Did you plan to ‘prep’ lunch last night…but something more important cropped up? Me too.

We all know that prepping our lunch and snacks the night before is more ‘cost-effective’, and allows us to make ‘healthier’ decisions…yet many of us still find ourselves nipping to the nearest café’s/ shops to get our drinks and snacks to fuel us for the day ahead. That said, many of us do tend to opt for the ‘healthier’ options on the menu/shelf, but the reality is…some of these ‘healthier’ alternatives aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Wren Kitchens and registered nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed delved Behind the Label of some of the most popular workplace snacks, that aren’t as guilt-free as they seem.

9am breakfast blowout

This ‘half fat’ Starbucks yoghurt pot contains the same amount of sugar as two Krispy Kreme stuffed doughnuts.

You know the situation, you’re running late for work but still want to be healthy so opt for the ‘half-fat’ yoghurt pot layered with berries and a sprinkling of granola.

But a recent study reveals this ‘energy-boosting granola breakfast to start your day’ contains a whopping 30.7g of sneaky sugars, that’s the equivalent of two Krispy Kreme Biscoff doughnuts or a packet of wine gums.

Expert nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed warns, ‘People often perceive that these products are ‘healthy options’ but, as you can see from the stats above, they can actually contain a lot of sugar. It’s important to note that a lot of the sugar may come from lactose in the yogurt and also from the sugar naturally present in the fruit. However, the sugar in a fruit compote is still a ‘free sugar’ – the type of sugars the government want us to cut down on – simply because it’s concentrated and doesn’t contain the fibre and other benefits that we may get from eating whole fruits.

‘On top of this, a yogurt pot like this often has other added sources of sugar – for example, there are around four different types of sugar added into this breakfast pot, on top of the sugar available in the lactose and the fruit compote.’

12pm Meal Deal Smart Swaps

Crisps are crisps, the ‘healthy alternatives’ containing more fat than regular crisps (and a Mars Bar)
Although snacking on beetroot, carrot and parsnips might seem like a satisfying swap, the bitter reality is that, crisps are crisps, and these veggie snacks can often contain more fat and saturated fat than popular ‘normal’ crisps!

With just 2/3 of a bag being vegetables and the remainder made up of salt and oil, a 40g packet of Tyrrells Mixed Root Vegetable Crisps contains 14.3g of fat, that’s more than a 51g Mars Bar (8.6g), a 40g pot of original Pringles (13.2g) and a 52g Original Glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnut (8.3g)!

But it’s not just the ingredients that can cause issues in these ‘healthy alternatives’; the psychological danger of believing they’re ‘guilt-free’ can influence our everyday choices and, ultimately, our overall health.

Stirling-Reed says, ‘The concern with products that are often seen as ‘healthier alternatives’ such as vegetable crisps, is they don’t always match up to their reputations. Crisps are crisps, and even if they are made with vegetables, they are likely to contain too much in the way of fat, saturated fat and salt. In fact, the vegetable crisps here have higher levels of saturated fat and salt than some well-known, regular crisp brands.

‘As a nutritionist, I’ve seen this first hand in weight loss clinics where clients may eat even as much as double a portion size of a product if it’s perceived to be healthy.’

5pm after-work ‘Just a quick one’

The refreshing fruit cider that scarily stacks up more sugar than four chocolate cream eclairs

With the sun shining and the beer garden calling, it’s hard to think of anything more refreshing than a cold fruit cider poured over ice.

But ‘just a quick one’ after a long day in the office could shockingly equate to nearly half your recommended daily intake of sugar with more sugar in just one glass than four chocolate cream eclairs or three Curly Wurlys.

According to MyFitnessPal calorie counter, a 500ml bottle of Strawberry & Lime Kopparberg fruit cider contains a whopping 46.9g of sugar and with alcoholic drinks being exempt from nutritional labelling laws (meaning the calories and sugar content don’t appear on the product’s label), sugary alcoholic drinks can often become a blind spot with people unaware of how much they are actually consuming.

Charlotte explains, ‘Many alcoholic drinks, especially cider, are high in sugar and calories and so drinking excess alcohol over time could lead to weight gain. For people trying to lose weight, it can be easy to ignore the calories you may be consuming in the local pub on a Friday night, but these calories soon add up. In fact, Drink Aware suggests the calories in two pints of cider are roughly equivalent to consuming one-and-a-half burgers.’

Further reading on healthy office snacks

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