Five “Healthy” Snacks That Aren’t

Photo credit: fling93 / Flickr
Photo credit: fling93 / Flickr

Navigating that snack aisle at a grocery store or convenience store in search of a fast and convenient snack that’s healthy can be a challenge. The majority of the packaged snacks you see on the shelves of your supermarket are high in calories, fat, sugar, or sodium. Even some of the so called “healthy” snacks when scrutinized turn out to be not so healthy. Here are five ‘healthy” fast snacks that don’t live up to their reputation:

1. Veggie chips

While it’s tempting to think that anything that has veggie in its name is healthy, this isn’t necessarily the case with veggie chips. Most veggie chips have vegetables listed near the bottom of the ingredient list and consist primarily of vegetable food coloring added to potato flour. Many of them are no lower in fat and calories than regular potato chips. In addition, they’re generally high in sodium. A better snack choice is raw vegetables dipped in a low fat French onion dip.

2. Pretzels

Somewhere along with way pretzels gained the reputation of being a healthy snack alternative and it seems to have stuck in people’s minds. In reality, pretzels are high in carbs and almost devoid of nutritional value despite being relatively low in fat. Plus, they tend to be light on flavor which makes them unsatisfying. If you crave something salty, air popped popcorn is a more nutritious alternative. After all, popcorn is a whole grain.

3. Granola bars

This is another conveniently packaged snack that’s gained an unjustifiable reputation for being virtuous. Most granola bars are notoriously high in sugar, some containing more sugar grams than the average candy bar. Some granola bars also contain unhealthy trans fats. Although they aren’t completely devoid of nutrition, you need to consume a lot of calories to get those nutrients. If you can’t resist the craving for a granola bar, look for ones that have under four grams of sugar and no hydrogenated oils. An even better option is to snack on a handful of nuts or peanut butter spread on a whole grain cracker.

Photo credit: Léo/a> / Flickr
Photo credit: Léo / Flickr

4. Dried fruit

The natural crowd loves to extol the virtues of granola and dried fruit although they may not be as healthy as they appear. Dried fruit is fruit that’s had the water removed while leaving the natural sugars intact. The result is a snack that has a higher calorie and sugar load than fresh fruit. Dried fruit does have a relatively high fiber content which makes it a better alternative than a candy bar, but the healthiest approach is to eat the whole fruit.

5. Bran muffins

The word bran makes them sound healthy but most bran muffins are remarkably low in bran and fiber despite being high in calories, fat, and sugar. They are best avoided at coffee shops and bakeries unless you’re able to read the nutritional label. The best option is to bake your own at home where you can control the ingredients.

Don’t let these so called “healthy” snacks derail your weight loss plans. By reading labels carefully, you can avoid these nutritional disasters.

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