How to Buy Smarter Snacks

Steer clear of the snack aisle and make these healthy choices instead.

Nearly every item in the snack aisle is loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil that wreak havoc on blood sugar and contribute to weight gain. Shop for snacks the right way with these healthy tips.

Head to the produce department for the bulk of your snacks. Buy what’s in season or what looks enticing. Try to make half your snacks be fresh, cut-up fruit or vegetables.

Cruise the dairy aisle for low-fat mozzarella sticks. Snacks low in carbs and moderate in fat are rare, but this is one of them. A 1-ounce serving contains just 70 calories and 4 grams of fat.

Buy single-serving boxes of raisins. Yes, raisins are higher in sugar than the grapes from which they come. But single-serving boxes help you make sure you stick to small portions of this otherwise good-for-you food.

Get your chocolate fix from frozen fudge bars. At 88 calories and a gram of fat each, Fudgesicles are much better bets than candy bars if you’re watching your waistline.

Buy granola bars, but choose carefully. Some bars, with lots of added sugar and little fiber, might as well be candy bars. Find a brand with no less than 5 grams of fiber and no more than 150 calories per bar.

Grab a bag of almonds or walnuts. Nuts contain the healthy monounsaturated fats that lower the risk of heart disease. And because they’re packed with protein and “good” fat, they won’t raise blood sugar nearly as much as crackers or pretzels. Just stick with one palmful at a sitting.

Skip the fat-free cookies. Manufacturers usually add more sugar to these, and research shows that most people will eat more of them than they would regular cookies.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest