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A common New Year’s resolution is to eat better. There are many snacks advertised as healthy, but are they really good for you? Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian in the Department of Preventive Cardiology, explains while certain “healthy” snack foods might be better than other snacks, many are still not healthy options.

Learn more about the Preventive Cardiology Program at Cleveland Clinic.

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Is Your Healthy Snack Really Healthy?

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to Love Your Heart, brought to you by Cleveland Clinic's Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute. These podcasts will help you learn more about your heart, thoracic, and vascular systems, ways to stay healthy, and information about diseases and treatment options. Enjoy.

Julia Zumpano, RD, LD:
Hi, my name is Julia Zumpano. I'm a registered dietician with the Department of Preventive Cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic. A question that my patients ask me all the time are what are some healthy snacks that maybe a dietician would not consider so healthy. Some mainstream snacks that are marketed as being healthy are some of the snack food products. So, examples might be baked chips, pretzels, crackers, some of the veggie sticks or straws that are recently coming out, rice cakes. These snack foods are still snack foods. So, they're highly processed, can often have high amounts of refined flour or refined sugars or sodium added to them. They generally do have a little less fat than the traditional salty snack foods, although, they still aren't considered a healthy snack and should be minimized.

Julia Zumpano, RD, LD:
A second snack that's often being marketed as healthy are smoothies, store bought smoothies. They can add a lot of added calories in the form of sugar because they're mainly based with juice. They can lack adequate amounts of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Homemade smoothies, on the other hand, can certainly include a lot better nutrition and nutrients by altering the ingredients to help reduce any added sugars and include sources of protein and healthy fat.

Julia Zumpano, RD, LD:
And the third marketed healthy snack would be granola bars or breakfast bars or wafers. These again, similar to the snack foods, are processed forms of healthy marketed snacks. They can have a lot of added sugar. They can have refined flowers, unhealthy oils and fats, which can lead to excess calories with not a lot of nutrition. Now, there are options of making your own granola bar or breakfast bar, or maybe even a healthy breakfast muffin that can offset some of the negative outcomes of the packaged versions.

Thank you for listening. We hope you enjoyed the podcast. We welcome your comments and feedback. Please contact us at [email protected] Like what you heard? Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or listen at

Love Your Heart

Love Your Heart

A Cleveland Clinic podcast to help you learn more about heart and vascular disease and conditions affecting your chest. We explore prevention, diagnostic tests, medical and surgical treatments, new innovations and more. 

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