One of the contributors to our obesity epidemic is the fact that portion sizes have grown by up to 400% compared to 30-40 years ago. Many companies have caught on to the need to cut portions, and now market 100 calorie snack sizes to peddle their wares in a portion-savvy fashion. So – are these snack packs a healthy choice?
I definitely agree that smaller portions are important, and I’m all for decreasing portion sizes in our marketplace. However, we have to remember that many of these snack packs are not foods that provide nutritional quality – they are often small packs of chips, cookies, or other goodies. Nonetheless, these snack packs can be an ally in weight management, if they replace a larger snack in your typical day. For example, a 100 calorie bag of mini Oreos would be better than eating three regular sized Oreos (total = 180 calories). The challenge, of course, is to limit ourselves to one snack pack – especially given that these junk foods usually do little to make us feel full. 100 calories does not equal 100% quality!
In recent years, we have seen snacks of much better quality appear in the 100-calorie range – check out the granola bar section of your grocery store for some of these healthier choices. Look for labels that contain actual food as ingredients (vs loads of sugar interspersed with chemical names), and those with more protein in their nutritional information.
We can also embrace portion control throughout our day with simple strategies like eating off of smaller plates, or using a portion control plate that helps us manage portions of each food group. With this strategy, we can portion control anything we want, and are not limited to portioning only those food that are available in pre-packaged formats. This way, we are free to choose (and portion manage) foods that are 100% quality!
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