Healthy Snack Food: Make Better Choices

Is your popcorn healthy?

Is your popcorn healthy?

Snacks can be a healthy part of a well-rounded diet.  Even when you are trying to lose weight, you should consume some snack food between meals so that it is easier to control your portion sizes when meal time rolls around.  But the type of snacks you choose can make the difference between losing weight and gaining weight.  Sometimes, you might think you are eating a healthy snack food, when in fact, your choice isn’t very healthy at all.

Popular Snack Foods

According to a recent survey, the most popular snacks in the United States are:

  • Ritz Crackers
  • Lay’s
  • Doritos
  • Fritos
  • Orville Redenbacher
  • Wheat Thins
  • Cheetos
  • Tostitos
  • Pringles
  • Triscuit

From this list, it’s clear that cheesy, salty, crunchy snacks are popular among nibblers.  But many of these snacks are high in fat and calories.  Is it possible to satisfy those cravings with healthier snack foods?  It is!

Healthier Snack Food

If you love salty, crunchy crackers, find a brand that contains fewer calories and no trans fat. Crispbread is a good option.  Many companies, like Wasa, make a low-calorie rye variety with whole grains and no partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat).  Triscuit is another brand that makes a lower-calorie, trans fat-free cracker.  Add a thin slice of swiss cheese for more flavor.   Eat only a single serving (usually 2-5 crackers) to satisfy your hunger.

Popcorn is another good snack choice if you like  salty, crunchy foods.  But not all popcorn is healthy.  When you add butter or oil, you also add fat and calories.  Your best bet is to pop it yourself with an air popper.  Three cups of air popped corn contains less than 100 calories.  Sprinkle a little bit of salt or spices like cumin and red pepper for a Mexican flavor.

Shopping for Healthy Snacks

When you head to the snack food aisle at your local grocery store, take some time to read the Nutrition Facts label.  Check the serving size to see if it sounds like a reasonable amount to satisfy your hunger and look for foods that are lower in fat, higher in fiber and lower in calories.

You can also use NuVal scores in some markets. These scores are posted beneath the product and help you compare similar foods to find the healthier choice.

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