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A registered dietitian at a local hospital lifestyle center was quoted in the newspaper recently referring to the 100-calorie snacks made popular by Nabisco and Frito Lay saying, “You’re not getting much quality food, and it’s not really filling.  It’s Dieting 101 for lazy people.”

As offensive as this sounds to those of us who welcomed these small portions of chocolate or salt to get that little taste we crave so much, the message nutritionist are trying to send is that there are more healthier options.   This is when an age-old dilemma of what is more important nutrition or calorie count comes into question.  And the answer is finding the happy median where both work together.

The older a baby boomer gets, the harder it is to lose weight.  According to the Mayo Clinic web site, “Muscle mass gradually diminishes with age, and fat accounts for a greater percentage of your weight.”  Most sedentary women baby boomers, over 51 should be eating 1600 calories a day.  But if you are trying to lose weight, as I am, 1200 calories a day is the recommended count.  Choosing between a healthy snack and a 100 calorie snack that lacks nutritional value makes sense.  Well-planned, healthy snacks can complement a weight loss plan.  The one redeeming value of the 100-calorie snacks is according to a registered nutritionist at another local hospital is that it holds us down to a certain amount.

And therein lies the real dilemma, how badly do we want to take care of ourselves?  Do we have it in us to make the lifestyle changes we need to make to live another twenty years healthy and strong?  Do we have it in ourselves the courage to look up healthy snack options from cookbooks, the Internet, and local nutrition specialists and then follow through by choosing 100 calories of fruit/ vegetables/ whole grains, nuts and seeds instead of a tiny bag of cookies, crackers, or air?  Because that’s what it is folks and when we accept that, we are ready to make the switch.

Here are some examples the Mayo Clinic gives for 100 calorie snacks:

  •  1 cup sliced bananas and fresh raspberries
  • 2 cups of carrots
  • 3 1/2 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 5 melba toast crackers, rye or pumpernickel
  • 2 tablespoons of peanuts
  • 2 domino-sized slices of low-fat Colby or cheddar cheese
  • 1 fat-free chocolate pudding cup

 I think I’m ready to make the switch, are you?