Grrrrowwwl. What do you do when your stomach starts complaining midway through the afternoon or just before bed?
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Before you visit the vending machine or scour your fridge for snacks you think are healthy, you may want to scan the list below first.
Cleveland Clinic dietitians weigh in on the seven worst snacks for tiding you over between meals that people actually think are healthy for them. Here’s how they voted:
1. Any baked chips
They’re highly processed and often so low in fat that you can consume large quantities without ever feeling full. This can increase blood sugar and cause an insulin surge, promoting fat storage.
2. Rice cakes
You think you can eat a lot of them since they’re lower in calories. But rice cakes are often artificially flavored and are really just a carb with little to no nutrition. It’s recommended that you eat a small serving of ½ cup of brown rice instead. It’s much more nutritious and satisfying — and has way less calories in the end.
These little misleaders are a nutrient “zero” and do nothing but put your insulin and blood sugar on a roller coaster. This, in turn, makes you more hungry.
4. Potato chips
Potato chips lack any significant nutritional value, therefore are empty calories, period. They’re also are high in fat, and low in fiber and protein.
5. Veggie sticks or straws
These are like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. People think these heavily-processed snacks are healthy because they’re made of vegetables. But veggie sticks and straws lack fiber and protein, and are practically devoid of nutrients. They may be a bit lower in fat than chips, but why not just eat the real thing? Dip raw bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, and grape tomatoes in hummus and you’ll get lower fat and more nutrients.
6. Store-bought smoothies
Home-made smoothies can be power-packed with nutrients. But grab-and-go smoothies, even from your best local smoothie shop or grocery store, are often jam-packed with added sugar (often, from fruit juice) and calories. You can run up 300-700 calories with this quick “snack,” which won’t keep you feeling full like a good snack should.
7. Granola/cereal bars
These are often disguised as ‘healthy candy bars’ and can contain large amounts of sugar with very little protein and fiber. Be aware of ingredients, and read the nutrient label.
So, before you eat something that you think is healthy, read the label first and see what you’re really getting. This best practice will keep you from eating a whole lot of food void of nutritional benefits and loaded with salt, sugar and fat.