Tag Archives: 100 calorie snacks

100 Calories Worth of Junk is Still Junk

21 Nov

The 100-calorie snack pack concept has become very popular. You can get everything from cookies to crackers, even soda, in small packages that equal about 100 calories. Certainly, there is no health risk posed by eating an occasional 100-calorie pack, but there are lots of better snack choices.  The question is, should these packs have a place in your daily diet/nutrition plan?

Low Nutritional Value

  • The 100-calorie packs are typically loaded with sugar, on average between 7 and 9 g per serving.  Sugar comprises over 30% of their total calories.
  • Many of the snacks, especially the snack crackers, contain over 200 mg of sodium per pack.
  • Most of these snack packs are high in fat. Unfortunately, it’s not good (mono-, polyunsaturated) fat.
  • Snack packs are virtually devoid of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Taste and Cost

Many of the 100-calorie pack versions do not even resemble the originals. For example, in order to fit into the 100-calorie parameters, Oreos are flat crackers instead of cream filled cookies and chips shrink in size. Due to the extra packaging and because of the 100-calorie gimmick, the cost of the snacks is inflated, between 15% and 250% more than those in larger packages.

Alternatives

100-calorie packs may help you indulge a craving for junk food, but they should not replace healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.  If you choose 100-calorie packs instead of healthier foods at snack time, you are missing out on important nutrients. For 100 calories, you could easily eat an apple, a low-fat string cheese, a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a glass of skim milk, or 2 1/2 cups of cut-up vegetables, all foods that provide nutrients like vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein. The 100-calorie packs are short on all of these benefits.

Are the snack packs nutritious? Sure they may be only 100 calories, but does that mean they are good for you? Most of them contain lots of sugar, fat (sometimes up to 40 calories from fat), and no real vitamin content. The calories in junk food will always be empty calories, whether you eat 100 calories or 1,000. The fact is that junk will always be junk for your body, no matter how much or how little you consume.

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