We've all seen those 100 calorie packs on the store shelves. They contain about 10 wafer thin replicas of our favorite snack foods for a total of 100 calories. OK... I might be exaggerating on the 10 pieces part, but they usually are very thin and taste nothing like the full size version. But the concept is great, and actually has some science behind it. A new study from Bern University of Applied Sciences has found that if people are required to individually unwrap candy, they will eat fewer than people who are presented a bowl of candy without wrappers. The same goes for a bowl of treats where people are instructed to use tongs versus a bowl of treats without tongs. Basically, the more effort you have to put into eating, the less you will eat. This effect also worked when people were presented an open bowl of dried fruit versus a bowl of candy with tongs. People ate more fruit than candy showing that this little trick can help even the worst cookie monster control their cravings (that would be me... I'm headed to the store to buy tongs in bulk right now!). While those 100 calorie packs may have some science to back up their concept, the fact that they contain highly processed "food" with little nutritional value should be enough to keep you away from them. Instead, see if you can find individual serving size packages of dried fruits, nuts, jerky, or even fresh apple slices. If you can't find prepackaged healthy options, take the time to make your own. An extra 30 minutes in the kitchen once per week packaging your snack items for the week may just be the trick that saves you 30 extra pounds over the next year.
Make your own snack packs
- Apple slices (fresh or dried)
- Frozen grapes (a favorite of mine!)
- Orange slices
- Homemade kefir