1. Veggie Chips
The word veggie is in its name, so this snack must be healthier than potato chips, right? Wrong. Many of these chips are made of vegetable flour and don’t contain any real vegetables at all! They house as much fat and calories as potato varieties — and a lot more sodium. Plus, veggie chips, on average, cost 30 percent more than potato chips.
2. Energy Bars
Energy bars were originally developed to give athletes a convenient source of fuel during a long workout, but over time, they have become an on-the-go snack for everyone. Nowadays, these bars are often filled with chocolate, high-fructose corn syrup, and artery-clogging saturated fat. You might as well eat a candy bar. If you can’t resist, look for a bar that’s no more than 200 calories and 20 grams of sugar per serving — coming from dried fruit, not added sugars.
3. Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter
You may think reduced fat means larger portions per serving, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. When fat is removed from peanut butter, sugar is usually added to replace the flavor, and the calorie difference is negligible. More important, monounsaturated fat found in peanuts, like in olive oil, is beneficial for your health, so there’s no need to remove it from the snack. Try natural peanut butter, which should contain only peanuts and salt, to avoid the sugars and bad fats. Peanuts are high in calories, though, so even when eating natural peanut butter, keep an eye on serving size.
4. Trail Mix
Dried fruit and nuts offer extended energy to hikers, and it may seem like the healthiest option in the vending machine, but it’s actually one of the unhealthiest snacks out there. Pre-packaged and processed trail mixes are high in fat and calories. The dried fruit is drenched in sugar and the nuts in salt. Many contain highly caloric add-ins like chocolate chips and coconut. And that yogurt-covered fruit is actually sugar-coated fruit. One handful alone can easily set you back 300 calories or more, and in a snack-size bag, there’s typically 2 to 3 servings.
All smoothies are not created equal. You’re much better off eating a piece of fruit because pre-madeor store-bought smoothies can rack up more calories than a cheeseburger. Some have up to 650 to 1000 calories, due to extreme portions of fruit, vegetables, and sugar from ingredients such as fruit juice, ice cream, chocolate, and whole milk. Talk about a calorie bomb! Not such a smooth choice after all.
6. Frozen Yogurt
It seems so much better than ice cream. When it comes to saturated fat, frozen yogurt is much healthier, but in terms of calories and simple sugars, the two treats are closer than you think. After loading up on sugar- and fat-laden toppings, frozen yogurt’s calorie count catches up to its ice cream counterparts. Beware of self-serve yogurt shops. The cups are often large and if you fill them up, you could end up consuming 500 to 800 calories in the yogurt alone. And while regular yogurt contains live active cultures that can keep the bacteria in your digestive tract healthy, most frozen yogurt sold at supermarkets and retail stores have been heat processed, which kills the beneficial live cultures.