We currently have an explosion of plant-based snack foods hitting the shelves…are they healthy and will they help your weight loss journey?
These highly processed foods have alluring labels that make us believe we are about to buy a super healthy snack.
But is it true that if a label states the following it’s really good for you?
50% less sugar
Light to bite
No added oil
No added sugar
Blah blah blah
I’ll admit that even I can get sucked in enough to pick a product off the shelf, feeling excited about what I’m reading…maybe this will be the one…the snack that really does deliver.
But inevitably I will turn over the product and start reading the INGREDIENTS and the nutritional information panel…
And I’ll sigh and place the product back on the shelf.
Reading the ingredients list and the nutritional information panel is a must, my friend.
This is where you’ll discover if those promises are really worth the label they’re printed on.
Because who cares if these delicious-looking plant-based/vegan snacks are everything ‘free’ if they’re high in fat and full of ingredients that you’ve been avoiding for years.
So how do you navigate plant-based processed snack foods?
In general, the snacks fall into 2 categories.
The first is the snacks that have ingredients in them that are similar to the cheap and nasty snacks, so avoid these like the plague.
The second is the snacks that have ingredients that are real food, so they’re probably a better option.
However, even if you manage to find a product that has superior ingredients they’ll undoubtedly be a concentrated source of calories…and this is by far the biggest health hazard.
While I don’t count calories, I know where they’re coming from.
And all of these plant-based processed snack foods are high in calories.
Liken it to the difference between an apple and dried apple.
It’s so much easier to overeat the dried apple.
I covered this topic in more detail here in my blog Is a calorie a calorie?
So even if you do happen to come across a good quality plant-based snack that has healthier ingredients than the cheap and nasty snacks, it’s NOT an every day free for all food.
My parameters for these snacks are…
They are an occasional food for social events.
I eat them in moderation and the way I do that is to make sure I have a heap of real food alternatives on the same plate.
For example, if I purchase some plant-based crackers to go with a dip I’ve made, I make sure the plate has over 75% cut up vegetables.
That way for every cracker I eat, it’s followed up with a handful of vegetable sticks.
And finally, remember these plant-based processed snacks are NOT cheap…you’re paying premium prices for those labels.
So they’re not only expensive they’re also a concentrated source of calories, so tread carefully and moderately.
If you’d like to get a deeper insight into a range of processed products I do a weekly product review that you can find on my YouTube channel here.