Are you having friends over to watch the match or for a movie marathon night? Cool! But have you thought of the snacks ? Don’t have the time to prepare something or wondering what to serve without being pretentious? You can always serve the crowd-pleasing savories packed in bags and stocked on shelves everywhere. But taste shouldn’t be your only target, keep health in mind, too.
Of course a fresh veggie platter is the healthiest option for a late afternoon snack, but when it comes to the packaged goodies, you should choose the healthiest option. So, I did a bit of a research and realized that there are endless colorful choices that come under three main categories: wheat based, potato based and corn based. There are also fried crackers, which I totally do not recommend.
As always, I tend to check the labels when food shopping – not just for the caloric content but also for the ingredients and use of additives and preservatives, which is always a major concern of mine. I found out that most have close caloric values, but they differ greatly in their fat, carb, protein, fiber and salt content. So despite having almost the same calories, their health value differs and our bodies’ reaction to them certainly differs.
After a bit of research (and being kicked out of one supermarket and almost detained in another), I managed to come up with this list below, ranked from least to most healthy, of the most common bagged savory snacks in the market according to their health value. I ranked them according to their nutritional value and the ingredients used, compared to the recommended daily intake of the average adult.
5. Packaged pastries (i.e. Brunch)
Delicious, but with more than a snack’s share of calories, ranging from 200-250 cals. The biggest problem I found was the use of hydrogenated vegetable oils (at maximum 25%), which you should totally avoid for their linked risk to atherosclerosis and heart disease.
4. Corn grits (i.e. Cheetos, Cono)
With an average of 160 cals per bag,half of these come from 7.8 grams of fat in a single bag. But what really ranks them low on the list is the salt content at a little over 400 milligrams, which counts for 1/5th of the total recommended daily intake in just one 30 gram bag.
3. Potato-based snacks (i.e. Chipsy, Lays)
Either prepackaged or homemade, they contain high fat content unless they’re baked, which is not the case here. An average small package of potato chips has around 150 cals and 8.7 gms of fat, of which 3.9 gms are saturated. In addition, the use of food additives for taste is still a health concern, so opt for milder flavor and substitute with a tasty healthy dip.
2. Corn tortilla chips (i.e. Doritos, Tostitos)
Corn tortilla chips is a favorite party snack, however the average bag contains around 140 cals and 7 gms of fat, of which 3.36 are saturated. Additionally, so many health concerns have been raised in the past years regarding the use of preservatives and food additives, which to be honest have been disregarded by most corn tortilla chip companies.
1. Baked wheat crackers (i.e. Bake Rolz, Bake Stix)
Baked crackers are by far the healthiest option you can get over the counter. An average bag has from 150-180 cals depending on your choice of flavor and a total fat content ranging from 3-5 gms, of which less than 2 gms are saturated, with only around 200 milligrams of salt. Add these to a high protein salad for a bit of crunch and a great post-workout meal, or enjoy with a high protein hummus or bean dip for a really well-rounded healthy snack that will make your guests beg for more.
WE SAID THIS: Stay healthy, everybody, and enjoy!