Calories count, and the sneaky little buggers can add up quicker than dollars at the gas pump. I was reminded of this fact of life the other night when I had a hankering for a sweet treat.
While checking out my options in the frozen desserts aisle, I found a berry pie. Yum! I dutifully read the Nutrition Facts. No trans fats. That's good and 340 calories per slice, I can handle the extra calories of this little transgression, I thought. After all, I've been keeping my calorie intake and calorie output in balance for a while. And off I went with my bounty.
At home, as I was reading the instructions for baking said treat, I noticed what had to be someone-at-the-pie-factory's idea of a joke. It stated right on the box that a serving was one-tenth of the pie. Now, you have to picture this little (when you're in full-snack mode it is minuscule) 8-inch diameter pie, cut into 10 tiny slivers -- I mean pieces. They've got to be kidding! That's the size you ask for when you are watching your weight, but don't want to hurt the cook's feelings. This means the whole pie is 3400 calories and a reasonable, snack-worthy helping is 500 to 650 calories or a full one-quarter to one-third of your 2000-calorie daily allotment (as determined by Big Brother Government himself). What a depressing predicament.
As you might imagine, this berry-licious pie is not the only calorific temptress on the store shelves. Let's look at some other snack options that I like.
There's a delicious (my opinion) snack that combines pretzel pieces and cheese stuffing. They are only 130 calories per serving, but wait, there are 7 servings (it says so right on the bag) in the easy-to-eat-in-one-sitting 7-ounce bag. There are 65 one-inch log-shaped pieces in the bag (that's right, I counted them). That means a serving is just 9 pieces, and come on! Who can stop at just nine of these salty delights? One could (that is, I did) easily polish off the whole bag while watching a favorite TV show and hardly notice he's (I've) done it. That's seven times 130, or 910, calories -- almost half your daily ration of calories in a single sitting.
How about a pint of premium ice cream, Vanilla Swiss Almond to be precise? It's only 300 calories per serving, but wait, there's suppose to be four one-half-cup servings per container. Are you kidding? Do you realize how small a half cup is? This for years was my wife's favorite treat and she would polish off the whole carton in single sitting. That's 1200 calories! Not that I'm one to pick on my wife, mind you.
Here's the problem. Maybe you'll relate to it. You're trying to lose a couple of pounds, so you skip breakfast because you don't need the calories and you don't really have time, anyway. You have a small lunch and supper. You've done well for the day, having taken in just a thousand calories or so. But now, around 8:30, you're starving. You decide to reward yourself with a snack. After all, you deserve it (you've been "so good" all day) and can afford the calories because you've eaten practically nothing. You put your feet up, put on your favorite show, and before you know it you've finished off the whole bag of cheese-pretzel thingies. Thirsty, you down a zero-calorie soft drink. But, you're still hungry and you've only had a single little snack. You've got to be able to afford one more snack without going over your self-imposed-calorie limit. Right? So you down the pint of ice cream and off to bed you go feeling a little guilty, but knowing you kept your calorie count down this day. But did you? Let's see, Vanilla Swiss almond, 1200 calories -- pretzel thingies, 910 -- diet soda, 0 -- starvation diet during the day, 1000 . You're at 3100 calories -- 1100 over your quota. Theoretically, at this rate, you can starve yourself all day, every day, and give in a little to your snack urge at night and gain 2 pounds per week. -- to be continued --