3. Japanese rice crackers
But it has seaweed in it! But it’s from Japan, a nation of healthy eaters! You may hear this refrain to justify a beer-fueled snack fest of these addictive little crackers also known by their Japanese name senbei, but they are still far from being a health-boosting complement to your diet.
Seaweed is indeed a health food, but there’s only a small amount used as seasoning in most Japanese cracker mixes on the shelves of your grocery store. “The crackers themselves are just refined rice flour,” Arrey says.
4. Dried apricots
“Eating any dried fruit can be a conundrum,” says Arrey. “Dried fruits are so nutritious and dense in vitamins, but they’re concentrated in calories,” she says. “For instance, I could probably eat two apricots, but if I eat the dried halves, I could easily eat six or eight of them.”
And dentists warn against snacking on dried fruits alone, preferring that they be eaten as part of a meal, as dried fruit has a tendency to cling to tooth surfaces and cause cavities. A better route is to stick with fresh fruit, especially at snacktime, or to eat dried fruit in moderation, perhaps with granola or cereal.
5. Cream cheese
Rich, delicious cream cheese on a bagel or crackers is widely considered a wholesome breakfast or snack. But hold the butter knife-it’s not as healthy as you might think. “It’s got a wonderful mouth feel,” admits Arrey. “I know it really tastes good on your bagel. But it’s high in fat and doesn’t have a lot of protein or calcium,” she says.
And beware of light cream cheeses. “They’ve cut the calories and fat but haven’t added any calcium or protein, so nutritionally it’s not better,” she says. A better spreadable choice is ricotta cheese, Arrey says.