The top 5 ingredients to avoid in packaged snacks, and what to look for instead for healthier snacking options!
It can be challenging to navigate the world of packaged snacks, as many products that are marketed as healthy options contain sneaky ingredients, hidden on long ingredient labels.
To help you make healthy and informed choices for your family, in this blog post, we'll explore five ingredients commonly found in packaged snacks that you should avoid and what to look for instead!
1. Refined Sugar
Refined sugar is of course, added to packaged snacks to enhance flavour, but also to prolong shelf life. As we have discussed at length, excessive consumption of refined sugar has been linked to numerous health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Instead, look for snacks that are naturally sweetened with whole foods such as organic medjool dates!
Be aware that sugar can fall under many different hidden names, such as sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), maltodextrin, or dextrose. Most of the refined sugars we consume today are highly processed and offer no nutritional value. It's important to be aware of the various names that sugar can go by on food labels, as they can be hidden in many different types of processed foods!
Speaking of sugar, did you know that Jana founded nomz in 2013 after transforming her health for the better by eliminating refined sugar from her diet? More on that here.
2. "Natural" Flavours
"Natural" flavours may sound healthy, but they are often made from a blend of chemicals and can be just as harmful as artificial flavours. To avoid these, look for snacks that are flavoured with real ingredients such as herbs, spices, cocoa, and fruits.
3. Palm Oil and Vegetable Oil
Palm and vegetable oils are commonly used in packaged snacks due to their low cost and long shelf life. However, these oils are high in saturated and trans fats, which can increase the risk of heart disease and inflammation. Instead, opt for snacks made with healthy fats such as coconut oil or avocado oil.
Gums, such as xanthan gum and guar gum, are often used as thickeners and stabilizers in packaged snacks. However, these additives can cause digestive issues such as bloating and gas. Look for snacks made without gums or with natural thickeners such as chia seeds or flaxseeds.
5. Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin is often added to packaged snacks as an emulsifier to help ingredients blend together. However, soy is a common allergen, and the production of soy lecithin can involve harmful solvents. Look for snacks made without soy lecithin or with alternative emulsifiers such as sunflower lecithin.
Healthier Snack Swaps
It is so important to read the ingredient list of packaged snacks carefully and avoid ingredients such as refined sugar, "natural" flavours, palm oil and vegetable oil, gums, and soy lecithin.
Instead, look for snacks that are:
- are sweetened with natural ingredients, such as medjool dates
- made with simple, wholesome, organic ingredients
- contain healthy fats
- don't contain additives or preservatives
- have no added "natural" flavours
Pure, wholesome ingredients are at the heart of everything we do – which is why you'll notice our short but nutrient-dense ingredient label featured on the front of every package.
By making these choices, you can provide your family with delicious and nutritious snacks that support their health and well-being!