Even though they’re crunchy and delicious, Cheetos aren’t a healthy snack. A serving is only 13 pieces, which if we’re honest, will quickly be eaten without realising it. This won’t be satiating and the 160 calories consumed in under a minute are not worth it when it comes to healthy snacking habits.
Once the pack is open, there’s really no stopping. Oreos contain hydrogenated oils, which form trans fats – something we should absolutely be avoiding as much as possible due to the as they direct impact they have on our cholesterol. A single serving is just three cookies, coming in at 160 calories, which just doesn’t seem worth it.
We all love a spoonful (or two!) of Nutella. Unfortunately for us, this popular spread contains so much sugar per tiny serving, making it one of the worst foods to snack on casually. There is barely any fibre or protein per tablespoon, so the lack of overall nutritional value just does not make this snack a worthy choice.
Fruit “juice” drinks
Fruit is super good for us but, when it’s sold as a juice, it can often be misleading. Unless the juice you’re buying is 100% fruit juice, just skip it. The remaining ingredients are solely made up of sugar or other artificial stabilising ingredients. You could have just skipped the juice altogether and simply eaten a piece of fruit – taking in all the benefits whilst saving on the calories.
Did you know that just 12 chips are considered to be a serving? Very few people count out their chips and stop there meaning that, if you’re wanting a balanced and filling snack, these aren’t it. Pretty much the only thing you’ll get from these is higher sodium intake, which is not good for your health at all.
When you have a sweet craving, it’s easy to open a bag of candy and not know when to stop. With a measly serving size of seven pieces, you’re basically just ingesting 18 grams of sugar and 90 calories for nothing. With only one gram of protein per serving, you will end up hungrier afterwards, due to the intense sugar rush.
Peanuts do boast healthy fat which, in the right portion size, can be beneficial. However, peanuts are tiny and can easily add up to additional weight gain. Their fat content means they’re calorie dense and you can eat a lot of them at once – especially if covered in a tasty, salty seasoning.
Full of sugar and, basically, full of air. Their creamy filling may have a great fluffy texture but that also means you’re not going to feel full after eating them. Just two cakes contains 280 calories and 32 grams of sugar, which is just over the daily recommended limit, not to mention all the other artificial stabilising ingredients!
Whilst it’s technically better than ice cream, this sweet treat has hidden calories. Unless you’re making it at home with a low fat mixture, buying frozen yogurt out and about is a bit of a sugar trap. You start off with a cup of low fat vanilla, then treat yourself to chocolate chips, nuts and syrups. The ‘healthy’ sweet treat is now in the 100s of calories.
Lay’s potato chips
Sometimes, all we can think about is carbs. Lay’s are a fan favorite across the US, but they really do make the worst snack in terms of nutritional value. They’re loaded with sodium, which can dramatically increase blood pressure, and a serving is only fifteen measly chips for a whopping 160 calories.
In proportion to other ingredients, dried fruit can be good for topping cereals or baked good. As a snack alone, though, they really aren’t filling. You’re more likely to eat way more than if they were the original size. You wouldn’t eat 12 mangos in one sitting, but a dried bag is no problem and the sugar content remains the same.
Ritz cheese sandwich crackers
These little crackers contain mere trace amounts of fibre and protein, meaning you will barely feel full after eating and have gained little nutritional value from your snack. A serving is 13 of the teeny crackers for 160 calories, which will easily be eaten within a minute, leaving you reaching for more and more.
Chips Ahoy cookies
A chocolate chip cookie is always a comforting snack but not always the best choice if you’re trying to be more health concious. In general, Chips Ahoys aren’t very big, so eating a serving of three isn’t going to keep you full for long, if at all. Instead, the sugar will give you a short buzz and potentially a crash soon after.
They are probably slightly better than potato chips, but this just means you’re more likely to eat more than you should. Even multi-grain chips need seasoning and it’s hard to avoid added salt. They are still generally higher in calories than healthier snack options, especially if you’re snacking on a lot of them thinking they’re helping your diet.
Snack Pack pudding
Probably best to leave these at the grocery store. These tiny puds may have ‘snack’ in their name, but they definitely will not keep you full. 180 calories per cup, but basically no fibre or protein, really all you’re ingesting is processed oils and sugar. Sounds delicious.
Yes, even if it’s being eaten with a plate of veggies. The US loves ranch, and it’s a staple sauce in pretty much every household, but it’s also one of the most fattening. The calorie pay off for the tiny serving size just doesn’t make it worth it, as well as the high fat content.
Has anyone actually eaten 12 Ruffles chips and stopped? Ruffles’ crunchy texture makes them moreish, especially as the ridges catch all their delicious flavor. However, because of their thicker size, they contain so much fat that even a single serving doesn’t seem worth it. You’ll ingest around ten grams of fat in total, and that’s if you stop at just 12 chips.
Please, please stop eating these for breakfast. Two of these thin sweet pastries are a whopping 370 calories, and for what? They’re low in fibre, protein or anything that will actually keep you energised, and instead mostly made up of sugar. Three kinds of sugar in fact! It’s more like a dessert…
They’re not technically chips, right? Pretzels are usually always covered in some sort of seasoning that is super high in sodium. They’re also shaped in a way that’s very easy to grab handfuls after handfuls of without realising just how many you ate and the calories per serving versus nutritional payoff isn’t actually a fair trade off.
Often marketed towards us as a healthy alternative, with good ingredients and fibre. But more times than not, it’s just marketing and not the truth. Nutrigrain bars usually contain heaps of sugar and very little protein, meaning you will be hungry again very quickly. They’re usually made up of carbs like oats, they are also calorie dense for their small physical size.
Nuts and dried fruit sound pretty healthy. The majority of store bought trail mix mostly contains processed ingredients and things to market the product, like chocolate or candy. Even the nuts they add are high calorie dense foods, meaning a tiny portion of trail mix will be more calories than it’s worth and will not keep you full.
Starbucks’ sweetened coffee drinks
Coffee itself has a number of benefits for us but, when added into what is basically a milkshake for grown ups, it’s not as good. Starbucks has so many add ons and customisation options, you can add pretty much anything into a drink. When adding syrups, cold foams, creamers and sauces, that quick coffee break can turn into a 300+ calorie beverage, fast.
Blue corn chips
The unique colour draws us in. Blue chips are really not that different from regular tortilla chips, in terms of calories and sodium. The only differences would potentially be added ingredients but, still, your serving size won’t be very big. Just make sure you have the same restraint as you would around traditional chips.
Easy, quick and convenient but awful for your health. One Hot Pocket has around 320 calories, but because they come in two-packs, you’re most likely gonna cook and eat both. They also have super high levels of sodium, which can increase tension around the heart.
These may be low in calories (usually) but they are also full of sodium. Rice cakes are typically seen as a diet food, but they are still processed. Made from processed white rice, these aren’t slow releasing carbs at all. Rice cakes are also very airy and not filling, so they really just aren’t worth eating when you have a snack craving.
Orville Redenbacher’s butter popcorn
Popcorn is an obvious choice when it comes to snacking during a movie night. The nutritional value of microwavable popcorn can vary from brand to brand, but this one is one of the worst. With over 330 mg of sodium per serving and 15 grams of fat, this popcorn is no longer considered a light option.
Yogurt and fruit in themselves are good foods to eat. But, when you start adding granola, honey, nuts, chocolate chips etc. the calories and sugar start to add up. The problem with making parfait at home for a snack or breakfast is that, unless you have a scale on hand, you don’t actually know how much you’re adding to the serving.
Clif Bar chocolate brownie
Clif Bars are advertised as high energy protein bars, but they’re loaded with sugar. Unless you’re doing a super intense workout, opt for a different protein source. For 150 calories per bar, ten grams of protein really isn’t worth it, especially considering the 17 grams of sugar and six grams of fat.
Another serving size you’re not actually going to count out. Cheez-Its’ lack of fibre makes them easy to eat, but bad at preventing hunger after. They also offer a whole lot of sodium per serving size, around 230 mg, which will leave you thirsty and probably craving something sweet right after.
A state fair favorite across the US. They can be seen as a more satiating snack, however at around 300-400 calories and only ten grams of protein, they lack a lot of nutrition. They are also always made from processed meat, specifically red meat, which is directly linked to an increase in heart disease.
Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donut
If it’s not covered in chocolate then it can’t be too bad? Right?! Whilst you may think this is the healthier choice of sugary snack, it’s best to just avoid them all together. A single Original Glazed has 190 calories, which may not seem a lot, but they are not filling at all due to their lighter texture and can soon spike your sugar cravings.
Little Debbie’s Nutty Buddy Snack Bar
Pretty much all of Little Debbie’s products can be considered unhealthy, but these take the cake. A single bar has 330 calories, which for a tiny snack eaten in 30 seconds is super high. They also have over 22 grams of sugar and 20 grams of fat each, really not the values you’re needing for a small, mid-afternoon snack.
Sugar… and literally nothing else. If you are genuinely hungry, do not reach for hard candy – especially Jolly Ranchers. In order to actually fill yourself up, you’d probably need to eat five servings of these, which will set you way over your daily recommended sugar total for the day.
They use clever marketing to make it seem like a Snickers will make a great snack when you’re hungry. Often sold in fun-sized packs, you will be tempted to eat more than one to feel satiated. Usually containing nine grams of sugar and 80 calories, they can add up quickly after snacking on a few throughout the day.
Once you pop, you just can’t stop. Pringles are a fan favorite when it comes to chips due to their unique shape and crunchy texture, but really are stacked full of bad ingredients. Soybean oil and MSG makes Pringles a lot worse of a snack than others. MSG increases appetite by blocking messages to your brain that tell you when you’re full.
Sure, fruit and nuts can be good for you… before they’ve had sugar and processed carbs added to them. Granola bars have clever marketing, often telling you they’re better than a candy bar and have nutritional ingredients. But, unless you’re checking every box, they probably have the same amount of sugar as a chocolate bar.
More of a cookie than a cracker. Graham crackers seem like an okay choice to casually snack on, but they can be very high in sugar and contain basically no fibre. They often get paired with dips or cheeses too, which can easily add more calories and sugar to the snack. Because of their thin and crispy texture, you won’t feel full just snacking on a few of these.
Basically made up of completely processed foods, Bagel Bites are obviously not a healthy snack. Carbs, fat and processed meats make a bad combination when it comes to long lasting energy and nutritional value. Only four of these tiny bites make up 190 calories and 420 mg of sodium.
Skippy peanut butter
Peanut butter can be a source of healthy fats, if it comes from the right place, but Skippy peanut butter is a calorie mine field. A single serving of Skippy is 230 calories and 18 grams of fat. Most of us just scoop it out or dip straight into the jar, not weigh out a ‘real’ serving.
In terms of nutrition, Acai bowls aren’t that bad, but they can become super calorific. Usually topped with granola, nut butters, fruits and more, the fruity smoothie base immediately triples in sugar and calories. The lack of protein found in the bowls keeps us feeling like it’s still a snack, even if the overall calories is more like a heavy meal.
You’re busy at work and the work food cupboard isn’t looking good. Don’t be tempted to grab a pretzel from the vendor outside in a rush. A large salted pretzel can be over 500 calories, and that’s before you’ve added any toppings and the carbs will only be a short release of energy.
Pillsbury Toaster Strudel
Just two of these sweet filled pastries have 340 calories and almost 20 grams of sugar. These seem convenient to have as a quick snack in the morning or after work, but you could easily eat more food for the same amount of calories, less sugar and that will actually keep you full.
Monster energy drink
Instead of food you might reach for a quick carbonated caffeine boost, but this energy drink is full to the brim with sugar. One can will set you back around 28 grams of sugar, so the caffeine won’t be the only thing giving you those jitters! Not to mention all those nasty chemical additives…
Cashews are full of good fats but they are also high in calories. Many people think they can eat this in plentiful portions because it’s ‘healthier’ than peanut butter. If you are counting calories, though, you’ll be shocked at how many are in a little spoonful!
Kelloggs’s Eggo French Toaster Sticks
At 14 grams of sugar per serving, this sweet frozen food is over half than the daily added sugar recommended limit and with only 4 grams of protein you’ll be hungry again in no time. Also, for something so sweet and sugar based, there is 500 mg of sodium which is crazy!
First, you’ll just grab a couple whilst sitting at your desk. Best believe, though, a couple can easily turn into a whole pack of this moreish candy. Twizzlers are very easy to eat because of their soft and thinner shape, meaning you won’t easily feel full after eating these. Rest assured, all that sugar will only make you feel more tired and hungry later on.
Once the bag is opened you will have to stop yourself eating the whole thing. Crunchy Cheetos seem to have been made with just the right texture that you eat more and more, but they are absolutely full of sodium. All that salt will cause bloating and just make you crave sweets after.
They are usually marketed as having added fruit or fiber, but in reality you’re just eating a cake without the frosting. Grabbing a muffin with your break time coffee can set you over your daily calories by 300-400 depending which store you get it from.
Dunkin’ iced coffee
For some reason, Dunkin’ thought it wasn’t enough to add sugar to their donuts but their drinks too. A large frozen coffee comes to over 112 grams of sugar, that’s more than you’re supposed to consume in a whole day (including naturally occurring sugars). Be sure to avoid ordering this if you’re craving a sweet treat.
Fritos Chili Cheese corn chips
A single serving of these is 31 chips, but they’re pretty small. That serving has over 160 calories and 210 mg of sodium which is a lot of salt for a small snack. Remember, that’s if you’re actually counting out 31 chips every time you open the bag.
For such a light airy cake, they contain unreal amounts of sugar. A single serving of this chocolate roll has over 40 grams of sugar and saturated fats taking up 65% of their fat content. If you’re craving something sweet and chocolatey, grab some squares of dark chocolate.
JIF peanut butter
Skippy’s natural competition, but still just as high in calories. A teeny tiny serving of 33 grams is a whole 190 calories. That is a lot of calories for a tiny spread that probably will go unnoticed. If you’re about to reach in with a spoon straight into the jar, think again when snacking.
Ice cream bars
They’re better than just tucking into a pint of Ben and Jerries right? Ice cream bars seem like a better option because they’re usually not topped or filled with as many ingredients as traditional ice cream but they still add up in sugar and calories. You’ll average 260-350 per bar, which can make a real dent in your day if you’re watching your waistline.
Mac’s Salt and Vinegar pork rinds
Probably one of the worst snacks for sodium levels. These crispy snacks contain half their calories from fat alone, so not really up there for nutritional value. A serving is a measly 14 grams, so basically blink and you’ve eaten over 370 mg of sodium and five grams of fat.
Adding mayo to salads or quick sandwich snack can boost up your calories without even realizing it. A tablespoon of mayo can be anywhere between 100-150 calories and 12 grams of fat, that is a lot considering a tablespoon can easily go a miss when preparing food quickly.
These are convenient ways to get a bit of protein and are easily thrown into lunch bags, but they just lack any sort of nutritional value. An original stick has 150 calories and over 530 mg of sodium. All that salt in a small snack can’t be good for your diet or your heart.
Basically full of air and fat and nothing else. If you’re feeling hungry it’s really a bad idea to reach for these because they won’t be satiating at all. Their crispy texture makes them easy to eat quickly but that just means you’re consuming more fat than necessary from a midday snack.
A quick reach into the pantry for something sweet. This is a habit more people have than we realize, feeling like it’s fine because of their size. They’re little so you assume they can’t be high in calories but because of that reason you are eating handfuls at a time, and chocolate chips are in fact…chocolate, just the same as a bar.
Covering nuts in sweet syrups and sprinkled sugar kind of defeats their purpose. Planters honey roasted peanuts contain 4 grams more sugar per serving than regular unsweetened peanuts. If you’re wanting to add some flavor to your snack, try a sprinkle of cinnamon or cayenne pepper.
There seems to be this misconception that gluten free automatically means guilt free. Gluten free snacks can have just as many calories, if not more, than their traditional counterparts. So unless you’re gluten intolerant, there’s no point buying these snacks to lose a few pounds.
Fiber one brownies
But they’re only 90 calories? Yes, and they’re also big enough to be a serving size for a toddler! Fiber one brownies are low in calories due to low sugar sweeteners, but also their size. If you are actually hungry, these bite size brownies will not fill any hole in your stomach and you may end up eating the whole box.
Store bought smoothies
To keep them fresh on the shelves food suppliers will add preservatives and other chemicals into their smoothies. Not only that, serving sizes of these smoothies are always smaller than if you made them yourself with portioned out fruit and ingredients, so stick to prepping these at home.
A lot of the time the fresh veggies advertised on the front of the packet is a bit deceiving. A lot of veggie chips aren’t actually made of thinly sliced and baked vegetables, but blended vegetable flour mixed with oil and salt. They can still be high in calories too!
Reese’s Miniature peanut butter cups
These tiny cups are very moreish, but that’s exactly the problem. One serving is only 5 little cups and by eating that you’ve ingested half of the fat you needed for the whole day. If you’re stuck craving something both salty and sweet try eating fruits and low fat cheese together for a DIY diet cheesecake vibe.
The bran name makes people assume they must be not like traditional muffins at all and are super healthy. But, bran is just an addition to the basic muffin base so whilst you may be getting more fiber, you are still having 400-500 calories per muffin and many grams of sugar.
Gatorade Whey protein bars
Unless you’re fuelling after a hike or hours of gym workouts these bars should be avoided. Per bar has 350 calories and 30 grams of sugar which is a whole lot for a single bar. If you’re trying to incorporate protein into your diet try a lower sugar protein bar.
Yogurt coated raisins
The yogurt included isn’t really yogurt, but mostly made up of sugar and fat. Whilst, in moderation, these snacks aren’t that bad for us, because they’re so small it’s very easy to over eat a traditional serving. Just stick to regular raisins if you like them rather than adding a layer of sugar.
They can be better than traditional potato chips but that doesn’t completely remove their bad additives. To make anything crispy and shelf stable most of the time oils and fats are added, regardless of what the chips are made out of. They can also be just as calorific as a bag of potato chips.
Fun sized butterfingers
Fun sized isn’t very fun. One tiny bite size bar is 85 calories, which doesn’t seem bad alone but how many of us just eats one fun sized candy bar in a day. They also have 8.5 grams of sugar and literally 0.4 grams of fiber, so they won’t keep you full at all.
They are 100% still cookies. Adding oats to a cookie base adds a bit more fiber and that’s pretty much it, don’t fall for the health fads. The majority of oatmeal cookies also have chocolate, fruit or other additions so any calories you think you’re saving are added right back in.
The serving size for these popular treats are pretty small, meaning you’re consuming more sugar and fat than what’s worth it. Just two of these contain 330 calories which is a whole lot for a small amount of cake, including 11 grams of fat and 40 grams of sugar.
Honestly, just eat a banana. Banana chips aren’t considered particularly ‘unhealthy’ but they just don’t make a very satiating snack. They aren’t even considered a properly dried fruit because they’re often cooked in palm oils and have sugar added to them. Unless you specifically like these as a regular snack, reach for something else.
Don’t equate being vegan to being healthy. Just simply removing the dairy doesn’t remove the sugar content from chocolate as it can be easily added from many different forms. The dairy element could also be replaced with higher calorie alternatives like plant oils, so don’t be fooled by plant based foods.
Adding chocolate and sugar to peanuts is just asking for a high calorie snack. One regular sized package of M&Ms has 250 calories and your entire day’s worth of added sugar, which just doesn’t seem worth it for a handful of sweet peanuts that won’t keep you full at all.
This has become a great alternative to dairy based yogurts, but that doesn’t mean it has any less sugar or calories in. Coconut yogurt is often made from coconut milk, which has a much higher fat content than what greek yogurts offer. Eat this in moderation as a low calorie option but keep this in mind…
Sugar free chocolate
Even though the sugar has been removed, that doesn’t remove the saturated fats. Sugar free chocolate isn’t always low in calories and may even have more saturated fats than regular chocolate. The artificial sweeteners can also affect your stomach and digestive system if you eat a lot in a short amount of time.
Baked chips must be better than fried right? Not always. Whilst they may have lower amounts of fat, that doesn’t reduce their calories significantly or even their salt. Ruffles baked cheddar and sour cream chips actually contain more sodium than their regular cheddar and sour cream fried chips.
Again, whilst they may have healthy fats and some good health benefits, in terms of a snack they can be very calorific very quickly. If you’re looking to fill up between meals you should avoid snacking on big quantities of these nuts, as they are some of the highest calorie per 100 gram at around 700-750.
Bagels topped with a balance of healthy fats and protein can make a good meal, but meal is the key word. Some bagels are too high in carbs and fat to be considered a snack, especially everything bagels that are often covered in extra seasonings and seeds.
Many people grew up with these colorful pops but they should remain in the past. With no nutritional value other than sugar, they aren’t really worthy of being called a snack. Virtually fat free may draw people in but don’t skip past the 21 grams of sugar per pop.