Diet Detours: Snacks

February 24, 2014

If you are trying to watch your weight, it is healthy to eat smaller, frequent meals or snacks during the day. But you have to be smart about those snacks.

When you grab a quick snack you may not think you are eating a lot of calories but that's not always the case. Nutritionist Diane Henderiks says beware: Calories in those afternoon munchies can add up.

"Sometimes the snacks you eat in the course of the day can be equal or above the calories in a meal," Henderiks said.

Our first matchup is The Battle of the Dips: Creamy ranch dressing versus spicy guacamole.

"A lot of people think ranch dressing is the better choice," Henderiks claims, but ranch dip is loaded with calories. The "ranch dressing has 200 calories in 3 tablespoons. When people have ranch dressing they probably are not having just 3 tablespoons."

Diane says go ahead and dig into that guac, because with just 67 calories it gets our first green light.

Sweet and salty snacks are the favorites of many people, but Diane says the combination can be a diet trap So how would a chocolate bar with sea salt stack up against peanut butter -chocolate pretzels?

Many people may think they are OK because they are peanut butter in order to get some protein, but the peanut butter inside is not natural peanut butter. With 190 calories in just 6 of the pretzels, the sweet and salty treat is the next detour zone.

Instead Diane says have some rich and decadent chocolate. Six squares of a Madecasse bar has just 110 calories. Plus, it's dark chocolate and you are getting antioxidants.

The next challenge pairs up two very popular snacks: Kettlecorn and granola. While many people think granola is almost automatically good for you, it can be loaded with sugar and calories. Instead Diane says munch on some kettlecorn -- with just 130 calories in 2 cups. The granola is the clear diet detour. (You can follow this link for a granola recipe that WON'T detour your diet).

Coconut water is also becoming a popular go-to drink option, but does it stack up to an energy drink? It might say "organic" on the container, but does that mean it's good and good for you?

Diane says the coconut water with just 60 calories gets her green light.

Finally, we make a Starbucks run. You may think a strawberry smoothie is healthier than a gooey marshmallow bar? But...

"We are talking 300 calories, 2 grams of fat and 41 grams of sugar" in the smoothie, according to Henderiks.

The marshmallow bar with 240 calories and 5 grams of fat is the winner of this challenge.

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