When it comes to healthy eating, finding snack options can be a great alternative for heavy meals or to simply keep your metabolism going all day long. But finding the perfect balance between taste, good ingredients, and it actually filling you up is a challenge. Plus, there are quite a few common “healthy” snacks that are actually not great for you.
If you’re serious about snacking, but want to filter through the crap to give your body what it needs, then here are three “healthy” snacks to stay away from and a few tips for spotting what’s good.

person eating a snack


1. Flavored Yogurt

Hate to break it to you, but yogurt that’s filled with sugar or unnatural flavorings/colors is not great for you. Yogurt brands tend to highlight their protein content and make you overlook the sugar content (especially in brands claiming they’re ‘low’ or ‘fat free’).
What To Get Instead: Be sure to check the labels of your go-to brands and instead of something flavored, try natural Greek yogurt with honey and fruit.


2. Flavored or Instant Oatmeal/Macaroni and Cheese

Okay, I get it. The ease and convenience of just popping a 1-minute pack of oatmeal is super appealing when you’re faced with the morning rush. And there’s no doubt that we’ve all at least tried Kraft mac and cheese (or gave it to our kiddos) a time or two. While my intent isn’t to bash any certain foods or companies, it’s important to know that anything claiming it’s “instant” or “just add water” is often processed or filled with additives that can really throw your body off.
What To Get Instead: Instead of the ‘instant’ option, opt for steel-cut oats with fresh fruit for your breakfast. Or, you can do overnight oats, which will save you time and make your morning less hectic. For the macaroni and cheese, try subbing for whole-grain or zucchini noodles and fresh grated cheese.


3. Granola Bars

Knowing that these actually aren’t that great for you is a total bummer. Although granola bars are disguised as containing only whole grains, nuts, and dried fruit, they often contain syrups or other preservatives to keep the quality of the dried fruit—and this can add the sugar content to almost as high as a candy bar!
What To Get Instead: If you can’t get away from granola bars, try Kind Bars which have considerably less processing, or try to make your own with rolled oats, peanut butter, chia seeds, etc.


Other Tips:

1. Remember that the less processed an item is, the better it is for you. If at all possible, get natural snacks like fruits and vegetables.
2. Try to only get snacks that have 6 grams of sugar per serving (or less). Sugar can cause your body’s natural levels to spike, which can be a trigger for mood swings, irritability, unhealthy cravings, or the ‘crash’ you’ll feel after the sugar high.
3. Check out the serving sizes and try to get something that’s reasonable. Plus, use portion control to keep yourself from going overboard.

For more nutrition and tips for cutting sugar, click here.

Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and fitness enthusiast located in Ocean Beach, San Diego. She is the author of the poetry collection, Somewhere On A Highway and founder of Be A Light LLC, a remote writing coaching/tutoring/editing services company.


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