100-Calorie Snack Packs: Healthy or Unhealthy?

Q1. I’ve been seeing all these 100-calorie snack packs at the grocery lately. They seem like a great way for me to enjoy my cookies and other treats without all the calories and an endless box in front of me. Is this just another ploy by food marketers, or are they really okay for me to eat?

The 100-calorie snack packs sure are popular, but whether they are really healthy or not is a great question. While they’re not as nutritious as a piece of fruit, cut-up vegetables, or a low-fat yogurt, these snack packs may be helpful when you are hankering for a treat. Most of the 100-calorie snacks are trans-fat free and low in sugar, but, like regular cookies and crackers, they are still highly processed and low in fiber and nutrients.

Despite all this, what’s great about them is that they are convenient and portion-controlled, with only one serving per bag, so you can enjoy your favorite snacks without falling off course. The bottom line: It’s okay to indulge on some 100-calorie treats, but make sure that when you do, you limit yourself to no more than one snack pack a day.

Q2. I’ve always had problems with my weight and have tried many diets. I’d like to know whether counting calories or carbs is better as far as losing weight and keeping it off.

— Trisha, Mississippi

Well, the answer is that counting both is important — but counting calories is more important! To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than you expend in any given day. You can actually reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat, but if you’re still taking in more calories than you’re expending, you’ll gain weight.

Usually, women on a diet should eat about 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day; men, approximately 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day. This will allow for a weight loss of one to two pounds per week, which is considered a safe rate of loss. Staying within that calorie range, you might be able to decrease hunger pangs to by reducing carbs and eating more protein, which can help you feel fuller longer as well as reduce cravings.

Q3. I’m trying to eat right, and I read labels when I shop, but I’m pretty confused about the difference between refined and unrefined carbohydrates and how they affect my health and weight. From what I can tell, bread, rice, and pasta are all bad. Is that true? If so, I’m in deep trouble.

It’s not true that bread, rice, and pasta are all bad, but refined carbs are not particularly good for you. Let’s take a step back and talk about what carbohydrates are, then talk about the difference between refined and unrefined carbs.

Carbohydrates are one of the three primary types of “macronutrients” the human body needs (fat and protein being the other two). Carbs can be sugar, starch, cellulose, or gum, meaning that bread, rice, and pasta are all carbohydrates — as are fruits and vegetables. We all need a certain amount of carbohydrates in our diet to produce energy, and sugar and starch (which is a complex form of sugar) are the foods most easily processed into the energy we need. When we generate more energy than we burn through activity, we store those carbs (and all excess calories) as body fat.

All carbohydrates have calories, but some are certainly better for you than others. The carbohydrates that are the best for your health are those that are the least refined and the highest in fiber. During the refining of breads, rice, and pasta, the coarsest outer part of the grain is removed, which whitens the resulting flour or rice; in the process, however, the healthful fiber and many of the nutrients are removed as well. That means it is best to choose whole grains whenever possible. Dark breads like whole wheat and pumpernickel have more natural fiber and nutrients in them. Avoid the whites — white bread, white rice, and white pasta. Fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain lots of simple sugars, are high in fiber and natural vitamins and minerals and low in calories, so they are a good carbohydrate source, too.

It’s great that you’re reading labels before buying — they contain lots of information, including ingredients and fiber content. Also look at the calorie count per serving. Make sure you have fruits, vegetables, and unrefined, whole-grain products every day for your health. Remember that if it’s white, chances are it’s been refined.

Q4. Are there any negative-calorie foods? I heard that you can eat endless amounts of carrots and celery because it takes more calories to eat them than they contain. Is this true? Are there other foods like these?

The phrase “negative-calorie food” has been coined recently to refer to foods that use up more calories in digestion than they provide. All foods have calories, but some have very few. Carrots and celery certainly do have very few calories, as do lettuce, cucumbers, and other green vegetables. What these foods can help do is fill your stomach and relieve some hunger pangs while you are on a weight-loss diet.

I would not focus a lot of attention on whether foods are “negative-calorie foods,” however. The point is that if you limit your intake only to these foods, you could become malnourished. You need to eat protein, carbohydrates, and fat to survive. Still, eating lots of raw vegetables can fill you up because they are relatively high in volume and fiber and low in calories. In summary, while they have a role to play in a weight-loss diet, they shouldn’t be the central focus of such a diet.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Diet and Nutrition Center.

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Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. Last night, while helping one of my kids rehearse lines for an upcoming theater production, I kept my hands busy preparing a number of 100 calorie snack packs out of various fresh healthy ingredients . . .

In our household at least, I’ve noticed that if I purchase something that needs any preparation at all, it has a tendency to sit in the fridge untouched. So, If I get a great deal on an item, yogurt for example, I portion it into single serving sizes and put them in the fridge. Fair game for whomever gets to them first.

In the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve noticed several things.

  • Food that normally has a tendency to go to waste, doesn’t. (For example, the last 1/4 of a cup of yogurt in the bottom of the container.). It no longer goes to waste because it portioned evenly.
  • The kids eat a serving size. I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “His eyes were bigger than his belly”. When the kids get home from school, they’re ravenous. When the snacks are prepared and ready, they have a tendency to eat the correct amount, rather than doubling portions out of hunger, (thereby reducing the amount Thrown away.)
  • They don’t mind eating healthy. It may seem strange, but when they open the fridge and get a choice of 10 different 100 calorie snack packs, they don’t mind munching fruits and veggies instead of chips, cookies, etc.

    In searching for decent containers, we found these awesome plastic deli containers. They’re dirt cheap, can be frozen, microwaved & tossed in the dishwasher. Not only that, they are the perfect size for creating your own 100 Calorie Snack packs. At 37¢ each, they’re completely worth it!

    :cook2:Here are a few 100 Calorie Snack Pack Ideas

  • 1/2 c. Lowfat Yogurt (sprinkle with frozen blueberries, or with cinnamon, or nutmeg for variety)
  • Large Hard Boiled Egg
  • 1 Orange, peeled and divided into segments
  • 28 Grapes
  • 29 pistachios
  • 1 3/4 cups raspberries
  • 1 c. Blueberries
  • 1 c. Mango Chunks
  • 1 3/4 c. Cantaloupe Chunks
  • 1 3/4 c. Popcorn
  • 6 Dried Apricots
  • 3 small slices Dried Mango
  • 1 1/4 c. Blackberries
  • 2 Medium Kiwi’s Sliced
  • 15 strawberries dipped in 1/4 c. Cool whip (lite) (you can make your own)
  • 60 Pepperidge Farm Baby Goldfish Crackers
  • 25 EatSmart Café Fries
  • 1 Small Baked Potato w/ 1/2 c. Salsa & 2 Tbls Fat Free Sour Cream
  • 12 Back to Nature Sesame Ginger Rice Thins
  • 12 Quaker Quakes Cheddar Cheese Rice Snacks
  • 40 Rold Gold Classic Style Pretzel Sticks
  • 5 Nabisco Nilla Wafers
  • ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with 5 strawberries
  • 3/4 c. Fruit Cocktail in light syrup
  • 3/4 c. Bran Cereal
  • ½ mini bagel with 1 ounce smoked salmon
  • 45 steamed edamame (green soybeans)
  • 12-15 natural almonds
  • 2 tablespoons each of mashed avocado and chopped tomatoes stuffed in 1⁄2 mini pita
  • 1 hard-boiled egg with 1 slice Melba toast
  • 1/2 cup of sugar-free gelatin, any flavor, and two tablespoons of low fat whipped topping.
  • 15 chocolate-covered raisins
  • 10 dry roasted cashews
  • 1/4 cup of fat-free Ranch dressing to 1 cup of mixed fresh veggies such as zucchini, red bell pepper, celery, carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce and 1 piece of toast cut into four sticks (for dunking, of course!)
  • 6 saltine crackers or 2 graham cracker squares with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter or fruit jam.(One of my favorite snacks as a kid- saltines & grape Jelly… mmmmmmmmmm!)
  • 1/2 cup of fat-free ice cream
  • Easy Parfait- 1/2 cup of low-fat pudding layered with two crumbled vanilla wafers and a dollop of low fat whipped topping to garnish the top.
  • 1 Medium apple cut into slices and spread with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
  • a 2″ slice of Angel Food Cake
  • 12 small Pretzel Twists
  • 1/2 c. Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Jicama & Honey Mustard dip- 1 1/2 cups of jicama peeled and sliced, (this is a root veggie that has 6 grams of fiber per cup!) eat it mixed in 1 Tbs Greek Yogurt, 1 Tbs Mustard, 1 tsp honey
  • Cocoa dusted almonds (12)
  • 10 Lg Shrimp boiled in lime juice and sprinkled with chili powder
  • Pumpkin Yogurt (1/2c. plain yogurt 1/4 c. pumpkin puree, 3 drops stevia, 1/4 tsp cinnamon) or Maple Pumpkin Yogurt 1/2 c. plain yogurt, 2 TBS pumpkin puree, 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Watermelon Salad – 1 c. fresh spinach, 1 tbs balsamic vinegar, 3/4 c. diced seedless watermelon
  • Rice Cake smothered in almond butter
  • Coconut covered kiwi slices- slice 1 kiwi and top it with a TBS of shredded coconut
  • 1 Fig newton spread with a tsp of peanut butter
  • Spiced orange- an orange sprinkled with cinnamon

    :weight: Now that you’ve cut your calories, check out the workouts we recommend . . .

    on Where to Buy:

    Unfortunately, the extra small ziploc containers were discontinued in favor of a larger size. We recently went to reorder them and discovered they weren’t available, so we opted for these 8 oz deli containers instead, they’re freezer safe, dishwasher safe, stackable, microwavable and still the perfect size.

  • 30 Healthy, 100-Calorie Snacks

    We can all admit that making it through the afternoon without reaching for a handful of something. Instead of going to town on the office candy jar or breakroom doughnuts, bring a snack that will fill you up without filling you out. If you need some recommendations for nutritious bites that will hold you over until dinner, check out our list of 30 delicious 100-calorie snacks so you can easily avoid the unhealthiest snacks once the dreadful munchies strike.

    1

    Siggi’s Plain Fat-Free Yogurt

    1 container (150 g): 90 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 16 g protein

    Siggi’s Icelandic skyr is creamier than Greek yogurt and packs in more protein and less sugar per cup. Plus, you get potent, dairy-based probiotics that can help clear your skin, keep you regular, and boost immunity. Where’s our spoon?

    2

    Edamame

    ½ cup: 90 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (4 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 9 g protein

    For a satisfying crunch without boatloads of fat you’d get from potato chips, grab a fourth cup of edamame. They boast nine grams of soy protein and four grams of belly-filling fiber.

    3

    Organic Valley Stringles String Cheese

    1 string cheese: 80 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 7 g protein

    These mozzarella sticks are packaged in easy to grab-and-go casings, so you can pop them into your purse before heading out. Each string is made from milk produced without hormones, antibiotics, or GMOs.

    4

    Krave Spicy Pork Snack Sticks

    1 stick: 100 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 6 g protein

    Krave sneaks in surprising ingredients like black beans, sherry wine vinegar, and pepper flakes into its meat stick to pump up the flavor without loading up on calories.

    5

    Blue Diamond 100 Calorie Almond Packs, Whole Natural

    1 package: 100 calories, 9 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 4 g protein

    Almonds contain L-arginine, an amino acid that transforms into nitric oxide, which helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation. However, the subtly sweet nut is easy to overeat and this 100-calorie pack is the perfect way to practice portion control.

    6

    KIND Bar Mini, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate

    1 bar: 100 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 3 g protein

    Loaded with wholesome ingredients such as almonds, peanuts, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa butter, these 100 calorie snacks will become your new go-to. Stash them in your desk drawer or pop one into your purse to fuel up on the fly.

    7

    Pistachios

    25 pistachios (2/3-ounces): 98 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 4 g protein

    Get crackin’ on these small but mighty nuts, which pack in brain-boosting omega-3s, heart-healthy potassium, and plant protein. Plus, these green pods are the lowest calorie nut, providing just under 100 calories for 25!

    8

    Peanut Butter + Celery

    1 tablespoon peanut butter + 2 stalks celery: 100 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 3 g protein

    “Having peanut butter either on toast for breakfast, on a sandwich for lunch, or on an apple for a snack can prevent you from overeating,” says Ilyse Schapiro MS, RD, CDN. Celery serves as virtually calorie-free boat for the creamy spread.

    9

    Dave’s Bread Power Seed Thin Sliced + Applegate Organics Oven Roasted Turkey

    1 slice bread + 2 slices turkey: 110 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 527 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 14 g protein

    Keep the carb count low and protein content high in your next nosh. Dave’s Killer Bread makes the perfect hearty base for tryptophan-filled turkey. This is one of our top low calorie snacks to eat before bedtime because the tryptophan, an amino acid, helps regulate sleep.

    10

    Muuna Lowfat Cottage Cheese + Melon

    ½ cup cottage cheese + ½ cup melon: 110 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 370 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 14 g protein

    Cottage cheese contains casein protein, a slow-digesting protein that keeps you full for hours after munching. Sweeten things up with a half-cup of melon slices for added fiber and antioxidants.

    11

    Hope Hummus Original Recipe + Carrots

    2 tablespoons hummus + ⅔ cup carrots: 85 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 164 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (4 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 3.5 g protein

    For just under 100 calories, you get a crunchy and creamy snack that’s balanced with a triple threat against cravings and weight gain. Fiber, healthy fats, and protein are all present.

    12

    Health Warrior Apple Cinnamon Chia Bar

    1 bar: 100 calories, 5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 3 g protein

    Chia seeds are notorious for their waist-slimming powers thanks to the omega-3s they pack in. These delectable bars are baked with creamy cashew butter, dried apples, and blood-sugar-leveling cinnamon for the perfect afternoon bite.

    13

    Halo Top Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

    ½ cup: 90 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 5 g protein

    If you’re a fan of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (who isn’t?) but aren’t too inclined to down a 280-calorie serving of Ben and Jerry’s, grab a pint of Halo Top. The lightened-up dessert is low-cal—with a third fewer calories than B&J—and provides an extra gram of protein.

    14

    Blueberries

    1 cup: 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 1 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (4 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 1 g protein

    Pop a handful of berries daily, and you may notice your waistline trim down. One University of Michigan study showed that the sky-hued berries protected against abdominal fat as well as lowered triglycerides, lowered cholesterol, and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity.

    15

    Chicapeas Baked Crunchy Chickpeas

    1 ounce: 110 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (4 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 5 g protein

    Besides for forming the base of our favorite Mediterranean dip, chickpeas make a delectable snack when baked. These poppers contain just 110 calories per one-ounce serving and serve up four grams of fiber and five grams of protein for a one-two punch against the munchies.

    16

    Kitchen Table Baker’s Parmcrisps

    15 crisps: 100 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, less than 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 9 g protein

    Gone keto and tired of spooning into avocado? These crunchy parm crisps will crush your potato chip hankering while providing a whopping nine grams of protein and seven grams of healthy fats. Cheese contains butyrate, a powerful fatty acid that’s been shown to boost the metabolism.

    17

    Hard Boiled Egg + Rice Cake

    1 hard boiled egg + 1 rice cake: 105 calories, 4 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 7 g protein

    If you’re watching your carb intake, topping a rice cake with a salted hard-boiled egg is the way to go to keep cravings at bay. One whole egg packs in about 7 grams of protein as well as choline, a fat-blasting nutrient that’s been shown to target belly fat.

    18

    Amy’s Organic Chunky Vegetable Soup

    1 cup: 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 720 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 3 g protein

    With loads of nutrients coming from organic diced tomatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, peas, spinach, onions, and celery, this vegetarian soup is like a garden party in a can. Warm it up over the stove top for a comforting midday pick-me-up.

    19

    Banana

    1 medium banana (118 g): 105 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (3 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 1 g protein

    A medium banana packs in just over 100 calories and fills you up with satiating fiber. Whether you’re revving up for a quick gym sesh or hitting the trails for a hike, a banana’s simple carbohydrates will help fuel you on the fly.

    20

    Shrimp + Cocktail Sauce

    5 shrimp + 1 tablespoon cocktail sauce: 90 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 175 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 18 g protein

    Looking for a satisfying weight loss snack? Shrimp packs in lean protein to keep your metabolism revving and pairing the crustacean with just a tablespoon of cocktail sauce will add boatloads of flavor without the outrageous amount of added sugar you’re avoiding.

    21

    KIND Kids Bars Chewy Chocolate Chip

    90 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 1 g protein

    Public Health England’s National Diet and Nutritional Survey found that kids ages 4 to 10 ate 51.2 percent of their daily sugar intake from unhealthy snacks (think pastries, juice, and fizzy drinks), and therefore encourage parents to look for healthier snacks containing no more than 100 calories. These chewy and chocolatey bars fit the bill: they pack in 25 percent less sugar than most kids’ granola bars!

    22

    Babybel Light Cheese & Crackers

    90 calories, 4 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 7 g protein

    Cheese and crackers are the ideal snacks, and Babybel fulfills all our savory cravings with this line of low calorie snacks. You’ll get four grams of healthy fats and seven grams of protein coming from creamy cheese and a gram of fiber thanks to the buttery crackers.

    23

    Made Good Granola Minis, Chocolate Chip

    100 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 1 g protein

    Made Good lives up to its name by starting with wholesome ingredients such as gluten-free oats and chocolate chips—and even manages to sneak in veggie extracts (such as spinach, broccoli, and shiitake) as well as real apples for added nutrition.

    24

    My/Mo Vegan Mochi, Strawberry

    100 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (0 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 1 g protein

    For those that don’t eat dairy, My/Mo’s vegan mochi is the perfect treat. The cashew cream balances the pillowy rice dough, making for a sweet treat that’s guilt-free.

    25

    Absolutely Gluten-Free Tahini Bar, Pistachio

    100 calories, 6 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 2 g protein

    In the mood for something sweet that isn’t chocolate? These 100-calorie snacks are bursting with flavor for a mere amount of cals. If you have a hard time putting the spoon down when snacking on halva, you’re gonna love these portion-controlled, pistachio-spiked sticks.

    26

    Hail Merry Dark Chocolate Cups

    per ½ package (1 chocolate cup): 105 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 2.5 g protein

    Take your snack breaks seriously and indulge in this decadent chocolate bite. The almond flour-based crust is perfectly chewy and nestles a dollop of velvety dark chocolate ganache in the center. Plus, you’ll get a kick of metabolism-boosting MCTs from the coconut oil swirled into the recipe.

    27

    Rhythm Superfoods Naked Beet Chips

    100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (5 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 3 g protein

    Rhythm showcases one of our favorite superfoods, beets, as the star of the show. These crispy chips contain 15 percent of your daily value of bloat-beating potassium and five grams of prebiotic fiber to keep you full for hours.

    28

    Ozery Bakery Banana Cocoa Snacking Round + Arla Skyr Cream Cheese

    1 snacking round + 2 tablespoons skyr cream cheese: 105 calories, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 155 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 5 g protein

    Banana and chocolate pair as perfectly as PB&J, so why not pop one of these satiating snacking rounds into the toaster? Once they’re warm and crisp, dollop two tablespoons of Arla’s indulgently creamy and protein-packed skyr cream cheese spread for a bite that will help you fend off the 2 p.m. slump.

    29

    Bare Cinnamon Apple Chips

    per ½ cup: 110 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (4 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 0 g protein

    A crunchy snack with zero sodium and a ton of fat-scorching polyphenols coming from cinnamon? Count us in. Bare begins with fresh, non-GMO apples and bakes them until they achieve potato-chip crunch before dusting with the warm spice. You’ll find absolutely no added sugars, oil, or preservatives in this craveable bag.

    30

    Nonni’s Almond Chocolate Artisan Thin Cookies

    per 21 g snack pack: 100 calories, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 95 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (1 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 2 g protein[

    At only 100 calories per pack, these almond-spiked cookie thins are the perfect way to kick the sweet tooth to the curb on the go. These sweets are dairy-free and pack in chunks of fat-incinerating almonds and semi-sweet chocolate chips in every bite. Try the Double Chocolate and Toasted Coconut flavors next.

    Get the New Book!

    Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!

    As a registered dietitian, I believe a 100- to 200-calorie snack between meals is great way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Clearly, others agree as grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores sell countless numbers of 100-calorie packs of crackers, cookies, candy and more.

    While those calorie-controlled snack bags can be good for your waistline, they aren’t so good for your wallet. A pre-packaged 100-calorie pack of dry roasted almonds (bought in a multi-pack set) is roughly 61 cents, but a DIY 100-calorie pack is about 37 cents. Pretzels drop from 43 cents for prepacked to 18 cents for DIY, and cookies from 66 cents to 40 cents. That’s an average savings of 25 cents per pack, which if you eat one a day, can add up to a savings of nearly $100 a year.

    Here are several examples of 100-calorie snack packs (give or take a few calories) you can make yourself:

    • Fruit: 1 medium apple, 1 cup blueberries, 2 medium kiwi, 2 cups watermelon
    • Crunchy: 15 almonds, 30 pistachios, 11 wheat crackers, 5 saltine crackers, 3 cups plain or lightly salted popcorn
    • Sweet: 14 gummy bears, 3 red licorice sticks, 4 chocolate kisses, 2 mini peppermint patties

    Don’t limit yourself to the above. Just about anything can be turned into a 100-calorie snack. Simply check your favorite food’s nutritional facts panel on the side or back of the package. Note the serving size and calories per serving and do some simple math to determine how much of the food equals roughly 100 calories. For fruit, or other foods that may not have nutrition information clearly marked, the Calorie King website is a handy resource.

    Individually packaged snacks aren’t so good for planet Earth either. Instead of sending one bag to the landfills, you’re adding many. When you buy one full-sized bag of snacks, you can create your own calorie-controlled serving in reusable containers and lessen the environmental impact. There are all kinds of reusable containers, but here are a few of my favorites:

    Lock and Lock bowls are the perfect size for nuts, crackers, cut-up fruit and more. In addition to being air-tight to prevent leaks and keep food fresh, they are dishwasher safe and easy to open. The bowls in this set are less than $3 each and because there are 4 in a set, you could easily split the order with a friend to save money.

    LunchSkins are made out of a food-safe, machine washable material in a variety of colors and designs. The size fits perfectly in your purse, lunch bag or backpack. They take up no more room than a plastic bag, but can be used over and over again.

    If you happen to be handy, you can also easily make your own reusable snack bags. You can find many patterns, like this one, by searching online.

    If you liked this article, you may also be interested in:

    Make your own quick and easy convenience foods

    Make your own pop-tarts and other DIY convenience foods

    Healthy Snacks: 100-Calorie Snack Packs

    Many popular brands offer some variation of 100-calorie snack packs that claim to be healthy snacks. Are they really?

    These snacks can help people who are looking for ways to satisfy their between-meal hunger without losing sight of their healthy diet plan. The options are seemingly endless-you can get cookies, crackers, and even ice cream, but are the 100-calorie snack packs really healthy snacks?

    Staying Full on 100-Calorie Snacks

    While 100-calorie snack packs are convenient and flavorful, many of them lack nutritionally substantial ingredients, like protein or fiber. Eating snacks that are void of filling ingredients means you’re not going to stay satisfied, which could actually lead to overeating.

    Portion Control

    The whole point of these 100-calorie snack packs is to limit the quantity of crackers or cookies that you consume, but a recent study suggests that this form of portion control doesn’t work. The Journal of Consumer Research reported that consumers ate twice as much when products came from small packaging. If you wind up eating more than one bag, then they are no longer beneficial to your healthy diet plan.

    Ingredients in 100-Calorie Snacks

    You also need to look at what’s in 100-calorie snack packs to determine if you should be eating them. In many cases, you’re still eating junk food and could be consuming things like partially hydrogenated oil.

    Are these 100-Calorie Snacks Good for You?

    If you can find a healthy snack pack and limit yourself to eating just one, then the snack is still beneficial. Sun Chips offer a snack pack with 5 grams of fiber and vitamin E. If you’re just craving a cookie, try Barbara’s Organic 100-Calorie Mini Cookies, which are free of artificial flavors and colors. Don’t forget that plenty of fruits and vegetables, like apples or carrot sticks, are healthy snacks with less than 100 calories.

    Find a list of healthy snacks on Shape.com.

    • By Rebecca Brown

    100 calorie snacks packs

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