We have all seen them. The Globe even did an article on them a couple of years ago.
They are little packages of Oreos, or Goldfish crackers, or any kind of snack foods. They are in vending machines. They are in the candy aisle. They are on TV.
They look nice. The packaging is colorful. They look inviting.
And they promise, essentially, guilt-free (or, at least, low guilt) snacking. Even while you lose weight!
It seems so easy. So smart. So safe. So right.
And then you read the labels. And you find out that the one hundred calories of Oreos has, along with its touted 100 calories, 2 grams of fat. And 20 grams of carbs. And 160 milligrams of sodium. Well, that doesn’t seem to be too bad. Right?
Except you’re eating 1800 calories in a day, and 200 grams of carbs on your plan. And suddenly your snack pack is comprising 1/18 of your calories but 1/10 of your carb allowance for the day, not to mention about 1/12 of your sodium allotment.
A 100 calorie packet of Chips Ahoy has three grams of fat.
Know what’s got 121 calories, but less than half of a gram of fat, not to mention one and a half grams of protein?
An exotic food we like to call a banana.
Now, there are times when you are eating on the run. And that may happen a lot. Or you are just tired of the same old thing. Or this could be, possibly, the way for you to have portion control. It might be tough for you to buy a big bag, take out the three cookie serving size, put it into a smaller snack-sized bag and then only eat what’s in the snack bag.
Or maybe you’re eating three of these 100 calorie packages because, well, it’s only 100 calories. Or you’re eating cookies or chips when you would normally eat a banana or apple instead. Or perhaps you’re indulging in other chips and cookies, and are estimating (read: exaggerrating) what you’re taking.
These packages are also incredibly expensive. You are paying a premium for someone else to take out only three cookies (or whatever the serving size is) and stuff them into smaller bags. You are paying for pretty packaging, and for convenience.
Oh and as for eating from vending machines? That is virtually never a good idea. It should be a last resort. How to prevent that, particularly if you have to work late a lot?
Plan. Take a banana or an apple with you. Or put together a bag of unsalted nuts. They have more fat (and they may even have more calories), but they are better for you.
Don’t just settle for whatever has been shoved into a vending machine, or that a cookie company is overcharging you for.