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Just How “Healthy” is That Snack?

Photo by Flikr user trekkyandy
Photo by Flikr user trekkyandy

Many foods appear healthy for you with labels such as “fat free” or “diet,” but looks can be deceiving. Foods such as multi-grain or wheat bread, trail mix, energy bars, peanut butter, diet soda and some smoothies are all foods that aren’t as healthy as they may seem.

If you’re making a sandwich, you would think multi-grain or wheat bread is healthier than sourdough or white bread. But that’s not always true. Some multi-grain and wheat breads are made with refined grains, so you aren’t getting the complete nutritional benefit.

An easy and quick snack that seems healthy is trail mix. Some trail mix can be very healthy when made at home with nuts and dried fruit; however, many store-bought versions are filled with candy-coated pieces and chocolate. Without even realizing it, you consume a “healthy” trail-mix snack that adds up to over 600 calories.

Another food that is commonly mistaken as healthy is peanut butter. Although most peanut butter is made out of nuts, it also contains a lot of sugar. Find a healthier peanut butter with no added sugar or oils. Other options include no sugar added almond or cashew butter, for example.

Are energy bars a healthy pre-workout snack? Not always. A lot of energy bars contain high-fructose corn syrup, tons of sugar and saturated fat. Most bars have more than 350 calories each. These high-calorie bars are only good for intense workouts, such as running or swimming, when you really need the extra calories.

When you see the word “diet” in front of an unhealthy substance, you may think that it’s better than the original version, but that’s not always true. Although diet soda is calorie-free, that does not mean it’s good for your body. In order for diet soda to remain calorie-free, it must contain many chemicals, such as aspartame or saccharin.

Smoothies are another drink commonly thought of as healthy. Smoothies are filled with healthy ingredients, such as fruits and low-fat dairy. However, some fruit smoothies also contain unhealthy items such as sugar, ice cream and sherbet, which can all add up to a high-calorie drink.