What’s in Your 100 Calorie Snack?
The wave of 100 calorie snack packs have seen enormous sales in recent years and, to their credit, may help a lot people stick to a moderate serving size for their favorite processed snacks. On the run, stuffed in a lunch box, or given out in large groups I can definitely see their value: foods we like, controlled portions, conveniently wrapped.
The problem is that I have yet to find a packaged 100 calorie pack that actually makes me feel less hungry. I feel like I am just putting a taste that I like in my mouth for a few minutes, then it’s gone, and I’m ready to find something else to eat. If you’re on the run you will probably be too distracted by other things to fixate on this feeling. If you’re sitting (near access to the rest of your food) working on a stressful homework assignment, however, fixation on anything happens readily.
When your 100 calorie snack becomes a mere appetizer to more snacking on processed foods, the 100 calorie pack’s purpose has lost its value. To fix this, try to make your dorm, your home, or your apartment, a place where your snacks are mostly fresh, unprocessed foods. A 100 calorie pack of cookies is useful if that’s your means of restricting your cookie intake, but should not be considered a “healthy” snack because it doesn’t provide you with anything that does something for you by packing nutrients, fiber, or satisfying flavor.
Here’s one healthy snack idea to get you started: 2 tbsp of your favorite hummus, 1-2 tbsp fresh salsa, and 7-8 baby carrots. The trick is to actually dish out the portions, put them on a plate, and then put all of the extra ingredients away. Keeping out a full container even of a great, healthy food like hummus, will make it tempting to eat more than a serving and consume excess calories. Instead, only have your prepared plate within your sight and have water or unsweetened tea with your snack to make it more filling without adding calories. (Note that adding diet soda, even if it is calorie-free, is not such a great idea for your health. Look for an upcoming post to learn more.)