One of my favorite events every fall is the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, which I attended last week in Philadelphia. This annual conference brings together thousands of registered dietitians, food experts, and food products from over 350 companies. It’s a terrific meeting — not only do I get to attend scientific lectures and catch up with friends and colleagues, I also get a sneak peek at the latest nutrition and food trends and some of the new products that will be hitting supermarket shelves in the near future.
At this year’s convention I was encouraged to see more innovations from food companies that help manage weight and ‘budget’ calories. Super-sized servings are being replaced with smaller, portion-controlled servings and there were many skinnier versions of staples and snack foods from condiments to chocolate. All these new smaller portions and lower calorie options can play a role in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
Here are some of my favorite perfectly-portioned snacks. These between-meal choices will satisfy your hunger without blowing your calorie budget.
- Special K Fruit Crisps, 100-Calorie Pouch
- Breakstone’s 2% Cottage Cheese, 100 Calorie Snack Packs
- Yoplait Greek Yogurt, 100 Calories
- Chobani 0% Greek Yogurt, 140 calories or less, depending on flavor
- Dole Pineapple Frozen Fruit, Single Serve Cups 45 calories each
- Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters (in both milk and dark chocolate) – just 120 calories per pouch. They are a perfect, guilt-free way to satisfy chocolate cravings!
- Sunsweet “Ones” – delicious individually-wrapped dried plums, just 25 calories each
- Deep Chocolate Vitamuffins, 100 calories each – another way to crush your chocolate urges
Walking the convention floor I was also reminded of how many delicious “skinny swaps” are now available. Everything from soy milk to cheese to beverages has reduced-calorie counterparts, without compromising taste.
Consider the following next time you’re preparing meals or baking:
Switches and swaps for higher calorie products
- Reduced-fat cheese, like Kraft 2% singles or Polly-O reduced-fat mozzarella sticks
- Reduced-fat mayo
- I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light (perfect in place of butter)
- Philly Light cream cheese
- Tea (unsweetened, it has zero calories!)
- Silk Light Soy Milk
- Non-stick cooking spray (like Smart Balance or PAM)
Remember, small changes have big results because they’re easier to maintain. Make a few lower-cal or perfectly-portioned swaps for what you’re eating now and you can make bigger gains in improving your diet and achieving your healthy weight goals.