Marketing genius. That’s how I would describe the latest trend at the grocery store. Have you noticed all the packages of 100 calorie ‘treats’? Makers of ‘less than healthy’ food are taking a chance that even those with iron will power will allow a 100 calorie treat. Everything from chocolate bars to candy to potato chips is being packaged in these convenient sized packages. Let’s look at the pros and cons….
Usually the food packaged this way is not very satisfying and will only trigger a ‘give me more!’ response. Honestly, can you stop at one bag? The theory of portion control that this packaging provides is only going to help if you at stop at one package.
Packaged food generally is carbohydrate based and will produce a blood sugar spike and insulin dump. This means that the 100 calorie snack pack has just been deposited as junk in your trunk. When you snack you need fibre to fill you up, protein and healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar. A good rule of thumb for healthy snacking is to include these three things to help you feel satisfied longer.
Are you on a budget? Remember you’re paying for a ton of packaging. And our landfills are full enough as it is.
Many dieters did the happy dance when they saw that they could enjoy their favourite treats and still count calories.
If you can stop at one package, you can enjoy a treat and not completely blow your diet. If you aren’t tempted by cracking open more packages, you have automatic portion control.
The foods offered in these packages should probably be limited in their quantity of consumption anyway, so the automatic portion control is a built in reminder of how much you should eat.
That’s all I can think of for the pros. Any other suggestions on why these are worth while? Make a comment!
I’m NOT a big fan of this trend mostly because I prefer not to eat processed foods. All these offerings are highly processed and low on nutrition. Most of us should concentrate our daily calories on nutritionally dense foods. Often the difference between weight loss and maintenance is 100 calories, or a handful of crackers, so we have little wiggle room if we want to stick to our goals. Why make it easier to eat foods that don’t pack a nutritional punch? If I’m going to over eat by 100 calories, I’d rather have an extra bowl of blueberries or something that my body will gain some nutrition from.
Now, I’m not completely a saint when it comes to nutrition and sometimes I just need to indulge. On those cheat days, I’m going to treat myself with what I want, (like dark chocolate!), but I plan my cheat days so that they’re few and far between, like maybe once a week. Honestly, as you clean up your diet, your cheat days may become fewer because the enjoyment you gain from eating this kind of food is overpowered by how badly your body feels for indulging: bloated and lethargic, not how you want to live your life.
How about making your own 100 calorie snacks? You can make your own snacks that are less expensive, won’t produce a ton of waste, healthier, and will keep you satisfied so you can stay on your fitness and fat loss plan. Try one of these:
Low-fat cottage cheese (4 oz): 80 calories
Skim milk latte (8 oz): 85 calories
Air-popped popcorn (3 cups or 1 oz): 95 calories
Graham crackers (8 small rectangles): 100 calories
Thin pretzel sticks (48 sticks or 1 oz): 100 calories
Celery (5 pieces) with peanut butter (1 Tbsp): 100 calories
An apple (small) with low-fat cheese (2 oz): 150 calories
Baby carrots (10) with hummus (1/4 cup): 150 calories
Half an apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
An orange and a few dry-roasted nuts
10 cashew nuts
Half a small avocado
3 ounces cooked whole-grain noodles with 1 fresh tomato and 1/2 ounce hard cheese
4 mini rice cakes with 2 tablespoons low-fat cottage cheese
3 ounces low-fat cottage cheese and 3 whole-wheat crackers
1/4 cup fat-free ranch dressing with mixed raw veggies
6 Wheat Thins crackers with two teaspoons of peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce with 1 slice of whole-wheat toast, cut into 4 strips for dunking
2 large graham cracker squares with 1 teaspoon peanut butter
3 handfuls of unbuttered popcorn, seasoned with herbs
4-6 ounces of no-fat or low-fat yogurt
5-ounce tossed salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and 1/4 cup fat-free dressing
Half a “finger” of string cheese with 4 whole-wheat crackers
Want a diet plan that will include some of your favorite foods while you still drop fat? Take a look at my friend, Joel Marion’s “Cheat Your Way Thin”.