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 mini 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 $2 each and because there are 12 in a set, you could easily split the order with a friend or two 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.