Some well-placed snacks throughout the day can help you keep your metabolism up and prevent you from binging at mealtimes. However, whether a snack is helping or actually hurting your diet depends on its nutritional content, and many of your favorite snacks – even the ones that seem healthy – may be hiding lots of calories, fats and sugars. Make sure you snack smarter by checking out the calorie comparisons between some popular snack choices below:
Potato chips vs. pita chips
Everyone’s guilty of clearing a bowl of potato chips – there’s something so satisfying about their salty flavor and crunch. But unfortunately, this classic snack can really do a number on your diet. One snack bag of potato chips can have 240 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat and a whopping 210 mg of sodium, according to Eat This. Also, the site notes that chips’ high salt content increases water retention in the body, leading to bloating. Instead, keep things light with pita chips, a savvy swap for the potato variety. They can clock in at just 120 calories per serving, with 0 grams of saturated fat and less sodium. Just be sure to choose varieties that are made with whole-grains and contain minimal amounts oil, Eat This advised. Pita chips can be a healthier alternative to potato chips.
Fruit snacks vs. raisins
The “fruit” snacks you find lining the junk food aisle may boast clever advertising, but they contain little nutritional benefit. Fruit gummies or fruit leather can contain nearly 100 calories in a small pouch or single serving, along with loads of sugar – in some cases, a significant 12 grams of the sweet stuff, not to mention the many artificial syrups and dyes these products contain. Instead, power through your day with raisins. One box can contain just 45 calories and a lower added sugar content than fruit leather and other snacks. As an added bonus, raisins also contain fiber, which aids healthy digestion.
Pretzels vs. popcorn
Like with potato chips, it’s easy to eat one too many pretzels because of their addictive saltiness. Pretzels may seem more innocent than potato chips, however, they can still be an unhealthy option for a snack. Composed mainly of flour and salt, pretzels are essentially empty calories. One ounce of pretzels can contain 171 calories and 611 mg – more than many types of potato chips! If you’re itchy for a salty snack, though, choose popcorn over pretzels. There are just 31 calories in 1 cup of popcorn – and if you pop it yourself, you can keep the sodium content minimal. In addition, popcorn is a pure whole-grain, delivering important nutrients, and will help you feel full for longer, Eating Well explained. However, if you go the microwave popcorn route, make sure you’re choosing varieties that have low amounts of added salt, and that skip the movie theater butter.
Pomegranate juice has a high antioxidant content.
Fruit punch juice boxes versus pomegranate juice
Great for on-the-go, juice boxes may seem like a great idea. However, inside those conveniently sized cartons is lots of sugar and calories. A single juice box can contain nearly 100 calories and 25 grams of sugar – practically as much as ice cream! A natural fruit juice is a much better way to quench your thirst throughout the day. Pomegranate juice is a refreshing and healthier option. Whine glass of all-natural, 100 percent pomegranate juice may have a similar amount of calories, however, this natural juice contains no added sugars. Furthermore, pomegranate juice can contain three times the antioxidant activity of green tea, according to Authority Nutrition.
Granola vs. plain nuts
Typically containing a variety of nuts and dried fruits, granola is fun to munch on and a delicious topping on yogurt or oatmeal. Unfortunately, though, it’s not the smartest snack choice. Just half a cup of granola can contain more than 200 calories, and, like the other snacks on this list, a high sugar content: more than 14 grams. Instead, add more nutrients to your diet with nuts. Almonds, walnuts and pistachios all give you that satisfying crunch while also containing omega-3 fatty acids and other important vitamins and minerals that keep your heart, brain and skin healthy and strong. Just keep your serving size to a handful, since half a cup of nuts can have over 200 calories as well.