Sugar-Laden "Healthy" Snacks

Sugar is EVERYWHERE. It’s in pasta sauce, bread products, instant oatmeal… just to name a few. What’s worse is that even the ‘sugar free’ stuff can be loaded with artificial sweeteners that are equally bad for you.Unfortunately, even if you’re trying to eat healthy, that nasty little sugar beast has it’s hands all in everything.  Lots of healthy snacks are high in sugar, too.

Get the lowdown on some of your favorite “healthy” foods that are anything but. Check out these 6 healthy snacks high in sugar.


I’ve personally dubbed yogurt the biggest health food myth.  Even brands like Chobani can pack almost 30 grams of sugar per serving - a ridiculous 7 teaspoons (Chobani's Black Cherry Blended Yogurt has 28 grams).  

The Better Option:Plain Yogurt (greek or regular) sweetened with Stevia or honey with fresh fruit added (sugar content varies)

low sugar snack
low sugar snack


I used to live off of CLIF bars. I kept them at my desk. I hid them in my purse. I took them hiking. I snacked on them after working out. I used them to feed my inner sugar demon. CLIF bars pack a whopping 20+ grams of sugar per bar – that’s 5 TEASPOONS OF SUGAR!

The Better Option:Kind Bar Nuts & Spices in Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, Nut Delight, Madagascar Vanilla Almond, Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan (5 grams sugar)

low sugar snack
low sugar snack

Nature’s Valley Granola Bars

I swear, if I wasn’t munching on a CLIF bar, I was most definitely snacking on these babies. While a healthier option than our pal Clif, Nature’s Valley bars clock in over 10 grams of sugar per serving (the 2 bars in the packet). Oats n’ Honey gives you a 12 gram fix, while Peanut Butter leaves you with 11, just to name a few.

The Better Option:A ¼ cup of Bear Naked Fit Vanilla Almond Crunch in a snack bag (4 grams sugar)


I’m not a huge Nutella fan, but I was BLOWN AWAY to learn that there’s 21 grams of sugar per serving… and a serving is 2 tablespoons. Who eats just two tablespoons of any nut butter? NOT this girl.

The Better Option: Peanut Butter & Company Dark Chocolate Dreams (7 grams sugar)

Snapple Green Tea

Tea’s healthy, right? Not when it’s loaded with sweeteners.  Snapple's Green Tea comes with 30 grams of sugar - over 7 teaspoons!

The Better Option:Brew your own green tea and sweeten with Stevia or honey (plus get your fun fact here (sugar content varies)

low sugar drink
low sugar drink

Vitamin Water

I’ve personally guzzled gallons of this stuff. XXX was my go-to. No matter what flavor you’re in to, you’re guaranteed to get at least 31 grams of sugar (some, like XXX, have 32 grams).

The Better Option: Take a high-quality multivitamin and guzzle 16 oz. of water with a dash of OJ (sugar content varies)

Again – SUGAR IS EVERYWHERE. Read labels. When in doubt, just eat real food!

Are there any surprises for you on this list?  If so, share 'em in the comments.

Is Your Almond Milk Making You Sick?

The “healthy” dairy alternative, almond milk, could be causing catastrophic damage to your GI system and colon due to a little red intruder.

I’m sure, like me, if you made the switch from dairy or soy to almond milk, you thought you were making a healthy choice… but most commercial brands contain an additive known as carrageenan, which is just downright bad for your bod.

When I started experimenting with my body’s reaction to different foods, I realized that my beloved dairy (yes – I have a very emotional bond with dairy) was turning my face into the human version of the Colorado Rockies.  I initially switched to soy milk, but based on the heated GMO debate and the hormone-mimicking substances in soy, I now use almond milk almost exclusively.  Little did I know that my almond milk was including an uninvited guest.      Carrageenan is derived from red seaweed and is used in dairy and dairy alternatives, as well as deli meats, as a thickening agent, stabilizer and/or emulsifier.

The food grade version of carageenan (aka undegraded) has been shown to cause inflammation, lesions, and cancer in the colon.

This is just a step above the non-food grade version, which is classified as a “possible human carcinogen” by the International Agency on Cancer Research.  It’s labeled “possible” because it’s caused cancer in lab animals during studies, but (I guess) hasn’t been tested on humans yet… it never felt so good to be a human “lab rat”, did it?

The degraded carrageenan also causes inflammation.  How do we know that, you ask?  It’s actually been used for DECADES to INDUCE acute inflammation for lab trials.  Seriously!  I can’t make this stuff up.

Now, you’re probably asking why you should care about the degraded carrageenan – that stuff should not be in your food, right?  WRONG.  The food-grade version has been shown to contain up to 25% non-food grade (i.e. degraded) carrageenan.  What’s worse (yes, it gets worse)… because your bod is a powerhouse digestive system, it actually breaks down the “good” carageenan to the degraded carrageenan in your GI tract – YIKES!  

So what can you do about it?  

1.    Make a statement with your $$

I’m a firm believer that one of the best ways for us, collectively, to fight for a better food system is to put our money where our mouths are. There, in fact, are several alternatives to carrageenan that won’t give you cancer.  For a list of carrageenan-free dairy products/brands, check out this resource from

2.    Make your own almond milk

This week I experimented with my first batch of homemade almond milk.  I seriously can’t believe how easy it was to make!  This will definitely become a weekly staple in my house.

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup almonds

3.5 cups filtered water

Vanilla extract or chocolate flavoring (optional)

1.    Soak almonds in water overnight (add vanilla or chocolate here if you’re using that)

2.    Blend almond and water mixture for approximately 1 minute

3.    Strain using cheesecloth or a fine mesh filter

4.    Gently squeeze the strained almond meal to get extra milk out

This should keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Admittedly, it’s a bit thinner than the store-bought stuff; I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it’s probably because it doesn’t contain a cancer-causing thickener.

In the comments, I’d love to know – do you drink dairy or a dairy alternative?  What will you do to be carrageenan free?

How to Read Food Labels (and ignore calories)

So, if you're no longer counting calories and you still sometimes need to eat packaged foods, what should you look for on a food label?  I created a graphic for you to show you how to read food labels and what's important to know - a little light (but super important) reading this week!

how to read food labels
how to read food labels

I'll be honest - I thought I knew how to read food labels before I wrote this post, but I learned a whole lot more while I was researching.  I never knew that I should be looking at the ratio of total carbs to sugar, for example.  Did you learn something new this week?  Share it in the comments!