Consumers are eating healthier today than in the past, despite the $374 billion spent on salty and sugary snacks last year. That’s worldwide. But as consumer conscientiousness grows, food manufacturers get craftier. Watch out for these so-called “healthy” snacks laden with sugar, salt, additives and preservatives. Sometimes we fall for the vitamin fortified cereals. It makes sense. The kids are screaming in the aisles, and the list of vitamins and minerals persuade a parent to give them the go-ahead. But these cereals are loaded with sugar. And although they contain enough micronutrients for the average adult, they don’t have enough for the needs of growing children, according to the Environmental Working Group. Sometimes we grab the bagged salad feeling pretty smug. We won’t have to do all that washing, chopping and shredding. But steer clear of the ones that already have salad dressing on them. These often contain bread protein, and the dressings are sugary. What you thought was a low-calorie item now contains 1,000 calories.
Fruit rollups may look just like regular, dehydrated fruit. But these have additives, artificial sweeteners and chemical food coloring. Opt for normal, dried fruit instead without any added sugar. Americans consume lots of protein, and according to a recent study this may be a fault rather than an advantage. Too much protein was associated with disease and early death according to a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism. So instead of skipping a meal for a protein shake, add a series of plant-based snacks such as a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit and a salad or cup of vegetable soup. Trail mix is great if there aren’t any added items such as chocolate chips, candy pieces and extra salt and sugar. If they have all that added stuff, you might as well be eating a bag of candy. Check the ingredients before purchasing. Yogurt is really good for you, packed with probiotics. But a lot of the common brands are overloaded with sugar. The bottom line is read the label carefully. The more vigilant you are the healthier you and your family will be.