10 snacks you thought were healthy — but aren’t

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Bon Appetit recently published a list of snacks that have a “health food aura” about them, but are either not all that great for you, or are downright unhealthy.

Granola. Eye the ingredients, and pay attention to the carb-protein ratio, and the amount of fiber. Some of these are really no better than sugar-coated cereal.

Smoothies. If not made at home with wholesome ingredients, these are usually sugar- and calorie-bombs.

Low-fat cheese. This is interesting: a study out of Harvard has identified a natural substance in dairy fat — yes, fat — that may substantially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Fat-free salad dressing. These are almost always crammed with extra sugar and/or corn syrup to make up for the texture and flavor lost to fat. Once you make your own salad dressings, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is and you’ll never go back to store-bought! A few of my faves:
Creamy balsamic vinaigrette (This page also includes the easiest recipe ever: 1-2-3 Dressing.)
Ginger-peanut dressing
Almost-Panera’s Asian dressing
– Easy Tex-Mex: equal amounts of Greek yogurt and salsa, then a bit of taco seasoning – easy and delish! See my make-ahead Tex-Mex salad.

Rice cakes. Fairly void of any decent nutrients, they’re really just empty calories. Chocolate or cinnamon ones are just empty calories with sugar added.

Pretzels. Proof that “fat free” doesn’t equal healthy. They’re basically white bread with an egg wash and a bunch of salt.

Veggie burgers. They sound inherently healthy, but frozen veggie burgers can contain more processed filler ingredients and sodium than actual vegetables or beans.

Diet sodas. Sweeteners may increase sugar or carbohydrate cravings, and if consumed in great quantity, may actually impact weight gain.

Others on the list: Bran muffin. Whole-wheat wrap. (See the original article.)

See my lists of ways to sneak healthier choices into your snacks and meals.

Jana

3 comments

  1. Isn&#39;t it annoying when magazines talk about &quot;healthy&quot; and their info is out of date or just inadequate?!<br /><br />Another important thing to know about fat-free salad dressings is that <a href="http://www.ajcn.org/content/80/2/396.full&quot; rel="nofollow">some of the nutrients in raw vegetables cannot be properly absorbed if you do not eat fat in the same meal</a>, so if you are using

  2. Thanks, Becca! I didn&#39;t know that about veggies and fat. Good to know!<br /><br />And my salads almost always have nuts of some kind in them. When I first started cutting white flour out of my diet, I didn&#39;t think I could LIVE without croutons in every salad! But now I don&#39;t miss them at all. Okay, once in a while, with Caesar, but that&#39;s it!

  3. P.S. In defense of Bon Appetit… Perhaps I didn&#39;t make it clear, but their article called these snacks out as unhealthy. I&#39;ve just collected the whole slide show onto one page, with a bit of editing and some notes of my own.

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