Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mixed results

There's some types of food that seem inherently healthy. You just pop a handful of whatever in your mouth, or slice off a piece of it on your plate, and you're fine. You're good. You don't have to worry about it because, well, how bad can it be?

Trail mix, mixed nuts and, especially, dried fruit can be like that. Dried fruit is good and good for you, right? It's better than eating candy or something similar, right?

Like most other foods, of course, there is something to be said about informing yourself. It isn't that straightforward with these types of foods. Men's Health took a look at what you should eat and what you should avoid when it comes to trail mix, mixed nuts and dried fruit. I was a bit surprised at some of the findings.

Now, it wasn't really the brand. Planters and Sun-Maid each had nuts and fruit that fell into both the good and bad categories. Sometimes, it's easy to pigeonhole a certain brand because they may seem unhealthy or believe in a brand wholeheartedly to the point that you will consume whatever the brand makes because their stuff is usually healthy.

In fact, Planters scored the top of the chart on both categories. It's recommended you eat the Planter's Berry, Nut and Chocolate Mix instead of the Planter's Nut and Chocolate Trail Mix. One ounce of the former has 120 calories and 5 grams of fat. The latter has 160 calories and 10 grams of fat, so more calories and twice as much fat for the same serving size.

Here's the rest of the good list:

Sun-Maid Dried Apricots (1/4 cup): 100 cal, 0g fat, 21g sugar
Pistachios (raw, 1 oz): 160 cal, 13g fat, 2g sugars
Woodstock Farms Natural Gonji Berries (1/4 cup): 112 cal, 1.4g fat, 4g sugars
Fisher's Nature Nut Mix (1 oz): 150 cal, 12g fat

Can't say I've ever noticed the Fisher's mix but I might look out for it next time I want to pick some up. I could also stand to try some dried apricots as well.

As for the bad:

Sun-Maid Vanilla Yogurt Raisins (1/4 cup): 130 cal, 5g fat, 19g sugars
Planter's Dry Roasted Peanuts (1 oz): 170 cal, 14g fat
Stoneridge Orchards Whole Dried Strawberries (1/4 cup): 140 cal, 32g sugars
Craisins Original Sweetened Dried Cranberries (1/3 cup): 138 cal, 30g sugars

The Craisins were unfortunate to have made this list. I've picked up Craisins every now and then but didn't study the nutritional info because I didn't think they were that bad. Now, they have zero grams of fat but the sugar content is quite high.

There are plenty more mixed nuts and dried fruits out on the market so this is just a small sampling of what's out there. But at least you have a little bit of a guide to steer your way.


5thsister said...

Oh no! Not the Craisins. Say it isn't so!

ChristineM said...

Very informative! I wonder how plain old dried cranberries compare to Craisins? Hopefully better...I'm going to check my labels tonight!