Ok, I know “hate” is a strong word, but I think it’s an appropriate way for me to describe how I feel about 100-calorie snack packs. I used to love these things when they first came onto the market...Lorna Doone cookies and Oreo Thin Crisps were my favorites. But now, when I see them in the store, I just want to rip them from the shelves and into a big dumpster (yes, it's a little dramatic, I know).
I'm sure there are at least 20 reasons I could list, but I'll spare you the lengthy rant, and just narrow it down to these top 5:
- The "100" in the 100-calories seems to be arbitrary: what’s the significance? Who told Nabisco that I wanted a sugary-sweet snack that was 100 calories? Not me...and you probably didn't either. Bottom line: it's just a marketing ploy that is working very well.
- They should really be called “300-calorie snacks”: These snacks are usually so small, that you need to eat 2 more packs of super-small Oreo Thin Crisps to feel anything. Thanks, but no thanks…I’d rather just eat some real cookies.
- I prefer quality over quantity: who cares if there are only 100 calories in the pack if most of those calories are from sugar, artificial flavors, and ingredients you wouldn’t use in your own kitchen??
- They're misleading: They’re designed to fool you into thinking that these are somehow healthier options, when in fact, they could be making you gain weight and crave more sugar.
- The emphasis on calories: Calories in/calories out is an outdated way of thinking about weight loss. If it were true, we could all get permanently “skinny” by just eating less and exercising more…but you and I both tried it (several times) and we know it doesn’t work. The continued focus on the number of calories in food perpetuates the diet mentality and ultimately leads to weight gain and dissatisfaction.
"So, what am I supposed to do if I want a little snacky-snack during the day???"
The first question that you probably should ask yourself is “Do I really need it?” , and if the answer is “yes”, then the second question is definitely “WHY?”:
- you may not be eating enough food or not eating enough of the good stuff (ie. nutrient-dense foods that fill you up), so you're hungry between meals
- you may be getting enough good, nutrient-dense food during the day, but you just can't resist the lure of those cute little bags of processed sugar
In either case, it’s time to re-evaluate the way you deal with your snack attacks. Instead of spending $$$ on Chips Ahoy Thin Crisps, just save your money and make your own snack packs at home…just get a small container or those little snack sized Ziploc bags. Easy!
Here are a few of my favorite healthy snacks...when you want something to snack on, give one of these a try:
- almonds, walnuts, cashews (unsalted)
- fruit: apples, peaches, berries, and watermelon
- roasted red pepper hummus and cucumbers
- apple with almond/peanut butter (no sugar added)
So, the next time you're in the grocery store, bypass the 100-calorie snack aisle and head over to the produce section instead.