Can You Pass Our Snack Pop Quiz?
Which is the better-for-you cereal?
Which will power you through softball practice?
Which is the smarter drink to sip on?
Which is the more nutritious after-school snack?
That’s because none of these snacks are great for you. But it’s easy to be fooled! Sneaky packaging claims can make foods seem healthier than they actually are. Read on for what you should know about some of the top culprits.
Gluten-free snacks, which don’t contain certain grains, like wheat, are trendy, but are they healthy? Not necessarily. In fact, they can contain more saturated fat and sodium and less of the good stuff, like fiber and protein, than regular versions of foods. (FYI: Some people are sensitive to gluten and need these foods. Your doc can tell you if you are.)
Try a slice of whole-wheat toast topped with peanut butter, fresh berries, and a dash of cinnamon.
Energy and protein bars promise to power you through your day, and the packaging brags about all of the vitamins and minerals inside. But take a peek at the nutrition label and you’ll see this bar’s dirty secret: It’s packed with 17 grams of sugar. That’s almost as much as in the candy bar! Too much sugar can lead to weight gain as well as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Make an energy-boosting trail mix by combining nuts with cereal pieces, dried fruit, and a few chocolate chips.
The bottle says “no added sugar,” yet 49 grams of sugar are listed on the nutrition label—confusing, no? That’s because those sugars are naturally occurring, meaning they come from fruit. The problem: When you eat an apple, the fruit’s fiber fills you up and affects how the body breaks down sugar so that you don't get a sugar rush (or crash). But there’s zero fiber in the smoothie, making it no better than a soda.
Dip pieces of fruit in Greek yogurt. Freeze, then enjoy!
TBH, these are just glorified potato chips. (In fact, potato starch and potato flour are the first ingredients.) One of the many reasons that veggies are so good for you is that they’re packed with keep-you-full fiber. But these veggie straws have less than 1 gram—a measly amount. Nutritionists say that foods like this have “empty calories,” since they have little to no health benefit.
Kale chips (even picky eaters love ’em!). Toss torn pieces of kale with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350⁰F for 10 minutes.