Saturday, June 6, 2009

100 Reasons to Bag the 100-Calorie Packs

I realize that I’m fighting a tidal wave of popularity by ranting against 100-calorie packs. Food manufacturers and grocery stores seem to be doubling down on them–don’t be surprised to see a 100-calorie snack aisle in your neighborhood store any day now. But besides offering a no-brainer approach to portion control, there’s not much good you can say about these craptacular snacks. Here’s a hundred reasons to leave ‘em on the store shelves…
  1. There’s simply no nutritional value in virtually any of them.
  2. I mean, like, zero.
  3. Nada
  4. Zilch.
  5. There’s way too many ingredients.
  6. Such as Maltodextrin.
  7. Sodium Alginate
  8. And Polydextrose.
  9. Soy Lecithin
  10. Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate and/or Calcium Phosphate
  11. Back reads like a science fair project instead of actual food
  12. In fact, Hostess 100 Calorie Pack Cupcakes have over 55 ingredients.
  13. They’re pale imitations of the real thing.
  14. Oreos? I’ve loved Oreos, eaten Oreos, cherished Oreos. You, 100-Calorie pack of Oreos are not Oreos.
  15. They’re just bad food.
  16. Bad bad bad.
  17. No vitamins.
  18. No minerals.
  19. None of the good stuff.
  20. All of the bad stuff.
  21. Generally they’re are all high-carb.
  22. And high sodium.
  23. And unhealthy fats.
  24. And mostly high sugar.
  25. They tend to cause a quick rise in insulin
  26. Then a subsequent drop in blood sugar.
  27. Which makes you hungry again sooner rather than later.
  28. Say you’re consuming 1,500 calories per day; 100 calories may be less than 7% of your daily caloric intake, but getting 5-10% of your daily calories from junk food makes no sense.
  29. The offer little to no fiber.
  30. Nothing that makes you feel full.
  31. Face it, 100-calorie packs were a diet fad that has been shown not to work.
  32. And they’re an environmental nightmare.
  33. More packaging
  34. More waste.
  35. They teach us nothing about self-control
  36. Nobody I know has ever not finished a 100-calorie pack.
  37. I dare you not to finish one.
  38. Double dog dare you.
  39. These tiny packages are marketed as “diet food”, so even though you know that it’s not really healthy, there’s a conflicting message in your head.
  40. Is it “diet food” or “junk food”?
  41. It’s junk food.
  42. There’s hardly any more processed foods available anywhere.
  43. Heavy on the high fructose corn syrup
  44. Google that term for a sh*tload of bad news.
  45. Packs are often more than twice as expensive per ounce as the products they mimic.
  46. If you buy a large bag of the regular Chex Mix snack and divvy up portions equal to 100 calories each, you’d only be out 25 ¢ per portion.
  47. That’s compared with 87¢ if you went with a 100-calorie pack.
  48. "Cheese Nips" are one the worst offenders, charging a whopping 279% markup on their 100-calorie pack.
  49. Have you not cracked Ziploc technology yet?
  50. I mean, really, those plastic bags are pretty easy to use, and divvying up food in small portions isn't rocket science.
  51. Are your math skills even worse than mine?
  52. 100-calorie packs are just another way to give us license to eat empty-calorie foods we don't really need.
  53. There are so many healthy alternatives in the 100-calorie range.
  54. I mean, lots and lots and lots.
  55. Such as half an apple with two teaspoons of peanut butter
  56. Or 10 cashews
  57. Or a dozen almonds
  58. Or 1 cup of baby carrots with a couple tablespoons of fat-free ranch
  59. Or three ounces of lean roast beef
  60. Or thirty grapes
  61. Or half a small avocado
  62. Or two large graham cracker squares with a teaspoon of peanut butter
  63. Or six ounces of fat free, sugar-free yogurt
  64. Or three cups of raw broccoli
  65. Or a banana
  66. Or an apple
  67. Or a cup of blueberries
  68. Or 18 cherries
  69. Or a large pear
  70. Or a handful of raisins
  71. Or three slices of fat-free cheese
  72. Or a hard-boiled egg
  73. Or a piece of string cheese
  74. Or half a bagel
  75. Or a cup of unsweetened applesauce
  76. Or a packet of fortified instant oatmeal
  77. Or a rice cake with 2 teaspoons of almond butter
  78. Or if those are too healthful for you, how about six townhouse crackers
  79. Or eight saltines.
  80. Or 10 spelt pretzels with 1 tablespoon of grain-sweetened chocolate chips
  81. Or a couple of ginger snaps.
  82. Or a granola bar.
  83. Or 40 thin-stick pretzels.
  84. I know, I know… those packs are so easy.
  85. How often does doing what’s “so easy” pay big dividends when you’re trying to lose weight?
  86. Think about the whole reason for snacking: to tide you over.
  87. These little nothings don’t fill you up.
  88. They weren’t designed to.
  89. One packet may quickly turn into three or four.
  90. Don’t tell me you’ve never had more than one 100-calorie pack in a single sitting.
  91. It’s not healthy just because it’s served in a tiny handful.
  92. Eating junk food from an early age can create an unhealthy relationship with food for kids.
  93. Research has found that people actually consume more high-calorie snacks when they are in small packages than large ones.
  94. Less = more.
  95. I sh*t you not.
  96. And smaller packages make you more likely to give in to temptation in the first place.
  97. After all, it’s just 100 calories.
  98. What’s the harm?
  99. Is portion size really the problem or an addiction to junk food?
  100. If you’re going to splurge and eat an Oreo, at least eat a real Oreo.


  1. So true! I'd rather eat 1 real Oreo than a whole box of 100 calorie 'oreos'.

  2. You do bring up a lot of valid points (100 in fact!).
    HOWEVER - I have found these little packs to help in a couple of instances:
    1. When I HAVE to have chocolate, one pack of the chocolate covered pretzels gives me just enough to curb that craving.
    2. When I'm in a situation where others are eating junk, I can have one (or two) of these packs and not feel completely left out.

    I'm all for healthy whole food, but there is NO WAY I'm going to eat just one Oreo. Just not happening. So if I can curb my craving with 100 calories rather than 1/2 a pack of real Oreos, then that's what I'm gonna do.

  3. Here, here!!! Although thankfully this phenomenom does not appear to have migrated onto the old British shelves yet, although I'm sure it soon will!!! Saying was only last year that Oreos FINALLY hit our supermarket shelves for real....and I decide to diet now...why!!!????

  4. Hmmm I like your list. It's definitely made me rethink those 100 cal packs. I'll admit I have purchased them before. My husband is totally allergic to Soy Lecithin too. It gives him terrible break outs! Another reason not to buy them!

  5. Oooh, agreed, 100 (!!) per cent!

    But I'm lucky (I guess?) that packaged snack foods aren't really my weakness. I could take or leave a bag of Oreos. Now if they start coming out with 100 calorie packages of pad thai or cheesecake, I'm in trouble ...

  6. That's brilliant! I love the list.

  7. You are preaching to this fat-girl! I am completely anti-100 calorie packs and have posted it several times on my blog. When I had them in my house, I would eat 2-3 of them, or more, a day! All that crap is out of our house now, they were just another way to feed my food addiction because I would say "Oh wow, it's just 100 calories" and by the end of a weekend I would have consumed 1000 calories with them!!!!

  8. Okay, I'm the exception to the rule. Early in my journey I bought the 100-calorie pack of Hostess Cupcakes. I opened the box, was completely disgusted with what I saw, and ate one. I was so disgusted that little tiny thing the size of a quarter--not even a real bite. I did not eat the rest. My son finished the box off.

    So I win your double-dog dare.

    I also tried the 100-calorie popcorn. My husband finished that up. I prefer my air popped popcorn.

    That's it for me, no more 100 cal packs.

  9. I am anti 100 cal packs so I loved your list! GREAT post!


  10. Yeah, they haven't reached our shores yet, so I do divvy up my own portions.

    Mind you, that could all change if they invented 100 cal fish'n'chips packs...

  11. I wish they'd ban the stupid 100 calorie packs ... there are LOTS of great foods you can eat that are better for you, and shockingly LESS than 100 calories per serving. I'd rather eat 1.5 cups of strawberries then some fake food in a bag.

  12. Problem: Portion control or addiction to junk food?

    My answer: Both. It's not either/or.

    The only packaged snack packs I've purchased are raw almonds from Trader Joe's (my husband wanted these) and 100 calorie packs of prunes. Now, that I know the amounts, I create my own packs using zip lock bags.

    Great list of healthy snacks you've provided.

  13. "Have you not cracked Ziploc technology yet?"


  14. Hahaha... I cracked up! Awesome post. Give me 100 calories worth of fruit any day.

  15. I hear what you're saying, but I'm still waiting for the 100-calorie Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy. Until then, okay, FOR YOU, I'll stick to real Oreos.

  16. Thank you! I hate those packs and will not spend the ridiculous amounts of money on them. And your reasons #32-34 are what drive me nuts--they are an environmental nightmare!!!

  17. Yeah boiiiii!! Right there with ya. I am a reformed 100 calorie packer. I realized, as you so eloquently pointed out, they are sh*t. No redeeming value at all. I care about my snack choices now. I see snack time as a great chance to add a serving of fruit or veg to my day instead of processed crap that doesn't even really taste good.

  18. Triple dog dare anyone to ever bet against Jack Sh*t- you are awesome. How are you doing with your goals? You spend so much time composing and looking after other people, I want to make sure you "feel the love" back at you!

  19. "Have you not cracked Ziploc technology yet?" Bwahahahahaha! Great post-so true!

  20. I hate those stupid 100 calorie packs- I've never bought a single box!

  21. I completely agree with you on this. One of my coworkers spends all day eating 3 or 4 different 100 calorie packs and fat free pudding or yogurt at lunch and wonders why she is hungry all day.

    I used to eat a lot of these, now I have one pack every other week or so.

    I like the Quaker mini delights on my ice cream and the baked cheetos for a chips fix. Have to eat those ones away from home though when I only have one pack with me. Or else I'd eat all 5 @ once...

  22. You are a riot! I'm looking forward to laughing through your archives.

    I always ended up eating all 8 packs in the box and still wasn't satisfied after 800 calories. I could've had what I really wanted instead. It's brilliant marketing but I'll never buy another box. I had my last box in Jan. 08:



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