Snacks: 100-Calorie Snacks (cont.)

Plus, the treats in the snack packs don't always taste exactly like their regular counterparts. The Oreos, for example, don't have the white filling, just the crunchy chocolate wafer.

That said, Nabisco's 100-Calorie Packs do contain less fat and sugar than regular cookies and crackers, and their taste will certainly satisfy your salt or sweet tooth -- and probably your craving.

Of course, you can easily prepare your own 100-calorie snacks, built around foods you like to eat. The key to controlling calories is to work with a reliable calorie-counting guide, then weigh and measure every ingredient -- at least at first.

"If you are not measuring, you will underestimate the portion; that's almost a guarantee," says Heller. She also recommends you study how the snack looks on the plate before you take the first bite, to get an idea of what a portion should look like.

When you're buying a snack on the run at a restaurant, deli, or street vendor, use your hands and fingers to estimate how much you're eating.

"The palm of the hand is usually a 3-ounce serving; a tablespoon is about the size of the last digit on your thumb; and if it's a long item, like string cheese, an ounce is about the length of your forefinger," says Wilson.

"Most restaurant portions are two to three times what a true single-serving portion is, particularly if you are buying a sweet treat, so keep that in mind when ordering," Wilson tells WebMD. One temptation it's usually best to avoid, she says, is buying snacks from a vending machine.

"Unless that machine is stocking fruit, I can guarantee it's almost always going to be over 100 calories -- and probably not very healthy," says Wilson.

100 Calorie Snacks: 20 Choices

Need some ideas? To get you started on the road to calorie-controlled snacking, our experts offer some suggestions for healthy 100-calorie munchies:

1. Half an apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
2. An orange and a few dry-roasted nuts
3. 10 cashew nuts
4. 10 almonds
5. 2 ounces of lean roast beef
6. Half a small avocado
7. 3 ounces cooked whole-grain noodles with 1 fresh tomato and 1/2 ounce hard cheese
8. 1 seven-grain Belgian waffle
9. 4 mini rice cakes with 2 tablespoons low-fat cottage cheese
10. 3 ounces low-fat cottage cheese and 3 whole-wheat crackers
11. 1/4 cup fat-free ranch dressing with mixed raw veggies
12. 6 Wheat Thins crackers with two teaspoons of peanut butter (or any nut butter)
13. 1 small baked potato with 1/2 cup salsa and 2 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream
14. 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce with 1 slice of whole-wheat toast, cut into 4 strips for dunking
15. 1/2 cup frozen orange juice, eaten as sorbet
16. 2 large graham cracker squares with 1 teaspoon peanut butter
17. 3 handfuls of unbuttered popcorn, seasoned with herbs
18. 4-6 ounces of no-fat or low-fat yogurt
19. A 5-ounce tossed salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and 1/4 cup fat-free dressing
20. Half a "finger" of string cheese with 4 whole-wheat crackers

Originally published Sept. 23, 2004.
Medically updated Aug. 24, 2005.

SOURCES: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004; 79:537-43; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004; 79:774-9. Noralyn Wilson, MS, RD, spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association, Baltimore. Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association, Altoona, Pa. Elaine Magee, MS, RD, WebMD Weight Loss Clinic dietitian; author, The Change of Life Diet and Cookbook. Samantha Heller, MS, RD, New York University Medical Center, New York.

©2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

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