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Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Healthy" Snacks to Avoid: for Mindful (but Busy!) Teachers (part 1 of 2)

Image courtesy of artur84 /
When I was first teaching, I would go into "survival mode" during particularly stressful weeks.  (Which happen all too frequently, don't you think?)  This basically meant living on whatever I could find in the vending machine.  

I can't get away with that anymore, now that I'm twenty years older and twenty pounds... shall we say 'cuddlier'? 

So I went to the grocery store to stock up on healthy snacks to keep in my desk. 

But when I started looking at the labels, I realized that my "healthy" snacks really weren't much better for me than the unhealthy ones.

Like me, you may be looking for a quick burst of energy to get you through that stack of grading or through one of those days when there's no time for lunch.  

To save you time reading labels, here are a couple of things to steer clear of when you go to the grocery store.  (In the next post, I'll tell you about the snacks I do eat.)

1. A Candy Bar by Any Other Name is Still as Sweet

Is it a small rectangle in a shiny wrapper?  Then it's probably a candy bar.  Even if it's called something healthy like "cereal" or "breakfast."  

Yes, they often contain lovely ingredients like whole grains... but one popular brand is basically a thin piece of toast wrapped around a thick layer of jam.  Another is basically dry cereal stuck together with marshmallow.  

Either of which satisfies my hunger for about half an hour, then leaves me in a sugar crash--a waste of calories and a waste of money. 

2. Yoghurt-Covered Raisins are not Really Covered in Yoghurt.

Imagine taking a handful of raisins and dipping them in yoghurt.  Imagine leaving them out to dry.  Imagine sealing them up in a bag and leaving them in your kitchen cabinet for a couple of months. 

Or, what the heck, actually try doing all of that instead of just imagining it.  (Science project, anyone?)

Do you think the result would be sweet, shiny and crunchy?

"Yoghurt-covered" anything basically means powdered yoghurt mixed with oil or shortening, plus a lot of sugar.  Which sounds a whole lot less appetizing, don't you think?

If you live in another part of the world, the snack options may be quite different from this, but the general principle is the same: It's worth taking a few minutes to think about what's fueling you through a busy day and whether it's really the healthiest available option.


related posts:

Quick Healthy Snacks for Mindful (but Busy!) Teachers

Realistic Self-Care: What Does Your Body Need?

Wellness and Weight Loss Tips for Mindful (but Busy!) Teachers