The Truth About Your Healthy Snacks
We’ve all tried to swap out a bag of chips for some whole grain pretzels or a granola bar in an attempt to eat better and be more healthy. However, what we’re perceiving as the better option may be just as bad as our original guilty pleasure or indulgence. As people study food more, it has come to light that many things we thought were good for our health and our waistlines might not be as beneficial as we thought. Let’s take a look at some popular “healthy” snacks and see what the truth is.
Granola Bars: These can be great if you avoid the ones loaded with sugars. However, many granola bars are super sugary and sacrifice health for taste. Granola isn’t good for you if it’s been over processed and covered in multiple layers of corn syrup and sugar. The challenging part about finding truly healthy granola bars is most people don’t like the taste of a dry, unsugared granola bar (go figure!) Because of this many granola bars contain chocolate, caramel, and other ingredients that you wouldn’t eat alone and think they’re healthy. So why does having them loaded in your healthy snack make it any better? Look for options that don’t contain added sweet ingredients, and stick to natural flavors.
100 Calorie Packs: People think these are “healthy” alternatives, but they’re actually only marketed this way because there is a limited number of calories in them. Calorie count aside, these are usually snacks high in processed fats and carbs. Instead of the entire bag of chips, you’re just getting a small portion of the same unhealthy products. You’re hard pressed to find an element of these little packs that can be construed as healthy. Furthermore, many people think that since there’s only 100 calories in one pack and it isn’t bad for you, they can eat multiple, leading to the consumption of calories that are equivalent to the full-sized snack.
Pretzels: For some reason, we have the perception that pretzels are a healthy alternative to snacks like chips or cookies. But when it comes down to it, pretzels are basically just flour and salt, and all carbs, which are all a huge no-no. They’re also nutritionally empty. If you’re going to fuel your body, try choosing something a bit more nutritional. Pretzels will do absolutely nothing for your body. They also have a ton of sodium stemming from all that salt on top - with one serving size containing about 25% of your recommended daily consumption.
Veggie Chips: Just because you see the word veggie on these packages doesn’t make them as healthy as a vegetable. These products are often misleading, with the only veggie in sight being vegetable powder that fools you into thinking your veggie chips have the nutritional value of the vegetable they share a color with. The nutrients from vegetables are not in your veggie chips, despite the artificial flavoring that might give you that impression. If there actually are veggies in your chips, their presence is so minuscule due to over processing that any nutritional value that could possibly come from them is gone. Veggie chips are also made of mostly potato starch and corn flour. So unless potato starch is your idea of a nutritional vegetable, steer clear of veggie chips.
Dried Fruit: Many are fooled into thinking since fruit is good for me, dried fruit must be too. The truth is, many dried fruit products contain a ton of additives like sulfur to extend their shelf life. Do you really want to be consuming sulfur when you’re trying to be healthy? Additionally, many dried fruit is thoroughly sweetened with a ton of sugar to balance out the taste, totally canceling out any health benefits. Unsweeted and unsulfured products are available at certain health food stores, but you might as well save yourself the hassle and just stick to fresh fruit instead.
- Shannon Kaszuba