Ask Calorie Ken: Hungry for Snacks

Attack snack attacks before they attack you!

By , Columnist

Dear Calorie Ken,

I like to eat and have struggled with my weight all my life.  Snacks are one thing that I know I should not eat, but do.  Are there any low calorie snacks that I can have on hand so I can just go and get when I want to eat?


Hungry for Snacks


Dear Hungry,

In the inimitable words of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.:  "Surr-PRISE, Surr-Prise, Surr-prise!"  Forget what you think you know, because you SHOULD enjoy snacks two or three times a day.  

It's inevitable that we are going to feel hungry during the day, and we can mitigate those feelings by feeding ourselves throughout the day. Babies expect to be fed regularly, and anyone with kids knows they need a constant stream of energy. Adults are no different. Of course, the key is choosing the right snacks and enjoying the right amount and differentiating between hunger and habit.

99 44/100% of us in the Western world really aren't hungry as often as we think we are. When you have a snack attack, take a few deep breaths, drink a glass of water and try to redirect.  Every time. Every day. It get's easier as time goes by to differentiate between real hunger and habitual eating. Meanwhile, you can mitigate these feelings of hunger, whether real or psychosomatic, by eating foods that fill you up, both at meals and for between-meal snacks.

The snack of choice, and the only "free" food in the CALERIE Study, was original Fiber One cereal. Fiber is absolutely mandatory for both feeling satiated and for having a healthy digestive system. There really isn't a free food, but one serving of Fiber One is only 60 calories and provides a whopping 14 grams of fiber - 56% of your total daily fiber requirement and only 60 calories!  By comparison, the same amount of Honey Nut Cheerios is only 2 grams of fiber, but 118 calories.

Cereal Comparison.jpgAdd or substitute high-fiber foods to your meals and snacks. Mix cereals to enhance the flavor.  Add Honey Nut Cheerios to Fiber One and eat as a finger snack rather than reaching for nuts or chips.  Instead of Rice Krispies Treats, make Fiber One Treats. You'll reduce your calorie intake, increase your fiber intake and satiate yourself all at the same time.  And, an added bonus:  You'll never need a laxative or fiber supplement, and your only excuse for getting a colonic treatment is that you really enjoy having water shot up your butt.

Set specific times of day for snacks just like you do meals. Adjust each day as necessary to fit your schedule.  Think about tomorrow today.  Plan your snack time.  Set aside a time to enjoy a healthy snack. 

Hungry, always, Always, ALWAYS keep a Glad sandwich bag of Fiber One, or a high-fiber cereal mix close at hand. Stash them everywhere. In your purse, your desk, your console, your glove compartment, your gym bag... everywhere. Never be without!  NEVER get caught with nothing to eat. It's too easy to pull into that fast food drive- through or hit the vending machine. 

And, Hungry, change your mind.  Think challenge, not struggle.  It's only a word, but it is also a perception. Change that one word in your mind.  Struggle is negative; challenge is positive.   Calorie Ken encourages you to feed yourself not only healthy snacks, but also a lot of healthy love.


Swanky reader, Calorie Ken wants to hear from you!  Post your comments below, and send your questions to  And, tell others!  Post on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn...everywhere, and share with your e-mail distribution lists. We hope to make Calorie Ken the Dear Abby of good health and nutrition, and we need your help.  Cheers! 


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For two years, Ken Brooks (Calorie Ken) was a volunteer in the Tufts University CALERIE Study. He is now a nutrition evangelist. Send your nutrition, weight management, general health and exercise questions to

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