Sales of 100-calorie packs of crackers, chips, cookies and candy have passed the $200-million-a-year mark.

Sales of 100-calorie packs of crackers, chips, cookies and candy have passed the $200-million-a-year mark. As a business concept, the idea is simple. Take an existing product, portion smaller amounts of it into single-serving bags, and sell several of the bags for about the same or more than a regular-size package.
Consumers do not seem to mind paying more even though they are getting fewer Goldfish. A recent report from the Hartman Group found that 29 percent of Americans believed that 100-calorie packages were worth the estimated 20% extra cost.

Pros
• Convenient, easy way to keep track of calorie intake.
• Help parents watch their children's intake of snacks or sweets in a lunch box.
• Reduce the amount of guilt for snacking.
• Consumers can learn to visualize a reasonable portion.

Cons
• Excess packaging is wasteful.
• These snacks tend to provide few nutrients and are highly processed foods.
• These snacks may not satisfy your snack craving.
• Costs may be double.

Convenient snack ideas
Instead of a high-calorie snack from a vending machine, try one of the following 100 calorie snacks:
1. Half an apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
2. An orange and a few dry-roasted nuts
3. 10 cashew nuts or almonds
4. 1 cup grapes
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 with two teaspoons of peanut 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

For other nutrition and food safety questions, contact me at 232-1930 or e-mail me at mmurphy@ksu.edu  or check out the K-State Research and Extension Web site: http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/humannutrition/