100 Calorie Success Sabotagers
By Kathy Hefflinger, RD CDE
The grocery store is loaded with fat-free and low fat pre-packaged foods. For some reason, these seem to signal ‘healthy’ but beware. Remember, these foods still have calories! And typically, these are also non-nutritious foods such as chips, cookies and crackers which you may not be eating but for some reason when you see it in these portioned bags, they feel they are healthy. Some people will even eat two bags a day which equates to 200 additional calories than they would have consumed if they were following their healthy meal plan. And this can mean weight plateau or worse, weight gain!
There are only two benefits to the 100 calorie pre-portioned packaged foods from manufacturers. One is that you have the opportunity to realize just how small a portion actually is. It can shake your reality and make you more mindful when you are occasionally eating foods such as chips. And the second is if you have family members that you want to purchase chips and crackers for, some find it easier to avoid themselves if it is in individual bags instead of large family style bags.
Your best bet is to make your own, pre-portioned 100 calorie snack bag size servings of nutritious foods. For example, you may purchase high fiber cereal or high fiber crackers and actually consume more than a serving. So here is an idea to control your portion size:
- Purchase zip top baggies.
- Look at the food label of your cereal or crackers to see the serving size for approximately 100 calories. You will find that some cereals are ¾ cup while others are 1 cup or 1 ¼ cups.
- Add the appropriate serving into the bag and then place all of the prepackaged bags back into the box. Now when you want to have the cereal or crackers, you can quickly grab the serving and not overdo it mindlessly.
Or make your own trail mix that is lower in calories and higher in fiber than a 100 calorie bag of fat free/low fat cookies:
- Measure 50 calories of a high fiber cereal and place it in a zip top baggie.
- Add 1 ½ teaspoons of raisins or dried cranberries.
- Add 5 almonds.
With these tips, you can control your portions without having to resort to pre-packaged, non-nutritious 100 calorie pack foods.