17 Worst Snacks to Buy at the Drugstore, According to RDs
Sometimes you're pinched for time and can only grab something to settle those hunger pains from the drugstore. And that's okay—you can totally find some healthy snacks from the drugstore that are high in protein, fiber, and good fat. Yet, there are also some diet-busting drugstore snacks that are high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and sodium, and that are also lacking in substantial nutrition, too.
Unfortunately, those happen to be some of our favorite comfort foods for snack time! While some are better than others, there are plenty of chips, cookies, and candy that are best left on store shelves.
Here are the 17 worst snacks you'll want to avoid grabbing when at the drugstore, according to dietitians.
Oreo Mini Snack Cookies
You might think you're being healthier by buying the mini Oreos over the regular-sized ones, but these bite-sized cookies are even easier to overdo it on than the regular-sized ones since you think you can have more.
"They're packed with added sugar and have almost no protein or fiber, which means they'll send you right on the blood sugar roller coaster," says Charlotte Martin, MS, RDN, CSOWM, CPT.
Reese's Popped Snack Mix
Don't be fooled by the name, this snack mix is still mostly candy. "It offers mostly added sugar, with barely any protein or fiber. You're destined for a blood sugar crash with this snack mix," says Martin.
The problem with chips, in general, is its small serving size, which is about 1 ounce, and we often eat two or three times a serving size in one sitting. "One ounce of Doritos only gives you a 11 chips but nearly 150 calories, which means you'll probably end up eating over 300 calories worth," says Martin.
Donuts are basically all sugar, and these mini powdered donuts are no exception. "Even though they're smaller than regular donuts, eating a large donuts worth of them is no struggle," says Martin. Plus, "these are more likely to be enjoyed as a mid-morning snack, which means you're setting yourself up for a day of feeling tired and craving more sugar," she says.
Ritz Bits, Cheese
Just because these are "made with real cheese" doesn't mean they're packed with protein and should be considered a healthy snack option.
"They have just two grams protein and zero grams fiber per serving, which pretty much guarantees that one serving won't fill you up or satisfy you," says Martin.
Bugles may seem innocent as far as processed snacks go since the ingredient list is pretty short; however, unlike other snacks, Bugles are cooked in coconut oil, which pumps up the saturated fat content to 8 grams per serving.
"That's 41% of the daily value for one snack. And that's assuming you stick to one portion," says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club.
"Ho Ho's not only have an ingredient list as long as my arm, but one serving has almost day's worth of added sugar for women and kids plus 60% of the daily value of artery-clogging saturated fat," says Harris-Pincus. Skip!
SoBe Citrus Energy Drinks
Think of this as a sugar bomb that's loaded with caffeine—yeah, big yikes.
"One bottle packs a whopping 63 grams of sugar which is equal to over 1 1/2 cans of regular soda! Plus, it has stevia as well, which is not a problem by itself but how sweet is this drink that it has almost 3 days worth of sugar PLUS stevia?" says Harris-Pincus.
"If you're looking for enriched cornmeal with cheese seasoning, that's what you'll get from Cheetos. These snacks don't have any redeeming nutritional quality," says Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD. Not really the most appetizer snack, now is it?
Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts
On their own, nuts are a healthy snack with good fat. This version, though, is not the right one to ne munching on.
"Honey roasted peanuts are covered in sugar and are more like candy than an actual snack," says Rizzo.
Combos Cheddar Cheese Pretzel
"These crunchy snacks are full of sodium and artificial colors, like Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 1 Lake. Save your calories and eat real pretzels with a cheese stick instead," says Rizzo.
"These hot corn chips are full of weird ingredients, like Sodium Guanylate, Sodium Inosinate, Silicon Dioxide, and artificial colors, like Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake. There is no redeeming nutritional quality about these chips," says Rizzo.
Garden Veggie Straws
Because they have "veggie" in the title, many people think they are healthy—but they aren't.
"They are primarily made with potato and corn, which is essentially the same as potato or tortilla chips. Don't be fooled into thinking you're getting a serving of veggies by eating this snack," says Rizzo.
Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
The first ingredient in this snack is sugar, so you're bound to get a sugar crash later on.
"While it's perfectly fine to have some candy as a treat, don't pick this up as your everyday snack," says Rizzo.
Smartfood Caramel & Cheddar
"Popcorn is actually a healthy snack, when it's not coated in sugar and butter. This variety has a lot of additives to make it a snack that's mostly fat and sugar," says Rizzo.
Mott's Fruit Snacks
Calling these "fruit snacks" as being "fruit" is a bit misleading.
"The first ingredient is corn syrup and sugar and they only have fruit concentrate in them. You're better off with a real piece of fruit," says Rizzo.
Haribo Gummy Bears
Packed with sugar, they'll cause a spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a crash, and there's no nutritional value.
"One serving is only 13 gummy bears and contains 14 grams of sugar, which means you're looking at taking in well over 20 to 30 grams of sugar because who can stop themselves at just 13?" Martin points out.