100-Calorie Snack Packs: Good or Bad?

by in Healthy Tips, February 25, 2009

Snack Packs
“Unsatisfying,” “pricey” and “not eco-friendly” are words you might use to describe these popular packaged snacks. Sure, they’re convenient, but are they really healthy or helpful? I’m not a big fan and here’s why.

100-Calorie Pack Attack
These small snack-sized packaged foods have gotten very popular lately — you see them at the grocery store, sold in bulk packs and in snack machines. Products such as Nabisco’s purple packs, Hostess cakes and popcorn all come in these mini packets. Problem is these products may not taste like the “real thing” — for example, the 100-calorie Oreo packs don’t have the classic cream-filled cookie but instead have thin, wafer-like crisps. Worse still, when you’re stuck in a snack craving, one packet may quickly turn into three or four. (Of course, if you want to eat the healthiest, fresh fruits and veggies should be your first snack source.)

Buy Less, Pay More
While these snack packets are meant to help reduce overeating, the price of them can also thin out your wallet. According to the Center for Public Interest (CSPI), these calorie savers can cost 16% to 279% more per ounce than the versions in regular packages. Check this comparison chart for your favorite 100-calorie snacks.

A Better Solution
Make your own 100-calorie packs using healthier crackers or cookies. CSPI suggests stashing four Nabisco Ginger Snaps or two Fig Newton’s in a reusable plastic container or resealable sandwich bag — you can tuck these into your purse or a desk drawer. If you do decide to go for the 100-calorie packs, just have one. If you’re not sure you can resist, just skip them altogether. And again, it’s always better to just have some yogurt, a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts.

[Photo courtesy of Kharizmarae82 / Flickr]

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