When shopping at the grocery store for simple, portable snacks you can easily have on hand throughout the day for a healthy bite that can aid in your weight loss efforts, you’re probably going to lean toward a certain type of snack. And those are the options that have been touted as wholesome and clean in the health and wellness world. That makes the most sense, after all.
Yet, some store-bought snacks have gotten a “health halo” from wellness bloggers or aesthetic, rather than from their actual nutrition labels. And since these are pre-made and processed, they could become unhealthy very quickly simply because they’re mixed with less than stellar ingredients. Think trail mix, for example, that contains healthy almonds and pistachios but is also loaded up with white chocolate chips, sweetened coconut, and a glazed, sugary coating. All of that just turns this healthy snack food into a sugar-filled dessert.
To help make your food shopping adventures easier, we asked an expert to weigh-in and uncover some seemingly “healthy” snacks that are actually doing more damage than you may think, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. And while you’re making healthier choices, be sure to stock up on The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Grab-and-go yogurt is a super convenient way to get your yogurt fix, but you want to make sure you’re sticking to the right type.
“Greek yogurt makes for an easy on-the-go breakfast option, but when it’s loaded with sugar and added flavors, this seemingly healthy item raises blood sugar levels and can easily contribute to weight gain,” says Ilyse Schapiro MS, RD, CDN. Chobani Drinkable Yogurt, for example, is Schapiro’s no-no. Instead, go with the unsweetened Greek yogurt Chobani cup varieties and add in your own healthy toppings, like fresh fruit or nuts and seeds.
If you’re looking to cook more of your own meals, here are 100+ healthy breakfast ideas that help you lose weight and stay slim.
“A small serving of store-bought granola can supply excess calories, carbohydrates, and sugar to your initially healthy, plain Greek yogurt,” says Schapiro, and uses KIND Vanilla Blueberry Granola with Flax Seeds as a good example. “With only 5 grams of protein, you can expect to feel hungry in a short time and find yourself reaching for a second or third serving,” she says. Instead, go with a KIND bar if you like!
Lightened ice cream that is packing just 400 calories a pint sounds great, but let’s be frank—not many people stick to eating just one serving at a time.
“Although one serving of Halo Top is considered a lower-calorie ice cream, it’s likely that you’re buying this item with the intention of finishing the entire pint,” Schapiro says. “A full carton of Halo Top may be equivalent to one single serving of other ice creams, but eating three servings of any dessert is guaranteed to interfere with weight loss,” she explains.
When in doubt, you’re better off eating fresh fruit.
“Although banana is its only ingredient, BARE Simply Banana Chips contain no fiber, high amounts of sugar, and provide little to no nutritional value,” Schapiro says.
For a healthier alternative, make your own air-fried banana chips drizzled with olive oil and herbs.
“The Nature Valley Oats and Honey Bar is a classic granola bar that most of us can recognize but unfortunately it’s high in carbohydrates, and low in fiber,” Schapiro says. Plus, the second ingredient listed is sugar, which means the sugar it contains is added sugar. This type of sweet stuff can lead to weight gain and more sweet cravings, Schapiro adds. Go with a protein bar instead!
You would think going for veggie chips instead of traditional potato chips would be a better option, but not so fast.
“Veggie chips sound healthy, but unless they are homemade they really aren’t and store-bought veggie chips tend to be high in sodium and low in fiber, such as the Good Health Veggie Chips in Sea Salt,” Schapiro says. Because they are “veggie chips” most people think it’s OK to eat a ton at one time. This logic is dangerous as it can lead to overeating.
Trail mix looks to be healthy, but it really isn’t, as it is high in calories, sugar, and fat.
“It’s hard to just have a little bit of trail mix, you typically have multiple handfuls which is super calorie-dense and can lead to weight gain,” adds Schapiro. She points out that Kar’s Sweet n’ Salty Mix is simply a diet disaster.
“Green juice is all the craze, but you really have to be careful as not all juices are created equal. The Naked Green Machine has 53 grams of sugar,” says Schapiro.
That’s enough to raise your blood sugar plus cause weight gain if you’re sipping on these often. If you are really into green juice, you are much better off making your own at home.
Pretzels are never really a great idea when it comes to being a healthy snack option, as they are just a refined and tasty snack, tricking you into thinking they’re a better choice than a bag of chips. The problem with honey wheat specifically? They’re loaded with the sweet stuff!
“Truth is, the serving size is [typically] for seven pretzels, which of course is hard to stick to, and calories add up quick,” Schapiro says. Taking a look at UTZ Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks, she notes “the third ingredient is sugar, [the] fourth ingredient is brown sugar, and [the] fifth ingredient is honey, which are all forms of sugar.”