Catch us at 3 p.m. on any given day, and chances are we’re planning our mid-afternoon snack (we see you, cheesy popcorn). In theory, this is smart: “Snacking is great when it’s used to tide you over until your next meal and can fill in gaps in nutrients you’ve missed at other meals,” says Toby Smithson, R.D.N., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and founder of Diabetes EveryDay. And while research has mixed results on how snacking affects your weight, healthy snack choices have been associated with lower BMI.1
The only problem? Many snacks marketed as “healthy” actually aren’t. A good number contain sugars that raise your blood sugar and then cause an energy crash. Others contain empty carbs, lacking the fiber and protein needed to keep you full and energized.
For a healthy and sustaining snack, choose foods high in fiber, protein, and water, which fill up your stomach, let your brain know you are full, and take a while to digest, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D.N., author and nutrition consultant to the Chicago Cubs. Read on for 12 sneaky snacks that might be sabotaging your health routine. Surprised? We were.