100 Calorie Packs: Cost to Wallet and HealthNo one denies that snacking, when done properly, is a great way to keep your energy up and your weight down. And with today’s busy lifestyles, having “grab and go” snacks are a way of life for most of us. But have you ever stopped to think of the cost to your wallet and your health? The snack industry estimates that the retail sales of packaged snacks are at $68 billion for 2008, with projected sales to be near $82 billion by 2013. Yes BILLION!
I agree in some way that having portioned controlled available snacks is a plus when trying to manage your weight and overall health. However, I do not agree when those snacks are processed, high in food additives and artificial ingredients, and are expensive. I also don’t agree that a snack should have to be 100 calories, especially for children.
Often times these pre-packed 100 calorie snack packs are empty calories and do not satisfy your hunger. This is dangerous due to the fact that there is a box of more 100 calorie snacks right there in the pantry…what would one more pack harm you anyway, right? Next thing you know you are 4-5 packets into the box and just finally feeling satisfied. Really if you want a cookie, have a cookie, but just a cookie, not a box of cookies! Don’t be tricked into thinking the fat free, 100 calorie pack cookie is the answer to your sweet tooth.
Children and busy parents need to have snacks. As a nutrition educator I recommend two health snacks per day, one mid morning and mid afternoon. If keeping to 100 calories makes you feel better, great stick to it. If your daily activity level and that of your children dictate that your snacks are higher in calorie, then that is good too, just not too high please keep it under 300 calories, it is a snack, not a meal.
- Whole grains will fill you up faster and burn slower, keeping you satisfied longer.
- “Good” Fats will help you fight off cravings of high fat processed foods.
- Natural Sugars, because these sugars usually come in the form of fruits or vegetables which contain fiber. They will give you the quick energy you may be craving without the sugar crash later.
- Protein provides sustainability in your activities giving you energy and keeping you full longer.
- Cashews – ¼ cup, gives you fiber, protein and fiber.
- Yogurt and fruit parfait with ginger snaps - ½ cup plain yogurt with honey, vanilla, strawberries and 2 ginger snaps. Sweet, creamy, satisfying and has protein, fiber, and calcium.
- Hummus and celery sticks and crackers – a ¼ cup of hummus with a large stalk of celery and 4-6 whole grain crackers. Satisfying and nutritious!
- Peanut butter and apples - 1 large tablespoon of peanut butter with ½ apple, it tastes like dessert.
- Cheese and crackers – 1 oz cheddar cheese and 4-6 whole grain crackers- extra calcium in their day.
- 1 small orange or ½ cup of mandarin orange sections
- 15 baby carrots
- Just a little less than 1 cup of Cheerios
- 1 oz by weight of whole wheat pretzels
- 2 peanut butter cracker sandwiches (1 Tbls PB and 4 small whole grain crackers)
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