If you’ve had your eyes open at the grocery store over the last year or two, you probably noticed a surge in those little 100-calorie snack packs. It seems like everyone who makes snack food has jumped on the 100-calorie packaging bandwagon. The idea is that if the food is portioned out for the customer, he or she is less likely to overindulge.
Generally speaking, I think it’s a great idea and I’ve purchased some of these products myself. What bothers me about them, though, is the same thing that bothers me about a lot of packaged foods: all that paper and plastic that goes in the trash when you’re finished nibbling your precious Goldfish crackers or cookie bites.
As a result, I was pretty intrigued when I recently received a new book in the mail called the “100-Calorie Snack Cookbook” by Sally Sampson. Sampson has created a 256-page guide to creating your own 100-calorie snacks at home. I can only imagine that some of her ideas wind up costing less and tasting better in the end. They may even be more filling — in Sampson’s world, you can eat a whole bowl of soup, 2.5 cups of spiced popcorn or a whole plate of salad for the same number of calories.
I’ll share a couple of Sampson’s recipes below. If you are interested in buying the book, it retails for $18.95 but can be had as cheap as $13 at various places I spied online.
Yogurt and Tomato Dip
Serves 4 (1/2 cup of dip plus three pita triangles for each serving)
1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 English cucumber, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 pita breads, cut into 12 triangles total
Place everything except the pita triangles in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Scoop dip with the pita triangles.
1 Tbsp. cream cheese
Freshly grated zest of 1/4 orange
3 Medjool dates, pitted
Place cream cheese and orange zest in a small bowl and mix together. Divide into 3 portions and stuff inside each date. Eat immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
BBQ Snack Mix
Serves 13 (at just over 1/4 cup per serving)
2 1/2 cups air-popped popcorn
1 cup mini pretzels
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. lightly roasted peanuts
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. smoked salt
Canola oil spray
Preheat oven to 300. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the popcorn, pretzels and peanuts in a bowl and mix well. Add remaining ingredients, except for cooking spray, mix again, and place on baking sheet. Spray with Canola oil for a half-second. Transfer to oven and bake until everything is well-heated and just beginning to scent the kitchen, about 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Source: “100-Calorie Snack Cookbook” by Sally Sampson.