Unhealthy snacks come in all sorts of packages

By Christine Boatwright • Published: January 29th, 2015
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

When 3 o’clock rolls around and you’re jonesing for that mid-afternoon snack, are you making the wisest decision? Instead of hitting the office vending machine and filling up on sugar, choose a snack that will keep you on track and feeling great.

According to a study from the University of North Carolina, most Americans eat nearly 600 calories a day in snack foods.

Some junk foods come in deceptive packages. Take strawberry yogurt, for instance. Yogurts are touted as snacks full of protein and vitamins, but some fruit-on-the-bottom varieties contain 26 grams of sugar, which is the same as three Oreo cookies. Instead, consider eating plain Greek yogurt with fresh strawberries for a more healthful snack.

If you’re looking to feel fuller longer, reach for an ounce of salted, shelled pistachios instead of an ounce of pretzels. While pretzels may be a better alternative to potato chips, they still contain 450 milligrams of sodium, which is almost 20 percent of your daily intake. Pistachios have twice the protein and three times the fiber, which help keep you fuller longer.

Also, consider avoiding that can of diet soda. While diet drinks are calorie-friendly, the artificial sweeteners along with the carbonation have been linked to an increased risk of weight gain.

A popular holiday beverage can also cause weight-loss stumbling blocks. A large 2 percent pumpkin spice latte has 47 grams of sugar and 310 calories … and that’s without the whipped cream. The drink holds more than seven teaspoons of added sugar. Women are only advised to get six teaspoons a day to prevent weight gain. Consider ordering a skim latte instead for your holiday treat.

When you find yourself hunting for a snack, remember that looks can sometimes be deceiving. Look for protein-filled, low-sugar options to keep your appetite and weight-loss goals on track.