Real talk. There are a lot of snacks out there that claim to be healthy but are totally fake health foods. We’re talking those crunchy granola bars we all think look healthy and those crackers that claim to be “low fat.”We’re dishing all the deets on the top seven popular snacks that cause weight gain and may be sabotaging your weight loss goals. Hint-one or more of these may be sitting in your pantry right now.
We’re sharing the deets on how to spot a “fake” healthy snack every time you hit the grocery store, and some healthy swaps to make snacking smart straightforward.
Seven Health Snacks That Cause Weight Gain (Plus, Healthy Swaps)
#1 Granola Bars:
Who knew the average granola bar contains similar ingredients to a sugary candy bar? Some bars contain up to 20 grams of added sugar (yikes!) From the added sugar to hydrogenated inflammatory oils, most granola bars aren’t the best snack choice. To avoid unnecessary sugar and damaged fats, skip the bars altogether.
Instead of a granola bar, try making your own energy bites by adding 20 pitted medjool dates, one cup of cashews, and a sprinkle of cacao powder to a food processor. Process until combined, form into bite-sized rounds and store in the fridge. These serve as an easy energy-boosting snack without the added junk.
Granola is right up there with granola bars. Most granola comes with some sort of added sweetener, and that sugar content can add up quick. Granola can also pack in the added carbs and calories pretty quick, so it’s best to avoid it.
Instead of store-bought granola, try making overnight oats. Add ½ cup of rolled oats to a mason jar with one cup of unsweetened almond milk, and two tablespoons of chia seeds. Mix and set in the fridge overnight. Top with almond butter and raw cocoa nibs in the morning. While not the same as granola, you’ll still enjoy the rolled oats, plus the added fiber they bring to the table.
#3 Trail Mix:
Trail mix can be a healthy snack, but many store-bought options contain some sort of sweetened candy (hello added sugar!) Ditch the store-bought version, and try making your own.
Instead of snacking on store-bought trail mix, toss together some nuts, seeds, raw cocoa nibs, and shredded unsweetened coconut to enjoy as a healthy snack without the added sugar.
#4 High Fiber Cereal:
Let’s face it, cereal is not a health food. This even goes for high fiber cereal. High fiber cereal is also usually a big source of added sugar, and too much sugar equals weight gain.
Instead of the sugary cereal, try swapping this with overnight oats again. Overnight oats makes a great swap if you crave that traditional breakfast flavor in the morning. If you want, add a little drizzle of pure maple syrup for a touch of sweetness without taking your calories or carbs over the edge.
You know those crackers that are labeled as “low-fat” or even “fat-free?” This doesn’t exactly make them healthy. In fact, fat-free products tend to be high in sugar. Just be sure to check the nutrition label on packaged snacks like crackers, and stay away from anything that has high fructose corn syrup, or excessive amounts of added sugar, no matter what the source. Crackers with less than 2-3 grams of added natural sugars are going to be a much better option than fat-free crackers full of high fructose corn syrup.
Instead of snacking on crackers, try a half of an avocado with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt.
#6 Dried Fruit:
While the idea of dried fruit isn’t necessarily bad, most dried fruit contains added sugar. Are you picking up on the theme here that the snacks that cause weight gain, and usually loaded with added sugar? The bottom line is to stay away from the stuff with added sugar and opt for the real thing.
Try snacking on an apple with almond butter, or a sliced banana with peanut butter and a sprinkle of hemp seeds for a healthy and balanced snack.
#7 Veggie Chips:
Again, while the idea of veggie chips is to have something healthier than the traditional potato chip, they aren’t usually all that much healthier. Veggie chips are usually fried and heavily salted. So, it’s best to keep these types of snacks to a minimum.
Try roasting some homemade sweet potato fries by cutting a sweet potato into french fry strips, drizzle with coconut oil, and season with salt. Cook for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees F, tossing halfway through. Or, if you have an air fryer, try these low-carb air fryer recipes, like zucchini fries.
Take Your Snack Game to the Next Level
It’s easy to let snacking get in the way of your weight loss goals. There are plenty of snacks that cause weight gain due to their sugar-filled and inflammatory ingredients. However, with some healthy swaps, you can take your snack game to the next level because snacking can be healthy.
We just have to get back to the basics. You really can’t go wrong so long as you stick to whole and nutrient-dense foods, and steer clear from as many foods in a box as you can. Yup, it’s that simple, and can totally transform your snacking habits for better health.