A Dietitian who avoids highly processed meals lists his top five grocery store snacks

In the realm of convenient snacking, ultra-processed foods (UPFs) like cookies and chips reign supreme due to their engineered deliciousness and ease of consumption. However, the growing health concerns associated with UPFs—including links to cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers—have prompted individuals to seek healthier alternatives.

UK-based nutritionist Rob Hobson shares his journey and recommendations for minimally processed snacks that are both nutritious and convenient for those looking to avoid UPFs.

1. Fruit and Nut Bars:

While many protein bars are categorized as ultra-processed, there are healthier alternatives available. Hobson advocates for snack bars made from simple ingredients such as dried fruit and nuts. These bars offer a balance of plant-based protein and heart-healthy fats. He recommends Nakd’s bars, a British brand known for its minimal processing, which are available for purchase online in the US.

2. Hummus and Crudités:

For a snack rich in fiber and protein, Hobson suggests pairing hummus with raw vegetable sticks, such as carrots or bell peppers. Hummus, made from chickpeas and olive oil, provides a source of healthy fats and nutrients. However, Hobson advises checking the nutritional label to opt for versions with the fewest additives.

3. Nut Butter and Rice Cakes:

A quick and satisfying snack, according to Hobson, involves spreading nut butter on rice cakes. Opt for nut butter varieties, such as peanut, almond, or cashew, that contain minimal ingredients. This combination provides a good source of protein and can be a fulfilling snack to curb hunger pangs.

4. Plain Popcorn:

Moving away from the butter-soaked versions served in cinemas, plain popcorn presents a healthier alternative. As a whole grain and high in fiber, plain popcorn contributes to a reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Hobson points out that when consumed without added salt or butter, popcorn can be an incredibly healthy snack option.

5. Fresh Fruit:

Sometimes, the best snack is the simplest one. Fresh fruits, including berries, oranges, and apples, are not only easy to grab and go but are also free from processing. Hobson emphasizes that fresh fruit is an excellent choice for a snack, given its natural sweetness and nutritional content.

Rob Hobson’s recommendations underline the importance of choosing snacks that are minimally processed, nutrient-rich, and beneficial for long-term health. By opting for these healthier alternatives, individuals can enjoy the convenience of quick snacks without the adverse health effects associated with ultra-processed foods.

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