For some of us here at Fairfield University, the Stag Spirit Shop in the John A. Barone Campus Center is our go-to grocery store, drug store and even clothing store. I have to admit – the small food section in the back of the store is one of my favorite places to be. It is not just underclassmen who roam the food section of the Stag Shop – upperclassmen need a pick-me-up sometimes as well, and will buy snacks here. However, looks can deceive; many students often pick up snacks that seem healthy, but there are much healthier options that taste just as delicious. This week I ventured through the Stag Shop’s food section to find out which snacks are advertised as “healthy,” but really aren’t.
“Healthy” Snack: Clif Bars
Healthier Option: ThinkThin Chocolate Almond Protein Bars
I am one of those people who ate a Clif Bar almost every day for two years straight. These tasty protein bars seem healthy because they are organic, packed with protein and, of course, the hiker on the front makes us feel healthy eating these bars. Unfortunately, Clif Bars are loaded with sugar, typically 22 grams per bar. While there are worse snack bars out there for you to consume, there are healthier bars similar to Clif’s that are up for grabs at the Stag Shop. After observing many protein bars, Think Thin’s Chocolate Almond Protein Bars seem to be the healthiest Stag Shop option. These bars have 13 grams of protein and only 5 grams of sugar. Save those Clif Bars for your next hike or big game – they are energy bars, after all.
“Healthy” Snack: Baked Potato Chips
Healthier Option: Garden Veggie Straws (with Sabra Guacamole or Cedar’s Original Hommus)
Do you ever notice the Lays chips in the Stag Shop that say “Oven Baked – 65 percent less fat?” Lays are still not that healthy; this is just good marketing. A better alternative to Lays (or any potato chip, for that matter) is Garden Veggie Straws with Sabra Guacamole, both of which are available in the Stag Shop. The Garden Veggie Straws are just $1.19, and have only 130 calories per bag. To have a more filling snack, buy Sabra Guacamole, found in the cold foods section of the shop. If guacamole isn’t your favorite, there’s no need to worry; Cedar’s Original Hommus is also available at the Stag Shop. Both of these dips are the perfect addition to your veggie straws.
“Healthy” Snack: Optimum Nutrition’s Protein Almonds
Healthier Option: Skinny Dipped Almonds
As soon as you turn the corner to go down the granola bar and protein section of the Stag Shop, Optimum Nutrition’s protein almonds appear. These chocolate-covered almonds look promising because the packaging says, “10 grams of protein, 1 gram of sugar.” But, it’s all fun and games until you read the nutrition facts. There’s 230 calories from just one tiny bag of these almonds, while a normal bag of almonds are in the low 100s for calories. Then, if you read the fat content, you will see that there is 16 grams of total fat (21 percent of your daily intake) and a whooping 8 grams of saturated fat (40 percent of your daily intake). Luckily, there’s an alternative to these chocolate-covered almonds on the opposing shelf – Skinny Dipped Almonds. One serving of these almonds is only 150 calories, while there are 12 grams of total fat (18 percent of your daily intake) and 3 grams of saturated fat (15 percent of your daily intake). Although Skinny Dipped Almonds come in a bigger bag and have only 5 grams of protein as opposed to 10, these are a healthier choice than Optimum Nutrition’s almonds for sure. Plus, they’re dark chocolate cocoa covered!