Ah, the 100-Calorie Snack Pack. I’ve been looking forward to talking about these because I very distinctly remember a comment that a high school friend of mine once made about them. We were probably in 10th grade. She was a swimmer, like me and therefore somewhat health conscious. On any given day of the week, both of our lunches would include a 100-calorie snack pack. We’d have the oreo kinds, the chocolate chip cookie kind, the cheese nip kind… We loved our 100-calorie snack packs and often joked about how our love for food always left us wanting more because one pack just wasn’t enough. Which, duh! Now that I think about it, of course 100 calories wasn’t enough when we were burning upwards of 1,000 calories in a 2-hour swimming workout!
Anyway, one day she said something along the lines of, “It’s actually really stupid, these 100 calorie things. We’re paying this company money for something we could really just do ourselves. Why don’t I just go buy a regular box of Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies and then only eat one or two cookies. All they’re doing is forcing the portion size.” We were only silly high school teenagers back then, but she was right. So right!
Obviously the calorie aspect of these little snacks are “healthy,” especially for someone who might be keeping track of their calories for weight loss or maintenance reasons. But what about what they’re made of? What kinds of ingredients go into making these little bite-sized treats? There are a handful of different 100-Calorie Snack Pack varieties from a bunch of different companies, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll use Nabsico’s “100-Calorie Chips Ahoy! Thin Crisps.”
Chips Ahoy! Thin Crisps Nutritional Info and Ingredients:
OK, so these aren’t actually that bad! I mean, the ingredients aren’t the best, but they could also be much worse. Fooducate gives these a B- on their rating scale, only making a point to highlight that they include artificial/natural flavoring and fake vanilla. Yes, it would be much better to snack on a handful of nuts or carrots but let’s be honest, sometimes you just want a damn cookie and I’d say if that’s the case, grabbing a pack of these would be a much better choice than opening a whole pack of chocolate chip cookies and trying to resist having more than just one or two.
However, if you are strictly trying to eat completely clean, then these would be a huge no. But for someone who is just beginning a weight loss journey and/or learning healthy eating habits and portion control, these are a pretty good option because they allow for a sweet treat but prevent any chance of over indulging at the same time… That is, if you make sure to only allow yourself one pack. (I’m pretty sure I used to eat like, three at a time back when I was swimming 6,000+ yards a day. Whoops!)
That being said, if you’re already at a point where you have a healthy relationship with food, do a good job at controlling your portions, and are generally knowledgeable about your body’s nutritional needs, this kind of snack is probably not something you’re reaching for. The great thing is, that if you’re striving to reach that point, these kinds of 100-Calorie snacks can be used as a stepping stone to help you get there. Just make sure you ALWAYS read the ingredients because some of the different varieties are much, much worse than others!
What are your thoughts? Do you buy any kinds of snacks that come packaged with predetermined calories and portion sizes for when you really just need a sweet or salty indulgence?