100 Calorie Snack

Are 100 Calorie Snack Packs a Good Idea?

They are little packs of goodness, or so the marketers would have you believe.  Just grab a pack and don’t worry about overeating.  You can live healthfully one tiny bag at a time.  Or can you?

Those 100 calorie snack packs are becoming ubiquitous.  Starting off as a very clever marketing / packaging concept for cookies, I have recently seen 100 calorie snack packs for yogurt, chips, and a host of other foods.  They are marketed primarily to women on a diet or to use as a handy lunch box stuffer or after-school snack for your kids.

The Pros

There are definitely some benefits to having mostly processed, frequently high-sugar content foods meted out.  Basically you can’t do too much damage to your diet.  It takes away the off button; just eat the contents and move on.  When the packs first came out, the idea had merit to me.  I can definitely see where it could be helpful to someone who struggles with portion size and knowing when to stop.

The Cons

But to me that’s about it.  For the most part the 100 calorie snack packs are filled with stuff that’s not that healthy.  Throw in the additional costs charged for those packages and the environmental impact of all that extra packaging and I’m not so convinced they’re worth it.

I started a thread on Facebook and my friend Dave West had an excellent reply, “Whole foods don’t come in 100 calorie snack packs.” True, Dave, very true.

Do It Right

If you’re going to do this, may I suggest the following?

  • Divvying up your own healthy foods.  A little chopping, a little bit of sorting into appropriate containers, and you’re there.  Think veggies, fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers.  We’re talking maybe an extra 10 minutes in your week; it’s not a lot of work.
  • Buy snack packs if you know they work for you.  If you just need a taste and you’re sated then this could really be a good move.  If you have the tendency to go snag a pack every time you cruise through the kitchen, then maybe it’s not such a good move.
  • Try to pick the healthy stuff without high sugar content, high fructose corn syrup, or high levels of fat.
  • Consider just having fruit on hand.  It’s about the same thing, a little bit sweet, full of fiber (usually), and a whole lot healthier.

What do you think about living 100 calories at a time?  Do you find it helpful for you, or do you think it’s a waste of time and not very environmentally friendly?  Would love to hear your thoughts.