We live in an increasingly health-conscious world and losing weight isn’t an easy task. This can be credited to the fact that many people are misinformed about their food. Whenever a new health trend comes along, many of us are quick to jump on the bandwagon. The reason food trends die out is because they don’t work as well as people think they do. So are all trendy health foods bad? Not exactly. Many times it depends on the details, like where it comes from and how much you consume. This week, I’m analyzing healthy snacks.
Protein and Granola Bars
Protein or “energy bars” were created for extreme athletes as a way to pack in protein and calories while doing strenuous activity. At some point, they became main stream. It’s very common for someone to grab some kind of protein or granola bar on their way out the door. There are so many kinds out there that I recommend you look for a few key things when shopping so you don’t waste your money on junk next time you grocery shop. Buy nutritional bars that don’t contain trans-fat or high fructose corn syrup. It’s unnecessary and you have many options without those ingredients. In addition, unless your goal is to bulk up, don’t buy any protein bars that are over 200 calories or contain more than 8 grams of sugar. Look for healthy bars with nuts and fruit. Realize that the more chocolate and peanut butter they pile on, the closer you are to eating a regular candy bar.
Potato chips are being replaced by blue corn chips, rice cakes, flavored crackers and veggie chips. There’s a huge variety of chip alternatives available now, with the expectation being that they’re better for you. Many times these chips contain the same amount of fat and calories as regular chips. The best case scenario is that the alternative bag you choose has more vitamins and less sodium. Since I’m not analyzing each and every brand, I advise you to simply compare the labels next time you shop! After you find the healthiest option, replace your chip dip with hummus or guacamole. You won’t end up cutting a ton of calories, but your new snack will have way more nutritional value.
Frozen yogurt is a tricky one. It’s really not healthy per se, but if you’re comparing it to regular soft serve ice cream, it does have some benefits. Like ice cream, frozen yogurt has a high sugar content. However, it generally has less fat. A big misconception about frozen yogurt is that it provides the body with probiotics that help the immune system. Yogurt at its purest form does contain said probiotics, but due to shelf life, the manufacturing process and extremely low temperatures, frozen yogurt does not hold the same nutritional value. Frozen yogurt is a good snack in small doses, and it’s best to use a variety of fresh fruit or nuts as your toppings.
Nuts and Trail Mix
Nuts and trail mix are a great and tasty way to add protein to your diet. It’s important to note that nuts have a high fat content, and people who are trying to lose weight this summer shouldn’t eat a lot at once! Besides that, nuts are great for you. Some tips: nuts have a higher nutritional value when raw, and avoid adding a ton of candy or pretzels to your trail mix. Instead, use nuts and dried fruit to make up the majority of your snack!
Compared to any kind of chips, popcorn is almost always a better alternative! The healthy guidelines for popcorn are simple: skip the butter and salt! Buy the kernels plain in bulk, and add healthy seasonings after it’s all popped! Other than that, it’s a great choice to settle your cravings.
Snacking can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Just be aware of what you’re really eating by remembering to stay away from excessive amounts of sugar or additives and always read the labels! Take a look at these super foods to consider next time you want a snack. What nutritious snacks are you eating? Leave us a comment!