Happy Wednesday everyone! I will first apologize for my lack of blog posts recently. I DO realize that it’s been a week with no post. I realize that I promised several posts a week. I realize that this makes me a liar and a fraud. I realize that there are about 4 of you who rely on me to be honest and keep my word. I realize that I have let you down. I am sorry. I will do better. At least I will TRY to do better.
Why did I not manage to get a blog post up in the last week? Well. First of all, I’m trying to keep on top of this thing called life. Yeah, I know we all are. That’s the thing right? I will just say that in the last week I’ve worked really hard, AND then I took a little time for some fun. Just like that… POOF! A week went past!!! Now it’s a Wednesday, I’m stuck at work (god how I hate starting shift at 06:30am), and I’m using my break time to browse through the photos on my phone to try and get inspired to write a blog post. Yes, just so you guys know, THAT’S my secret. My phone. Of course, anyone who knows me would not find this surprising at all…. My phone is my alarm clock. It is my calendar. It is my mileage log for work, it is my camera (We do have a Cannon DSLR somewhere which we used ALL THE TIME before smart phones, but I haven’t seen it in over a year now! SHAME ON ME!). My phone tracks my calories (and if I forget and leave my fitbit charging on its tether) it tracks my activity. It keeps me linked to work through my e-mail, and to my friends via text/Facebook/instagram/twitter. It is also how I win arguments with my (soon to be) husband…. (thank god google likes to agree with me!)
While I digress, I think I have just figured out where my week REALLY went… I think MY PHONE ATE MY WEEK!!! Ok, mystery solved!!! Thankfully my phone is also the device that I often edit my blog posts from, and that does mean I can basically post anywhere anytime!!! So, back to the photostream to find a topic for today….
Ok, Found something…. One of my favourite things… SNACKS!!! I know that in an earlier post I tried to convince you all that potato chips aren’t necessarily “unhealthy.” I know I wasn’t necessarily successful in that endeavour, and that’s fine. I get it. You aren’t into conspiracy theories. That’s fine. Elvis IS dead. Man DID land on the moon and JFK’s assassination? Yup. Just like the official history books say it happened. Got it. Oh, and let’s not forget Monsanto is just looking out for us all. (I’m joking…. I’m not a conspiracy theorist either…. I just allow a little more “Gray” in my life than most…. I don’t think even 50 shades is enough……).
So. Snacks. Today is going to be a visual post. Awhile back, I took some time and broke out a nice white plate, my trusty kitchen scale and a selection of “snack” foods that I had in my pantry. Why? Well quite simply, I personally often find it really hard to get any sense of what a serving (and its respective caloric content) really is just by reading labels. So often, I think I get “tricked” by the concept of “healthy” foods. If you bear with me here for just a little bit I think you’ll see what I mean. So here are the rules for this little picture post. The plate is the same in all photos (of course in at least one photo you may have trouble finding it). There is no photographic trickery, every photo is taken from the same angle, under the same light and with only one exception, from the exact same distance (you’ll understand when you see it). There are no filters or Photoshop used. Each plate is perfectly identical in only one regard. CALORIE CONTENT. There are 100 calories in these pictures. No more… No less. I chose 100 simply because it is a nice round number, it is a concept that is easily understood as a “snack” and it is increasingly becoming what I can only describe as an “industry standard.” What I mean here is that without altering the composition of their products in any way at all, many companies are packaging their items in 100 calorie packages as a weight control tactic…. I’m not trying to be judgmental here, I’m just stating fact. In truth this tactic may be beneficial. I mean, I actually spend my sunday afternoons portioning up my produce so that I can manage my week easier. BUT there is also a danger that maybe, just maybe, when there is a package of Oreo cookies that is only 100 calories, we can begin to think of them as more healthy than they really are. No more ranting. Pictures. Here we go!!
Ok, So I LOVE these little critters. Someone, somewhere, sometime, decided that these are a “superfood.” I’m sure it must have been some very well-educated marketing manager at Wholefoods, but nonetheless, they are tasty! (be prepared to absolutely HATE the first one though, and then strangely crave more….). These Cocao nibs are to chocolate what Coffee is to…. well…. I think you get my point. They are a bit of an acquired taste. Bitter at first, but then a very enjoyable flavour develops, and a crunchy crumbly type of texture (almost like eating a roasted coffee bean). While they may be “good” for you from a nutritional view point, note that it only takes about 14 of them to hit 100 calories…. (make sure you count!). 21g=100 calories.
Ok. Dates. Delicious. Soft. Sweet. “Nature’s candy.” Yes, you can have TWO for 100 calories. Two. no more. Nutritious? Yes. Low calorie? NO!! Love them, eat them, but make sure to know how much of them you are consuming. Enough said. 33g=100 calories.
Pecans!!! God I love these!!! I mean who doesn’t love NUTS (I’m looking at you again Jim…. just try to disagree with me… lol). But look at the plate… All those healthy oils come in a very compact and calorie dense package. I see only about 8 pieces of pecan on this plate. It is 100 calories. Now imagine your favourite piece of pecan pie…. How many nuts again? Or a pecan butter tart… before you even get to have any pastry, or butter/sugar filling you’ve already hit 100 calories!!! (that’s why on very occasional Sundays Todd and I sleep late, skip breakfast and have a butter tart for lunch at the local farmers market…. For only 350 calories…… 14g=100 calories.
Pistachio nuts. These are wonderful. I had a very significant relationship with them at one point. Curled up in bed, watching TV, drinking red wine. A big bag of pistachios open, and a bowl the size of my head to accept all the shells. Admittedly eating the ones in the shell was smart…. since it did slow me down a little. But I do have to admit that most often I did find the bottom of the bag before I got tired of freeing them from their stubborn little shells. Can you guess how many calories worth I could eat at a sitting? When about 35 nuts is 100 calories it doesn’t take long to add up, healthy or not. 18g=100 calories.
Ok, Dried apricots. Unlike fresh fruits and berries the sugars and flavours are more concentrated, it’s just what drying does to things… Concentrated calories. measure measure measure. I know I’m going to start to sound like a broken record. Sorry. 41g=100 calories.
Here’s another healthy option, dried blueberries. Of course fresh blueberries are always a great option for snacking, low in calories, high in nutritional content, but, sometimes they aren’t available. So, of course, dried blueberries. Just remember, when you remove the water content (much of the weight of the berry) you concentrate not just the flavour of the berry but the sugar as well. Essentially you create a more calorie dense food. You get most of the benefits of the fresh berry, but in a more compact format. Basically I’m saying you’ll reach 100 calories faster, and feel less full than if you’d eaten the fresh berries. Beware…. 30g=100 calories.
Dried cranberries. Just here as a pretty picture. Because everything I said about dried blue berries applies here as well. Sweet, Tart, and easy to loose track of the calories. 32g=100 calories.
TRAIL MIX!!! For some reason or other I don’t think of hiking when I see trail mix. Instead I think of “desk jockeys” who are apparently too afraid of what their bosses will say if they leave their desks for nourishment. Hunched over a computer screen. Reaching for handfuls of this wonderfully healthy snack to get them through their day. Truthfully? Trail mix is a great option for someone who is hiking, expending energy and being active. It is packed with nutrients AND calories. I can be a very important part of a healthy lifestyle. It can also make you gain weight if you simply sit at your desk and eat a bag of it every day…. (Beware there is a lot of variance between brands and variety in calorie count). 22g=100 calories.
Pumpkin seeds. Everything I have said about any other nut or seed. Simple as that. Good. Calories. LEARN TO MEASURE!!! That’s the only way to keep them from derailing your weight loss success. 15g=100 calories.
Black Mission Figs. These I love!! They have just enough sweetness. Soft and moist but with enough body to help your stomach realize that it’s getting full. Some calorie guides will say that they are about 10 calories a fig. I guess these days though their size must be growing, because by weight, these 6 figs are 100 calories. 135g=100 calories.
Cassava chips. I think I may have talked about these before. Think potato chip. But much crisper. Almost the texture of very hard thin sugar candy. Almost sharp enough to cut your mouth, and with a sensation almost like chewing on sand once they break up in your mouth. Boy, I’m selling these very well aren’t I? They do make a nice starchy/crispy snack though. But look closely at the photos, amazingly enough, it seems that you MIGHT just get a more substantial/fulfilling snack from my good old standby….. Ruffles!!! 19g=100 calories.
RUFFLES HOW I LOVE THEE!!! Ok, you all know, next to red wine, one of my favourite things in the world is a ruffles potato chip!!!! Salty, crunchy, satisfying. I have tried to convince you all that they are healthy and failed miserably. BUT this portion is only 100 calories. Look above and compare to Cassava chips. Just let it sink in a little bit. Maybe munch on a chip or two while you think. Just whatever you do, DON’T buy the family sized bag, lay in bed, drink red wine and finish the bag (like some of us have been known to do in the past). ‘Nuf said. 18g=100 calories.
Pita Chips. Or something like that. I honestly can’t even remember the brand name of these right now. so all I’ll say is blah blah blah pita. Blah blah blah 100 calories. Blah blah blah crunchy. Blah blah blah. 22g=100 calories.
Martin’s Apple Chips. Ok. I’ll say a few things here. Crispy. Thin. Apple. Lower calorie. No additives (only 1 ingredient…. APPLES!). Good. BUT then you have to eat them. There’s the initial crunch. Your brain thinks “CHIPS! YAY! CHIPS!” but your tongue almost immediately reports back to your brain that you now have a mouthful of apple sauce. A bit confusing. Kinda like that time you tried that “Jelly Belly” jelly bean that tasted exactly like buttered popcorn. You’ll just have to try them to see if they work for you ok. I can’t do ALL the leg work here…. 25g=100 calories.
PopCorners!! My NEW ruffles. Popped corn pressed into chips. Crunchy enough to satisfy. A sense of sweetness (the kettle ones any way). A satisfying chip that seems to always be enjoyed with my nightly glass of wine in front of the TV. I have no complaints here. And look how much you et for 100 calories. 22g=100 calories.
STRAWBERRIES!!!! If you’ve worked with me at all in the last couple of weeks you’ll know I am now on a STRAWBERRY kick. Look at the picture. THAT’S WHY!!! A full plate of those suckers for 100 calories!!! It’s hard to tell from that angle, but they are actually piled up. Not just a couple covering a plate. PILED UP I’m telling you. Mid morning, mid afternoon, when dinner won’t come fast enough, when dinner wasn’t enough. On a salad. With some yogurt. On their own. They are just a healthy favourite of mine that are ALMOST guilt free. I think in reality I can say they ARE guilt free, because you’d likely not be able to overdo your calorie allotment on these even if you tried. 314g=100 calories.
Broccoli. Veggie. (used to be a bad word with me…). Green. Crunchy (thankfully). Flavour? Well some like it some don’t. Possible flatulence inducer. Ok, Ok. I know BUT YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ALL RIGHT??? But, look at that plate. You can hardly see it. Calorie dense is NOT a description for broccoli. But it can be filling. It can help you make it to dinner. It is tasty (in my opinion anyway). If you have some of that 0 calorie hot sauce I’ve talked about before it’s even better!!! Low calorie, healthy, goodness. Remember that cauliflower is almost a direct equal in this regard as well. 330g=100 calories!
Not to overstate the obvious, but many of the foods which get routinely touted as “healthy” earn those labels because they are “nutrient rich” in some form or another. Quite often, this nutrient density is also accompanied by calories. Even “good” fats are high in calories. They are fats after all. Every time you hear of another “miracle food” on some show or in some new book, remember that as Rumplestilskin always says in the TV series Once Upon A Time “magic always comes with a price dearie!” Eat them. In moderation. Learn to be conscious of the volume of food you are putting in your body. This is really the key to loosing the weight you want to loose. Healthy or not, a calorie is a calorie. From a weight perspective your body doesn’t care. Calories are either to be burnt or stored. There is no other magic pathway for them to follow. Dr. Oz can talk all he wants. He does not have any special inside track in regard to weight loss, and those who follow his every word are simply wasting time and money. Money which he (and all the companies driving his sucess) will gladly take from you. That will be the extent of my rant for the day….
Well, as I look back at this one, I have to say, maybe there was some pent up “blogging” in me afterall. Thanks for reading. I hope at least it was useful in some way. Now back to reality!!