The 100 Calorie Deception

Low calorie snacks, high protein, low carb, net carbs, high fiber, “Keto”, “Paleo”, low fat, no sugar added, whole grain, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegetarian, vegan, plant based….. AHHHHH! How do I know what to choose? Are all calories created equal?
OK! Let’s slow down! The short answer is no, not all calories are created equal. Calories are made of 3 main components, carbohydrates (carbs), proteins and fats. These are macros, or macro-nutrients. And how your calories are made, does matter. Now, how much of them you eat, is a balance, and specific to each person. But let’s dive in a bit more and get some general tips to follow.


Turn the Box and Read the Label!

Let’s set the scene, you’re in the grocery store, trying to plan for the week, and you know you’ll want to snack. There in the aisle 10, are all these low-calorie options! Jackpot!! Or is it? How do you decide what snack, is snack worthy?

Tip #1- Calculate the Carbs
100 calorie snacks seem to be a good option, they fit my calorie goal, what’s the problem? One problem rests in the amount of carbs in your snack. High carb foods (meaning a food where more than 50% of the calories are from carbs) will not keep you satisfied. In fact, it will likely make you feel hungry! Choose snacks with a lower ratio of carbs. Some quick math for you… 100 calorie snacks, should have 12gm carbs or less!

Tip #2- Bring on the Protein!! 
You want your snack choice to be satisfying, yes, but imagine if it also fills you up! That’s where our friend, protein comes into play! Keeping your protein at 30% or higher, will keep you fuller, longer. Ready for more math? 100 calorie snacks, should have at least 8gm of protein.

Tip #3- Don’t Fear Fat!
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Fat makes you Fat”. Well, the fun fact is, if you eat the right fats, this simply isn’t true. The right fat has many benefits. It lubricates our joints, it fuels our brain and is a great energy source. Foods like avocados, eggs, nuts and seeds are just a few options with healthy fat. Sorry, more math! Keep you fat at 20% of the total calories. That 100 calorie snack option, should have about 2gm of fat to even out the ratio. 


and lastly…..

Tip #4- Eat as much Whole Food as Possible
When in doubt, and you find yourself unsure, choose whole foods! These are the foods on the edges of the store. Fresh foods, unprocessed foods, foods that have 1 ingredient (or maybe 2). These options are almost always beneficial. Nature made them! And pair them up. Have avocado with your chicken, have peanut butter with your apple. The options are endless!

Being able to choose the correct options, will fuel your journey! Learning how to read labels, and knowing what they mean, is an important tool.  

We can all agree that dieting is overwhelming! Deciding what information is helpful, accurate and current is almost impossible. Keep up the great work and stay informed. Continue to read and put your brain to work, you’ll burn those 100 calories in no time! 

Thanks for reading,

Sheri, RN
Head of Nursing Services