A lot of "health-maniacs" think they are eating healthy when it comes to minor snacking – with veggie puffs and gluten-free crackers – to stay fit and not jeopardize their work-out regime. But not all of these snacks are as healthy as you assume. In fact, they are more loaded with the food components that you're trying to avoid than you think.
Writing for Health.com, New York Times bestselling author and consulting nutritionist Cynthia Sass lists down the most commonly mistaken "healthy snacks" that can actually disrupt your fitness routine.
1.Veggie chips or puffs
"The fresh veggies on the packaging can be deceiving. Be sure to check the ingredients on those veggie chips and puffs before you add them to your cart," writes Cynthia. Ingredients like potato-flour, potato starch, cornmeal, or rice flour – which are far more loaded with calories than just vegetables – are what these snacks abound in.
Instead opt for "baby carrots, broccoli florets, sliced bell pepper, and cucumber, paired with hummus or guacamole for dipping."
2. Vegan Cookies
"Simply being vegan doesn't automatically make a food healthy, or better for you," Cynthia says. As for vegan cookies, she explains most of them are made with loads of sugar and refined flour and lack fiber and nutrients.
If at all you're craving for something sweet, make your own 'no-bake' cookies, she suggests. Use whole food products 'like almond butter, rolled oats, and chia seeds, with a little bit of maple syrup and vanilla.'
3. Gluten-free crackers
"In some brands of gluten-free crackers the first two ingredients are white rice flour and vegetable oil—a refined grain paired with oil heavy in omega-6 fatty acids, which have been linked to inflammation," explains Cynthia.
In simpler terms, the calories and carbs from its ingredients add up to amounts that are equal to those in potato chips.
4. Fruit snacks
'Fruit puree combined with corn syrup, sugar, cornstarch, artificial flavors, and artificial colors' could be possible ingredients of these fruit snacks.
To avoid packing on all these calories, eat "a cup full of fresh blueberries, or a medium-sized apple, or two kiwis, all of which come bundled with filling fluid and fiber, along with antioxidants and more overall nutrients."
5. Trail mix
Cynthia says the health quotient of trail mix depends on how it's made.
"Many brands contain dried fruit that's been sweetened with sugar and treated with artificial preservatives, in addition to sugar-laden add-ins, like candy coated milk chocolate. Per quarter cup (which is a serving about the size of a golf ball), these varieties can pack close to 200 calories and not much nutritional value," she explains.
To avoid these, make your own with "tree nuts, like almonds, walnuts, pecans, or pistachios; as well as seeds, like pumpkin or sunflower, as the primary ingredients."
6. Pita chips
These might seem healthier than potato chips, but the main ingredient in these is refined white flour, and its calorie content is not much lesser than potato chips.