Nutrition Articles

Facts on 100-Calorie Snack Packs

Do Good Things Really Come in Small Packages?

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Convenience foods and snacking go hand in hand. Unfortunately, many of these convenient snacks also go straight to our waistlines. When "snack packs" appeared on the market just a few years ago, dieters rejoiced! Now, they could easily count calories and enjoy their favorite snacks at the same time. In fact, the 100-calorie snack packs proved to be so popular that sales have skyrocketed to almost $200 million in under three years. But how healthy are these snacks and should we even be eating them at all? Do good things really come in small packages? Let's break down the snack pack facts.

Automatic Portion Control
Some dietitians and behavior experts believe these small 100-calorie packages are ideal for foods that we should only enjoy in limited amounts anyway, such as chips, cookies and chocolate bars. Numerous studies have shown that when a food container is larger, people will eat more. In fact, they're more likely to eat until they reach the bottom of a box or bag, without even realizing how much they’ve eaten until all the food is gone. Therefore, smaller portions sizes will help you eat less, right? Well, new research published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that smaller "snack" packages encouraged participants to eat nearly twice as much, often without hesitation, than people who ate from larger packages. The built-in portion control of snack packages may help some people curb mindless overeating, but this theory works only when you limit yourself to one package. If you consume more than that, the benefits are lost.

Hunger Satisfaction
While the snack packs are winners for portion control and short-term satisfaction, they typically lack hunger-controlling nutrients (fiber, protein and healthy fats). This means that they won’t control your hunger for long and may lead to further snacking and higher calorie consumption over the course of the day. A handful of nuts or a piece of fruit could stave off the munchies for around the same number of calories while also providing key nutrients like fiber or healthy fats.

And despite the fact that the labels on these snack packs claim "0 grams of trans fats," many still contain hydrogenated oil—the prime source of trans fats. Legally, manufacturers can label products as trans-fat-free if they contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • Great article. But I don't buy them. I make my own. - 11/9/2013 1:24:38 AM
  • I purchased them only twice in the past and I did eat several packs at one time. I don't plan to purchase more. - 10/13/2013 7:27:32 PM
  • TJ_JEEPER
    I will eat a packet maybe every other day. They do fill me up for close to 3 hours, which is fine. Very very rarely will I eat 2 in a day, spaced out. But right now I have 2 boxes still more than half full. They are good and it helps I don't need the chocolate ones. Limits my choices on which to choose. - 7/4/2013 12:59:09 PM
  • AMBERTHEOS
    I love them! I am a waitress and leae them around at work and instead of a dinner roll or frys I grab one to stop my cravings! - 5/2/2013 9:22:29 PM
  • I do buy them from our Amish Scratch and Dent store, but I don't "abuse" them, and I try to look for items with higher fiber and protein. :-) - 4/20/2013 10:44:12 AM
  • It is interesting to me that people would buy expense snacks and then consume two or three. It show that the answer to or issues are not outside us. - 2/16/2013 12:09:23 PM
  • I really believe what this article says!! I bought a box of Slim Fast snack bars, they're 100 calories each (I think). so one day I was craving a piece of chocolate, and ended up eating 3 of the bars, which totally defeats the purpose!! - 2/16/2013 10:42:22 AM
  • I used to buy the 100 cal packs. I don't any more. I do however make my own using the snk baggies. I'm a weighin' measuring fool! - 2/16/2013 7:52:30 AM
  • GRAMMY7070
    I find these are much too expensive. I buy snack size ziplock bags and measure out my own snacks. I can control it better this way.it's worth the time I take to count or measure snacks out. - 11/29/2012 10:04:27 PM
  • -BENI-
    You have to be careful, many of the foods listed are high in salt which will put on fluid - I can gain 4 pounds just in water weight with salty food!! I avoid it at all cost!
    The little 100 cal packs are nice because they can stay without going bad and truly be for emergency only!
    I do love carrying apples, carrots, bananas and raw almonds - they are always good. They satisfy the sweet and crunch that's often needed. - 11/24/2012 8:10:07 AM
  • I love 100 calorie packs. They give me something to vanquish my cravings without leaving me with an entire bag or box of temptation! - 10/7/2012 7:47:08 PM
  • This report is very helpful to me. Gonna make some bags 0f peanuts when I am on the go that will be a cheap snack. Als celery with Peanut butter I like that. Susan - 8/31/2012 3:30:30 PM
  • I would lose weight simply because after I bought these I would have no money left over for other food, lol. I guess they are helpful to some people, but not me. Snack foods do not satisfy my hunger pangs, esp. in such mini quantities. - 8/31/2012 11:01:36 AM
  • WILLOW_SUNRISE
    I bought a food scale at the local drug store ($9.99) and it helps me. I create my own single serving baggies of things so I have them convenient. I like to have 100 cal packs of cheerios in the car, because life can get crazy-busy. It's inexpensive, filling and nutritious, and easy to log on my nutrition page. - 8/31/2012 10:51:14 AM
  • MARILYN480
    Snack packs work for me sometimes with nuts or foods that aren't too sweet , and have some fiber. If I buy cookies they are too sweet for me and I end up eating the whole box. - 8/31/2012 10:00:51 AM

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