January 15, 2014
Eat This, Not That

The grocery store can be a tricky place. There are so many foods that are seemingly healthy- but how can you tell for sure? Here are some of the most confusing 'health' foods (in my opinion) and what you are actually looking for from each category. Plus, some of my favorite picks and choices to avoid:


1. "Greek" yogurt

Ideally, Greek or Icelandic yogurts should be low-fat or fat-free, and high protein: almost equal protein and carbohydrate content if it's flavored (ex: 15g protein 17g carb,) or about double the protein vs. carb content if unflavored (ex: 15g protein, 7g carb.) Ideally they are sweetened with fruit juice concentrate and not with artificial sweeteners as well.

So...Try This:

Smari Organic Icelandic Yogurt Vanilla flavor- 140 calories, 16g carb, 18g protein

Nancy's Organic Nonfat Honey Greek Yogurt- 140 calories, 12g carb, 22g protein

Fage Total 2% Strawberry- 140 calories, 17g carb, 12g protein


Not That:

Yoplait Greek Blended Yogurt- 140 calories, 22g carb, 11g protein

Greek Gods Greek Yogurt Pomegranate flavor- 200 calories, 20g carb, 6g protein


2. "Snack" bars

Snacks should serve you in two ways: give you energy and keep you full until your next meal. Snack bars, then, ideally should contain high fiber (at least 3g fiber,) contain protein (7-20 grams depending on your calories,) and be moderate carb (~15-20g carb.)

Pick This:

20/20 Protein Bars 220-240 calories, 22-26g carb, 16g protein

Zing Bar- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Flavor 200 calories, 21g carb, 13g protein

Kind Bar- Almond Walnut Macadamia with Peanuts & Protein 200 calories, 13g carb, 10g protein


Not That:

Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Bars: 170 calories, 20g carb, 4g protein

Kellogg's Special K Protein Snack Bars: 110 calories, 16g carb, 4g protein


3. "Veggie" Snacks

Snacks based in vegetables seem great: veggies are full of fiber and great nutrition, right? But some veggie 'snacks' are loaded with sugar, fat and salt. I would aim for a veggie snack that has at most 10g fat per ~100 calorie serving, coming from unsaturated fats like olive or canola oil primarily, and at least 3g fiber per serving. Check that added sugar is not high on the ingredients list, as well.


Pick This:

Alive & Radiant Organic Veggie Krunch Teriyaki Greens flavor- 120 calories, 6g fat, 4g fiber

Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips Zesty Nacho flavor- 160 calories, 7g fat, 13g carb, 3g fiber

Trader Joe's Roasted Seaweed Snack- 120 calories, 8g fat, 4g carb, 4g fiber


Not That:

Mediterranean Snacks Veggie Medley Chips- 130 calories, 7g fat, 15g carb, 1g fiber

Good Health Natural Foods Veggie Stix- 130 calories, 5g fat, 18g carb, 0g fiber


4. Gluten-Free

Gluten free is seemingly synonymous with healthy nowadays. But be careful: just because a product doesn't contain gluten, doesn't mean it is indeed your best choice. Aim for at least 3g fiber per 15-20g carb serving to ensure you're getting primarily whole grain products.

Pick This:

Mary's Gone Crackers Original Seed Flavor: 140 calories, 21g carb, 3g fiber

Beanfields Bean & Rice Chips: 140 calories, 18g carb, 4g fiber

Udi's Gluten Free Millet-Chia Bread- 150 calories, 24g carb, 5g fiber


Not That:

Glutino Gluten Free Multi Grain Crackers: 140 calories, 22g carb, <1g fiber

Barilla Gluten Free Spaghetti: 359 calories, 78.7g carb, 1.1g fiber


Now that you know how to be a savvy label-reader, you too can shop the grocery store with confidence knowing you are indeed making healthy food choices in the New Year! Enjoy



Written by Erika Brown

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