11 Unhealthiest Snacks You Can Buy At Aldi

There's no question that Aldi is a grocery shoppers' wonderland, filled with unbeatable prices on a vast rate of pantry and fridge staples. Not the least of these undeniable bargains is the selection of snacks that line store shelves, an array of possibilities that extends beyond the brands you know and love to include an impressive collection of Aldi signature creations. You'll find unique formulations and one-offs of your favorite treats as part of the tempting Aldi equation of lovable food at fair prices.

Snacks, in general, should be the one grocery category consumers eat with caution; many of these factory foods eschew nutrition for flavor, making them better for occasional enjoyment or inclusion among your festive party spreads than part of a regular eating plan. But snackers are going to snack, and knowing that Aldi's specialty treats are just as problematic as the big brands when it comes to nutrition, we wondered which might be the least nutritious in the pack. By gauging calories, fat and saturated fat content, sodium count, and the presence of ingredients like flavoring additives and chemical preservatives, we pinned down a selection of Aldi's most unhealthy snacks. They may sound like delicious Aldi finds, but the nutritional profiles of these contentious noshes are suspicious enough to make cautious eaters pump the brakes.

1. Benton's Peanut Butter Filled Fudge Cookies

You don't have to dig too deeply to discover Benton's Peanut Butter Filled Fudge Cookies goes against nutritional guidelines. Peanut butter in just about every form comes with a high dose of fat and calories, even if the fat is considered to be the healthy kind. And in cookies, which make their own contribution to the fat and calorie count, peanut butter also comes with a powerhouse dose of sugar to make things nice and sweet. Douse all of that in a layer of fudge and you're looking at violations of almost every specification for healthy snacking.

What can you expect when you pop these gooey goodies into your snack trap? How about 160 calories for two cookies? Those come with 9 grams of fat, four of which are saturated to present 20% of your daily recommended intake. The 9 grams of sugar qualifies as 18% of your sugar consumption. And with palm and palm kernel oil, plus corn syrup solids coming along for the ride, you're taking in a bunch of ingredients you're better off avoiding altogether. It hardly seems worth the nutritional trouble for a pair of cookies, no matter how rich the photo on the box makes them seem.

2. Baker's Treat Cinnamon Streusel Cakes

When was the last time you saw a nutritionist recommend adding more cinnamon streusel cake to your diet? It's never going to be on an advised eating plan, though it can certainly be an occasional indulgence without leading you too far astray. But when Aldi presents its Baker's Treat Cinnamon Streusel Cakes, the unhealthy nature of this house-label baked delight comes to bear. They're a clear competitor to Hostess Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cakes, right down to the photos on the box. If ever there were a visual clue that you're not eating from the nutritious end of the food spectrum, a resemblance to anything Hostess would be it. 

These stylish bakes may look fancy on your dessert tray, but snacking on them and expecting good things for your physiology is a different story. The label clues you into a wallop of 170 calories delivered to your digestive system, incorporating 7 total fat grams, two of which are saturated, which equates to 10% of what's allowed for a 2000 calories-per-day diet. Piling onto the nutritional mischief are 19 grams of sugar, making up 36% of the advisable daily limit. Are these cakes sweet to look at and sweet to taste? For sure. But are they also sweet when it comes to your health? Not in the least.

3. Clancy's Wavy Potato Chips

Clancy's Wavy Potato Chips may hold dips and sauces better than ordinary chips, but they're also one of the least healthy snacking options you can find among the Aldi aisles. Potato chips in general have risen to the top of the Do Not Eat list for store-bought snacks, all thanks to a tricky chemical called acrylamide, which results from the carbohydrates in potatoes being cooked through high-temperature processes like frying. It isn't Aldi's fault that potato chips are a bane in the snacking world; it's just the nature of the feast. But it still bears mentioning when chatting about unhealthy snacks.

Unfortunate chemical reactions aside, this rippled take on a sturdier chip delivers a gut punch featuring 160 calories per 15 chip serving, which is really when your snacking is just getting into high gear. The result is 10 grams of fat, 1.5 of which are saturated for 8% of your everyday allowance, plus 140 milligrams of sodium, or 6% of your allotment. It may sound relatively controllable for anyone well-versed at counting out their chips and sticking to one serving. But anytime you can subtract acrylamide from your diet, it's best to do so. Skipping these chips is a great start.

4. Baker's Treat Chocolate Cupcakes

Yes, Aldi has created its own knock-off version of Hostess Cupcakes, right down to the faux-ganache frosting, crème filling, and fanciful curlicue piping along the top. Apparently, there's no copyright on snack decorations, or this confectionary clone would surely have undergone a redesign by now. And in the nutritional arena, Baker's Treat Chocolate Cupcakes ring up as unhealthy as you would assume a factory-made cupcake might be.

The tally on these over-indulgent creations is pretty substantial as snacks go. A single cupcake comes up with 160 calories, which include 6 grams of fat, 2.5 of which are saturated. That may not seem like much, but it eats up 13% of what the FDA recommends per day, all in a single snack. There are also 220 milligrams of sodium, which is 10% of your allowance per day, and 18 grams of sugar, which is 36% of what you should be consuming daily. As for undesirable ingredients, once you reach the words "hydrogenated tallow" on the list, you can stop reading, put the box back on the shelf, and move along. Hydrogenation is a process that changes liquid fat to a solid fat to help with food stability, but no healthy snack would entertain this process.

5. Benton's Marshmallow Fudge Cookies

Marshmallows have never even come close to being considered a health food, though modern marshmallows are descendants of a millennia-old treat derived from the roots of the mallow plant, and indulged in by none other than the Ancient Egyptians. While health nerds will be thrilled to hear facts like this, cautious eaters should be aware that Benton's Marshmallow Fudge Cookies are a nutritional no-go that can easily derail your best attempts and beneficial eating.

How far back will these pillowy delights set you back on your nutritional goals? A single cookie that can most likely be downed in a single bite weighs in with a staggering 130 calories, carrying along with them 5 grams of fat, including 4 grams of saturated fat — a full 20% of the daily recommendation. One cookie should never hold so much power over your health. And the 14 grams of sugar eats up 28% of what you can have per day, too, meaning a single snack here is taking up a fair amount of everything else you can consume. Marshmallow middle or not, that's too big a hit to your nutrition for a snack to deliver.

6. Cakebites Frosted Coffee Cake

Aldi does its best to make its bite-sized house label snack Cakebites Frosted Coffee Cake a digestible delight by slicing a larger cake into bite-sized squares. But cake is still cake, no matter how small you slice it, and these cubes of sugar and fat are a nutritional timebomb that mindful diners would be wise to step around. And these cubes cleverly resemble classier petit fours, making them a tempting treat to top your dessert tray without requiring a class in French baking to pull off.

But if you pair a four-bite packet of these sugary nibbles with your coffee or tea, you can count on taking in 260 calories as a vehicle for 15 grams of fat, nine of which are saturated for a gobsmacking 45% of what your daily total should be. Toss in the 20 grams of sugar and you've taken up 40% of your consumption of that, too. Nutrition facts like that don't leave you a lot of wiggle room for what you'll eat during the rest of the day. Enjoying tea time with these detrimental treats is bound to leave you feeling a little less cheery about the dining decisions you've made.

7. Clancy's Cheese Curls

Even Chester Cheetah gets a snack-ready double thanks to Clancy's Cheese Curls, the crunchy, cheap Aldi version of cheese-dusted fried corn munchies that feel gnarled and bumpy, but taste oh-so-cheesy. These crispy creations have such an enticing taste-texture combination, it's easy to get swept up in the moment and enjoy a whole bag of curls by the handful. In addition to an undeniable case of cheddar fingers, you'll also be getting a hearty helping of not-so-great news on the nutritional front when you toss these treats into your rented shopping cart.

How unfavorable is the nutritional forecast for the cheese cloud you've consumed? Sure, a single serving means you can snarf down ¾ cup of curls, but that also means eating 150 calories with 11 grams of fat, or 14% of your daily recommendation, and 220 grams of sodium, or 10% of your whole day's allowance for those additives. According to the ingredient list, it also contains disodium phosphate, possibly used as a cheese emulsifier here and generally regarded as a safe food additive. But a 2012 study (via Deutsches Ärzteblatt International) called phosphates a potential hazard when calcifying in kidneys and possibly causing problems for those who are sensitive, even without realizing it. Why take the risk with a snack when you can make better choices?

8. Lunch Buddies Fruit Flavored Snacks

Wait a minute ... why are multi-flavored Lunch Buddies Fruit Flavored Snacks showing up on a list of unhealthy Aldi snacks? Doesn't the word "fruit" in the name indicate the phenomenally nutritious nature of these chewy gems? Surely, they're crafted from only the finest ingredients for a quality nibble that makes sense no matter what your stance on mindful eating might be, right? Yeah. Sure, they are.

Let's be real: A pouch of Little Buddies is similar to a serving of gummy bears. You may read the label on the back and think 80 calories and only 15 grams of sugar makes nutritional sense. But those sugar grams turn out to be 28% of your whole sugar count for the day, and 14 grams are from added sugar, the sort you should avoid in your snacks (and the rest of your diet, too). Read a little further and you'll find out that this content is from corn syrup and actual sugar in addition to apple juice concentrate. With unidentified natural flavor listed as an ingredient, you have no idea what you might be chewing on at snack time. You're starting to see the problem now, aren't you? This is why they're called "fruit flavored" snacks; there's no real fruit here at all.

9. Clancy's Microwave Butter Popcorn

There's no timeline in the entire snacking multiverse where microwave popcorn is a preferred option. Yes, it's simple to store, and of course, it's quick and easy to prepare. Keeping a stash in your desk at work can even change the tenor of an office afternoon by perfuming the air with the buttery aroma of a working cinema, no matter what business you're in. But the stomach-turning truth is that snacks like Aldi-sold Clancy's Microwave Butter Popcorn is a chemical concoction that doesn't play nicely with human physiology, thanks to diacetyl, the additive that gives microwave popcorn its buttery flavor. Also, it contributes over time to an obstructive lung disease known as Popcorn Lung. The same chemical is found in flavored vape juice, and nobody recommends snacking on that stuff. 

Focusing on the nutritional aspect of this shady snack, a serving contains 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of which are saturated, and 300 milligrams of sodium. This translates to daily intakes of 10% of your total fat, 19% of your saturated fat, and 13% of your sodium. The rub here is that each bag contains 2.5 servings, and if you're a no-nonsense snacker, you're likely to down the whole bag without a second thought. When you do the multiplication on that, the numbers get even more unfortunate. Compounded with the diacetyl dilemma, making your own popcorn becomes a highly attractive alternative.

10. Specially Selected Dark Chocolate Butter Cookies

Oh ho ho ... Aldi goes full-blown gourmet with Specially Selected Dark Chocolate Butter Cookies. Resistance is futile when faced with European-style baked bliss enrobed in a sheath of decadent dark chocolate, stamped with images of classic constructions like postcards from Germany you can eat. While dark chocolate enjoys a quasi-dubious reputation as one of the more healthful indulgences you can consume, anything that coats a butter cookie should be side-eyed when nutrition enters the equation, even if the box looks too pretty to leave off your holiday snack shopping list.

Despite the elegant presentation and upscale packaging, these chocolate-dipped butter cookies come with high calories, fat, and sugar content. Two thin cookies rack up 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, or 11% of your daily tally, of which 4.5 grams are saturated, or 23% of your recommended daily portion. There's also 11 grams of sugar chiming in at 22% of your per-day allowance in just two cookies. But the real clincher here: The ingredients list includes sodium acid pyrophosphate as a leavening agent, which studies have shown to cause organ and cell damage in high exposure situations. Though you may not eat enough dark chocolate-covered biscuits to do that kind of damage, surely skipping over this box will save you nutritional worries in the long run.

11. Clancy's Nacho Tortilla Chips

Why spring for full-priced Doritos Nacho when Aldi gives you bags of the more affordable Clancy's Nacho Tortilla Chips? Even the design of the bag mimics the king of corn chips, creating a visual trigger that's sure to set shoppers' mouths watering at the sight. Just like the party food Doritos is known to be, your good-time go-to from the Aldi aisles breaks all sorts of health taboos, thanks to a recipe that incorporates real food, but ends up resembling a corporate formula for lucrative snack sales overall.

Pile a stack of these corn chip copycats on your plate and you're looking at 150 calories, 8 grams of fat (or 12% of a whole day's worth), with a gram of saturated fat for 5% of your daily total. The 190 milligrams of sodium take up 8% of what you're allowed in a full day's eating, too, and that's for just an ounce of this snack. How many chips is that? Who knows! Grab a food scale and weigh it out if you're concerned about overindulging. Better yet, find a snack with a more beneficial health impact so you can enjoy it without having to do quite so much math.

How we ranked our snacks

As with most packaged snacks found on store shelves, Aldi snacks feature high amounts of calories, usually derived from unhealthy fats and can also contain cholesterol. They also feature generous levels of sugar and sodium to ramp up the flavor quotient. To isolate the snacks on our list, we looked for clear culprits bearing the highest counts of these ingredients as they relate to the recommended daily allowance promoted by the FDA. Since the Aldi website doesn't provide nutrition facts or ingredient listings, we consulted the labels themselves to make our determinations.

In addition to these clear-cut nutritional no-no's, we also kept an eye out for odd ingredients that don't usually qualify as healthy additives, things like thickeners and dyes that can complicate your nutrition intake in ways that labels don't always call out. The combination of known health-busters and undesirable mix-ins made for a well-rounded profile by which to identify unhealthy Aldi snacks at a glance.