100 Calorie Snacks; Smart Or Stupid?

JoAnn Hines

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We all know that snacking can be good or bad for you depending on the amount of calories you consume. It is well documented that eating six small meals to maintain blood sugar levels is healthier than eating three large ones. Included in a healthy eating regime are snacks. The problem is what kind of snacks. Most of what we consider a snack is very high in caloric content. It’s hard to find a satisfying “low calorie" snack.

Consumer goods companies are entering the healthy snack market with a bevy of “100" calorie offerings. Now I'm not saying that all of these are good for you, but they do keep the calorie content to a minimum. The best part is they count the calories for you - especially if you are a little low on will power.

Healthy snacking isn't a fad. It’s about eating things in moderation. Even if you fall off the wagon and eat more than one portion, at least you know how many calories you have consumed.

What is a hundred calorie snack? Ask any calorie counter about 100 calorie snacks and you will get a variety of opinions: a small apple, a piece of string cheese.

Food marketers are happy to pounce on a new opportunity to market 100-calorie treats with a host of new product offerings. Consumers goods companies are mirco-sizing their products. Every thing from chocolate to sports bars. They are making money doing it.

What's happening with the packaging? It has more appeal and touts less guilt. First, they all say 100-calorie snack. Terminology such as this on a single-serve reinforces the message.

A few product names you might recognize: Procter & Gamble launched the Pringles 100 Calorie Pack in August

Kraft Foods Inc.introduced new recipes for its tried-and-true snacks, all under a new 100-Calorie Pack label.

All these products are included in a “sensible snacking portfolio" of products. Sounds pretty sophisticated to me. Whatever 100-calorie snack you consume, remember just because its only 100 calories doesn't mean it’s good for you. The consolation is if you do fall of the wagon you won't have fallen very far.

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