We might think we’re snacking right, but dietitian Brooke Longfield exposes the unhealthy facts.
1. Out of shape
The little knots of dough called pretzels somehow escape the ‘junk food’ reputation that plagues potato chips and corn chips, but they can be just as salty. In fact, just a small handful (about 16 pretzels) provides nearly 20 per cent of your upper limit for sodium. No wonder they make you thirsty! They’re also lacking in satisfying fibre, making it hard to stop at just one handful.
2. Sweet talk
The manufacturers say that vitamin water will ‘revive’ you and contains added vitamins and minerals, which sounds promising. But what’s left out of the marketing claims is that each bottle contains five teaspoons of added sugar! And because it’s a drink, you tend to gulp it down without much thought, which can contribute to weight gain. Keep in mind that the micronutrients found in these drinks — such as potassium and vitamins B and C — are easily obtained by eating a varied and balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
3. Sugar coated
‘Froyo’ is marketed to us as a healthier option to ice cream. But frozen yoghurt can have just as much sugar as ice cream, and very little calcium. Plus, it’s easy to overfill one of the large cups provided at self-serve froyo bars, sending your kilojoule intake soaring. And then there are the toppings: while fresh fruit or nuts are okay, you might be tempted by choc chips, cookie dough and jelly lollies. Have this as an occasional treat rather than as your go-to summer snack.
4. A raw deal
From paleo caramel slice to raw cheesecake, these ‘clean eating’ raw snacks sound like you can have your cake and eat it, too! But while they may contain nutritious ingredients like dried fruit and nuts, they also have high-fat ingredients like coconut oil, as well as sugar alternatives such as maple or rice malt syrup which are still high in kilojoules. A slice of raw cheesecake can have over 3000kJ (700cal) — more than a large meal. So, keep portion sizes in check.
5. It’s crunch time
It sounds like a great way to eat more vegetables but, in reality, vegie and lentil chips are highly processed snacks that have been stripped of most of their fibre and nutrients. For example, a popular brand of lentil chips has less than 1g of fibre per serve. By comparison, half a cup of lentils has over 3g of fibre. Also, a common brand of sweet potato chips has even more fat and salt than regular potato chips. All chips, whether potato or otherwise, are high in salt, which makes them easy to overeat.
6. Fool’s bread
Banana bread sounds really healthy, but who are we kidding? You’ll find that a thick slab of café-style banana bread with butter has over 2500kJ (600cal), which is around five times the amount of kilojoules in a healthy snack. You’ll also polish off more than 10 teaspoons of sugar and a third of the recommended limit for saturated fat. You’re far better off baking a healthier version at home. Go to healthyfoodguide.com.au to find nutritious and tasty banana bread recipes.