How Healthy Are 100 Calorie Snack Packs?
Only 100 calories, but healthy?Click thumbnail to view full-size
You can now find 100-calorie snack packs in just about any store. I found myself drawn to them not too long ago, trying to decide whether I should buy them or not. I pictured them as a perfect snack to have at work: I mean, what's a hundred calories?
The perfect snack, right?
They do make great snacks, but are they healthy?
If you are truly concerned with eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet, you need to check the nutrition label of these snack packs. Remember that low-calorie doesn't always mean healthy. After you check the nutrition label, take a peak at the list of ingredients. Make sure you know exactly what you are consuming because you can't always rely on flashy labels to give you the whole truth.
- Snack packs are convenient: just grab and go!
- Built-in portion control. You don't have to worry about eating more than one serving...as long as you only eat one package. Studies show that people eat more when the food container is bigger (have you ever found yourself mindlessly eating?).
- They are only 100 calories!
- If you look at the nutrition label of these snacks, you'll find that they lack the nutrients that fulfill you (like protein, fiber, and healthy fats). If these snacks leave you unfulfilled, you'll go back for more.
- Many of these snacks list hydrogenated oil in their list of ingredients. So while the nutrition label says it contains 0 grams of trans fats, these unhealthy fats are present if hydrogenated oil is in the list of ingredients. ***
- While convenient,the individually wrapped snacks create more environmental waste--something that costs us all more in the long run.
- Snack packs tend to cost more than a larger sized package of the same food. Is your waistband growing while your wallet shrinks?
***In the United States, it is legal to label something as 0 trans fats if there is less than 1/2 gram per serving. However, even small amounts of trans fats in your diet can be very unhealthy. The more you eat of these smaller amounts, the more it adds up.
The bottom line is that you should focus on eating healthy, satisfying foods to benefit your overall health. The idea behind these snack packs is great.
In my house, we buy healthy snacks (like dried fruit, nuts, baby carrots, yogurt, or dark chocolate) and store them in small tupperware containers. This way, they are portioned out into serving sizes that we can just grab and go. At the same time, we are saving money by buying larger containers of these foods.
Most importantly, we are choosing healthy, fulfilling foods to round out our diet.
When it comes to snack packs, I say no thank you!