With the 4th and swimsuit weather upon us, these vegan, keto, low-fat, organic and/or just yummy snacks are worth a taste

During the lockdown, we were all cursed with the dual penalty of no gyms being open and having (choosing?) to eat a lot more pizza and take-out. But as we begin to emerge like Punxatawny Phil from coronahibernation and embrace pool-party season, it’s time to recommit to healthy eating… well, healthier, at least. Here are some food options to keep in your pantry that taste good and have dietary provenance.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Diestel turkey. I’ve long preferred turkey meat to beef — it tends to be less fatty, better for you and creates a smaller carbon footprint, and it is just as versatile. And flavor? … Well, that can be a sticking point. But Diestel’s Italian sausage version is jam-packed with taste (I made some into meatballs), and the patties cook up quickly for a great, flavorful and low-fat summer burger. $13.95 for four ¼ lb. patties or 1 lb. sausage. Available at DiestelTurkey.com. And serve up that turkey patty on Eastern Standard Pretzel Buns, an artisanal bread you can toast and coat with chili-lime salt for a hearty kick. $34.99 for Sun’s Out Griller Pack. Available at ESProvisions.com.


Pop Bitties. If you’re asked to bring chips to a pool party, consider these flavorful alternatives to corn or potato chips. Air-popped from whole grains like sorghum, brown rice, quinoa and chia, these non-GMO ancient grain crisps look like tiny rice cakes but eat like Lay’s. Kosher, vegan and gluten- corn-, trans-fat- and tree-nut-free, the Hickory Barbecue chips are munchable on their own, or scoop up some guac with the vegan Sour Cream and Onion or salsa with the Pink Himalayan Salt. Available for $15.99 per four-pack at MarksMindfulMunchies.com and Amazon.com.



Omnom Chocolate. All the way from Iceland, this brand of caramel milk chocolate has been a long-standing sponsor of Iceland Pride and waves its rainbow flag (and a unicorn!) gaily on its packaging. It’s made with Nicaraguan cocoa, delivering a rich, satisfying crunch. Available at Amazon.com.


RYZE Mushroom Coffee. “Instant” coffee gets a bad rap, but when you take Arabica beans and blend them with six kinds of mushrooms and MCT oil from coconuts, you get this super-special superfood that’s both keto and vegan with a nutty flavor for an earthy boost to your morning. $30 (for 30-serving pouch). Available at RyzeSuperFoods.com.


Runamok Maple syrup. Now that Aunt Jemima is no more — and, honestly, why would you be pouring runny corn syrup over your food anyway? — time to up your game with some more artisanal Vermont maple, including the new strawberry/rose-infused version from Runamok. Consider it in summer cocktails and desserts as well as at breakfast. $16.95. Available online and at RunamokMaple.com.


Ch’eesy MAC. Upton’s Naturals’ vegan dishes, such as its mac and cheese (with or without seitan “bacon”) give a comfort-food twist to products that don’t make animals uncomfortable. But they also do a Thai Curry Jackfruit that turns pulled pork sandwich into “fooled pork.” $4.99. Available at Whole Foods and online.


Dandies marshmallows. Sitting around a fire pit when the sun goes down all but requires you to make s’mores, and these all-natural, vegan marshmallows have a surprising and unique flavor and texture to really up your game. (You don’t need to use the Omnom chocolates for your s’mores, but hey, why not?) And get the minis in the winter to put in hot chocolate. $4.99. Available at Whole Foods.