6 Snacks That You Thought Were Healthy – Are NOT
Walk into any convenience store, airport shop or grocery store and you are bombarded with foods and snacks labeled gluten-free, sugar-free, carb-free and fat-free. It is enough to make your head spin. Choosing what to eat for a snack that is healthy and full of nutrients is easier when you know what to look for and avoid. The same rule for food still applies to snacks and that is if it has more than five ingredients and no expiration date, you want to avoid it. Here are 6 snacks that you thought were healthy, but are not:
1. Store-Bought Smoothies – when you see the word ‘smoothie,’ it implies healthy, however prepared smoothies can be full of sugar, fat and can contain more than 600 calories. They often contain frozen yogurt, fruit juice, honey and other sugary ingredients. While they are convenient, make your own at home before leaving the house by using whole foods such as fresh berries, vegetables, ground flaxseed and good quality protein.
2. Yogurt – whether it is frozen, in a parfait or in the dairy aisle, be aware that most are packed with added sugar. Prepared parfaits made with granola, served at various coffee bars and airport kiosks, often contain a lot of sugar and you would be better off ordering a breakfast sandwich instead. Plain Greek yogurt is a good choice with blueberries for a snack to keep the sugar content down.
3. Trail Mixes – while they are full of dried fruit, nuts and seeds, it is often the extra chocolate-covered raisins, deep-fried banana fruits and other candies that can really pile on the calories and sugar. Make your own trail mix at home with roasted nuts, seeds and dried berries and skip the candy. Watch your portion sizes when it comes to trail mix, as it is easy to go overboard. Measure out no more than a ½ cup serving and place in a container for when you are on the go. Unless you are going on a strenuous hike and need the fuel, you may want to avoid trail mix and simply enjoy a handful of nuts such as raw almonds, peanuts or walnuts.
4. Protein Or Energy Bars – it is really important to read the labels when it comes to protein or energy bars as they can be loaded with sugar and calories, more than a candy bar. Make sure it contains at least 15 grams of protein and the first ingredient on the ingredient list should be protein. While they are convenient, especially when traveling or working long hours, it is still much better to pack a piece of fruit and some nuts for a healthy snack.
5. Sports Drinks Or Diet Sodas – there is nothing good to say about either because sports drinks have just as much sugar as a can of soda, so unless you are running a marathon, they are not for you. Diet soft drinks have a whole host of other ingredients including artificial sweeteners that actually promote hunger. Studies have proven that while you might save on calories, crazy chemicals and fake sugar are NOT good for you.
6. Microwave Popcorn – many people think popcorn is a healthy choice, however the kernels can get stuck or caught in your colon. Plus, the chemicals that line the inside of the microwave bags go into the popcorn as it is being popped in the microwave and are linked to disease. If you must have popcorn, purchase the plain kernels and use and air-popper instead. Add your own flavorings and spices for a healthier option.
Be wary of any food that is low in fat because it typically has more sugar than the regular food. For example, reduced-fat peanut butter is full of sugar to replace the fat that was taken out. You are better off eating the real thing by finding stores that offer the ability to grind your own nuts. Think whole foods when it comes to healthy snacks – the more natural, the better.