Community Health Services of Union County, Inc. 

Call Us:  704-296-0909

Tips for buying Snack foods:

Many processed snacks deliver high sodium and sugar and other unhealthy additives, but there are better options.

  • Sample alternative veggie-based snacks: Roasted garbanzos, lentil chips, crisped snow peas and other vegetable and legumes snacks are tasty replacements for potato and corn chips.
  • Read Labels: If lentil chips label lists flour instead of lentils as the first ingredient pass.  Baked snacks may have less fat than fried, but most are refined, stripped of fiber and other nutrients.
  • Don’t forget the popcorn: This tasty whole grain is easy to fix.  Air-pop plain kernels instead of using microwavable packs.

Tips for buying Canned, Jarred and Packaged foods

With a few exceptions, shop lightly in this section; canned foods often contain added sugar, sodium, fat and preservatives.


  • Choose low-sodium: Items should have about 5 % (120 milligrams) daily value of sodium per serving.  Drain and rinse to remove excess.
  • Pick pure fruits: Be sure they’re preserved in their own juice, not in a sugary syrup.
  • Look for legumes: Garbanzos, lentils, cannellinis and other beans and peas are low-fat, nutritional powerhouses brimming with protein, fiber, iron and B vitamins, particualry folate.  Plus they are satisfying substitutes if you are cutting back on meat.  ( Dried legumes have the same perks.)
  • Look past peanut butter: Sample sunflower, almond and other nut and seed butters.  All offer omega-3’s, fiber and protein and, with cut fruit or a slice of whole grain bread, make a filling and nutritious snack.
  • Forget flavored fish: Get the omega-3s and avoid additives by picking plain tuna or sardines (no mustard or spicy flavors), packed in water or their own oil.
  • Bypass Processed: Mac and cheese, instant potatoes and many jarred gravies and sauces are calorie laden, high glycemic foods that spike blood sugar and can pack on pounds.

Tips for Buying Dairy and Refrigerated Foods:

Dairy Products contain calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein, nutrients that are crucial for bone health.  Research shows dairy consumption may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease.


  • Drink milk: Studies have shown that women who increased their milk intake experienced slower progression of knee osteoarthritis. Keep it- as well as yogurt and fresh cheeses, such as cottage and ricotta, skim or low fat.
  • Skip sweetened dairy products: Flavored yogurt, milk and milk alternatives contain sugar, which add to weight and inflammation.  (Sweeten plain yogurt by stirring in fruit.)
  • Be wary of meat substitutes: Crumbles for tacos and chili, meatless sausages, patties and nuggets are often high in sugar, fat and sodium.
  • Try probiotic and fermented foods: such as non-fat Greek yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut. Research has found that these types of foods helped lower inflammation.

Healthy Tips