5 Healthy Snacks That Really Aren’t (and 5 That Are!)
Snacks. Who doesn’t love them? Healthy snacks can help you stay satisfied until dinner comes around. They keep you nourished before and after your workouts. They are a fun treat to share and can be an easy way to add more nutrients to your diet.
If you’re reading this, I’ll bet you already know to avoid junk foods such as potato chips and items made with hydrogenated oils or containing trans fats. However, there are also snacks that sound healthy yet may be harmful to your health. Some of these “health foods” may be natural yet irritating to those with gut issues. Others are highly processed, loaded with sugar and refined oils, and may include artificial sweeteners. Still more may contain hidden gluten or be made from GMO ingredients.
All of these can be damaging to your gut. They may lead to gut flora imbalance, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach, acid reflux, and other digestion issues.1,2,3,4,5 Fortunately, even if you have snacked on items that sound healthy yet aren’t, my Leaky Gut Revive® can help restore your gut and get you back on track to optimal health.
5 “Healthy” Snacks That Really Aren’t
Here are the top five so-called healthy snacks that you should cut from your grocery list. I’ve also included five great replacements.
1. Dairy-Free Yogurts
Bravo! You’re avoiding inflammation-causing dairy and choosing a dairy-free substitute. However, look twice! Yogurt substitutes can be deceiving. Some of the dairy-free yogurts on the market are packed with sugar, additives, unnatural ingredients, and chemicals. Many are made from soy, a legume that causes molecular mimicry, inflammation, and digestive issues. Soy also contains chemical compounds called isoflavones. These can mimic estrogen and may lead to hormonal imbalance.
Apples are high in fiber, relatively low in calories, natural, portable, widely available, and relatively inexpensive. You may think they’re the perfect snack, however, they may not be so good. Some apples, such as green Granny Smiths have a lower glycemic index (GI.) Others, such as Golden Delicious and Fujis, are much higher in sugar. They may cause blood sugar imbalances. Some people who are dealing with a gut microbiome imbalance may have difficulty digesting them. For this reason, apples are not part of the FODMAPS diet because they may cause IBS and other digestive issues. If you do eat apples, I recommend sticking to just half of a lower GI apple, such as Granny Smith. Combine it with other foods such as a salad or smoothie.
3. Granola Bars, Protein Bars, and Trail Mix
Granola, protein bars, and trail mix (their loose counterpart) certainly seem to be a great option that will keep you satisfied. However, the truth is that most bars and mixes are far from healthy. Many have gluten, are high in sugar, and often not much better than candy. Even gluten-free bars and mixes can be dicey. Protein bars are often made with bloat-causing vegetable proteins that compromise your digestion. You may find a list of chemicals, unnatural flavors, and additives on the label as well.6,7 This doesn’t mean you have to stay away from bars completely. You can make your own protein bars from healthy ingredients such as coconut flour, and The Myers Way® Chocolate Paleo Protein. I also recommend my favorite Chewy Protein Paleo Bars.
4. Microwave Popcorn
Corn should be avoided on autoimmune diets. For those of you who can enjoy corn, you may think microwave popcorn is a quick, healthy snack. Think again! Popcorn can also be loaded with chemicals. Additionally, many microwave popcorn brands use refined oils, artificial flavors, added coloring, MSG, and other unnatural and unhealthy ingredients. Even the bag used for microwave popcorn may be lined with perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) acid. That’s the same toxic chemical used in some nonstick pots and pans. PFOA is on the EPA’s list of carcinogen substances and is linked to infertility, cancer, and other diseases.8
5. Dried Fruits
Dried fruits are natural, right? They must be healthy too. Not so fast. Keep in mind that dried fruits are often high in calories and have lots of added sugar. And because they’re small, it’s easy to overindulge, eating far more than a single serving. This can lead to blood sugar imbalances, sugar crashes, inflammation, and weight gain. Some dried fruits are also high in additional additives, color, and chemicals, such as sulfur dioxide.9,10,11,12,13 ,14
5 Quick Healthy Snacks to Enjoy
Check out this guide on how to choose filling snacks with protein and fiber to support your health, and always read labels carefully. When time permits, try some of the great snack recipes in The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook. For now, use these 5 quick snacks that are healthy and delicious!
Rich in avocado’s healthy fats, you can dig in with the veggies sticks of your choice.
2. Tigernut Butter
Unlike peanut butter, made from a legume, or almond butter made from a nut, tigernut butter is from a root vegetable. This creamy “butter” is a rich and filling snack. Try it with fruit slices or on coconut flour wraps. Best, of all it, it’s safe for those with nut allergies and for those on an autoimmune diet.
3. Homemade popcorn
If you can eat corn, try this brown-bag version of microwave popcorn. Measure 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into a lunchbox-sized bag. Loosely fold the top, then microwave on high until there are no more than 3-4 seconds between popping sounds. Drizzle on some coconut oil or sprinkle with spices such as oregano, pepper, cinnamon, or turmeric.
Frozen or fresh blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries — berries of all kinds! — are a great source of antioxidants and fiber. They’re a great sweet treat that won’t raise your blood sugar.
5. Dark Chocolate
When you’re on the go and must have something sweet, opt for dark chocolate. The darker the better! It contains flavanol-rich cocoa solids that may support healthy blood pressure.15
To support your gut from past unhealthy snacks and food choices. I recommend Leaky Gut Revive®. It’s powered by L-Glutamine that nourishes your gut cells, and aloe extract to help restore your gut’s normal mucosal lining. It also features licorice extract to soothe your stomach, and larch arabinogalactan to promote healthy gut microflora. Slippery elm and marshmallow root are included to maximize gut repair. This supplement mixes easily into water, juices, or smoothies.
As part of a nutrient-dense diet and healthy eating plan — including snacks! — Leaky Gut Revive® can help you live the healthy, energy-filled, and happy life you deserve.