The other day I decided to order a sandwich for lunch. Most of the time, the modern day deli is a food factory. You do pretty much what everyone else does. You arrive, stand in line, look at the pictures, and order your sandwich by a number. Then like everyone else, you pick up a bag of snacks and a bottle of drink. You pay and sit down quietly to eat your food. A sandwich, a snack, and a drink – this is the monotonous formula for many Americans’ working lunches. If your original plan is just to grab a sandwich and something to drink, have you ever asked yourself why you need the extra calories from a snack? The only answer from me is that a snack is the sole element that makes your lunch “different” from the others. Some part of us begs for “it”. Since we nearly always grab a snack for lunch, we might as well grab the right one. So I went ahead and compiled a list of snacks that are 100 calories or less. That way the next time you are at the deli, you will have the variety and nourishment that you deserve.
My standards are simple. A lunchtime snack has to be 100 calories or less, packaged conveniently for a simple grab-and-go (since you are not carrying a measuring cup to measure your food at a deli), and have flavor worthy of the word “snack” (no cardboard chips please). Here are the results. I was surprised that some of the snacks said to be healthy (such as grapes, baby carrots, and pop corn) did not make the list. They couldn’t always pass the convenience or calorie tests.
- Celery, large stalk 11″ – 12″, 1 stalk, 10 Cal
- Jello gelatin cups, sugar-free, 1 cup, 10 Cal
- Plum, each, 30 Cal
- Clementines, each, 35 Cal
- Peach, medium, each, 58 Cal
- Jello gelatin cups, regular, 1 cup, 70 Cal
- Yogurt, 4 oz, 71 Cal
- Orange, large, each, 86 Cal
- Banana, small, each, 90 Cal
- Apple, medium, each, 95 Cal
As you may have noticed, the king of all low-calorie snacks is still celery. Nature gave you choices of mostly fruits. Humans engineered gelatin and yogurt. I don’t mind eating fruit and vegetables as snacks, but what about the crunchy and sweet stuff? Not to worry. Nowadays, food companies are producing a growing number of 100 calorie snack packs varying from sweet to salty. They range from bagels and chips, to almonds and walnuts. I even found lower calorie Twinkies and cupcakes.
From celery to Twinkies–if a snack can perk up an otherwise featureless lunch in the middle of the day, a smarter, more healthful snack can certainly lighten up and brighten up an otherwise mundane and calorie-loaded lunch routine.
National Agricultural Library: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (Dec 7, 2011). Retrieved March 8, 2012 from USDA, Nutrient Data Lab Web site: http:// ndb.nal.usda.gov/Pin It