A Grilled Cheese in a Puff

These Southern-style snacks are the anti-Cheeto.

Cheese puffs are not what you call health food. But ever since the days of Cheez Doodles, kids have gone ga-ga for them. Now fans can puff with minimal guilt.

Snikiddy, a Bethesda-based healthy snack company, has come up with a variation on doodles and curls: Grilled Cheese Puffs that are as light, crunchy, and as addictive as cheese puffs but without the hydrogenated oils, MSG, artificial flavors and dyes found in many brands. Made from organic cornmeal and real cheddar cheese, they also have fewer calories, less fat, no trans fats, and are wheat- and sugar-free.
Mary Schulman and her mother, Janet Ownings, started Snikiddy Snacks in 2005 using family recipes from Schulman's South Carolina grandmother.  Schulman had just had her first child and was casting about for healthy snacks and sweets (Snikiddy also makes a line of cookies like Chocolate Chippers and Banana Nibbles studded with real banana). Her husband, Brett, joined the company in 2006 as COO. The cheese puffs are a "personal obsession of mine," says Schulman, and a favorite of her children too. 

Snikiddy Grilled Cheese Puffs, available at local Whole Foods stores and Yes Organic Markets for around $2.79 for a 4-ounce bag.