With 94% of Americans snacking at least once per day, it’s never been more important to pay attention to what we’re snacking on. Many of the snack foods we’re bombarded by at the grocery store are deceptively marketed to us as ‘healthy.’
But what exactly makes a snack ‘healthy’ in the first place? With all of the marketing ploys we see nowadays on snack foods, like low-fat, sugar-free, light, and reduced-fat, among many others, it can be hard to determine what’s actually a good and healthy option.
Here are a few tips for making nutritious choices when a snack attack hits.
1. Read the Nutrition Facts. Whether you’re browsing the snack aisle at the grocery store or looking for something to grab quick at a convenience store, make sure you’re turning the package over and looking at the nutrition facts. Try to choose a snack that has a higher protein and fiber content while staying away from foods that have a lot of added sugars. Unlike foods that are loaded with sugar, foods higher in fiber and protein help increase satiety hormones which make us feel full.
2. Read the Ingredients. It’s not enough to just look at the nutrition facts. Make sure you’re looking at the list of ingredients as well! Many of the snack products we’re surrounded by everyday are laden with all kinds of preservatives, chemicals, dyes, and sweeteners. A good rule of thumb is: the less ingredients, the better!! Luckily, there are a lot of great snack options out there that are made with quality, wholesome ingredients. Some of our favorites include:
Hint: Be especially cautious with foods that say things like low-fat, sugar-free, light, and so on. Many of these foods combat the lack of sugar, fat, or sodium with other harmful sweeteners and chemicals to make sure it still tastes good!
3. Choose Whole Grains. If you’re looking for any kind carbohydrate-based snack, try to stick to ones that are made with whole grains. That includes things like crackers, granola bars, and popcorn. Some of our favorite options include:
Don’t forget to look at the ingredients though; sometimes foods labeled as whole grain don’t actually contain very many whole grains! When you’re choosing a whole grain snack, make sure the whole grain is within the first couple ingredients on the list. Otherwise, the amount of whole grains that are actually in the product is probably negligible.
The moral of the story? Stick to real wholesome foods! Try to snack on things like fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to nutrition. And if you are reaching for a snack that’s packaged, be sure to sure to look at the nutrition facts and ingredients. Typically the fewer ingredients it contains, the healthier it is!