Category Archives: snacks

When does 100 equal 10? (small changes matter)

You never know when you’re going to hear a brief tidbit of info that can be of significant importance. Recently, our local YMCA offered a program on healthy lifestyles with a focus on weight loss. As the dietician shared, I wrote down her info, much of which I already knew. One thing, however, stood out.

If we are overweight, most of us want to lose it quickly without much being required in the way of change, right? But if we’re honest, we could probably look back and see that our weight gain didn’t happen over a three-month period, or even a year’s time. You might notice that you added ten pounds every year or two, which didn’t make a noticeable change because it was so gradual (“Hmmm, these old pants are out of style anyway, I’ll go find some new ones that fit better”). Years ago, I came across a couple of my maternity outfits, and decided to try them on. To my chagrin, I couldn’t even zip up the back of the dress, and the pants wouldn’t fit over my thighs!

Ten pounds annually over a four to  five-year period…the simple math shows that to be a noticeable weight gain. But the truth is (as the dietician pointed out), we can easily lose ten pounds a year without any significant lifestyle change. How is that possible? Two ways: Cut 100 calories a day out of your food consumption or burn 100 extra calories daily through exercise (depending on your current weight that could be as little as a 15-minute walk at a decent pace).

100 calories is just about nothing! Serving sizes and calorie counts vary by brand, but here’s a rough estimate of items that are about 100 calories each: a piece of toast with spread, eight ounces of regular soft drink, ¾ ounce of a chocolate candy bar, two hot wings, ¼ cup ice cream, or (gasp!) ⅓ of a slice of pepperoni pizza.

So, since 3,500 calories equals a pound, if we do the math, subtracting this amount from our daily calorie intake will allow us to lose around 10 pounds in a year, or…adding these extra calories daily will make the scale show a 10 pound increase this time next year (and the next…). Just a little bit of time learning about calorie counts of your favorite foods can help you make wise decisions that’ll whittle the waistline; an easy-to-navigate site I often use is  What choices will you choose to implement this week?

Note from Slimvictory: if you’d like to receive new articles as they post, you can subscribe on my homepage. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.


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Gotta love those discretionary calories

Into every healthy eating plan, a bit of discretionary calories should be permitted. (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

I’m not gonna be satisfied with a piece of dry toast when a teaspoon of low-fat margarine-type spread and a teaspoon of jelly will work wonders on such! Today I made some muscadine (AKA scuppernong) jelly from the grapes that grow wild in my back yard, and immediately fixed my mid-morning snack: a piece of my 50-calorie whole-wheat bread with a light coating of the spread and delectable jelly. The tasty toast-toppers added about 30 calories. 

Sometimes we are so conscious of cutting calories that we deprive ourselves of the little pleasures that would take months to add up to a pound. Let’s see…3000 calories that are required to add a pound divided by 30 calories for spread and jelly equals 100 days, in this case! Certainly self-control is needed, but extreme self-denial makes it hard to stick with one’s plan.

Now that I’ve stated my case, please excuse me while I lick these last lovely purple calories off the side of my mouth! 

What are some of your favorite discretionary calories?

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Appetite suppressants – my totally non-scientific study

Could a bowl of soup (or half a sandwich) and a small piece of fruit eaten before mealtime help you eat less? (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

Some of you read my other blog on “appetite suppressants”, but for those who didn’t, here’s a brief re-cap: As I roamed the aisles at my neighborhood pharmacy looking for some D-vites, an item in the weight-loss product aisle caught my attention. For $2.25 (plus tax), this one-serving bar is to be eaten a bit before a meal to help curb one’s appetite so he/she can eat less and still be satisfied. I decided to compare this bar with other “appetite suppressants”: before-meal noshings that have a comparable calorie content (approximately 160 calories).

One day, I tried “Product #1” (the bar), and then the next day, I chose “Product #2” (which turned out to be half a medium-sized banana and a cup of fat-free yogurt. I was anxious to see if the bar did a better-than-expected job of quelling the hunger pangs as they set in, and result in my eating a fair amount less than I normally would. If so, I’d almost consider it a meal substitute.

After consuming the bar with a cup of water 30 minutes (per package directions) before my lunch, I filled my plate with a little less food than I’d normally eat. By the time 30 minutes had elapsed, I was indeed less hungry, but not close to full. About an hour after my meal, I thought I might be overly-full, but that didn’t happen, and by late afternoon, the pre-supper hungries had set in.

The next day, I jumped through the same hoops, this time preceding my lunch with the fruit/yogurt combo. Amazingly (gasp!), my appetite was curbed yet again. The rest of the afternoon proceeded as did the previous day’s.

Well, my conclusion in this experiment (that, admittedly, has no shred of scientific accuracy or control) was that “product # 1” didn’t do any more toward helping me eat less lunch than did “product # 2”, because by the time I added the 160-calorie bar to my lighter meal, the calorie count was probably higher than it would have been normally.

 My personal opinion (FWIW): probably anything we consume (with that amount of calories) 30 minutes to an hour before a meal is going to diminish our appetite. And the yogurt/banana snack I chose was definitely cheaper.

Now this is not to say the bar is without merit, by far! It was quite delicious while providing 4 grams of fiber and 5 of protein. It’d be handy to carry one with me on days when I’m on the run and my mealtime may be delayed, or just as a healthy and satisfying treat. However, for normal days, I think I’ll just stick with my healthy eating plan, which usually includes a piece of fruit OR a half-cup 1% milk mid-morning.

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Fruits…sweet and delicious…nature’s “candy”

God loves to give good gifts, and fruits are one of the edible kinds I enjoy most! (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

Ahhh, summertime…don’t you just love the abundance of fresh fruits? There’s something about slicing into a ripe kiwi fruit or a juicy orange that reminds me of God’s creative genius. Fruits, the delectable sweets than could be referred to as “nature’s candy”, are part of the blessings God gives us to keep us healthy and well nourished.

 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Yes, our heavenly Father definitely “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17), and when we consider the rich variety of fruits available for our selection, won’t you agree He outdid Himself in that area?

 Most of us don’t need any coaxing to bite into a ripe peach, top our cereal with slices of golden banana, or make a smoothie with our favorite berries. But have we considered why fruit is such a vital part of a healthy diet? Here’s some data gleaned from a site with a wealth of dietary information –

 “Health benefits:

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases.
  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain cancers, such as mouth, stomach, and colon-rectum cancer.
  • Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Eating fruits and vegetables rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and may help to decrease bone loss.
  • Eating foods such as fruits that are low in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.”

 The site also points out that “people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.”

Thought for the day:

For more fiber, and staying power, “eat” your fruit instead of drinking it.

Question: What are you top three favorite fruits?


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100-calorie (or less) filling snacks

When our stomach starts rumbling, and it’s not mealtime, a low-calorie snack can put those hunger pangs to rest. Here are some faves of mine that “weigh-in” at 100 calories or less: 


v     Healthy Choice® Soup (many of these are around 100 calories) 

v     A piece of low-fat string cheese 

v     Half-a-cup of 1% milk and half a graham cracker 

v     10 pieces of Quaker True Delights Multigrain Fiber Crisps (wild blueberry)® 

v     Half a shaved lean ham sandwich, spread with spicy mustard 

v     ¼ cup 1% milkfat cottage cheese topped with a bit of mandarin oranges 

v     Slice of cinnamon toast 

v     A medium banana 

v     Yoplait Light Smoothie® 

v     ½ cup of V-8 juice® with a couple of pieces of melba toast 


If we allow ourselves to become overly hungry, we’re likely to overeat when we sit down for our meal. These treats handily take the edge off my hunger. What are some of your favorite snacks that tide you over until mealtime or bedtime? 


Thought for the day:  

“The decisions we make today – wise or unwise – will be part of our tomorrows.” 


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