In some cases, it might be better for your health to reach for the Doritos.
Don't be so quick to feel virtuous when you reach for dried fruit instead of chocolate, or veggie chips instead of Pringles. Many snacks that are marketed as being great for your waistline actually aren't that much better—and, in some cases, are worse—than some popular notoriously indulgent treats. A few offenders:
1. Dried Veggies: Snapea Crisps are made from sun-dried peas and contain all of the peas' natural nutrients, according to manufacturer Snack Salad. But don't think that means they're light on the calories: a one-ounce serving, or about 22 crisps, has 150 calories and 8 grams of fat, according to snacksalad.com. Calorie- and fatwise, that's just as bad as the unhealthiest bags of Doritos on the market (that spread includes the Hot Wings and Blue Cheese flavor). So think twice before dipping them in your favorite ranch dressing.
2. Veggie Chips: Terra Chips, those colorful, gourmet slices of sweet potato, parsnip and yucca, contain 150 calories and 9 grams of fat in each one-ounce, 14-chip serving, according to Terrachips.com. And Utz's Natural Exotic Medley Vegetable Chips have 160 calories and 10 ounces of fat per ounce, according to the company's Web site.
3. Granola Bars: Though granola bars do contain healthy grains, they're often doused in enough sugar and syrup to obviate at least some of the health value. Nature Valley's vanilla nut granola bars, for example, contain 190 calories and 7 grams of fat in each two-bar serving. Each serving also contains 11 grams of sugar, or as much as a 3/4-cup bowl of Lucky Charms, according to General Mills.
4. Dried Fruit: That dried apricot may taste as healthy as a fresh one, but it pales in comparison to the real thing. It takes more dried fruit to feel full (the natural water in fruit is filling) and that means more calories. On top of that, many dried fruits are covered in added sugar. One fistful of raisins contains as many calories as a whole pound of fresh grapes, according to the Web site of nutritionist and diet consultant Anne Collins, annecollins.com; five dried pear halves hold 229 calories, according to dietbites.com.
5. Bran Muffins: They might beat out chocolate chip muffins in the health race, but bran muffins are full of refined flour and sugar. One medium muffin contains 305 calories, 8.4 grams of fat and 9.3 grams of sugar, according to caloriecount.about.com. An old-fashioned cake doughnut from Dunkin' Donuts has 280 calories, 18 grams of fat and 6 grams of sugar, according to dunkindonuts.com.