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9 Snack Foods: Healthy or Not?

  • 9 Snack Foods: Healthy or Not?

    Vitamin-C enriched fruit snacks
    CREDIT: Fruit snacks photo via Shutterstock Vitamin-C enriched fruit snacks
  • American cheese

    Slices of American cheese
    CREDIT: Cheese photo via Shutterstock Slices of American cheese
  • Yogurt parfaits

    A yogurt parfait with fruit and granola
    CREDIT: Parfait photo via Shutterstock A yogurt parfait with fruit and granola
  • Sweets enriched with nutrients

    Cookies sit on a plate
    CREDIT: Cookies photo via Shutterstock Cookies sit on a plate
  • Whole grain corn chips

    Corn Chips
    CREDIT: Chips photo via Shutterstock Corn Chips
  • Fruit leather

    Fruit leather in a bowl
    CREDIT: Fruit leather photo via Shutterstock Fruit leather
  • Beef jerky

    Beef jerky
    CREDIT: Beef jerky photo via Shutterstock Beef jerky
  • Cheese-flavored crackers

    Cheese-flavored crackers
    CREDIT: Crackers photo via Shutterstock Cheese-flavored crackers
  • Vitamin-C enriched fruit snacks

    Vitamin-C enriched fruit snacks
    CREDIT: Fruit snacks photo via Shutterstock Vitamin-C enriched fruit snacks
  • Popsicles made from "real fruit" or "real fruit juice

    Fruit popsicles
    CREDIT: Popsicles photo via Shutterstock Fruit popsicles
Healthy eating is often a challenge, particularly when we're surrounded by so many foods that seem to disguise themselves as good for us. We know some fats are necessary, whole grains are good, and getting adequate amounts of fruits and veggies is paramount, but sometimes the grocery store can still feel like a nutritional maze.

The problem with assessing the health-value of many foods is that consumers are "led by the advertisement on the front of the package, and that becomes a selling point," said Constance Brown-Riggs, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The best thing to do is to pick up a package and turn it around. For example, healthy snacks should be no more than 200 calories, and should have plenty of fiber, little sugar and almost no fat, Brown-Riggs said. Reading the list of ingredients, along with the nutrition label, is a good way to understand what you're really eating, she said.

"Snacks absolutely can be included in a healthy meal plan, it just requires a little bit of thought and planning," Brown-Riggs said.

Here are some commonly advertised "healthy" snack choices, and where they fall on the health-o-meter.

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