7 snack foods, ranked by how unhealthy they are

7 snack foods, ranked by how unhealthy they are

The INSIDER Summary:

  • Snacking between meals isn't bad for you unless you're choosing unhealthy foods to snack on.
  • We talked to nutritionist Kim Larson to identify a few snack foods that are good for you, and some that are not so good.
  • Trail mix can be healthy if it's homemade and doesn't contain candy; frozen fruit bars can also be healthy if they're made with whole fruit.
  • Fruit-flavored yogurt isn't the worst choice, but the fruit adds a lot of artificial sugar.
  • Frozen snack foods, pastries and bakery items, granola and granola bars, and potato chips are all unhealthy and should generally be avoided.
Original Post

7 snack foods, ranked by how unhealthy they are

There's nothing wrong with a little snacking between meals — as long as you're choosing healthy foods.

Unfortunately, many traditional snack foods taste good, but don't have much nutritional value.

We talked to nutritionist Kim Larson, RDN and media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, to identify a few snack foods that are good for you, and some to avoid.

Below is a list of seven types of snack foods, ranked from most to least healthy.

Avoid store-bought trail mixes with add-ins like M&Ms.Hannah Green / Shutterstock

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5. Fruit-flavored yogurt parfaits

"These are not the healthiest yogurt choice because of the sugary fruit and granolas or 'crunch' they often add to these portable store-bought yogurt parfaits," Larson said. "Not the worst choice, but not the best either because of the added sugar content."

2. Granola, granola bars, and energy bars

"Most of these are glorified candy bars with few healthy ingredients," Larson said. "Most of these are high in added sugars and total fat; some even have saturated fats (the kind we are supposed to keep to less than 10% of our total calories) and very little nutrition."

"It's better to make your own granola where you can control the ingredients, sugar, and amount of oils used in making them," she adds.

Many granolas are high in sugar.Vegan Feast Catering / Flickr

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1. Potato chips, crackers, corn puffs

According to Larson, "These snacks are filled with air and loaded with sodium, fat, and calories." "Most of these have virtually no nutrition or fiber in them because they are so highly processed."

"Junk foods like these should be looked at as a very once-in-a-while indulgence — not a regular snack choice."

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