Definition of a Healthy Snack?

You’ll never get an argument if you say, “We need to find healthier snack solutions.” It’s not controversial to say “Unhealthy Snacking is among the top reasons for Americans being overweight and obese in unprecedented, never before seen in the history of the planet numbers. That said, try to move forward and then define what the definition of a “Healthy Snack” is, and that’s where the fireworks begin.

Some people will point anything that says “all natural” as being a healthy snack solution. But really, “all natural” says very little about the nutrition quality of the snack. Many juice boxes or fruit drinks are “All Natural” and yet loaded with sugar. Going further on concept of sugar content, many snacks are billed as “low-fat” or “Reduced Fat.” It’s important to note that many of these reduced fat items have more sugar than their “Regular Fat” counterpart. It’s often the case that lowfat items have more actual calories and sugar. They’ve simply replaced one nutrition impediment with another.

Also beware of beef stick type products. People will often look at various beef sticks and assume their healthy snack solutions. After all, they aren’t candy! But these products fool people in a similar way to how “Fruit juices” and “Fruit Snacks” do. While Fruit Juices are often loaded with sugar, many beef stick products are almost all fat! Truth be told, this is usually the case. In order to find a dried meat product that is not all fat, you need to look at certain types of beef jerky.

The bottom line in all of this is that you can’t believe the hype. Don’t buy into advertising slogans, jingles or whatever else the multi-million dollar industry has concocted to convince you of the merits of their product. There is only one source of truth, and that’s the nutrition data printed on the back of the package. While there is not absolute for parameters of healthy snack solutions, you can usually be safe following the CA SB-19 guidelines for snacks in schools which state that snacks should be less than 35% fat, less than 35% sugar, less than 10% saturated fat and less than 250 calories per container. Short of simply saying “I’m only going to eat carrots and celery, while drinking only water,” the above guidelines are a good place to start. Since we all need definitions and guidelines by which to conduct our lives, and our eating, the 35/35/10/250 description is an excellent goal to aspire to.

So go forth and spread the healthy snack numerical mantra of 35/35/10/250. Become an educated snack consumer; watch the pounds peel away from you as newfound energy come to you.