Do you want healthy snacks without all of the guesswork of what you are putting in your body? Eating real food shouldn’t be a mystery and the ingredients should be easy to understand. We wanted to know more about real food snacks so we asked Kate Flynn, Founder of Sun and Swell, to share her secrets of healthy snacking.
The best healthy snacks have one thing in common, they nail a perfect balance of nutrition and convenience. Too big and it’s a meal, too small and it’s not satisfying. Kate Flynn recalls her struggle to find the perfect healthy snacks as a teenager and young adult. If she eliminated all of the chemicals, preservatives, and sugar, she might find the right snack, but she quickly realized that this was a challenge, because most packaged foods on the market are loaded with the very things she wanted to cut out of her diet. Her desire to find the best snacks was so strong, she decided it was time to make her own! This led to the birth of Sun & Swell foods with the mission of making healthy snacks more accessible and with ingredients you can pronounce and understand.
Thank you, Kate, for sharing your vision with us. What inspired you to create Sun and Swell Foods? What sets you apart from the average healthy snack company?
I was inspired to start Sun & Swell Foods after struggling to find whole food snacks that accommodated my busy lifestyle. Most snack foods on the market are full of added sugars, preservatives and chemicals and it’s rare to see ingredient lists that don’t have dozens of hard-to-pronounce components. I found it hard to find snacks in stores that were made with just simple, whole-food ingredients, so I decided to create my own. Our snacks are solely made with whole food and organic ingredients! Most of our recipes only have 4-5 ingredients, all of which are recognizable foods you find in your pantry. We are also committed to being an impact-driven brand and are proud to be a Certified B-Corporation and a member of 1% for the planet! We’re also one of the first snack food companies in the US to be rolling out compostable packaging. As we grow, we look forward to continuing to use our business as a force for good and positively impact not only our customers but also our suppliers, employees and our environment!
I love it! Whole food organic snacks with recognizable ingredients and compostable packaging too! It’s a win-win for everyone. So what does “clean eating” look like for someone wanting to eat a clean diet?
Clean eating means eating a diet rich in whole real foods as close to their natural state as possible and avoiding ingredients that are often associated with intolerances or inflammation (gluten, dairy, and soy). However, clean eating is much more liberating than a traditional “diet”. Rather than focusing on calorie count, fat or carbs, you simply avoid things like chemicals, preservatives, and refined sugar. Clean foods that I eat regularly include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy fats (coconut oil, avocados), organic eggs, and sustainably caught seafood. I avoid heavily processed foods, including most traditional grab & go snacks!
This sounds much less intimidating than some of the traditional diets out there and much simpler too! What are some of your must-have munchies?
I’m partial to our Snack Bites and Crisps. I also love plantain chips but I make sure to buy the ones with only coconut oil and sea salt. Another favorite is kale chips as long as the ingredients are simple!
Plantain chips made with coconut oil are my favorite! What are two of your healthiest habits that keep you going?
Prioritize sleep! I spent the first 10 years of my professional career averaging 5 hours of sleep a night. I took pride in how little sleep I could get, and still function. Sleep was always the last priority on my list. But over the years, I realized how important it is! Now it’s the top priority when it comes to my health and the last thing I’ll compromise.
Another healthy habit for me is to walk while I talk! Whenever I have a phone call, if I don’t have to be in front of my computer to take it, I go for a walk while I’m on the call. I also do this for meetings with my team. I wear a Fit Bit and have noticed a dramatic increase in my number of steps when I do this. It’s one of my favorite forms of multitasking!
The need for adequate sleep is so overlooked but SO important! Let’s talk snacking on-the-go, what are your favorite snacks to take with you on travel days?
When I travel, I can’t live without our Simple Snack Bites – so convenient and filling for long travel days! I also enjoy love hard-boiled eggs and nuts. Another favorite one for me is roasting veggies like carrots and broccoli, then I put them in a Stasher bag to bring with me on road trips.
I’ll have to try some of these ideas for my next trip. I’m guessing these are perfect for kids too! Speaking of kids, what are your recommendations to moms trying to incorporate healthier snacks for their kids?
I keep it simple. Two tips. Make it fun and make it tasty! Our unique shapes of the bites make it easy for kids to engage with our snacks! Healthy eating gets a bad rap. It CAN taste good. For example, rather than refined sugar, we use dates to naturally sweeten our cookie bites. Trust me, your kids will not notice the difference, but you will, no crazy sugar rush or blood sugar crash!