Are your healthy snacks really that healthy? I’m going to go over 4 common snacks that people label as healthy but are a complete lie. Let’s cut this fluff!
Who loves snacking?? ME!
I absolutely love snacking. If I could just snack all day without eating full meals, I would. Justin knows this very well. He claims that my favorite food is h'orderves. And he’s right! If I had to choose one thing to eat the rest of my life, I would say cheese and olives on a cracker.
This post was inspired by my food friend, Carrie Benson. Shout out to her and her ambition to create a clean, sustainable life. You can find her on Instagram @carrielynnbenson. She posts about her healthy lifestyle and using essential oils.
The quality and type of food you eat are becoming the center of many people’s lives. Take for instance the “whole” 30 diet and the keto diet. And the truth behind it is that the food you eat really does matter. Food is medicine. Not all food is created equal, so don’t treat it that way. Yes, if you are trying to manage your weight calories matter, but eating a 100-calorie snack pack is not the same as eating a banana that has similar calories. Plus, snack packs come in unnecessary single-use wrappers.
**WARNING! Single-use wrappers are not good for the environment.
The thing you need to be looking at is the ingredient list and the nutritional value of the snack. Not Just the Calories. You will feel like horse poop if you only eat processed foods, especially if you only eat ultra-processed foods.
This is because our bodies don’t understand how to break down the foods and absorb the nutrients. Or in some cases, the nutrients are simply missing. Every time you eat you have the opportunity to either feed your body the nutrients it needs or to fill it with artificial dyes, fats, and sugars.
Not to mention that a recent study published states that 58% of the average American’s daily energy intake comes from ultra-processed foods like cookies, cakes, bread, and soda.
What’s the difference between ultra-processed versus processed?
Well, ultra-processed foods contain high levels of unnecessary salt, sugar, oil, and fat. Plus, a whole list of other “food” substances that you most likely can’t pronounce and are not used in traditional culinary preparations.
Processed foods are foods that have already been cooked, baked, mixed, or blended. This would be like pasta sauce, salad dressings, bread, yogurt, sausage, smoothies, etc.
In the way of clean, sustainable living, I try to avoid all ultra-processed foods. I also attempt to avoid processed foods as well but sometimes I’m short on time or the store just makes better cheese & crackers than I ever could make.
Now, let’s get to those Top 4 Lying “Healthy” Snacks:
#1 – Granola Bars. Everything good you hear about these is either a great marketing scheme or a lie. These things are ultra-processed and are loaded to the brim with extra sugar. If you check the back of many granola bars you’ll find the ingredient list is longer than a Steven King novel. But the real thing to focus on is the sugar. The American Heart Association recommends woman eat no more than 20 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. For men, it is 36 grams or 9 teaspoons a day.
Eating one granola bar throws you inches away from hitting that mark. That would be okay if you didn’t eat any other form of sugar that day. And YES! The sugar in milk and real fruit counts towards those 20 or 36 grams.
#2 – Yogurt. This is a processed food, so it’s slightly better for you. However, many and almost all companies decide to add extra sugar, dye, and artificial flavors in your yogurt cup. Not only are there natural sugars in the milk, but they then decide to add an extra cup of sugar, so it hits that “bliss” point.
A BLISS point is where your brain is firing all over the place and a rush of serotonin settles over you and makes you smile. Many companies take advantage of this bliss point and add sugar to everything. But that is why it’s a lie. The smile is a fake smile brought on by the extra sugar. You’re not really happy on the inside (well, maybe you are, but it’s not from the sugar). Yogurt also comes in single-use containers just like granola bars. NOT SUSTAINABLE AT ALL!
#3 – Nut Butters. Now, these are one of the biggest (maybe tastiest) lies out there. Store bought nut butters are loaded with extra oil and sugars. They are also a processed food because of nut and other unnecessary ingredients needed to be whipped together to create the final product. It seems like nut butters have made their way into all snakes. And they would be fine if they were cleaned from all the extra ingredients. Nuts are an excellent source of protein and fat. The nutritional value is NUTS!!
But once companies infect the nut butter with Palm oil and sugar, the “healthy” part of this snack bottoms out. Especially in my mind when they use Palm oil! The production of Palm oil has destroyed thousands upon thousands of tropical forests. DEFORESTATION is NOT GOOD for EARTH.
#4 Snack Packs/Fruit Snacks. – I wish these never existed. These are an ultra-processed foods that always ends up under the “healthy” snack options. If you just peek at the ingredient list of these you should be applauded that they are even allowed to be sold in a grocery store. Plus, hello, sugar heart-attack! I understand the appeal of snack packs. They’re EASY! But these aren’t just horrible for your body, but they are horrible for the planet because, once again, single-use packaging. No matter what BUZZ words they print on the package, these are a lie. They are not food. They are just an imitation to real food and many times they are more expensive. Even if the fruit snacks say “real fruit” there is still a load of other ingredients in it that are Bull S***!
So there are my top 4 “Healthy” snacks that are lies. There are many different options out there that are much more healthy and satisfying than granola bars, yogurt, peanut butter, and snack packs. But there is also a butt load of unhealthy options.
How do you pick?
Here are my tips for purchasing snacks
Less sugar, the better.
Less salt, the better.
Skip snacks with single-use packaging.
Skip ultra-processed foods.
Skip foods with a ton of ingredients (especially if you can’t pronounce them).
Skip foods with artificial dye, flavor, and sugars.
Here are some better options.
Any whole food: real fruit (bananas, apples, oranges, berries, etc), vegetables (cherry tomatoes, peas, peppers, cucumbers, carrots) olives, pickles, edamame, avocados, nuts, eggs, popcorn, dried fruit, etc.
Home mixed foods like fat bombs, energy balls, & chocolate bark.
Also, homemade yogurt or low-processed cheese.
Can you think of some more healthy options?
All in all, be a conscious snacker. Know what you are putting in your body and also be aware of how it gets to you. Single-use wrappers and plastics are filling up or landfills. Don’t be responsible for that.
REMEMBER, you have a choice of what you eat and how you eat it. I choose to eat clean and sustainable, and I hope you do too.
Have a beautiful day eating awesome snacks. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you next time!
Take care of yourself!
- How Many Grams of Sugar Per Day Should You Consume?: https://draxe.com/how-many-grams-of-sugar-per-day/
- 60 Percent of Our Diet?! Ultra-Processed Foods (+ Better Alternatives): https://draxe.com/ultra-processed-foods/
- Ultra-processed foods and added sugars in the US diet: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/3/e009892
- Global Palm Oil Demand Fueling Deforestation: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6059
- 8 NEW Facts about Plastic–And Why You Should Care: https://oceanconservancy.org/blog/2017/07/19/8-new-facts-plastic-care/
- How The Food Industry Helps Engineer Our Cravings: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/16/459981099/how-the-food-industry-helps-engineer-our-cravings