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What does 100 Calories Look Like?

Between 2006 and 2009 there was a massive marketing influx of "100 calorie" snack packs in all our favorite brands. The idea seemed great...on paper. It was trackable and gave the feeling that this is "only 100 calories and I can have ____________ calories today".

However, the million dollar question is: How many calories should I consume in a day? Do you know?? Here's the most accurate chart I could find (Thank you

Now, this will vary a bit based on your workouts (or lack thereof). This also varies on medications, and other health restrictions as well. This is a general rule of thumb guideline. PLEASE discuss any lifestyle chages with your doctor before taking this to heart. I'm a licensed sports nutritionist, NOT a Doctor. IJS.

Now, for all those that enjoy counting calories all day, I'd like to show you what 100 calories of some REAL foods look like. Keep in mind, this image does not take into account any specific health concerns or goals, allergies or personal disdain for particular food items. Just humor me so we can see what 100 calories looks like not wrapped in cellophane snack packs marked as chips/crisps/thins/bites etc. Does any of this surprise you?

Empty Calories vs. Nutrient Dense Foods:

Empty calorie foods are items that we tend to eat in those "3PM crash" moments that can be full of sugar, salt or other non-necessary carbs that will leave you wanting another "snack" in 30-45 minutes. I like to call them "passifier foods". First few bites: your brain releases the "happy hormones" (Serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins) once consumed:

<----------- THIS happens in our brain and our gut says "FEED ME, I'M STARVING" and then we get caught in a vicious cycle that I'd like to quote from a movie you may know: "I eat because I'm unhappy...and I'm unhappy because I eat..."

Nutrient Dense Foods (like those pictured above) can keep our hunger cravings down and keep us feeling fuller longer as these items take longer to digest, stay in our system longer and give our bodies more fuel to sustain our day.

Let's compare. I'm an active female in the 31-50 range. I cannot have dairy or gluten and I prefer to not eat beef. I should be getting approximately 2,200 calories/day per our chart above. This is my normal eating style:

Breakfast: Gluten free bread (30 cal), topped with 1/2 a smashed avocado (161 cal) and the egg (80 cal). Total Breakfast Calories: 271: 1,929 left for the day (almost 3 of our snack packs would be devoured by breakfast and I'm dying of starvation during my commute in to the office).

Snack: 1 cup raspberries (65 cal: 1,864 left for the day)

Lunch: 10 blue corn tortilla chips (90 cal), 1 cup fresh made salsa (70 cal), 1 cup veggie soup (90 cal) and the chicken leg (75 cal) Total: 325 cal and still have 1,539 left for another snack and dinner! I'd be getting close to 8 snack packs now, yet I'm starving!!

Snack: 2/3 oz dark chocolate (95 cal: 1,444 left for dinner)

Dinner: the baked sweet potato (55 cal), add the toasted almonds (90 cal) and a dash of organic cinnamon (6 cal/tsp.). Pair that with the bead of Spinach/EVOO (75 cal) topped with the baked salmon (99 cal). We can even feel fancy with a glass of wine (100 cal). My Total Calories for this meal: 425 and I still have 1,019 calories left! If I want to grab some non-dairy icecream (300 cal) or another glass of wine (100 cal). This could have been 13-14 of our snack packs in one day, YIKES!

Variety gives nutrients, minerals and vitamins = happy gut, brain and overall health. Or I could have about 10-15 "100 calorie packs" per day and not have near vitamin and mineral intake which would leave me in an energy deficit, steady hunger cravings, mood swings and brain fog.

Planning and being intentional about what goes into our bodies is just as important as picking out our outfit for the day. We wouldn't wear a swimsuit into the office, so let's plan for success with our meals also, DEAL?!

I promise, my energy level with the variety of foods above will sustain the meetings, spreadsheets, chasing the toddler and cleaning the house. Or running the errands, mowing the lawn and dropping off the dog at the groomer while maintaining a civil conversation with the company that inaccurately drafted my bank account. I've tried the snack pack life, and I'd rather have nutrient dense carbs and calories that can keep me thorwing heavy weights in the gym over the desire to eat every 15 minutes or questioning "what did I come in here for...". #AintNobodyGotTime4Dat

If you have questions or are not sure what foods pair well with others, feel free to drop a comment below and I would love to help make it less complicated. Continue to check back on the Juic'd site (Become a member and get all the scoop FIRST!) as I plan to add some simple (cost effective) meal ideas for a variety of health concerns/goals.

Nourish So That You May Flourish


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