Food manufacturers knew that 100-calorie snack packs would be popular. One of the buzzword phrases in the world of nutrition is “portion control.” While portion control of your main meals is important to control your calorie intake, what you eat between main meals is also important.
A caloric surplus (eating more calories than you burn) will cause you to gain weight. If your snack portions between main meals is out of control, they can cause you to have a caloric surplus.
Our weight-conscious population welcomed 100-calorie snack packs in grand fashion. And, food manufacturers knew we would. What harm could those little snack packs do to your meal plan? Those neat little tasty snack packs can have you wanting to eat more and more and more of them! Afterall, its only 100 calories.
The American Dietetic Association recommends healthy snacking. Snacks bridge the gap between main meals and can help you eat less at mealtime. Going too long between meals can cause you to load up on sugary carbohydrates to get quick energy. These types of snacks are high in calories, not very nutritious and cause rapid ups and downs in blood sugar levels (you will crash).
Read the nutrition label on those 100-calorie snack packs for unhealthy fats, sugars, etc. The other danger is eating too many of these "mini-sized" packets of food. If you eat 4-5 packs of mini Orioles for your afternoon snack, it does no good to "mini-size." Plus, its not very nutritious.
So, here are some good snack guidelines to follow (100-calorie pack or not):
1. Popcorn is high-fiber and low calorie. Skip the butter and excess salt! I like to pop it on the stove in canola or olive oil. On the run, I eat natural, microwaved brands.
2. Nuts. Peanuts, pistachios, pecans and almonds are all good. A handful of nuts goes a long way! They are high-calorie so be careful. Skip the excess salt! Nuts have heart-healthy fats, fiber and vitamins.
3. Fruit is always a healthy, filling snack. I've never heard of anyone getting fat from eating fruit! We all know the health benefits of eating fruit so enough said.
4. Green, leafy salads. Eat green salads on most days with very little dressing. You can't go wrong with green, leafy veggies for the health benefits!
5. Low-fat yogurt is a great snack! Yogurt smoothies are also great options (especially after a strength workout).
You can come up with your own list of healthy snacks. Just know that many of the 100-calorie snack packs are very tasty but not very nutritious.
Mark Dilworth, BA, PES, CPT is a Certified Personal Trainer and former NCAA Division I athlete. Mark’s Fat Blaster Athletic Training System has been proven to give his clients the fit, sculpted and athletic-type bodies they want. Visit Mark’s sites:
My Fitness Hut http://myfitnesshut.blogspot.com
Her Fitness Hut http://herfitnesshut.com
Sports Fitness Hut http://sportsfitnesshut.blogspot.com