Many years ago, before anyone had even heard of the concept of 100-calorie snack packs, I used to order chocolate covered shortbread biscuits from the World’s Finest Chocolate catalogue, a 100-calorie individually wrapped confection I had tasted and fallen in love with on an airplane flight. I used to call it my “finite dessert” because I limited myself to just one satisfying candy-covered cookie per sitting.
Years later, when cartons of 100-calorie snack packs flooded the grocery store aisles, I told my children I should have patented my “finite dessert” concept since I had thought of it first. (In a genetic coincidence, my mother predicted there would be a machine that would wash dishes one day, several years before the dishwasher was invented).
Even though the big food manufacturers have made millions of dollars off of my “finite dessert” idea, I have taken the 100-calorie snack pack concept to a higher level, along with thousands of other innovative dieters who scoff at the notion of paying a premium for foods of inferior nutritional quality just because they are conveniently wrapped in a single portion size.
I have discovered that a common household item called a plastic bag can substitute quite well for a logo-emblazoned plastic wrapper and can contain any snack a healthy person wishes to place in it.
Here are some of my favorite low-calorie snack ideas. Calories vary depending on quantity. See the Calorie Count website for calorie info on any common food.
Low-calorie snack idea #1:
Apple slices and cheddar cheese cut into small squares (think apple pie with a cheddar wedge, sans the pie crust)
Low-calorie snack idea #2:
Handful of almonds or walnuts (healthy protein and fat, curbs the appetite)
Low-calorie snack idea #3:
Pita chips and hummus (so good, you’ll think you’re cheating on your diet)
Low-calorie snack idea #4:
Hard-boiled egg (improves your mood)
Low-calorie snack idea #5:
Whole grain crackers with peanut butter (as with bacon, everything’s better with peanut butter)
Low-calorie snack idea #6:
Carrot and celery sticks with wedge of Laughing Cow cheese (dip one end of vegetable in Laughing Cow for veggie “cigar”)
Low-calorie snack idea #7:
Baked tortilla chips with salsa (may want to use plastic container for this one to avoid soggy mess)
Low-calorie snack idea #8:
Turkey roll-ups with low-fat herbed cream cheese (thanks Dr. Atkins!)
Low-calorie snack idea #9:
One or two squares of high-quality dark chocolate
Low-calorie snack idea #10:
Although a 100-calorie bag of Nutter Butter cookies or Pringles may seem more festive or convenient, the low-calorie snack ideas listed above are superior from almost every other angle. They are less expensive, allowing you to save money you can use to join a health club or buy new skinny clothes. These low-calorie snack ideas are also more nutritious and will satisfy your hunger far better than an empty calorie, white flour- and sugar-filled cookie (the nutritional equivalent of a bimbo). Healthy snacks provide a steady flow of energy that will sustain you until your next meal instead of sending you to the vending machine on your next coffee break.
Of course, if you are really craving Pringles, you can always buy a full-sized can, count out the right number of chips and package them in a plastic snack bag yourself. You will save calories and money at the same time: a study of 100-calorie snack pack pricing by the Center for Science in the Public Interest revealed that 100-calorie snack packs cost 16 to 279 percent more per ounce than the same snack items in larger unportion-controlled packages.