits, and every kid’s favorite, Goldfish! While most crackers are designed to be paired with other food, Goldfish crackers are baked to perfection and are delicious all on their own.

#3: Fruit

If it can bring about the fall of humankind from paradise in the garden of Eden, it’s gotta be delicious. Religious context aside, fruit has got to be one of the best snacks around. It’s flavorful, refreshing and healthy. Between fruits and vegetables, the USDA recommends between 5 and 13 servings daily depending on age and weight. Between those two choices, who isn’t going to opt for fruit? Fun fruit fact: did you know that the color orange is named after the fruit? Before the fruit was introduced to the English-speaking world, the color we know as orange was called “geoluread”. We prefer orange.

#2: Cheese

We love cheese. Without it, we wouldn’t have pizza. Cheeseburgers would just be hamburgers. Grilled cheese would just be toast. Cheese plates would just be plates! In 2013, Americans ate 33.7 pounds of cheese per capita. That’s a lot of cheese. But when you start eating it, it’s hard to stop. And while flavor plays an important role, a recent study using the Yale Food Addiction Scale revealed that cheese actually triggers a response from the same area of the brain that is stimulated by hard drugs. Oh well, if you’re going to nurse an addiction, cheese is definitely one of your better options.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Vegetables
Chocolate Bars
Muffins
Pretzels

#1: Chips

Chips dominate the American snack market, and we have Laura Scudder, an ingenious potato chip factory owner, to thank for keeping them fresh and always within arm’s reach. She invented the process of pre-bagging chips in 1926, and extended their shelf life drastically. With so many different types of chips, there’s really something for everyone. Ruffles makes them crinkle-cut, Pringles stacks them and Lay’s has dozens of flavors. Not a fan of potatoes however you slice them? How about Doritos and Tostitos, corn chips which have a distinct flavor and texture? Nothing pairs better with binge watching your favorite TV series than a bag of chips!

Do you agree with our list? What’s your go-to snack of choice? For more tasty top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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