1. Trail Mix
People reach for trail mix for a number of reasons, most notably of which is “it’s a healthy snack.” You’re right, it’s very healthy; it provides long-term energy, is calorie dense, tastes pretty great, and provides all the nutrients your body needs… for hiking. And I don’t think you’re hiking in your office chair.
By this I mean when you hike for hours at a time, you have an increased heartrate and above-average calorie expenditure from long bouts of exercise. You’re using all sorts of muscles to climb those trails, and trail-mix is a high sugar, high fat, moderate protein food to help promote extended energy levels and recovery.
The problem? You don’t have to worry about losing fat when you’re hiking. In fact, you want some of that. Your body doesn’t want to die. Or fall off the mountain.
Keep this in mind: two or three big handfuls of trail-mix are easy to munch through, especially when your mind is occupied on something else. These can reach upwards of 400 calories. And you did that just for a snack, and didn’t keep in mind the rest of the food you’d eat that day. It’s not wholly bad for you, but odds are it helps push you over your fat-loss calorie limits for that day.
Yogurt has been touted as the go-to “healthy” snack of choice. As it should; it has great healthy fats, cultures for your digestive system, and dense amounts of calcium and phosphorous. I always advocate for people to eat yogurt. It’s seriously awesome.
Yogurt will not make you skinny.
Keep this in mind when you’re eating yogurt: sugar. Sugar. Sugar.
If the yogurt tastes fruity and sweet and wonderful, turn that sucker around and check the nutrition label. One regular cup of yogurt can have almost 30g of sugar. That’s an insane amount of sugar for a snack. This isn’t wholly bad of course (just like the trail-mix) but there’s a time and a place for it. If the rest of the food in your day is out of your fat-burning calorie limit, yogurt will not help matters. Try greek yogurts or low-sugar yogurts to reduce excess sugar intake.
3. Vitamin Water
Another healthy product that is, in fact, healthy. You’re not going to get all those vitamins and minerals in most foods by themselves. This is a pretty cool product. But alas, it’s loaded with sugar. Remember; if a liquid is sweet, it’s most likely got a ton of sugar in it. Vitamin Water is no exception. Shoot for the zero-sugar options.
Bananas are one of the best fruits out there (if you trust my most humble opinion!). I could eat bananas all day. Bananas are awesome and quick and taste amazing. Even banana flavored foods are great.
Bananas are curved yellow sugar tubes.
Despite having moderately good potassium levels, fiber, and Vitamin C, bananas can reach upwards of 35g of sugar per fruit. Again, bananas aren’t wholly bad, but in the grand scheme of your day they can be your limiting factor. Bananas are extremely calorie dense for what they are and should be consumed responsibly.
I almost never have good things to say about salads, and not because I don’t like salads. I love salads. I incorporate them in my meals when the mood strikes.
What I don’t like about this food choice is how most people go about eating them. They’re just water-leaves loaded with fatty and sugary dressings (most of the time). I appreciate a good salad with spinach, low-calorie dressing, a high protein count, and maybe even some cranberries or sunflower seeds. These are good salads.
Don’t be that person eating a salad whom I could ask, “Would you like some salad with that dressing?” Seriously. People eat salads to drop their daily calories, but add nasty dressings that ruin the entire concept. You need to have a certain amount of calories (“energy”) every day to reach your goals. Salads are like eating nothing. You know what eating nothing does? Makes you eat more, later.
Stop eating nothing. And add protein. You’re most likely not getting enough.