Food cravings tend to come in three "flavors" - sweet, salty and crunchy. Sweet cravings are easy to address by eating a Balance Bar or adding a small amount of a low-glycemic fruit to a meal or snack.
More challenging to tame are the salty, crunchy cravings. Foods such as potato chips, corn chips, popcorn, crackers and pretzels are predominately high-carbohydrate foods. Many are highly processed, high-glycemic carbohydrates loaded with sodium and unhealthy fat.
Below are the approximate nutritional profiles for many popular crunchy snack foods:
Calories Carbs Protein Fat
1 ounce serving of potato chips 150 15 2 10
1 ounce serving of mixed vegetable chips 150 16 1 9
1 ounce serving of pretzel sticks 110 23 2 0
1 ounce serving of white corn tortilla chips 150 20 1 8
1/4 cup un-popped popcorn 180 36 6 2.5
3 1/2 cups oilpopped popcorn 150 19 3 11
2 whole grain brown rice cakes 70 14 2 0
1 ounce roasted mixed nuts 180 6 6 17
If you choose to include crunchy snacks, do so in moderation. Limit the entire snack to approximately 200 calories or less and always include a quality protein to help maintain blood sugar levels already within a normal range. Through the years we have come up with a variety of delicious snacks with a nutritional profile close to the optimal 40-30-30 ratio (40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, 30 percent dietary fat). Try these recipes the next time you’re looking for a snack to satisfy a crunchy craving.
Crunchy Snack Ideas
Corn Chips and Dip
1 ounce white or yellow corn chips (about 9 chips)
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
2-3 teaspoons southwest taco seasoning
Directions: Mix Greek yogurt with southwest taco seasoning. Serve as a dip with chips.
Vegetables and Dip
1/2 sliced carrot
1/2 stalk of celery
1/2 red pepper slices
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
2-3 teaspoons ranch dip seasoning
Directions: Cut vegetables into strips. Mix Greek yogurt with ranch dip seasoning. Serve vegetables with dip.
Cheese and Pretzels
1 ounce low-fat string cheese
1/2 ounce thin pretzel sticks (about 15)
Directions: Enjoy pretzel sticks with cheese.
Chips and Tuna
1 ounce potato chip or other vegetable chip (baked)
3 ounces of deli-style tuna salad
Directions: Enjoy tuna salad as a dip or alongside chips.
Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar® spokesperson and national best-selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program