It’s the middle of the night, your relaxing on your comfy couch watching a movie, when suddenly you get a case of the munchies. That bag of Oreo’s are staring you in the face, those BBQ potato chips are screaming at you to devour it, and you can’t forget that bag of M&M’s sitting in the corner. Your relaxing mood has become stressed as your temptations start to grab hold and you loose determination of that calorie counting diet you have been on for the last three months. Eating these munchies would throw your diet out of sync. So what do you do?
Normally when we feel the need to snack, we turn to the chips, the chocolate, the cookies, the cakes, and the candy. But which ones are safe to eat without damaging your hard earned diet?
Let’s start with potato chips. Pringles has always been my favorite. The Original Pringles has a serving of 14 chips per person. With this serving it contains 160 calories, 11g of fat, no saturated fat, 14g of carbohydrates, and no cholesterol. This is a great option of calories considering 14 chips is a pretty accurate snacking amount. Pringles also has many flavors available. Their Cheddar Cheese flavor gives you the same nutritional values as the Original. Their Loaded Baked Potato lets you eat 15 chips with consuming less calories than the Original, 150 calories, gives you only 10g of fat, and still no trans fat or cholesterol and still only 14g of carbohydrates. Sour Cream and Onion, Jalapeño, Chili Cheese, Pizza, and Ranch flavors offer you the same nutritional values. If your craving Pringles, grab anything but the Original and Cheddar Cheese, you get an extra chip and more nutrition!
Doritos are my other favorite snacking chip. The regular Nacho Cheese flavor is 120 calories with 3.5g of fat, no cholesterol or trans fat, but does contain 21g of carbohydrates. If you grab the Light version, you can cut your calorie count down by 20 calories as well as take off 1.5g of fat and 3g of carbohydrates. The other flavors that Doritos has to offer hike the calories up to 140 or 150 per one ounce serving, which means that if you stick with the light version of the Nacho Cheese flavor your diet is safe. The light version’s taste is no different, so don’t fret any.
And of course you have the original standby, the potato chips of potato chips… Lays. The Original is pushing 150 calories for just one ounce with 10g of fat and 15g of carbohydrates. No matter which flavor you choose, you’re looking at 150 calories, except the Light Original. This would be your best choice at 75 calories per ounce. No fat, no cholesterol, no trans fat, and 17g of carbohydrates.
Of the three above brands of chips, your best choice would be Lay’s Light Original.
Now onto the cookies. Chips Ahoy, Oreos, and Keebler always give me a hard time. Can’t choose which ones I like best! Chips Ahoy original smacks you with 160 calories after eating 14 cookies, but no cholesterol or trans fat. There are only 8g of fat and 22g of carbohydrates. Chips Ahoy’s best nutritional option is their Peanut Butter Chunky Chip cookies. At 90 calories per serving, hardly any fat, no trans far or cholesterol, and only 10g carbohydrates, if your craving Chips Ahoy and you like peanut butter, this is the snack for you. But if you don’t like peanut butter, grab the white fudge cookies; they have the same nutritional statistics. 17 cookies and only 90 calories! Count me in!
As for Keebler’s cookies, stick with the soft batch and the E.L. Fudge Cookies. They hover around 80 calories with less than 4g of fat and 11g of carbohydrates. All other cookies jump the calorie counter up to 150 calories.
And then of course there is our wonderful life long friend, the Oreo Cookie. Suprising enough you want to dive into the Double Stuff if you must have your Oreos. Double Stuff has 20 calories less than the original, or head for the White Fudge covered ones. They only have 100 calories and contain 2g less fat and 12g less carbohydrates then most of the Oreos out there. So what if you don’t like fudge…well how about mint? The Oreos that are covered in chocolate covered mint contains fewer calories, less fat and less carbohydrate then all of the above Oreos. Standing at 90 calories, 4.5g of fat and 12g carbohydrates, and the mint is my selection for the calorie counter diet.
Of these three tasty band names, grab a Keebler Elf made cookie!
Even though the above are tempting and delicious snacks, if you are on a diet, you want to incorporate more than just the calorie counting in your diet. Try going for the sweet, decadent fruity side of the snacking. Nothing complicated, just easy and fills that snacking temptation. Here are a few ideas.
Cut up a small banana and drizzle a tablespoon of chocolate syrup over it. The snack gives you 120 calories, but is not full of carbohydrates and fat, it includes almost 300mg of potassium. Potassium is one of those essential bodily minerals that assist in maintaining balance in the body.
Raisinets! Raisinets chocolate covered raisins are an awesome low 41 calorie treat with hardly 1g of fat and 7g of carbohydrates. This is an excellent source of potassium as well and gives you a satisfactory snacking sensation!
On of the best snacking snacks I can recommend is trail mix. Trail mix comes in so many varieties from nuts and chocolates, to fruit and nut, to nuts seeds and raisins, to honey nuts and caramel, tropical, to even spicy and Cajun. No matter what option you choose, you are gaining 140 calories per serving along with vitamins, calcium, iron, and a small amount of carbohydrates and fat. To get a well rounded effect of this energy fulfilling snack, grab the tropical trail mix, which normally contains papaya, peanuts, raisins, almonds, sunflower seeds, pineapple, dates, coconut, bananas, and cashews. To add your chocolate fix, add a handful of M&M’s. With doing this, it doesn’t raise the calorie count much, as long as you do not over indulge on the sweets portion of the mix.
Sometimes you have to consider quantity vs. calorie. Determine just how hungry you are. You always want to make sure that you eat until you are pleasantly full. Not eat until you are so stuffed you are ready for a nap. Normally those foods that make us feel all warm and fuzzy are comfort foods that help to make us feel the urge to nap, such as soups, macaroni and cheese, anything that is fried.
If you just want a snack, then one of the above ideas will suffice. But if your stomach is rumbling out of control, you want to pursue a well rounded small meal to pleasantly fill that emptiness.
Use snacks as a way to gain more vitamin or minerals, not just fulfill that snacking sensation. Grab a eight ounce serving of yogurt and mix in sliced strawberries or bananas to meet any protein or calcium necessities for the day.
If your looking for a snack to give you energy, then try grabbing a handful of the above trail mix options or even a slice of cheese. Calcium in cheese is a great way to boost the transmission of signals in nerve cells in your body as well as strengthening bones and teeth.
And we can’t forget about one of the most popular reasons why you feel like munching. Stress and or boredom. Yep, many people reach for that cookie that is staring them in the face just because they can. Or munch on that chocolate bar just because of they use eating as a way to calm them down. If your one of these types of people, like I am, when going to work (assuming that this is your stressful environment) take a small sandwich bag and fill it with baby carrots or sliced peaches or apples. Make your snacking healthy. Not to mention providing you with the minerals and nutrients that may assist in alleviating the stress naturally.
And last but not least, before your reach for that snack food, whatever it may be, healthy or not, stop and think if you are really hungry. Some people eat because they are thirsty and not recognizing that they are thirsty. The next time that you have a craving or feel that you are hungry, just try drinking a full glass of cool water or a glass of apple juice. Your body will tell you if you are hungry if you’re not thirsty. But try it!
In conclusion, snacking can be bad and snacking can be good. It all depends on what you snack on and why you are snacking. Remember that quantity doesn’t matter, its all in what your eating!