The drugstore's aisles are hiding a surprising array of good-for-you grub.

Karla Walsh
October 27, 2020
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In many larger metro areas, CVS, Walgreens and Duane Reade locations are about as common as Starbucks. On nearly every corner, you'll spy a spot to snag your prescription, a bottle of hand sanitizer, some toilet paper or a thermometer. (Some things we learned in 2020 can be very valuable to have at home!)

These stores offer so much more than drugs, clearly, and we've been particularly impressed with the strides CVS has been making lately in the health food section.

While they were off to a start pre-pandemic, the latest food trends likely spurred their product developers on. A new CVS survey of more than 2,000 adults found that 66 percent of American adults are snacking at home more, and 59 percent are seeking out more nutritious snacks and meal ideas more often than they would have prior to the pandemic.

As a result of those findings, CVS added more than a dozen new pre-made "Fast Favorites" products to their store brands, Gold Emblem Abound and Gold Emblem. We're more familiar with seeing kid-friendly cereals and pints of ice cream on our drugstore runs, so we were inspired to take another peek at CVS' snack offerings.

Below, seven shelf-stable products in particular that caught our eyes for their solid nutrition, fun flavors and craving-busting ability. If you, too, want to give these a treat, you can find most of these pantry staples at select CVS locations, on CVS.com and via online ordering and delivery solutions like Instacart, DoorDash and Shipt.

7 CVS Healthy Snacks to Add to Your Shopping List

Girl Scout Thin Mint Almonds

Calories: 170 for 8 pieces (about 1 ounce)

Inspired by America's favorite surprisingly vegan Girl Scout cookie, these almonds are coated in peppermint oil-infused dark chocolate. Consider these a nice macronutrient-balanced (each serving has 4 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs and 13 grams of fat) nosh to cure your craving for sweets.

Everything Bagel Cashews

Calories: 150 for 18 pieces (about 1 ounce)

Love everything about everything bagel seasoning? Then you'll surely enjoy these nicely spiced nuts. With just a few ingredients and 12 grams of fat per serving (only 2 grams of saturated fat, so most of it is the heart-healthy kind), these make for a great between-meals option.

Mini-Sized Uncured Pepperoni Turkey Sticks

Calories: 60 calories for 2 sticks

Low in carbs and surprisingly high in protein (9 grams per 60-calorie serving), enjoy these turkey jerky-like sticks alongside a piece of fruit and you'll feel super-satisfied. As with most jerky, these are a little high in sodium—390 mg in 2 sticks—so choose these less often if you're watching your sodium intake.

Organic Maple Brown Sugar Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal

Calories: 200 calories for the cup

We can't be the only ones who could eat breakfast foods all day, every day! This fiber-rich cup of lightly sweetened oats contains zero high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners—just a bit of cane sugar, molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar to flavor the whole grains. (This option is higher in added sugars than most others here, so aim to balance this tasty option out with other lower-sugar snacks the rest of the day.)

Cranberry Quinoa Nut, Grain and Rice Bites

Calories: 120 calories for ⅓ cup

Like itty-bitty granola bars, these chewy whole grain squares have a super-short and very understandable ingredient list. Crisp brown rice, quinoa and dry-roasted nuts and seeds team up with organic brown rice syrup and dried cranberries for a slightly sweet trail mix-inspired treat.

Dark Chocolate Chickpeas

Calories: 140 calories per ¼ cup

You've probably snacked on chocolate-covered nuts or raisins, but how about chickpeas? Like a sweeter riff on the popular savory roasted chickpeas, these beans are an excellent option for a low-sodium snack. Each ¼-cup serving has just 5 milligrams of sodium (while sneaking in 4 grams of satisfying fiber and 3 grams of protein).

Sea Salt and Black Pepper Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn

Calories: 160 calories for the bag

Veggies can be a challenge to tack integrate into snacks if you don't have access to a fridge. These freeze-dried corn pieces are completely shelf-stable and offer ¾ cup of veggies, or almost 1 full serving of vegetables, per bag. Seasoned with garlic, onion and citrus, these crunchy corn pieces make a stellar swap for typical potato chips. Eat the whole bag and you'll rack up 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, too.