In my last post, I wrote about some of the reasons I think that SmartPoints is an improved program particularly because it encourages eating less sugar. However, one of the things that has been difficult for some people is how to eat snacks, without blowing a ton of SmartPoints. Some foods have gone up a lot in points, particularly snacks that are high sugar. There are several options. Eat the same thing you ate before, but eat the higher point stuff less often. Eat the same thing, but in a smaller portion. Or, change what you eat.
The solution is…all of the above. That is, I may choose to eat the high point food and make that my main indulgence of the week or I might eat a smaller portion or I might try something different. What I want to do here is suggest some snacks that we routinely eat in our household. The good thing about most of these snacks is that they have either stayed the same in points or have increased by a minor amount. I usually have at least one or two of these on most days.
What you won’t see are suggestions for things like fruit or nonfat, plain yogurt. I am leaving out of this post the kinds of “healthy snacks” that we all probably know about. Yes, I eat some of those, but I wanted to shine a light here on some things you might not think of.
If there was a perfect snack for SmartPoints, it is these:
I did a full post about Kay’s Natural Protein snacks awhile ago. I have tried several of these since SmartPoints came out (I’m eating a pack of Cinnamon Almond Cookie Bites as I write this) and they have all been 3 SmartPoints (same as they were before). Some of these snacks are sweet like the cookie bites or, my favorite, the Cinnamon Toast Pretzel Sticks. Others are more salty type snacks, like the Crispy Parmesan Chips or the Chili Nacho Cheese Chips. They all have 120 or 125 calories and, even the sweet ones are low in sugar (they usually have stevia in them). They are gluten free and usually have a lot of protein for a snack. The Pretzel Sticks I am eating right now clock in at 12g of protein with no saturated fat and only 3g of sugar! They are sweet with a great cinnamon flavor. If it late in the day and I am running low on meeting my protein goal, I will eat one of these.
You might say that you like chocolate. I actually love chocolate. And I have a lot of chocolate choices that, in the portions I eat them, work out to 3 or 4 SmartPoints:
The Vitatops are 100 calories and are 4 SmartPoints and made with mostly whole grains. I don’t eat them often, but it is a nice treat. The Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt is my husband’s snack. It is also 100 calories and 4 SmartPoints.
All of the chocolate bars are what I pulled out of my desk drawer. They range from 60% cocoa to 80% cocoa. The 60%, of course, have a bit more sugar. I have a snack from a chocolate bar 3 or 4 times a week. If you haven’t tried dark chocolate, I would suggest starting with the 60% and work your way up. I like to get a bar that has some sort of extra flavor in it, while my husband likes his plain. The key to eating a chocolate bar 3 times a week is that I eat a very small portion.
Most of these bars say a serving is 1/2 a bar and is between 210 and 240 calories. I don’t eat that much. I usually eat 60 to 75 calories worth, occasionally a little more. The one I’ve been working on this week (not pictured) is 88 calories and 4 SmartPoints. The 60 calorie portion usually works out to 3 SmartPoints. You might think that eating 60 calories worth would be an absurdly small amount. I have gotten to a point where I rarely want more. I eat my chocolate very, very slowly. It takes me several minutes to eat that 3 SmartPoints. I don’t just absently eat it. I savor it, putting all my attention on it, letting it melt in my mouth.
But, maybe you are a little hungrier and want something a bit more substantial:
The cubes of cheese are full fat cheese. I eat 7 cubes for 1 ounce and 4 SmartPoints. That is a snack I often pair with something else: berries, or a piece of chicken breast (cubed), or some almonds. If I can’t really afford 4 SmartPoints, I’ll just eat the Weight Watchers Jalapeno Cheese Stick for 1 SmartPoint.
I have pictured some of the Quest Bars that I like. The Chocolate Cookie Dough has remained 5 SmartPoints. I usually warm it in the microwave for about 15 seconds. When I have more time, I cut it into 6 pieces then bake them for a few minutes and they taste like chocolate chip cookies. Yum! I sometimes have that for breakfast. My husband likes the Chocolate Brownie Quest bar and it actually went down a point and is now 4 SmartPoints. The one is the back is the Chocolate Peanut Butter, also 4 SmartPoints.
The nice thing about these are that they have high protein (usually around 20g) and are low in saturated fat and sugar. Note that some of them have artificial sweetener (sucralose) such as the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and the Chocolate Brownie. If you don’t want to eat artificial sweetener, some of them do not use artificial sweetener such as the Chocolate Peanut Butter which uses stevia and erythritol. I like chocolate so these are all chocolate flavor, but Quest has plenty of non-chocolate bars. These push my limits on eating processed foods, but they are processed. But, I don’t really object to the ingredients I do eat them.
The snack I have almost everyday, however, is some sort of nut:
In the bag in the back is my absolute favorite food, bar none: Antep (Turkish) Pistachios. I eat half a cup (unshelled, which is 1/4 c. shelled) almost every day. I buy them in 5 pound bags because they are pricey. So much better than California pistachios! These are 5 SmartPoints a serving and take a long time to eat (have to open the shells) and are very filling. For a change of pace, I like the Wasabi & Soy Sauce Almonds, which are 5 SmartPoints for an ounce. Sometimes, I just eat the plain unsalted almonds as well.
Another snack that isn’t pictured is popcorn. I usually buy the popcorn already cooked in a bag. I find that it is best to go by weight rather than measuring by volume. I like, but am avoiding, the chocolate drizzled popcorn. It tends to be high in saturated fat and sugar and isn’t really worth it. Basically, look at the ingredients and avoid the bags that are high in sugar or saturated fat. Get those that are the plain popcorn or have a flavor that doesn’t add a lot of sugar.
What good SmartPoints values have you found for snacks?