We are led to believe that there are numerous ‘healthy snack’ foods that we are permitted to consume at any time of the night or day and never experience any bad health. Some would also add that, indeed, these healthy snacks actually do us good. We are lulled into a false sense of security, believing that we can happily munch a large variety of snack foods with alacrity.
The following information will help to dispel those myths and put them where they belong, in the rubbish bin.
How many times have you heard that nuts are a very healthy snack food and you can chomp on them on a regular basis throughout the day with no detrimental consequences? Well, nuts to that – nuts are high in fat; most nuts are approximately 50% fat! Antioxidants and ‘good’ fats they may have, but eat nuts in small quantities to derive their benefits but without adding high doses of kilojoules to your daily intake.
· LITE POTATO CHIPS
Here the word ‘Lite’ refers to the thin cut of the chip (and perhaps lightly sprinkled salt). A 50g packet will contain roughly three teaspoons of fat. If you are weight watching steer clear of chippies – rice crackers are a better bet, together with some light, cottage cheese, celery sticks or a carrot plus a low-fat dipping sauce.
· CAESAR SALAD
Lettuce does not necessarily a healthy salad make. Just because there is some crispy green lettuce on the plate does not mean that it is healthy. A rich French dressing, chunks of fatty cheese and perhaps some deep-fried croutons plus a smattering of fatty ham will show this salad to be high in fat. Instead, try a healthier version with less oil, a light mayonnaise, lean ham, less cheese and perhaps some baked or grilled wholemeal bread croutons.
· FRUIT JUICE
Check the label, you will be surprised at just how much sugar is in the average carton of fruit juice from the supermarket. Rather than drinking down heaps of fruit juice in the belief that it is doing you a power of good, try eating a piece of fresh fruit. Not only is it lower in energy but also more filling as it contains the natural fibre generally missing from the straight juice. A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice contains about 430 kilojoules – a whole orange has about half this amount. So, if you like to drink heaps of fruit juice on a daily basis or you must drink the store-bought variety, try diluting your glass of juice with water and limit your intake to one or two glasses daily. This will help to reduce your sugar consumption.
· BAKED NOT FRIED
Whereas ‘baked’ implies low fat, this is not necessarily the case. If you spot this low fat claim on a pack of crackers, for example, compare the fat content per 100g and then check with other, similar products. Even when they are baked, some crackers can have a fat content of more than 25%. Why not try rice crackers, lite bread, rice thins or other similar ones with 5% or less fat?