That ‘healthy’ snack might not be as healthy as you think

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Fresh Fruit



Featuring: Kristen Gradney, MHA, RDN, LDN

Eating healthy can be tough. It requires willpower, planning and, more than ever, vigilance. Even when we stick to choosing healthier foods, it’s easy to wind up eating foods that fail to move us closer to our health goals.

Snack makers have gotten really good at promoting health benefits, even though many snacks marked as healthy actually are not.

Kristen Gradney, MHA, RDN, LDN, Director of Nutrition and Metabolic Services at Our Lady of the Lake, suggests sticking to foods with a short list of ingredients which are as close to fresh as you can get them.

For example, veggie chips have become a popular option at supermarkets, but they can be high in fat and salt. Baked veggie slices are a better choice, she says.

Fruit juice, even if it’s 100 percent juice, is high in sugar. A better choice is to have a snack of ripe, fresh fruit and drink some water with it.

“Making better choices will reduce additional empty calories from added sugar and fats,” Gradney says. “The replacements will provide more beneficial nutrients like fiber, water, vitamins and minerals.”

“Remember that foods touted as ‘free,’ such as gluten-free, fat-free and sugar-free, are not always the healthiest choice,” Gradney says. “Always read food labels to help you make the best decision.

Trade THIS … for THAT
Snack healthier by making these smart trades.

Energy or protein bars … for nuts and fruit
Bars can be high in sugar and calories. A better high-protein snack is to eat some nuts and a half-a-cup of fresh fruit.

Sports drinks … for water
Sports drinks are loaded with added sugars or artificial sweeteners.  You’re better off drinking water.

Dried fruit … for fresh or canned fruit
“But it’s fruit!” you may protest. The problem is dried fruits are high in sugar and often contain added sugar. Better choices are fresh fruit or canned fruit not packed in syrup.

Flavored yogurt … for plain yogurt with fresh fruit
Supermarket coolers are stacked with yogurt flavors, which try to mimic rich desserts, and most are full of added sugar. A better choice is plain yogurt with fresh fruit.

Coconut oil … for olive or canola oil
Coconut oil has become popular in baking today, but coconut oil is high in saturated fats. Better choices are olive and canola oil.

 

About Kristen Gradney

Kristen Gradney, MHA, RDN, LDN, is the Director of Nutrition and Metabolic Services at Our Lady of the Lake.

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