“Healthy Snacks” That Are Not Always Healthy
Choose Yogurt with Higher Protein and Less Sugar
Yogurt can be a great way to get a serving of probiotics or calcium, but it can also pack in a lot of excess sugar. Don’t let the “low calorie” label fool you. You need to ask yourself where those calories are coming from. Most of the time you will find that most are coming from carbohydrates in the form of added sugars. What you want to look for in a yogurt is a higher protein to sugar ratio. Aim to choose yogurts that have at least 10 grams of protein and no more than 10 grams of added sugars.
Granola Can Contain Lots of Sugar
Granola can be a delicious extra to add to different foods or just use as a snack. Granola can pack in a serving of whole grains and be a good source of fiber. Unfortunately, granola can also have a lot of added sugars. Avoid granolas that have added ingredients like chocolate or yogurt bites. Aim to choose granolas with nuts and seeds which can add healthy fats instead of added sugar. Be sure to read the label and monitor your portion size.
Fruit Already Has Natural Sugars
Dried fruit can seem like a good way to get in a serving of your favorite fruit, but it could also come with a large serving of added sugars. Fruit has natural sugar in it, but when dehydrated this content is concentrated and it becomes very easy to over consume. Dried fruit found in the store also often has sugar added to it. Stick with whole fruit when able; you will get the benefits of the vitamins and minerals as well as fiber.
What to Look for in Protein Bars and Shakes
Adding a protein bar or shake to your daily routine can help you reach your daily protein goals, but it can also contain many added sugars. There are basically two different types of protein shakes and bars – those geared toward weight management and those geared towards athletes. The protein bars and shakes made for athletes are going to contain higher amounts of carbohydrates, usually greater than 15 grams per serving, which will help fuel an athlete through a workout. Protein supplements geared towards weight management will be higher in protein and very low in carbohydrates. Higher protein content promotes satiety. Lower carbohydrate contents for those not in need of additional energy.
Veggie Sticks or Straws are Not Veggies
Although they have “veggie” in the name, you won’t be a getting a serving of vegetables from this snack. Veggie straws are processed food that lack the nutrients actual vegetables provide. Because of the low fiber and protein contents it is very easy to over eat. You are better off eating some real vegetables with a Greek yogurt based dip that provides some protein to help keep you satisfied.
Mary Cate is a dietitian with CHI Health Weight Management. Her love of food and nutrition stems from many years of playing sports and growing up in a family that loves to cook. Her goal is to help people learn that nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated and that it should be an enjoyable part of our lives.