How to Choose a Healthy Packaged Snack
Choosing a healthy snack product from the supermarket sure is much harder than it used to be. With so many different options on the shelves, and companies using clever marketing on the front of the packets, it can be super tricky to find a snack that is right for you and your family.
Quite often the common healthy snacks that you buy in the supermarket can actually pretty high in sugar and have other nasty little ingredients added that just shouldn’t be there.
You may know that I am all about making your own snacks and treats. Making your own just means that you’ll know exactly what is added to the product and you know there is no preservatives, refined sugar and that sort of rubbish.
I think it’s great to put time aside on the weekend to make some healthy snacks for the week but I also totally understand that life does get busy and sometimes this just doesn’t happen.
You may need to grab something from the supermarket to have as your snacks for the week or buy something while you on the go.
When choosing a healthy snack product next time, I have 3 main things for you to look out for and just be aware of.
1. Check it is made with all natural ingredients
Look through the ingredients and make sure everything is natural and there are no food chemicals added, these are usually stated as E numbers or it’ll be some weird chemical term that you probably would never have heard of before.
A good way to think about this, is for each ingredient you should be able to buy and eat on it’s own. It should be earth grown and not made in a factory.
2. Check there is no refined sugar
Loads of food products that we think are healthy actually just have straight up white sugar added to them.
I was looking at tinned tuna the other day and noticed that sugar was in the ingredients. Which is, firstly really bad and also just weird that it’s added to tinned tuna…..like why is there sugar in tuna??
Sugar is not just always stated as sugar, it has a lot of other sneaky names such as high fructose corn syrup (which is prob the worst type of sugar), maltodextrin, palm syrup, glucose, barley malt extract and loads more as well.
3. Be aware of how much natural sugar that is in these snack foods
With natural sugars, I mean sugar such as dates and other dried fruit, honey and those types of sugars. Which I definitely believe are a much better option - I use them in my healthy treats. But I think it is important to know there is a difference between a treat food that you have every now and then and a snack food that you usually have every day.
Especially if your goal is to lose body fat then eating dried fruit everyday, is something you should be careful of. Even for digestive reasons too, so many people now can not tolerate dried fruit and high amounts of fructose in one sitting which is the basis of a low FODMAP diet.
Always look for a snack that has the least amount of total sugar in it, just by comparing the numbers in the 100g column of the table.
Comparison of Common Snack Foods
1. Muesli/Nut Bars
Be aware of how much sugar is in some of these bars. The brand that I have here, for one bar it contains 8.1 grams of sugar, which is equal to about 2 teaspoons in just one bar. That’s a lot of sugar in just one small snack that would probably leave you feeling hungry again soon after.
These sprouted oat crackers while seem pretty good on the front of the packaging but when you look at the ingredient list, they have brown sugar added to them….which is just silly really. They also contain antioxidant 307b which is a food chemical.
They are made with sunflower oil which is very inflammatory in the body and can contain trans fats once it is processed.
I also have some rice crackers, and these do only contain natural ingredients which is good but there is again vegetable oils added. And also these are pretty much just carbs so not a lot of nutrients in these, no protein, fat which means won't fill you up for long and not the best as a snack.
3. Bliss Balls
Lastly I have bliss balls which really are taking over the snack isles and are very on trend right now in the health food space.
The first one I have here is the brand Tasty - the flavour is almond cashew, which I chose because I thought it would contain the least amount of sugar compared to the other flavours.
INGREDIENTS: Dates (63%) Sunflower Seeds (17%) Cashews (8%) Almonds (8%) Coconut (3.5%) A Hint of Natural Flavour.
When looking in the 100g column the sugar is 46.6% which is a lot of sugar, and that’s just because it’s mostly made of dates, so if you not about go do a big workout or play sport this might not be ideal for you.
I also have another brand by CleanPaleo who kindly reached out to sponsor this video as they have just launched their new Better Balls in NZ.
This is the Ginger and Turmeric flavour. The ingredients in this one are Sunflower seeds, pepita (pumpkin seeds), almonds, manuka honey, dried coconut, coconut oil, ground ginger and turmeric.
When looking at the 100g the sugar is only 16.7% which is a lot less than the first one, and that’s mostly due to the fact the CleanPaleo one doesn't have dried fruit and it’s mostly made up of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
And that means that is also higher in fat and protein so it will keep you fuller for longer, it would be ideal for during the day when you are at work or your on the go and you not necessarily being super active.
Not all healthy snack foods are as healthy as they may seem. It is so important that you read the ingredient list and have a look at the nutrition table to see what is actually in the product and determine whether it is the right product for you.
I hope you all found the tips helpful and of course let me know in the comments if you have any questions at all.
Thanks CleanPaleo for partnering with us on this post and video. We only partner with brands that we LOVE and are excited to share with our amazing community 😊