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Healthy Snacks

What you need to look out for: 
Without having to name any specific products, most packaged foods marketed for being low fat and low calories are most often total junk food.  Often fat is substituted for high fructose corn syrup and other additives to try and make the food taste similar to its “regular fat” counterpart.

Many of the “low calorie” options are only low in calories because they are individual portion control packs, or the serving size listed is significantly less than what many people end up eating.  Regardless, the only way to know if something is really healthy is to look at the ingredients.  Is there corn syrup in any form?  Are there multiple forms of corn syrup (i.e. high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, con syrup)?  When reading the ingredients, the ingredient with the largest quantity in the product is listed first and all other ingredients follow in descending order based on its quantity in the product.  That tactic of spreading the sugar out into multiple forms is often used so that they don’t have to admit on the label that the #1 ingredient is sugar and/or corn syrup.
Some of these “healthy” low calorie labeled options still have the audacity of containing hydrogenated oils.  Those are the trans fats known to be the most unhealthy, pro-inflammatory fats you can possibly consume.  They found their loop hole though.  As long as it has less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving, they can put “0 trans fat” on the label.  Lastly, look out for products with artificial color, flavor, sweeteners, or preservatives.  There is research available on the negative health effects for many of these types of ingredients*.

Healthy Options
So what are the healthiest options these days.  I usually suggest going to your local health food store or www.Vitacost.com to buy snacks.  However, more and more of these products are now available at your local grocery store.  Many truly healthy packaged snacks are quite pricy.  To overcome this you may want to create some of your own healthy snacks.  Any long term lifestyle change toward healthy eating requires preparing ahead.  There are tons of recipes online for vegan raw snack ideas and paleo snack ideas that don’t have any artificial ingredients, use only healthy fats, natural sweeteners, and no high carb processed wheat or white flour!  Here are some of my other favorite TRULY healthy on-the-go snack options:
Snacks (most products are available at health food store or online):

All natural whole food fruit and nut bar (i.e. Greens +, lara, organic food bar, etc), may need to eat half with a hand full of nuts and save the other half for later if you are trying to do “low carb”.

Kale chips- Brad’s Raw leafy Kale has awesome flavors: spicy, pina-colada, nacho (using nutritional yeast/non-dairy)

Go raw products: Bars, Flax Snax, Super chips/cookies, sprouted seeds

Mary’s gone crackers or Mary’s Gone Pretzels.

Individual humus packs or almond butter packets for healthy protein, have with organic baby carrots

Vega individual shake powders (individual serving packets)- just add water or bring an almond milk sip up with you on the go.

Buy organic deli meats and baby carrots and pack ahead for the week so you can grab and go

Vibrant Health greens and fruit powders.  Great way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake on the go.  Just scoop into ziplock back or buy individual packets.  Add to smoothie, juice, or water when on the road.

So delicious coconut milk yogurt

Chia Pods – chia seeds are prepared in this product to create something similar to a tapioca pudding, but lower in carbs and high in omega 3’s.

Remember, grabbing a piece of fruit is just as quick and just as sweet as most packaged snack foods and packs much more health benefits.  Don’t forget to stock up for the week on your favorite fruits so you can grab and go!


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