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Why Snack Packs Don't Work

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Old 09-16-2008, 01:50 AM   #1
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Default Why Snack Packs Don't Work

http://www.modernforager.com/blog/20...u-lose-weight/

This is from one of the diet and fitness blogs I read. It kind of echos my thoughts on the whole "snack pack" thing.

This is also something that I think about a lot with these snack pack types of things:
Quote:
smaller packages are not designed to keep you from eating as much. They are designed with the main purpose of increasing the “value add” of the food in the package, enabling the manufacturers to charge more than twice as much for the same product.
Anyway, just thought it was interesting and wanted to share.

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Old 09-16-2008, 02:21 AM   #2
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Not that I'm an oreo fan, but I loved this quote from the blog.

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Actually, here’s an interesting fact: it’s not even the same food. The Oreo packs for instance aren’t even real Oreos. They are filled with just the wafer cookies with no cream. If you’re going to splurge and eat an Oreo, at least eat a real Oreo complete with the cream. Make your cheats worth it and eat a diet of real foods such that you keep hunger at bay.
Novel idea, to eat a diet of real foods and then when you do splurge, splurge on something worthwhile. I've been doing this for quite some time now.

I've never been a fan of 100-calorie snack packs. This is how I've always viewed them, 1. they're WAY too expensive and 2. they've never sounded terribly appetizing to begin with.

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Old 09-16-2008, 02:33 AM   #3
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You know, maybe there is something different about me. Because, no matter what studies say about the average person, I never once opened another 100 cal snack pack after eating one. Of course, I used them in moderation, as a treat, without making them a part of my daily dietary plan. But I make liberal (nightly) use of portion controlled ice cream treats in the 100-150 calorie range, and again, I rarely if ever feel even the desire to eat more than one, and I don't think I ever actually have.

I wonder if this is like the "artificial sweeteners increase cravings" study...true on the whole/average, but not true for some significant portion of people?

For me, I know that when I DO have a snack-pack-type food around, I have one heck of a lot more self control with it than I do with an open package of whatever junk food it is representing/imitating. I've also found that, if I DO somehow resist the temptation of an open package, whatever portion I've left uneaten goes bad (evidenced by boxes of sugary cereal, half used in a recipe, of which I had one bowl of the remainder as a dessert and then allowed to go stale and threw away). So while the food manufacturing companies may want me to buy more product with the 100-cal packs, for me at least, their ploys aren't working. I eat fewer of these foods than I would otherwise, and I actually keep from wasting some because the packages are all individually sealed.

I also know that, when I first embarked on this lifestyle change, the 100-cal packs were a lifeline. I remember the panic (PANIC) at the idea that I'd have to give up Fudge Stripe cookies forever. But there was a 100-cal pack of them, and I had those and counted the calories and moved on. Sure, I used LESS of the packs as I increased my focus on nutrition and started looking at more functional foods, but they were a "bridge" for me.

The author makes an excellent point about 5-10% of your calories coming from junk food not being so great...and that's definitely the case (although again, for some it may be worth it, ie me and my ice creams). But if you're eating 2 packs a week, for example, that's about 2% of your intake, and honestly, if 98% of your intake comes from healthy foods and 2% from snack packs, you're probably doing REALLY well, though I've found that one can always strive toward "better" in the nutrition front, as there is always something to be tweaked and improved upon.

So I'd agree that snack packs don't work for all people, for all the reasons stated. I don't think its true they don't work for anyone, or that they can't be a component of a healthy eating plan over the long term if they are used in moderation and tracked in with the rest of your intake. I'd be interested to see more research on this topic as it comes out though...I'm "weird" in lots of ways that the research doesn't predict, and it always fascinates me to see what the differences are.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:45 AM   #4
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I actually do think it's more about what works for individuals and I can totally see that someone who has serving size issues would be much more comfortable with individually packaged snacks where there's no chance that you'd say "oh, I'll have just one more cookie" or "oh just a few more chips".

I *personally* don't think they're a good idea for a variety of reasons and I think a good goal would be to wean off of them as soon as you can ....

But I do admit that they work for some people as long as you're not eating 3 or 4 of them a day!

Mostly I just used the title of the blog post for the thread title ...

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Old 09-16-2008, 05:45 AM   #5
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The snack-pack concept has worked for me for the same reason Lean Cuisine meals and their ilk have been helpful--I've learned about portion control. I was reluctant to open another snack-pack bag, so it helped to put the brakes on my eating.
However, I've adapted the snack-pack thing to make it more economical. I put @100 calories worth of whatever I bought in bulk (usually crackers or pretzels) in small plastic baggies. These bags are reused, keeping the cost and waste down, and it still helps me keep portion size in mind. I plan on doing this for the foreseeable future.
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Old 09-16-2008, 08:14 AM   #6
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I'm the type that will open another pack, so I just don't keep them around. Once in a blue moon I will buy a single snack pack, but I always keep in mind that if I'm going to cheat it is going to be worth it.
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:12 AM   #7
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I started out the diet process with a lot of 100 calorie packs, I used to stack my desk drawer at work with them, and would refill every couple of months or so. This was well before i started counting calories, I was just trying not to eat as much during the work day and thought the packs were a good idea. I wandered away from them, because I always ate two or three of them at a time, but came back when I started counting calories. In the last few months I've moved away from them again. I just looked in my drawer and the ones I have are expired already, or expire soon. I can't remember the last time I bought them.

They were helpful at the beginning of the calorie counting process, though. I could say with confidence how many calories and fat I was eating at one sitting, and I needed at least one thing I was sure about at the beginning...

I just bought a box of those Le Petit Ecolier butter cookies with the chocolate on top - at this point I would much rather have an occasional cookie indulgence that is really good than a 100 cal pack of something that seems a little empty.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:11 PM   #8
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Default single serving packs

Right now, since I'm new to all this again, I am using single serving packs. The 100 calorie packs are great for monitoring my food intake, since I haven't been for a while and need to refailiarize myself with proper portion control.

It's the same with Lean Cuisines, etc. I can better monitor calorie intake when it's printed on the box. When I'm further along in my journey, these types of foods will become more occasional rather than a staple for me, except my single serve frozen veggies-they are too convenient to give up, especially for my snacks at work!


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Old 09-22-2008, 01:36 PM   #9
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If I had more than one snack pack around, it wouldn't be any different than having a whole regular package. But now that I'm this far into it, I think I can actually have something around the house and not eat it too much or too often.

I just bought a couple items like that for the first time since starting this (Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps and Whole Wheat Pretzel Sticks). And I'm actually not feeling worried about doing anything but using them the way I intend. That is such a nice feeling. 'Cause I realized how much I was missing crunch .
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:46 PM   #10
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Personally, I love the snack packs. I've tried losing weight before and it seems that this time I've had the most success, while staying healthy. I love them for work. Before, I'd usually hit up the vending machine around 10:30am and/or 3pm. Now I keep a couple different types of 100 cal packs in my desk. When I buy them, I only buy the ones on sale and I only buy one package of sweet and one of salty. I think it's great - at least for starting out when you're calorie counting.
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:56 AM   #11
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They're definitely overpriced, but the portion control help I received from snack packs was a big factor in my losing 110 pounds, and I imagine they'll help me to take off the baby weight now.
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:44 AM   #12
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I had recently read in prevention magazine a study that was done where there were 2 groups. One group was given snack packs and one group was given full size bags of various items. The group with snack packs actually ate more than the group given the full size bags.

That would be me. I can easily eat multiple 'portions' and opening up another bag/wrapper, doesn't stop me.
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:46 AM   #13
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One snack pack, of sorts, that I have used a couple times, was those mini cups of Haagen Daaz. Expensive, yes, but a carton of ice cream in my freezer would have been more expensive to my hips, if you know what I mean . And not indulging a bit could have become expensive to my hips too! I really enjoyed those, I think I got the super rich chocolate. But I never bought any to keep at home, I knew that wouldn't work .
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:51 AM   #14
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When I first began, snack packs were a great thing for me. I'd just grab one to take to work.

I stopped buying the "whole" box, because my problem with the whole box... especially white cheddar chees-its... was that the whole box was my serving. Very frequently.

In the beginning, if I grabbed two or three snack packs, I was not doing the same amount of damage that the entire box was.

I have to say that I had to transition away from snack packs of many kinds, and many small bar things like special k bars... I still eat too many. And while in the beginning "too many" was less than I was used to and therefore helped, now "too many" is WAY too much for the body I have.

They were a great starting place for me, personally.
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Old 09-24-2008, 12:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieJ08 View Post
One snack pack, of sorts, that I have used a couple times, was those mini cups of Haagen Daaz.
YES! I don't like snack packs because I don't find them satisfying and I don't crave a lot of that stuff to begin with, but the little cups of ice cream are heaven-sent. I can easily polish off a pint of Ben and Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake, but since I discovered that they make little cups of them I am happy to say I am PINT-FREE!
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