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Smarter, healthier snacks

‘Healthy’ foods That aren’t. Want something to munch after lunch? Be smart about these sneaky snacks.

If 2016 finds you vowing to eat healthier, pay attention to packaging. “Food marketers’ jobs are to draw you in and view their food as healthy,” says Sue Heikkinen, a Kaiser Permanente registered dietitian.

Here are six snacks to be smart about:

YOGURT. “Some popular brands have close to 40 grams of sugar. That’s as much as you can get in a can of soda,” Heikkinen says.

“VEGGIE” CHIPS. They are light and airy, but the first ingredient is usually potato or corn, just like any other chip. Don’t be fooled by the vegetable powder.

FRUIT CHEWS. Gummies tout vitamin C content and come in packaging featuring “real fruit.” In reality, these sticky snacks are terrible for teeth and often have very little actual fruit.

ENERGY BARS. Many bars are loaded with sugar and lack nutrition. Pick products with at least 5 grams of fiber. Protein is a plus.

BRAN MUFFINS. Bakery bran muffins — especially the supersized ones — have enough calories to qualify as cake.

SMOOTHIES. Most ready-made fruit or veggie smoothies soar in sugar content. The fix? Make your own, with cow’s milk or soy milk (not fruit juice) as the base.


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