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Hiking Snack: Processed versus Real Food

Whether you are hiking or taking a snack to the office, choose real food not processed packaged foods.

Whole Wheat Tortilla with pesto and Swiss cheese, small amount of leftover chicken, banana, and a mandarin orange.

VERSUS

Protein Bar and 3 tablespoons trail mix.

Compare the nutrition of the snacks  in the table below.

For roughly the same amount of calories and protein, the real food snack provides more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber (12 g versus only 2 g). The real food meal is more nutrient dense. The real food meal provides more actual amount of food and will be more filling. The processed meal has more fat and sugars.

Foods
Calories
Carbs
Fat
Protein
Sugars
Fiber
1.5 oz. Chicken Breast
60
1g
1g
11g
0g
0g
1 Multi-grain Tortilla
150
23g
4g
4g
2g
5g
1.5 Tbsp Basil Pesto
66
2g
6g
1g
0g
1g
1 oz. Swiss Cheese
80
1g
6g
7g
0g
1g
1 Banana
105
27g
0g
1g
14g
3g
1 Cuties  Mandarin Oranges
40
8g
0g
1g
7g
2g
TOTAL:
501
62g
17g
25g
23g
12g

Foods
Calories
Carbs
Fat
Protein
Sugars
Fiber
Gatorade Whey Protein Bar
360
42g
13g
20g
31g
1g
3 Tbsp Kirkland Trail Mix
160
12g
10g
5g
9g
1g
TOTAL:
520
54g
23g
25g
40g
2g

 

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The Healthy Plate


To create a healthful, balanced lunch, dinner or snack, include three food groups:

Produce such as raw, steamed, sautéed or roasted vegetable, fruit slices, or salad;

Lean protein such as seafood, fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, beans, or low-fat cottage cheese;

Whole-grain carbohydrates such as such as one slice of whole-grain bread, or half a cup of brown rice or other cooked whole grain, whole-wheat pasta, or quinoa.

Think of a healthful plate in halves and quarters:

roughly half of your plate should be vegetables and/or fruit;

one-quarter should be lean protein

one-quarter should be whole grains

Feel free to include a small amount of healthy fat, such as a tablespoon (please measure) of oil-and-vinegar dressing on your salad, seeds or nuts or avocado.

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Comparison of Regular Salad Dressing and Fat-Free Salad Dressing

    Comparison of Regular Salad Dressing and Fat-Free Salad Dressing

  Calories Carbs Fat Sugars
Regular Italian Salad Dressing Wishbone, 2 Tbsp. 80 4g 7g 4g
Fat-Free Italian Salad Dressing Wishbone, 2 Tbsp. 15 3g 0g 2g
         
Regular Ranch Salad Dressing Hidden Valley, 2 Tbsp. 140 2 14 1
Reduced Fat Ranch Dressing Hidden Valley, 2 Tbsp. 80 3 7 2

Q: Should I avoid fat-free salad dressings? I heard that fat-free and reduced-fat salad dressings have extra sugar.

Sugar: There is minimal sugar in salad dressing. 1 teaspoon of sugar is 5 grams for reference. Note that the regular Italian dressing has more sugar than the fat-free.

Calories: The regular dressing has 5 times more calories than the fat-free. Salad dressing is a caloric-dense food. The extra calories in salad dressings can add up quickly. Extra calories can accumulate to contribute to obesity.

Switching to a reduced fat or fat-free salad dressing reduces the fat and calories of a salad without increasing the amount of sugar.

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